Eileen McKenna Art & Design

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


7 Comments

A Bee in the Garden

bee
Only for my friend Charlie at doodlewash.com would I risk my life to take photos of this bee to paint. Just kidding, I’ve been told these bees aren’t the stinging kind. Of course I snapped the photo at the beginning of June with Charlie’s theme of a nature doodlewash in mind, but waited ’til the last day of the month to finish and post. I do need a deadline to get things finished!

World Watercolor Month starts tomorrow! Watch the trailer here.


28 Comments

My 12 Surface Designs – one a month this year!

I’m really proud, and happy, that I followed through on my goal to start creating surface designs. I designed the first one in January, and decided to commit to “1 Surface Design a Month.” That goal, and the end of the month deadline, really pushed me to put in the work.

12 Surface Designs
January – Art Supplies

artpatternrepeat

February – Valentine’s Day
valentine'sdaypattern
March – Gardening
gardeningrepeatfinal2
April – Dahlias
dahliapatternv2
May – Sandcastles
sandcastleEM
June – Echinacea
echinaceapattern

July – Shells
shellspattern

August – Ice Cream Cones
watercoloricecreamcones

September- Feathers
featherspattern1

October – Leaves
leavespatterncolor

November – Nutcrackers
nutcrackersrepeating
December – Toy Soldiers
toysoldiers2_5inchhigh

I’m always asking you, “What’s your favorite?” And I would love to hear, but I’ll also tell you my favorites.

I really liked when I started using the technique of creating the ink lines and watercolor backgrounds separately and then merging them in Photoshop. I started this with the shell pattern. I think the watercolor really adds a depth that you can’t get with Photoshop brushes. I started this technique with the shells, and continued it with the leaves – which is my favorite design in this style.

My other technique is drawing the elements in my sketchbook and adding color in Photoshop. My favorite design, using this technique, is the Toy Soldiers. They are just so cute!

Will I be continuing with surface design in 2016? Absolutely! As you know, I’ve made the Nutcracker and Toy Soldier patterns available on Spoonflower, where you can have them printed as fabric or gift wrap. It is really interesting to see the designs printed and to think about how it will be used. It makes you think about the design, and what works and doesn’t. It’s a different perspective than just seeing it flat on the computer screen.

In the new year, I’ll be adding a few of the other “12 designs” onto Spoonflower. And I plan to continue designing one new one a month!


9 Comments

The wonderful things I find while running

sunflowerbee
The weather has been so humid and hot! I haven’t felt like running, but I made myself go yesterday. Afterwards I was so glad I went. I felt great. I run because it makes me feel good, not just physically but mentally. It’s a break from life, where I can get lost in my thoughts or whatever audiobook or podcast I’m listening to. It motivates me.

Often I see things I would never notice if I was driving by. I’ll stop and take photos. Many of those photos become paintings. Here are a few:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 


13 Comments

Practicing on scrap paper before diving in

finalcone
After the debacle of the sunflower. I decided to practice on a scrap piece of paper before starting a painting of an Echinacea flower. This way I would have a plan on how to paint it.
scrap

The scrap paper coneflower came out pretty good, so I started my painting. I loved the start of this painting. But when I went back to add some details I felt like I messed it up. Why is it that working quick can look great, but sometimes when you work harder at something (more deliberately), you overwork it, and ruin it?
startofthecone

So here I am with a scrap of paper, that several people love, and an unfinished painting. And I am stuck.

I wrote the above 4 weeks ago! Ironically yesterday’s post was “Forcing myself to finish.” This Echinacea flower project is a great example of me not finishing – I felt I had ruined it, didn’t know how to proceed, so I stopped. Two days ago, I pulled it out, added details in ink, and declared it finished.

No matter how a project comes out it feels great to finish!


14 Comments

Comparing last year’s work to this year

bloomwave
When I look back on what I was working on last year and compare it to this year – I’m amazed. I feel like I have developed and progressed so much as an artist.

Last year at this time – I was still not using watercolor paper! I just started adding details in ink last August. Now I add ink to many of my paintings. It seems like a lifetime ago.

Projects from last Summer
roseofsharongoggles

This Summer

pretzaldoodles cupcakedoodles shellspattern

As I looked back at old posts I realize something else. I was all over the place trying different things, which was great, but I’ve become much more focused. I still try new things but there seems to be more of an overall continuity. A stamp of “me” on my projects. I’m curious – do you see the difference too?

Putting in the time and work is really worth it. I may not realize it everyday, but when I look back, I can’t believe how far I’ve come.

 


9 Comments

A Pattern for June – Echinacea

 

echinaceapattern
Just in time for me to design a pattern for June – our Echinacea bloomed. They are one of my favorite flowers. Today I’ve been painting them like crazy! Yesterday I drew a few of the flowers with a really smooth Pentel gel pen in my super smooth Strathmore pad. Today, I scanned them in and arranged and painted them in Photoshop. Hope you like it! 🙂
strathmorepad

See my past “monthly” patterns here:

 


7 Comments

Some paintings are easy…and then there is this one.

finalsunflower
When I say that some paintings are easy, I don’t mean that there aren’t layers and layers to add, and details to fill in. They just feel easy. Each layer and detail added makes the painting better and better. And you know it, as you’re working.
startofsunflower
But this sunflower felt like childbirth – ha ha. It was the petals! I needed to add something. I wanted the petals to pop – and I didn’t want to add ink details this time. I tried a few grey brushstrokes on each petal, but that didn’t do it. I took a huge risk and added a blue outline to the edges of the petals, all the while thinking, “I’m probably ruining it!”
blueoutline weirdblue stillneedssomething
I wouldn’t say the blue outline ruined it, but the petals still needed something! I added more yellow. I added more white. In the end I added ink lines to the petals. Oh well! 🙂


9 Comments

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

shasta1schasta2

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