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.


Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Would you like to: Be creative on a regular basis and experience the joy that creativity brings? Explore mediums and subjects, in search of your thing?
Learn about my new ebook Creative Exploration: A Six Week Process for Introducing Regular Creativity into your Life by clicking here.

Creative Exploration book -

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners
This forest painting is very easy and you’ll learn several watercolor techniques along the way! Download the full tutorial pdf of the project in my Etsy shop here. Great for personal use or for teaching a watercolor workshop!

For best results when painting with watercolor use watercolor paper. I used Arches 140 lb. cold pressed for this project. See a complete list of the supplies you’ll need at the end of the post.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 1 – Tape down your paper to a piece of cardboard. Use painter’s tape to mask the trees.

Step 2 – Paint with color 1 parts of the area not covered by the tape.

Step 3 – Paint around the first color.

Step 4 – Add another color to the wet areas.

Step 5 – Paint the bottom area with grey.

Step 6 – Sprinkle salt in parts of the wet areas.

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

Step 8 – Peel up the tape slowly.

Step 9 – Using black or grey, add detail strokes to the trees.

Step 10 – Use a thin black marker or pen – I use a Uniball signo gel pen – to outline the trees.

The full tutorial includes detailed instructions and photos of the project steps. Download the full tutorial “Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners” pdf in my Etsy shop.

Watercolor techniques used:

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

Supplies you’ll need:

I’d love to see your forest! Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.
Download the “Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners” pdf in my Etsy shop.
Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Watercolor Seascape Tutorial Download

creative newsletter featuring artists crafts tutorials books shows and more | creative inspirationBeginner Watercolor Painting Instructional PDF "What you need to know to get started with Watercolor" Beginner Printable Introduction Easy Starfish Watercolor Painting for Beginners | Learn Watercolor Techniques

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 seascapes 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!

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


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?


New Year, New Banner

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!



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!


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

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:

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! 🙂