My Creative Resolution โ€“ Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Painting every morning – week 3

Painting every morning | Eileen McKenna watercolor artist
My back to school resolution of painting every morning during my “extra” hour is going great! I don’t always get to paint for the entire hour, as I sometimes have things to do before I leave the house, but I sit down Monday through Friday (and sometimes on the weekends too). I remember the advice Charlie O’Shields, Creator of doodlewash.com gave me when I interviewed him. “If you want to form a daily art habit you have to decide how much time you can devote to it and protect that time with your life.” And I’ve done that, turning down a walking date with a friend, and not using the time for my running.

Benefits to working every day at a set time:

  • No need for the internal struggle to motivate myself
  • More progress on my paintings
  • More progress on developing skills
  • I mentally stay “in” a painting and often work at other times too

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

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints

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Swimming. A Creative Muse

Swim Meet
The competitive swim season ended a few weeks ago. With only a week left in summer, we will probably visit the town pool only once or twice more. The pool and swimming has been a source of creative inspiration for me for the past few years.

This summer I designed fabrics in the swimming/pool theme:
Pool themed fabric designs - Swimming Laps, Pool Tiles, Goggles. Fabrics for all the swimmers!
Click
here for more info on the fabrics.

and did two paintings:
Watercolor Swim Race by Eileen McKenna.
Swim meet warm ups. Painting swimming pools in watercolor.

Here are other swim inspired pieces from previous years:

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The last item in the slideshow (the “Vets” cards with goggles) was the first time I added ink to a watercolor. It was a turning point for me and has become something I do often.

Want to read more about the place, artists and makers, etc. inspiring me? Sign up for my newsletterย “My Creative Collection” by clicking here! My goal is to inspire you! Learn more about the newsletter here.


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Appreciating living by the beach

Surf campWe sometimes take things that are “normal” for granted. I grew up in a beach town and now live 10 minutes from the beach. After a beautiful afternoon at the beach, followed by a morning watching my son participate in surf camp, I realized, “We are SO lucky.”

When I was a kid, there was no surf camp. How lucky these kids are that learning to surf is so accessible! How lucky that camp isn’t on asphalt, but on the beach. Skudin Surf Camp is run amazingly. Seeing the kids popping up and standing as they take their first wave in is inspiring.
Surf camp
I’m trying to get my fill of beach days before summer ends. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


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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
PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
U.S. orders only.

Order one and pin it to your hat or bag. It’sย 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

Hope you enjoyed the day too!


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A Trip to the Fire Island Lighthouse

Recently myย 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 Instagramย @charmychar – check her out.

๐Ÿ‘‰ I’m finding it very inspiring, creating my new newsletter “My Creative Collection.” Check out the latest issue here!