My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Do it for the Process

 

Do it for the process. Creative meditation. #doitfortheprocess

I love the hashtag “#doitfortheprocess.” I don’t know who first used it, but the message behind it is an important one, especially for me.

Years ago when I took that first drawing class, I created a drawing of a bear that we were surprised looked somewhat realistic. It was a milestone for me. My husband wanted to frame it. I had to have it custom framed because it wasn’t a standard size. After that I tried to work within standard sizes because they’d be easier and much cheaper to frame. But, I became almost paralyzed to make a mark on a drawing because I might ruin a “framable” piece. By jumping ahead and assuming each piece was going in a frame, I put a lot of pressure on myself! When I realized the problem, I released myself and starting approaching each creative session as play. The sketchbook became important to me because it’s not usually for finished pieces.

Now that I started selling prints of my paintings, I sometimes feel that familiar pressure. I think, “I have to make this one good so I can add it to the shop.” Finishing a painting can be the most stressful part! I want to tweak it and make it “perfect” but I also don’t want to ruin it. “Do it for the process” has been running through my head a lot. I try to paint early in the morning, when the kids have just left for school. This time is meditative, relaxing. Especially now that I’m trying, again, to free myself from the pressure. Every painting doesn’t have to be sellable. It’s good to experiment and explore and push myself. It’s good to play.

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! The perfect gift for beach lovers.

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Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners | Learn watercolor techniques! #winter #forest #watercolor #beginners

This forest painting is very easy and you’ll learn several watercolor techniques along the way! For best results when painting with watercolor use watercolor paper. I used Arches 140 lb. cold pressed for this project.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 1 – Use painter’s tape to mask the trees. I cut the tape for the smaller branches. Notice some of my tape strips don’t go all the way to the bottom of the paper.

Step 2 – Using a very wet brush and the color of your choice paint parts of the area not covered by the tape – except the bottom of the paper. No need to be too careful, the tape will protect the tree areas.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 3 – Use a different color and paint around the first color, touching the first color so the colors bleed into each other. Leave the bottom area.

Step 4 – Use a brush that is less wet (less water) and more saturated paint and dip it in several areas. You can splash it too.

Step 5 – Paint the bottom area with grey – using a dry brush for a textured uneven look.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 5 – Using black or grey, add detail strokes to the trees. A flat brush works best. If the stroke is too defined go over with a wet brush (water no paint) to soften.

Step 6 – Sprinkle salt in parts of the wet areas. Wait for paint to dry.

Step 7 – When paint is dry, brush salt off the painting.

Step 8 – Peel up the tape slowly, being careful not to rip the paper.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 9 – Once the painting is completely dry use a thin black marker or pen – I use a Uniball signo gel pen – to outline the trees. I made my lines wobbly to look more natural.

Good job! I’d love to see. Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.

Watercolor techniques used:

  • Masking areas with tape
  • Wet on wet painting
  • Dry on dry
  • Using salt
  • Softening lines with water

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “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!

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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Time, a Clear Head, and Creative Productivity

Creative productivity
I sometimes complain that I don’t have enough time. Summer break has started and the kids are at swim practice for only two hours each morning. That is a huge difference from the six hours they were at school. But I’m still feeling very productive in my work and creative projects. How is that possible?

I have more to do. When I have one straggling little project, I’m not motivated. For some reason when I have multiple projects going on it lights a fire under me. Just this morning I noticed that with each item I checked off my list, I was motivated to tackle the next item.

I’m not being pulled in a million directions. If things are busy in a few areas I can focus on them. Entertain the kids, do my work, take care of the household tasks/errands, work on my creative projects. A few weeks ago there were tons of end of year school things to prepare for and attend, etc. That made getting to the other stuff hard. Life is feeling simpler these days.

It’s the quality of the time not the quantity. I’ve had plenty of free afternoons where the most I accomplished is binge watching shows on netflix. If I have a clear mind I can be creative. Mornings are my best time. And being creative leads to more creativity.

Strike when the iron is hot. If I have any idea for a blog post or thoughts for the next issue of my newsletter, I try to embrace that and write it then. I’m most productive when I’m called to work on something than when I have to do something.

I’m more productive when time is limited. Give me an open week and I’ll struggle with when to do what. Give me a small window of time, like 2 hours when the kids are at swim, and I’ll hit the ground running.

I’m a list maker in all aspects of my life. When it comes to my creative projects, I have a general list I look at often, to make sure I’m working on all the areas I want to work on.

My Creative List

  • Fabric Prints – at least one new design a month
  • Enamel Pins – summer pin coming soon
  • Painting
  • Daily Sketchbook Work
  • Writing blog posts – at least 2x a week
  • Create newsletter – My Creative Collection – every other week

Marketing List

  • Continue exploring having art giclee prints made
  • Create a shopping cart to sell prints, etc.
  • Post on Instagram several times a week
  • Pin on Pinterest daily
  • Include affiliate links when it works with content

How do you stay productive?


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New Year, New Banner

2016banner
I thought it would be appropriate to design a banner that better represented what I do. So, why not a sketch of my painting setup? I’ve kept my bear in there, on the can holding the brushes. If you are wondering what’s with the bear – read my about page.

The New Year, has given me a recharge. I’m more committed to being creative than I was at the start (of 2014). I’m excited to pursue all the different things I’m interested in (painting, illustration, surface design, animation). I’m trying to doodle in my sketchbook every day. I ask myself for only 5 minutes. Even on the busiest days, I can spare that right? It’s relaxing, and it allows me time to come up with ideas. I usually do it early in the morning, while I wait for the kids to get ready. It puts me in a creative mindset for the day. And because of that, I usually end up creating later in the day.

Hope your New Year is off to a creative start too!

 


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My Art Supply Closet

 One of the ways I’ve been able to incorporate creating into my daily life, is by having my supplies close by. I use a closet close to the kitchen table for storing my paints, brushes, paper, sketchbooks, inspiration magazines, and more. It makes it so easy to pull stuff out and work. Clean up is quick too. Since I recently organized my art supplies, I decided to give you a peek! Happy Sunday!


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Results of my “Assembly Line Painting” experiment. {Please vote for your favorite!}

assemblyfinal
I finished the four paintings that I working on in “assembly line” fashion. Click here to read more about how I approached working on these paintings.

Results: The results of the experiment are best described by this analogy: It’s like raising kids. You raise them in the same way – same environment, same food, activities, etc. but they all require different special attention and they all turn out different. And with each kid, you are a bit wiser (and more tired) so you do things differently each time – but maybe not better.

This is the inspiration painting:
bloomwave

The four painting above are numbered. Some of them were “worked” on more. For # 1-3 I used white gouache. As I worked I wasn’t sure what methods would be most successful – more details? more shadows? more white? more variation in color?

I’d love to hear what you have to say! Leave a comment and answer my poll below.

 

 

Conclusion: (Don’t all experiments have a conclusion?) Working this way, really allowed me to explore this type of painting and subject matter in more and more depth. If I had only painted one beach landscape, I wouldn’t have had the chance to try different techniques.

TRY IT! and let me know your results (and thoughts). Link to this post or if you’re on Instagram use #assemblylinepainting. Can’t wait to see! 🙂