My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Follow your Creative “Must”

Creative epiphany while reading "Crossroads of should and must"
There are things you have to do and things you should do. Sometimes I follow what I want to do. It’s never a mistake for my happiness to start the day by painting. It doesn’t have to be for very long, but it feels good and sets a great tone for the day. I have flexibility in my schedule and after I get the “have to’s” out of the way:

  • kids off to school
  • time sensitive work completed

I sometimes follow what I feel like doing:

  • painting
  • sketching
  • designing a print pattern
  • writing about creativity

These creative avenues bring me joy. If I don’t do them I literally get cranky. We have to give priority to these “wants” because there will always be “should’s” that come before them. In her book “The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion,” Author Elle Luna sums it up perfectly. A “must” is
“something that we feel compelled to do regardless of fame or fortune; the work is the reward.”

Learn more about “The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion” here.

What are your creative musts? What are you called to do?

 

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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St. Patrick’s Day Flair and DIY Sign

I’m proud to be Irish and like to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day and decorate the house to celebrate. My new leprechaun illustration is available on hats, T-shirt’s, and pins in my Zazzle shop!

St. Patrick’s Day #patricks #day #pins #hat

Create an Irish Blessing sign with a downloadable pdf in this blog post. The blog post includes tips on transferring the poem to a wooden surface.

Irish Blessing Free Download. Info on Citrasolv transfers.


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Add a notebook to your painting setup

Eileen McKenna watercolor artist
I find it useful to have a small notebook opened next to my palette. This way if I have a thought for a blog post, want to remember which blue I’m using, or whatever, I can just scribble a note to myself. I also write down the date and time of the photo I’m painting from. This way it’s easier to find on my iPad when I sit down again to paint. This saves me a lot of time.

Curious what my favorite art supplies are? Read
 

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!


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Watercolor Skies

Blue Wave #11 by Eileen McKenna https://shop.eileenmckenna.com/

Blue Wave #11

Prints available at shop.eileenmckenna.com.

When I first started painting my seascapes, the skies were simple blue gradations, with the lightest blue closest to the horizon. With each seascape painting I started playing a bit more with the sky – trying to achieve the perfect sky blue, adding other colors as a glow on the horizon, adding a bit of texture for clouds.

Then I did two painting with gray cloudy skies, which were a lot of fun.

Surf Camp 1 by Eileen McKenna https://shop.eileenmckenna.com/

Surf Camp 1

Surf Camp 2 by Eileen McKenna https://shop.eileenmckenna.com/

Surf Camp 2

Now more often than not, I’m adding colors and texture to my skies, like in these recent paintings.

Watercolor Seascape "November 1" by Eileen McKenna

November 1 by Eileen McKenna

Watercolor Seascape "November 2" by Eileen McKenna

November 2 by Eileen McKenna

I’m still striving to find the perfect mix of blue for “sky blue,” especially to capture those bright blue sky, summer days.

I even searched online for “best watercolor blue for the sky” and found a great post on Scratchmade Journal by Tonya, who experimented and discovered,
“almost any combination of blues can be used to create a realistic sky in watercolor, but no single blue worked well alone.”

See all my seascape paintings and compare the skies at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14.”

 

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.


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A Swimming Quilt – Guest Post by Susan Finlay

Intro. by Eileen McKenna – “I enjoy designing fabric prints but I don’t sew! So, I’m always so interested to see what people make when they purchase one of my fabric designs on Spoonflower. I was so thrilled when Susan Finlay (Wee Susie Stitches) tagged me on Instagram when she posted her swimming quilt. Susan used my Rainbow Goggles and Swimming Laps fabric designs in her quilt. And I was even more excited when she agreed to write a guest post about designing and making her ‘Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat’ quilt.”

Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat by Wee Susie Stitches

Firstly I would like to say a massive thank you to Eileen for asking me to write this piece about the quilt I made using some of her fabrics.

My daughters’ swim club are always looking for ideas to raise funds. The club wanted to raffle something that the kids would want to win rather than the usual hamper or bottle of whiskey that they have no interest in. I was asked to make a quilt.

I spent time (too much) online looking for suitable fabrics, first I looked for waterproof/resistant that the kids could take poolside, but nothing was suitable. So, I started thinking about the design rather than the fabric first. I saw a quilt that Lucy from charmed by you had made. Seeing Lucy’s quilt inspired me – the mantra of lots of swimmers that they wear on their t-shirts & hoodies is EAT, SLEEP, SWIM, REPEAT. That was going to be the main body of the quilt and designed using club colours of Royal Blue and Yellow. I would add a border of squares to represent the tiles of a swimming pool – the swimmers look at these for hours every week!!

"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt

For the border I didn’t want plain fabric, boring, I wanted something special that would appeal to the kids. Back to searching online and I couldn’t find any fabric shops in my area that inspired me but then I found spoonflower and fabric from Eileen and Julia Diane Studios that I thought, yes, I could use them, they were perfect! So, I clicked order and a few weeks later the most beautifully tissue wrapped amazing fabric arrived.

Excited? Yeah. Husband and daughters too were excited! The girls asking the question what are you making for me Mum?? Sorry girls, as usual, this is for someone else!

"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt
I started cutting perfect 6 ½ inch squares to create the pool tile effect from this beautiful fabric.

Then began the process of precisely cutting the letters A, E, I, L, M, P, R, S, T, W, or in full ‘EAT, SLEEP, SWIM, REPEAT’ to applique onto the background fabric.

"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt
I used my Elna 680 sewing machine to blanket stitch around each letter.

I joined the squares to make border round the main letter panel. Next, I machine quilted the fleece backing with a nice simple straight line to continue the pool tile and lane rope effect. I finished the quilt off with binding.

The MASC quilt was complete.

My girls were excited by with the end result! The Swim Club were excited by the end result. The quilt is now being raffled to raise funds for Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club. Hopefully it will make one swimmer happy and keep them cosy after a hard training set and ready to Eat, Sleep, Swim, Repeat.
"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt


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Start with basic brushstrokes

Watercolor setup. Eileen McKenna. #artist #setup
It has been over a week since I last painted – gasp! Work has been busy and I could make other excuses. Things haven’t slowed down, BUT this morning instead of diving right in I thought, “Sometimes we have to make time for the things that are important to us.”

Brushstrokes

I set up all my stuff – which had been put away to use the dining room table. I turned to a blank page in my sketchbook and grabbed a tray of extra blue paint and started making strokes. I had no thoughts about what I would paint. Then I grabbed a fan brush and started playing with that. The strokes reminded me of beach grass.

Beach walkway sketch

Next thing I’m doing a watercolor sketch of the path down to the beach. The jump from no idea to an inspired idea was so quick. So don’t wait for an idea to strike! Sit down, set up, start with some basic lines or brushstrokes. Who knows where it will lead!

I’m so proud that after a year of painting the ocean, there are 21 paintings in my shop,  available as prints on watercolor paper or canvas. Browse them all at shop.eileenmckenna.com.

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.


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Valentine’s Day gifts from watercolor art

Valentine's Day gifts by Eileen McKenna on Zazzle #valentines #day #gifts
My first countdown to a holiday, with a daily painting/illustration, was back in 2015 when I counted down to Valentine’s Day. I really enjoyed the challenge because for the first day or two you explore the obvious stuff, but as the days go on you dive a little deeper into the theme and get more creative. After experimenting this year with uploading Christmas countdown art on Zazzle for cards and ornaments, I thought it would be fun to upload some of my favorite Valentine’s Day creations. I hope you like them! Click here to visit my Zazzle shop and see them all.


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Watercolor Painting “Must Haves”

Painting “Must Haves” #watercolor #supplies #beginner

I’ve joined in on the fun with Mollie Makes magazine, a lifestyle and craft magazine for those who live creatively, and followed the prompts for #molliemakersweek. Today’s prompt was “must haves.” I recommend these products to anyone starting out in watercolor.

My “must haves”

My “making spot”
“Making Spot” #painting

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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Designing Fabric Print Patterns – the first of 2018!

Pineapple Party fabric print #fabric #pineapples
I’ve been designing fabric prints since 2015. To date I have 28 designs available in my Spoonflower shop. When I approve the swatch of this new “Pineapple Party” print it will be 29!

Eileen McKenna's Spoonflower shop #fabric #prints #design

I first started designing patterns in 2015 with my “pattern a month project,” although I didn’t upload them all to my shop. In 2016 without the deadline of “one a month,” I designed them sporadically. I went back to my “one a month” project in 2017 to motivate myself and uploaded 12 new designs, plus 4 variations of other designs.

Recently I was flipping through my old sketchbooks and found watercolor pineapples, already arranged like a pattern. I grabbed my favorite black gel pen, added some black lines, scanned it, and played with the arrangement in Photoshop to create my repeat. I uploaded the repeat file to Spoonflower and am excitedly waiting for a swatch!

Read this post to learn how to turn art into fabric print patterns.
and
Turn Your Artwork Into A Fabric Print Pattern By Eileen McKenna | doodlewash.com
“Turn Your Artwork Into A Fabric Print Pattern” on doodlewash.com.

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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Filming Your Art Process

Filming Your Art Process #phone #stand
I’m really excited about the gift I recently received. It’s a stand to hold my phone above my work area so I can make a video of my painting process. The stand is called an Akron Kitchen Desk Table Stand.

Previously I would try to hold my phone or iPad in front of me so I could record a short snippet of my process. People seemed to like these videos and also like the posts where I showed the stages of a painting. Recording an entire painting from start to finish seemed like it would be interesting and helpful to share. And in timelapse you could see the entire process of a painting in a few minutes!

Click here to see one of my first videos with the new stand on Instagram. It’s where I add the foam of the ocean. What a difference from the starting point to the end!
Painting sea foam with white gouache #watercolor #ocean

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!