A Fun Chance to Win a $25 Blick Gift Card

A St. Patrick’s Day Watercolor Challenge!

I’ve partnered with DuelGood to create a Watercolor St. Patrick’s Day Challenge! Enter for a chance to win a $25 Blick gift card.

DuelGood is a global social platform to inspire creativity, build connections and do good in the world by engaging people in fun, easy-to-execute challenges.

Download the DuelGood app and click Play to find the challenge.
St. Patrick's Day art painting challenge
Download the Free App
DuelGood App
Start creating, start competing, start connecting!

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Ready to get started in watercolor?

Try my “Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide” where I walk you through the fundamentals of watercolor with exercises and projects. Learn by doing. Discover a love of watercolor today –> Learn more here!

Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide

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!

St. Patrick’s Day Art Project

St. Patrick’s Day Watercolor Painting Lesson for Beginners

St. Patrick's Day painting project - paint an Irish landscape with sheep in watercolor. Beginner friendly.

This Irish Landscape with Sheep is a fun and easy painting for beginners – perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Watercolor Techniques you’ll learn:

  1. Taping your paper
  2. Painting a fade
  3. Using crayon to mask areas
  4. Adding details with a dry brush

Supplies you’ll need:

Please like the video and subscribe for more painting videos!

Dive deeper into watercolor with the “Fields of Green” painting tutorial

This Fields of Green Tutorial is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day painting project for beginners! Learn more here.

St. Patrick's Day Art Project
Visit my Etsy shop to download this Watercolor Painting tutorial!

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Ready to get started in watercolor?

Try my “Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide” where I walk you through the fundamentals of watercolor with exercises and projects. Learn by doing. Discover a love of watercolor today –> Learn more here!

Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide

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!

Spring Sketchbook Share

I don’t know about you but this Covid winter has been long! Creativity keeps me positive but it doesn’t help with the isolation. I was exploring new creative ideas and I remembered reading about two people sending a sketchbook back and forth to one another. I decided, I want to do that!

Spring Sketchbook Share - join in!

Originally my sketchbook share idea involved reconnecting with a friend, but I started reminiscing about pen pals. That got me thinking. It is also nice to get to know someone new!

My idea has grown to include YOU! But I need your help!

Please do me the favor of answering a few short questions to help me create a “Spring Sketchbook Share” that you would want to participate in. I would appreciate it so much!

“Spring Sketchbook Share” program

  • Connects you with a creativity partner
  • Option to invite a friend to be your partner
  • All skill levels welcome
  • Each time you receive the sketchbook you ~
    * Start a page and
    * Finish a page
    This ensures that each page is a collaboration between the creative partners.
  • Partners mail the sketchbook back and forth to one another. (U.S. residents only for right now.)
  • Participation in Spring Sketchbook Share entitles you to three months in the “Spring Sketchbook Share” Facebook group.

Get the latest “spring Sketchbook Share” announcements ~ join my email list!

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Spring Sketchbook Share with Eileen

Each creativity pair receives:

  • One sketchbook
  • Two sets of my favorite pens. (One for each partner.)
  • Ideas List to help inspire you in the creation of your sketchbook pages:
    * Theme ideas
    * Suggested mediums to use
  • Two envelopes of extra “bits and bobs” for some added flair! (One for each partner.)
    I can’t wait to put together these packets!

The “SPRING SKETCHBOOK SHARE” Facebook group

  • Weekly Facebook videos
  • Instruction in different mediums
  • Demonstrations on creating pages within themes.
  • All participants will have the ability (and will be encouraged) to share their sketchbook pages with photos and video.
  • Four month membership in the Facebook Group
  • Milestones will be awarded with entry into giveaways! Milestones will include partners completing 6 pages, etc.

The “Spring Sketchbook Share” is all about:
* creativity,
* connection +
* community!

I need your help!

Please click here TO answer the following questions about the “Spring Sketchbook Share.”

  • What do you like about the idea?
  • What do you dislike about the idea?
  • How could we improve upon it?
  • Would you like to be assigned a random partner or would you like to invite your own partner?
  • Are you interested? There is no commitment at this time.

Thank you so much for your feedback!
Eileen

New here?

I’m Eileen McKenna, creative explorer and watercolor artist. Sign up for my newsletter for weekly watercolor tips and tricks and creative links.

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The “Spring Sketchbook Share” is all about:
* creativity,
* connection +
* community!

Painting Tips for Beginners

watercolor paint SET

When I first started painting in watercolor I was gifted a set of watercolor tubes by Van Gogh. It was a great set with a variety of vibrant colors. Painting with that set and those colors helped solidify my love of watercolor!

Sign up to receive the “Watercolor Basics” free pdf

The “Watercolor Basics” pdf covers paper, brushes, paints and other tools necessary for successful painting!

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Paint palette

The first thing I did with my new paints was squeeze them into my new palette. When the paint in the palette ran out I added more until the tubes were empty. Then I threw the tubes away.

I didn’t give much thought to the specific colors – my Van Gogh watercolor set had the “standard” colors. I thought of them simply as orange, green, blue, red, yellow, etc. I didn’t realize at the time that there are many shades of each color. Imagine my surprise when I replaced my green and it was a totally different green. As I added more colors to my palette – I didn’t know which colors were which. Things got confusing.

Painting Tips for Beginners create a color key - watercolor painting

label your colors

This might seem unimportant when you first start painting, but it can become frustrating when you replace a color and it isn’t the same shade, especially if you are in the middle of a project. Keep track of the names of your paint colors. If you put the paint in a palette like I do – label the palette or create a color key.

Explore your colors ~ create a color key

Creating a color key is a great exercise to learn what each paint color looks like. My key coordinates with my palette. I painted each color at both full strength and lighter – with more water mixed in. With a glance I know what each paint color is capable of.

Mixing Watercolor paints

I love my palette for painting with pure colors. It’s quick and easy to add a little water and re-activate the paints, but it has some limits:

  • The color is watered down, since I add water to reactivate the paint. To paint with full saturation color I use paint from the tube (with only a tiny bit of water mixed in).
  • If I want to mix colors, which I often do, I don’t do it in my palette. I prefer to keep the colors in my palette pure.

I use the plastic top of an egg carton for mixing colors. We eat enough eggs that I always have extra carton tops to use when I want to create new mixes. I hold on to some of the mixes for future use.

When I first started painting I assumed that for every color you wanted in your painting, you needed a tube of that specific color. I quickly realized that it would be impossible! Several years ago I took an acrylic painting class, where the teacher talked a lot about mixing colors. The interesting thing he said was that the colors in your painting would go together better if they were mixed from similar colors instead of straight from the tube.

A few years later when I started focusing on painting watercolor seascapes I used this theory. I mix the colors for my seascapes from three colors, which results in more natural looking ocean colors. Learn more here.

Seascape Painting Lesson
Seascape Painting Tutorials are available in my Etsy shop.

Mixing complementary colors

I also mix colors regularly to avoid using black. If you are painting fabric – there will be folds and shadows in the fabric because of the way it drapes. Instead of mixing black with your fabric color, mix the color with its complement.

As I wrote in my Watercolor Wisdom post:

Mix your shadows instead of using black. Mix a color with its complement to desaturate it – make it less bright – or to create darker values. Complementary colors are those across the color wheel from each other. I keep a color wheel with my paints. There’s a printable color wheel in my Etsy shop – click here.

Color wheel available for download in my Etsy shop.

sketchbook

Working in my sketchbook – a mix media sketchbook perfect for watercolor – is a big part of my art practice. It’s where I feel free to play and try things, explore ideas, experiment with color, etc. I think it’s important to feel free. Sometimes especially as a beginner, you can feel pressure while working on a painting. That is what happened to me. I became afraid of ruining a painting once it got to a certain point. That’s when I adopted the regular practice of working in a sketchbook.

My favorite sketchbook – the Canson Mix Media!

Aside from the freedom a sketchbook gives you, it’s also a great place to take notes. Let’s say you experiment with colors to create different skies. If you like one of your experiments it is helpful to jot down which colors you used. Otherwise down the road you may not remember.

reference photos

I always paint with a reference photo. I tell the kids at the art studio whenever they are drawing that everything they need to know is in the reference photo – you just have to look. Part of my progress in painting seascapes was that I studied the ocean in person and in the many photos I took. But because I took so many photos, I sometimes get mixed up as to which photo I am painting from, especially if a lot of time has past. This is why I write down, in my sketchbook or on the back of my painting board, what photo I am working from – where it’s saved and the date and time it was taken.

Painting ideas for beginners

I’ve developed several painting tutorials to teach watercolor technique while allowing you to paint a great final painting. Each lesson is available as an inexpensive printable PDF with step by step instructions and photos. Some lessons are also available in video format. Browse all the watercolor painting lessons here.

Beginner Watercolor Painting Lesson Starfish
One of several beginner painting tutorials available in my Etsy shop.

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Ready to get started in watercolor?

This Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide is for you!

  • Learn the fundamentals.
  • Practice with exercises & projects.
  • Discover a love of watercolor!

Watercolor is a fun and convenient medium that requires little setup. There are a few basic principles to understand and after that the sky’s the limit!

Start your watercolor journey today – visit https://eileenmckenna.com/guide/

Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide
Available on Amazon or as a pdf download.

This posts 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!

Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners

I remember when I realized I loved watercolor. It was during the early days of my blog, when I was exploring mediums. I pulled out my watercolors to make working in my sketchbook more fun and that was it! Watercolor has been my primary medium ever since. It has a magical quality that I love!

I enjoy sharing everything I have learned. There are tips and techniques that can make a world of difference for a beginner. I love designing watercolor painting projects that not only teach fundamentals but allow beginners to have the success of a beautiful final painting!

Beginner Watercolor Lessons

Below are beginner watercolor painting lessons that are a great way to experience watercolor! Each lesson is available as an inexpensive printable PDF with step by step instructions and photos. Some lessons are also available in video format.

Watercolor Coneflower Painting Lesson

Watercolor flowers - painting ideas for beginners

Embrace the fluidity of watercolor while creating this beautiful background. Learn to paint realistic looking flowers. Perfect for spring!

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Starfish Watercolor Painting Lesson

Beginner Watercolor Painting Lesson Starfish

I created this lesson while teaching a friend about watercolor. I wanted something easy, no pressure – where someone could experience creating a beautiful background with colors bleeding into one another. In the later steps experience painting layers to create the details of a starfish.

Birch Forest Lesson Watercolor Painting Lesson

Beginner Watercolor Lesson Birch Forest

This painting lesson is fun and easy. There is no pressure to draw – we let the tape do the work. In the early steps experience the magic of colors bleeding and blending. Use any colors you’d like! In later steps we work “drier” to create realistic looking birch trees.

The Birch lesson is also available in video format – click here to learn more.

Woodland Creatures Forest Watercolor Painting Lesson

Easy Beginner Painting Idea Woodland Creatures

Very similar to the above lesson, but with the added fun of cute animals! Simple steps will help you create this glowing painting!

Ice Cream Cones Watercolor Painting Lesson

Easy Painting Idea for Beginners - Ice Cream Cones

This painting lesson is a a color explosion! Creating the background is so fun as you learn to embrace watercolor bleeding and blending. And for painting each scoop of ice cream – a different technique is used!

The Ice Cream Cone lesson is also available in video format – click here to learn more.

Fall Pumpkin Farm Watercolor Painting Lesson

Fall Painting Idea for Beginners

Embrace the vibrant colors of fall with this step by step tutorial. Trace the barn and create the farm house with a few pieces of tape – no drawing required!

Irish Fields of Green Irish Landscape Watercolor Painting Lesson

Painting an Irish Landscape in Watercolor

This landscape of Ireland may look difficult but don’t let it fool you! With the help of painters tape and following the step by step directions, you’ll be painting the greens of Ireland in no time!

Polar Bear Northern Lights Watercolor Painting Lesson

Beginner Painting Idea for Winter - Northern Lights

The Northern Lights look like watercolor in the sky! Create your unique lights by following simple steps. A template is provided for you to trace the polar bear – no drawing required. Magic results await you!

Seascape Watercolor Painting Lesson

Watercolor Seascape Painting for Beginners
Seascape Painting Lesson

After practicing seascapes over and over, I developed a process to follow. In this lesson you’ll paint from a specific photo and learn the seascape painting process. Going forward you can use this process to paint any seascape! A basic understanding of watercolor is all that’s required. You’ll surprise yourself with the results!

The Seascape lesson is also available in video format – click here to learn more.

I’m excited to see what beginner painting lessons you try!

Tag me on Instagram @EileenMcKenna.

Watercolor Supplies

The supply list is included once you download a lesson. Besides more common watercolor supplies, I often use painter’s tape. I use it to tape down my paper – so it doesn’t buckle when it gets wet. I also use it to create straight horizon lines and in many painting lessons to mask areas. It takes the pressure off of having to draw.

How to tape down your watercolor paper

Painters tape is available on Amazon and at your local hardware store. See more of the supplies and brands I use here.

Coming up with your own painting ideas and other tips for beginners

  • Take photos when you are out and see something that inspires you.
  • Search on Google and Pinterest for photos that will make a great reference for an idea you may have. Pinterest is a great place to collect reference photos. (You can pin photos from Google to Pinterest also.)
  • Look through your photos and write an ideas list.
  • When you select a photo to use as your subject, make a note of the specifics (date and time). It’s frustrating when you come back to a project and can’t find the reference photo.
  • Use scrap paper or your sketchbook to test and plan out color mixes for your painting.
  • Consider a trial run of your painting. I sometimes do smaller thumbnail versions to try out different variations. If I have plans for a painting to be a tutorial, I often paint a smaller version to work out the exact steps of the painting before painting the final painting.
  • Consider painting two versions. This makes a painting feel less “precious.” You’ll feel freer to try out different things without worrying about ruining a painting. It also comes in handy when you have to wait for the layers to dry. Just switch paintings. Two versions can be a great learning experience.

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This page 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!

Eight Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners

Easy Watercolor Valentine’s Day Cards for Beginners Painting Lesson

These four Watercolor Valentine’s Day cards are easy to paint! And you’ll learn several watercolor techniques along the way!

Watercolor Techniques you’ll learn:

  1. Tape your paper
  2. Painting wet
  3. Painting dry
  4. Fading edges with a damp brush
  5. Splattering
  6. Allowing colors to bleed and blend.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Cardboard larger than your paper
  • Watercolor Paint – red and pink
  • Container of water
  • Paper towel
  • Medium sized round brush (#6 or #4)
  • White crayon

Before you get started:

Fold and trim your watercolor paper to create cards. If you have envelopes on hand, trim your cards so they’ll fit in your envelopes. Now let’s paint!

Please like the video and subscribe for more painting videos!

For more watercolor tips sign up for my weekly newsletter:

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Ready to start in watercolor?

Try my “Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide” where I walk you through the fundamentals of watercolor with exercises and projects. Learn by doing. Discover a love of watercolor today –> Learn more here!

Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide
Easy Watercolor Valentine's Day Cards for Beginners Painting Lesson

Printable Paper Quilt Making Kits – no sewing required!

Back in 2014 I saw a paper quilt in Country Living magazine. I thought it was such a great idea, especially because I can’t really sew and have always been drawn to quilts. I was inspired to create my own.

St. Patrick’s Day Paper Quilt

I wanted to create a St. Patrick’s Day themed paper quilt. The weather was horrible, so I avoided a trip to the craft store by using patterned papers I had at home and by designing some of my own.

I created a template so I could achieve a diamond quilt design. Each square on the template was assigned a letter. I also created a key so I knew which paper went with each letter. I thought it was interesting that if I changed which paper was assigned to the letters on the key, I would end up with a different quilt.

I had so much fun creating that first paper quilt. I thought others would enjoy making one too and wouldn’t it be convenient if they could print everything from home – the template, key and four patterned papers? I also thought it would be a great craft for other holidays. So that’s what I did! To date I’ve designed six printable paper quilt making quilts.

St. Patrick’s Day Paper Quilt Making Kit

Valentine’s Day Paper Quilt Making Kit

How to make a paper quilt

  • Print the kit – four patterned papers, template and key, and instructions
  • Cut the four patterned papers into squares using the trim marks and following the instructions
  • Cut the key off the template
  • Assign the four papers to the key (gluing the squares onto the key)
  • Following the letters on the key, glue the squares one patterned paper at a time
  • Your done! Make another quilt – Print another set, assign the papers differently, create a different design!

By switching up what papers are assigned to the key – many quilt design variations are possible! Have fun!

Download a Paper Quilt Making Kit

More Paper Quilt Making Kits:

Patriotic Paper Quilt craft activity for kids and adults for Memorial Day July 4th Labor Day

For more Seasonal Art Project Ideas:

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More St. Patrick’s Day Art Projects

Fields of Green Ireland Painting Tutorial
how to draw a leprechaun printable tutorial
Printable Ireland St. Patrick's Day Coloring Pages make a Coloring Book Kids Class Activity Digital Download is a great way to teach kids about Ireland. Color and fold to create a book! Perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

For more creative St. Patrick’s Day Ideas:

Read Teaching Children about Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day Painting Project

This Fields of Green Watercolor Painting Project will get you in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and take you on a “visit” to Ireland!

Fields of Green Ireland Painting Tutorial

Beginner Watercolor Painting Idea for St. Patrick’s Day

Ireland is said to have “40 Shades of Green” and in this beginner watercolor project we’ll use as many shades as possible! Beginner friendly! Step by step tutorial with photos walks you through painting this Irish landscape.

In this tutorial you’ll learn:

  • Masking with tape
  • Painting fades
  • Painting layers
  • Painting dry on dry
  • Using gouache – more opaque than watercolor
Painting an Irish Landscape in Watercolor

In addition to learning all these techniques – you’ll have a beautiful final painting when you are done!

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Watercolor paper. I use 9” x 12” Arches 140 lb. cold pressed paper. Trim to 9” x 11” to create a painting that works well in a 8” x 10” mat.
  • Painter’s tape – 1” wide
  • Watercolor paint. Colors: shades of green and/or blue and yellow for mixing greens (a touch of red can be added too), blues for sky (turquoise or other blue) and ocean (prussian or ultramarine blue), black, and orange (can mix with yellow and red) AND… 
  • Gouache – White Gouache (Gouache can go over watercolor. It is less translucent.)
  • Paint brushes – 1 large round brush – #6, one thin round brush – #1
  • Container of water
  • Paper Towel
  • Palette for mixing paint with water and mixing colors. Use a plastic lid or the top of a plastic egg carton.
  • Pencil, eraser (kneaded is best), ruler and scissors
  • Scrap of paper. Always test color mixes before touching your painting with your brush.

For a list of brands I use visit: https://mycreativeresolution.com/supplies/

Download the Tutorial

For more Seasonal Art Project Ideas:

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More St. Patrick’s Day Art Projects

how to draw a leprechaun printable tutorial
Printable Ireland St. Patrick's Day Coloring Pages make a Coloring Book Kids Class Activity Digital Download is a great way to teach kids about Ireland. Color and fold to create a book! Perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

For more creative St. Patrick’s Day Ideas:

Read Teaching Children about Ireland.

St. Patrick's Day Art Project

How to Draw a Leprechaun

A Fun St. Patrick’s Day Art Project

What is St. Patrick’s Day without a few leprechauns hanging around – right? The “How to Draw a Leprechaun” tutorial is fun for all ages!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser – I like kneaded erasers – no pink smudges!
  • Color – use colored pencils, markers, watercolor paints, whatever you like to add color to your leprechaun!
  • Pen or Thin Marker – my choice is a Uniball Signo Black Gel Pen. It goes on so smooth!
how to draw a leprechaun printable tutorial

Download the Step by Step Tutorial!

The printable tutorial is available in my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/EileenMcKennaArt.

The pdf tutorial is 3 pages and is easy to follow.

Watch the Video

I want to see your leprechaun!

Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna

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St. Patrick’s Day Painting Project for Beginners

Ireland is said to have “40 Shades of Green” and in this beginner watercolor project we’ll use as many shades as possible! Beginner friendly! Step by step tutorial with photos walks you through creating this Irish landscape.

In this tutorial you’ll learn:

  • Masking with tape
  • Painting fades
  • Painting layers
  • Painting dry on dry
  • Using gouache – more opaque than watercolor
Fields of Green Ireland Painting Tutorial

St. Patrick’s Day Paper Craft

Download this printable paper quilt kit and have fun making your own St. Patrick’s Day Quilt. The four patterned papers include sheep, leprechauns, symbols of Ireland – harp, shamrocks, and the Irish flag. Fun for all ages!

Download the St. Patrick’s Day Paper Quilt Kit in my Etsy shop here.

For more fun St. Patrick’s Day ideas read Teaching Children about Ireland.

This page 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!