my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design


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Inspiration behind the Enamel Beach Pin

Beach Pin - 1" enamel pin by Eileen McKenna
I sketched an idea for a beach pin on a post it note. It was a simple illustration of the perfect spot at the beach. To show my love for the beach and summer. I added a rainbow umbrella as a nod to my dad, who always had an umbrella attached to the arm of his beach chair.

I first started drawing the design with a stylus on my iPad, but I wanted crisp straight edges, so I switched to the desktop and the mouse. The black lines in the illustration indicated where the metal of the pin will be – I chose gold. (The colored enamel is in the areas between the metal.) I love enamel pins because they are dimensional illustrations!

I’m was so excited when the beach pins arrived and one came on a trip to the beach. Look how good it looks on my beach hat!
Beach Pin - 1" soft enamel pin with rubber clutch
Beach Pin – 1″ soft enamel pin with rubber clutch
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Order one and pin it to your hat or bag. It’s the perfect way to show your love for summer and the beach. Wear it on your beach hat, pin it to your bag, or add it to a bottle of wine with a ribbon.
Beach Pin - 1" soft enamel pin with rubber clutch. Celebrate summer!

 

 


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Creative break and a horse farm

Sunset over the fields
Creatively speaking I seemed to lose a week – traveling for a reunion, the funeral services for a beloved aunt, and finally flying from NY to Virginia for the wedding of a niece. The wedding venue was a beautiful horse farm. I’ve loved horses since I was little, although I haven’t had that much contact with them, aside from a week of horse back riding camp in second grade. Sometimes a break is nice and you come back feeling refreshed. I’m certainly ready to get back to painting.
HorseHorse stables


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Creative Epiphany

Creative epiphany while reading "Crossroads of should and must"
Several years ago I had an epiphany. I read an article about an artist and as I admired her lifestyle – finishing school and dedicating her time to creating art, I wondered, “Who gave her permission to be an artist? Her parents? Her boyfriend? Her teachers?” Sometime later, I don’t know if it was minutes or months, I realized SHE gave HERSELF permission. And the reason I didn’t go to art school wasn’t because my mom questioned the choice, it was because I didn’t believe in myself.

Today I started reading, “The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion” by Elle Luna. Immediately I thought back to my epiphany and the moment I finally gave myself permission to be creative (the catalyst for this blog). Notice I still have a hard time saying “to be an artist.”

In the book Luna makes the distinction between a job, a career, and a calling – “something that we feel compelled to do regardless of fame or fortune; the work is the reward.”

This perfectly explains my desire to be creative. I paint, draw, write, design patterns, etc. because it makes me feel JOY. I don’t do it for others – although positive feedback does propel me forward! I don’t do it for income – although when someone orders a fabric I designed I do feel a thrill. And I’ve been thinking very carefully about selling my work, because I don’t want to jeopardize that joy. I want to continue to make what I feel called to create.

Reading this book I had a second epiphany. I should spend more time doing what brings me joy and stop feeling guilty for the shoulds. The I should work more, clean the house more, etc. Just this week I was thinking about my summer work schedule, and thinking of pursuing additional clients. Instead I’m going to pursue more joy and see where that takes me. 😀

If you’d like to order a copy of the book click here. On a side note – thank you to Yuko of www.honeyberrydiary.com for recommending this book on her blog. Yuko left her job to create art full time! The tagline of her blog is “Do what you love. Be Happy.”

This posts contains affiliate links to products 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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A Perfect Sunday

The start of a beach painting in watercolor
It was a beautiful spring day, really the perfect day. I went running, spent time with family, and lots of time outside. We barbecued and shared lots of laughs with the kids. And I started a new beach painting. 😀

Hope you enjoyed the day too!


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A Trip to the Fire Island Lighthouse

Recently my friend and I spent the morning visiting the Fire Island Lighthouse. I love the walk on the boardwalk through the dunes.

We first visited the bay beach on the north side of the lighthouse. It’s so quiet there without the sound of the ocean waves. By the time we made our way to the ocean beach, the fog had burned off and it had turned into a beautiful day!

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We collected shells and rocks and pieces of driftwood.

Beach treasures found near the Fire Island Lighthouse

My friend Char posts her beautiful photos of sunsets and cherry blossoms on Instagram @charmychar – check her out.

👉 I’m finding it very inspiring, creating my new newsletter “My Creative Collection.” Check out the latest issue here!


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Dogwoods my next print pattern design?

Dogwood flowers in my sketchbook Just like I knew it would, working every day in my sketchbook has really opened me up creatively. That and working beyond the beach theme. It’s been 12 consecutive days!

This week the dogwoods right outside our windows have been calling to me! I’m thinking about using my dogwood illustrations to create a repeating pattern. I’ve been designing a pattern a month this year. See my other designs here.


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Springtime Creative Inspiration

Dogwoods - springtime creative inspiration
Dogwoods - springtime creative inspiration Eight consecutive days in the sketchbook and everything is inspiring me! I’m loving the warm spring days. Seeing the dogwoods blooming every time I pull up to the house makes me happy. With three kids to pick up and drop off, I pull in and out of the driveway many times a day.

The dogwoods have sentimental value to me, as I wrote in a post last year,

“They were in bloom the first time we looked at our future home. We posed in front of them when we brought our daughter home from the hospital. The house itself has changed – expanded to fit our family that also includes two sons. But the Dogwoods have remained and every time they bloom, I’m reminded of the early days and that this is home.”

Playing around in my sketchbook, first in ink and then in watercolor. And a little lettering practice. Still debating if I should add ink to the watercolor. It’s a common question I struggle with. Either way I have to wait for it to dry. Nothing worse than adding the ink too early and it bleeds.

Dogwood flower, daily sketchbook
Hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring day!
Eileen

👉 I’m finding it very inspiring, creating my new newsletter “My Creative Collection.” Check out the latest issue here!


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A trip to New Orleans

New Orleans sketchbook watercolor

There’s nothing like a vacation to recharge your batteries. We took a trip to New Orleans. I have always wanted to go but didn’t know what to expect.

Highlights included:

  • Delicious beniots
  • An adventurous swamp tour searching for alligators and enjoying the beauty of the swamp. Love that Spanish moss!
  • Delicious dinners of catfish, gumbo, lobster dumplings, biscuits and more. With sweet cocktails.
  • An Easter parade where they threw beads to all the onlookers. A taste of Marie Gras!
  • Street performers of all kinds – even writers for hire!
  • A walk along the Mississippi, where we saw a paddle boat
  • Visit to the WWII museum
  • A walking tour of the cemetery and garden district
  • A trolley ride
  • The French quarter – Beautiful wrought iron balconies, flowers, gas lamps, exposed brick
  • Brunch at the House of Blues

It was a great trip with the extended family!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


It amazes me how different the weather in NY can be on St. Patrick’s Day. One St. Patrick’s Day years ago, before kids, it was a warm, blue sky, beautiful day in New York City. I said to myself, “I will never work on St. Patrick’s Day again. I should be at the parade.” The next year, I took off, and as I headed to the parade it was snowing. This year there are blue skies – but it is very cold!

These illustrations are from the year I did a 17 day St. Patrick’s Day countdown. I created an illustration each day. These days I’m working on my beach painting project.

Hope you have a great day!
Eileen

P.S. – The second issue of my new newsletter My Creative Collection went out today. It’s a collection of what is inspiring me – in hopes of inspiring you! Learn more here. Sign up here.