my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design


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Capturing the Ocean in Watercolor

Painting the beach nd ocean in watercolor

I’ve aspired to capture the ocean in watercolor for years. In December I made “painting the beach” my New Year’s project. The snow was falling outside, but I was inside painting waves. With each painting I learned and improved.

Some of my firsts in early January.
Painting waves in watercolor

I watched a few YouTube videos and learned from others (and wrote about it here.)
14 tips on painting waves in watercolor

I tried new tools and supplies and incorporated them into my process.
Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

I’ve kept with it and over six months later I still often paint the ocean. In some ways I feel like I’ve found my thing.

Yesterday I was standing in the ocean, watching the waves break, watching the foam churned up by the waves wash in and out. It was surreal, like standing in a painting and all I could think about was white gouache.

Original beach watercolor landscape by Eileen McKenna

Have you read:
Six Ways to bring the Beach into your Home https://mycreativeresolution.com/2017/05/19/six-ways-to-brinโ€ฆh-into-your-home/


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A Painting from Start to Finish

Watercolor Swim Race by Eileen McKenna.

On your mark, get set, go! First, I painted the swimmers, lane lines, etc.

Step 1 Painting swimmers

Then I added the water.

Step 2 painting swimmers

Then more water, especially around the swimmers.

Step 3 painting swimmers

Lastly, details to the line lines and white gouache for splash around the swimmers, and I reached the finish line. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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A Collection of Paintings

Choosing paintings for art prints
I asked for help in deciding which paintings to make art prints of. I laid many of my beach landscapes on the table, numbered them, and asked my family and a close friend to pick their favorites. One painting, was clearly a favorite. There was overlap on a couple of others.

At the giclee printer, I laid out the top choices. The woman there – Nadia – showed me how four of the paintings worked together because the color of the ocean in them was blue, while three others were green.

Wow, as soon as she grouped them I saw them in a new light. That was it for me. First we would make prints of the “Blue Collection,” and hopefully soon after the “Green Collection.” Nadia also pointed out that instead of going by the color, you could also group by shape – the square paintings, and the horizontals. But for me, this color grouping was perfect.

Here is the Blue Collection.
Watercolor jetty. Beach painting. Painting waves/the ocean.ย ย ย ย Watercolor beach paintingย Watercolor beach landscape by Eileen McKenna


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Painting swimmers

Swim meet warm ups. Painting swimming pools in watercolor.

A few years ago I did the painting below. Since then I’ve thought of painting another version of it. Yesterday, I finally did.

Swimming Laps watercolor painting

As I started, I decided to tape off the edges with thick painter’s tape, to create a white border.ย First I painting the swimmers, so I could add blue (water) over parts of them.

Process for painting swimming pool in watercolor

When they were dry I painted the water. I had marked where the swimming lanes would be and tried to keep the blue in these areas lighter.

Process for painting swimming pool in watercolor

I painted the swimming lines next using a flat brush and red paint and white gouache.

Swimming Laps. Painting swimming pools in watercolor.

I added more blue to darken the water in spots and added white gouache around the swimmers for splash.


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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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Stepping back from a painting

Beach watercolor by Eileen McKenna http://www.mycreativeresolution.com
I was so happy to have time this weekend to start AND finish a new beach painting. On Saturday I painted the first layers.
The start of a beach painting
On Sunday I added the details – more lights, more darks. I use a lot of white gouache!

I wasn’t sure it was done, but I propped the painting up on a shelf and looked at it from across the room. What a difference compared to staring at it up close. From across the room I declared, “It’s done.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you read:
Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor


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Picking a blue for my next watercolor painting

Picking a blue for my next watercolor painting

Recently I created a little swatch guide for all the blue watercolor paints I’d accumulated. Today I used it to help me pick a blue for my ocean mix and a blue for the sky.

Want to learn more about my process for painting the beach? Click here.
ย Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor


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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 โ€“ expanded to fit our family that also includes two sons. But the Dogwoods have remained and every time they bloom, Iโ€™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

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


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Back at it

Making progress - watercolor paintingPreoccupied with other things, I didn’t sit down to paint much this week. So, it feels particularly good to make some progress on this painting today. This painting has been hanging around for a few weeks. It was definitely at risk of going into the scrap pile. But I try to give each one a chance. I know from experience that even the worst beginnings, can surprise you in the end.