Eileen McKenna Art & Design

Watercolor Art | Creative Inspiration to help you be creative on a regular basis


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Sewing project with my own fabric design

sewingmachine
I’m not much of a sewer, but I’m excited to try and make something with the pattern I designed. Seeing a pattern as a fabric is much different than seeing it on the computer monitor. You start to think about what you can make with it. If I printed this pattern again, I’d make the pattern much smaller, so it could be used as a band of detail on a bag, or something like that. At this size, I’m thinking of making a pillow or even a pillowcase. Any sewers out there? Any ideas?

I’m excited to have the sewing machine set up in my studio. My daughter has to show me how to use it. I’d love it if she would take the reins and start sewing tons of cute things with fabric I design. We’d be a great team. She seems to have other plans for the summer. Ah teenagers! 🙂

BTW – I didn’t win the “Sandcastles” Spoonflower.com contest. I still feel a sense of accomplishment – I finally uploaded a design and ordered fabric with my own pattern. I’ve wanted to do that for years!


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Happy Father’s Day!

schastapattern
Today, I unexpectedly had some quiet time to paint. It’s been a busy couple of days, so it felt good to pull the paints out. The Shasta Daisies blooming out front are were my inspiration.

schasta

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I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day with family! 🙂


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Thinking of a Summer Project

memorialday
Memorial Day, the unofficial start of Summer! As I figure out what my kids will do to keep busy this Summer, I realize I need a Summer project too! And it comes at a good time for me. I could use a jolt of motivation. As I look back on all the things I wanted to try in 2015, I’m proud to say I’ve tackled most of these items.

My list for 2015:

  1. Linocut
  2. Lettering. Did online workshop
  3. Online workshops. See lettering above.
  4. Painting on dark paper. Used with lino.
  5. Doodling. Have filled a whole sketchbook in the shortest time to date!
  6. Video. Have done short ones on Instagram. But, still on my list! Would like to play more with stop motion.
  7. Patterns. Have created one a month.
  8. Maps. Haven’t done much with this.
  9. Digital Brushes. Have been working digitally.
  10. Watercolor Parties. Have painted with friends.

 

Some were great to try, like lino, but another craft to learn – which takes time! Other items on my list, like patterns – I’m even more into, than when I started the year. I feel like this is progress. That I can try new things, eliminate some, and decide to pursue others further.

Last year my Summer project was drawing figures. Last Summer I created my first watercolor/ink piece – in the style that I feel like is me. Let’s see what this Summer brings!


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Where is this leading? It’s leading where I want it to go!

girlinrain
Every couple of months I experience doubt and think to myself, “What is the point of all of this?” But this time I didn’t let negative thoughts stay around long, before I started thinking of all I have accomplished.

  • I’ve kept My Creative Resolution, and have been living a “creative life,” for well over a year.
  • I’ve developed a style with watercolor and ink that feels like me!
  • I paint/draw and share my work on Instagram almost every day.
  • And of course, I love sharing my process and inspiration (and random thoughts) on this blog!

So when I start asking, “Where is this leading?” I need to rephrase the question and ask myself,
“Where do I want this to lead? Where do I want to go?”

Answer: I would love to do editorial illustration. I would like to create illustrations to accompany magazine articles.

How do I get in there? I don’t really know, but I have to start figuring it out. I need to start reaching out to people. I can’t expect that they will come to me.

Case in point:
As you may remember, I’m a Graphic Designer. and this Summer I struck out on my own. In November I saw an ad for the opening of a local clothing boutique. A new store usually needs a new website. So, stepping out of my comfort zone, I called them and left a message, telling them who I was and what I could do for them. A few months later, I followed up with a postcard. Last week they called me! If I hadn’t made that phone call, I would never have gotten the opportunity to design their website.

As Abby of “While She Naps” says, “ASK.”

So, instead of feeling negative, I’m feeling good about how far I’ve come on my journey and I am excited to take the next steps. You have been a HUGE reason that I’ve come this far without giving up and I appreciate that so much!

Thank you!
Eileen

 

 


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Abstract Watercolor

abstractwatercolor
I need a large piece of artwork to fit over my new couch in our living room. It seems a shame to buy something when I’ve been doing all this work, right?! Problem is, I don’t normally work large. I had an idea to paint two canvases with acrylics but my first stab didn’t go well, and I haven’t been inspired to try it again. Acrylics are still out of my comfort zone.

The Bare Wall
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Lately on Instagram, I’ve gotten compliments for my watercolor backgrounds (ahem Margie). The other day when I was looking through a magazine I saw a watercolor “blob” for sale. Personally I didn’t really get it, but it gave me an idea. “Maybe I can create a larger piece that is similar to the backgrounds I normally create. An abstract watercolor.”

Yesterday morning it struck me – to work on three panels together, almost as if they were one sheet. I’ll trim each one, frame them separately, and hang them next to each other!

Will these work? The hunt for frames begins…
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P.S. There aren’t any work in progress photos because I took a video! But it needs serious editing before I show it to you. ha ha. I turned the camera on, then walked away for 5 minutes to get my paints! Hopefully my editor (my daughter) can work on it soon, so I can show you. 🙂


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10 things I want to try in 2015 and links to those who inspire me!

linocutsupplies
I can’t wait for 2015! (my creative resolution.2) There are so many things I am excited to try! The above image is the Christmas present I bought myself (see item #1).

Things I want to try in 2015:

  1. Linocut. It seems like a lot of work but the results are awesome! I am inspired by Andrea Lauren who I follow on Instagram (@inkprintrepeat). Check out her nutcracker – amazing!
  2. Lettering (“modern calligraphy”). I’d like to continue practicing my lettering. I follow @illustrationbyj on Instagram. She recommended Tombow markers which are awesome!
  3. Online workshops. There is so many resources online and I’d like to take advantage of them. I’m thinking about this workshop on modern calligraphy.
  4. Painting on dark paper. I love this look and I want to try it – check out my pinterest board to see!
  5. Doodling, especially flowers and wreaths. I’m so inspired by @kristinnohe on Instagram. She fills her journals with beautiful doodles.
  6. Video! I love seeing the progression of a project, which is why I often show my steps. I’d love to show you this in video form.
  7. Patterns. I’ve wanted to try this for awhile. I am inspired by glizadesign.com.
  8. Maps. I’d love to create a whimsical map. I love Linzie Hunter’s style.
  9. Digital Brushes. I am a Graphic Designer and don’t often like to mix my art with my computer work, but maybe it’s time?! There is so much cool stuff you can do.
  10. Watercolor Parties. Friends, watercolor, a glass of wine – what could be more fun?!


What new thing are you excited to try this year?


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Forgotten Projects

forgottenprojectsjar
I love starting a new project, but inevitably my enthusiasm wanes and it’s hard to stick with and finish the project . As I look back on my creative projects this year, I’m surprised there aren’t more abandoned projects. I know the reason why. It’s because of you! If I was working privately and not filling you in on all the details, I would be a lot less motivated to finish. So thank you!

I’m of two minds on forgotten projects. One part of me wants to finish them. But the other part of me, thinks I should work on what inspires me. A happy medium between these two “minds” is probably the answer. So, as part of My Creative Resolution 2015, I will (every so often) select a forgotten project and finish it.

I can’t promise I’ll pick these projects at random, or how often I’ll do this – but I do promise to keep you posted. 😉

A few forgotten and unfinished projects from 2014
Dandelion, acrylic 
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Girl Digging, acrylic
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Beach Girl, illustration style in progress. Last version – watercolor
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A few abandoned watercolors:
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and

A Mirror (that’s buried in the garage), that I was going to sand and paint the frame in an interesting way. It’s been there since June.

BTW – I refuse to add to the “forgotten” list – Christmas Dioramas and House/Door Paintings because I will work on these again! If I remember.


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Some of my favorite Fall projects…

fallmantle
Happy Thanksgiving! My Fall mantle has become a mini gallery of some of my favorite Fall projects: sunflowers, Fall leaf, watercolor and ink leaves and the “give Thanks” Thanksgiving sign. I think tomorrow I need to start on some Winter/Christmas projects!

Enjoy your day with family and friends!
Eileen


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Figure Drawing – update on my Summer project

beachsketches
I keep a sketchbook in my beach bag and try to pull it out while we are at the beach. I wish people would stop moving! – lol. Last week I realized I’d forgotten a pencil. So, I snapped a couple of photos of people by the shore. When I got home I sketched them. They were easier to draw – since they were staying still. 🙂

Here are my previous posts on this subject:
1. Figure Drawing – My Summer Project
2. Figure Drawing – the inside of the body