Eileen McKenna Art & Design

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


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9 Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

9 Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year's resolution #resolution #new #years
My 2014 resolution was to be more creative. I came across a note I wrote six months in, “just pull out the paints.” Now, four years later, I realize keeping a resolution isn’t that simple. I know my success has been much more specific than that. There are ups and downs to any resolution. There are times when you are into it, and times when you aren’t. Sometimes it’s hard to just “pull out the paints” (or eat a salad, or put on your running shoes, or stay away from sugar, etc.). Here are some of the strategies I’ve used to help me keep my creative resolution.

9 Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution:

  1. Make a “positive” resolution. Your resolution should be about what you are going to do, not what you are not going to do. For example – Eat healthy vs. Stop eating junk.
  2. Research your resolution. Read books, magazines, blogs, or watch videos about your topic. Learning about your topic will motivate you, and help you on your journey.
  3. Tell people about your resolution. The more you tell others what you have resolved to do, the more you’ll feel committed to doing it, and it may help you connect with people with similar goals.
  4. Keep track of your progress. Keep a journal, or a blog about your journey, and include all your struggles and victories. Reread it from time to time to remind yourself how far you’ve come. The blogging community can be very supportive!
  5. Be realistic. Start small. If your resolution is running, you can’t expect to run 3 miles the first day out. And if you do, you’ll probably not want to run the next day! Start small, and build on it.
  6. Spend money. You’ll be more motivated and committed if you spend money. It’s the spending guilt! Buy new healthy snacks, new running sneakers, art supplies, or whatever items support your resolution.
  7. Schedule time. You can’t change your eating, or exercise, or paint, or meditate, if you don’t have time. Make your resolution a priority by scheduling time for it.
  8. Be specific. Although my resolution was to be more creative, on a weekly basis I write a list of specific goals and to do items within that resolution.
  9. Challenge yourself. Over time the same thing gets boring. After you achieve the first level of success, challenge yourself with new goals within your resolution – a new type of exercise, sign up for a race, register for a class, commit to making a new healthy recipe each week, or try another art form. Keep things interesting!

According to statisticbrain.com 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions. Only 9.2% felt they were successful in achieving their resolution. I hope my tips help you keep your resolution this year. 🙂

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“Light” by Eileen McKenna - capturing the light when painting in watercolors #coastalart #coastalinteriors


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2015 – off to a great start!

doodles
So far I’ve been working on several of my 2015 goals and it’s only the first week of January! Here’s what I’ve hit so far.

Lettering and Doodling – Every couple of days I pull out my sketch book and doodle and practice my lettering. I’m finding that I can create more whimsical, simpler illustrations if I’m not looking at the object. If I’m looking at an object, I feel compelled to make it realistic looking.

Patterns – While I was doodling the other day, I realized that some of these doodles could be made into a pattern. This pushed me to continue with a theme – cosmetics. So my pattern plan is to continue doodling and at a later date, I’ll look through my sketchbook to find things to use.

Linocut – I’m totally intimidated by all those tools! But, I haven’t forgotten about my number one goal! Right now I’m sketching out some ideas and I promise (oh no, why did I just write that?) that in the next few weeks you’ll see my first linocut. I’m planning on trying it on dark paper, which would encompass goal #4 too!

Video – I made my first videos. I wanted to share one with you, but I need to first figure out how to make the videos compatible with WordPress. Even though I compressed my videos, they weren’t in a format that I could upload to WordPress and I’m not ready to open a youtube account. Don’t worry, you aren’t missing much – it was a shaky video where I’m painting some branches!

Here is my complete list of 2015 goals in case you missed that post.

Things I want to try in 2015:

  1. Linocut. 
  2. Lettering.
  3. Online workshops.
  4. Painting on dark paper.
  5. Doodling.
  6. Video.
  7. Patterns.
  8. Maps.
  9. Digital Brushes.
  10. Watercolor Parties.

 

I hope you are off to a good start too! 🙂


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New year – New banner!

MCRnewbanner2015
Happy New Year!!! I am so excited to continue my creative journey into 2015 and I have so many plans. I have learned and accomplished so much in 2014. 2014 wasn’t the first time that I made a resolution to be creative. But, it is the first time that I stuck with my resolution! Because of that, I feel like I’m starting the new year in a brand new place. It’s exciting!

I hope you like the new banner I designed. As I mentioned previously, I wanted more of a logo and my bear illustration has become a symbol to me. I hope you are as excited about 2015 as I am. I can’t wait to share my projects with you and see your projects too! 🙂


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10 ways to keep your New Year’s Resolution

newyearsres

  1. Make a resolution you want to keep, not one you think you should keep.
  2. Clearly define your resolution, so you know the steps you have to take to “keep it.”
  3. Be realistic. You can build on your resolution over time. If your resolution is running – don’t expect to run a marathon the first week of January. But you can expect to build up to a 5k over the course of the year.
  4. Keep visual reminders around. I left my sketchbook on my night stand. Every time I saw it, I remembered I wanted to fill it.
  5. Spend money to motivate you. Throughout the year, I buy new art supplies and I feel guilty if I don’t use them!
  6. Keep a journal or blog to keep track of your progress. You’ll enjoy reading old entries and seeing how far you’ve come. Blogging greatly motivated me to finish my creative projects. I felt I owed it to anyone reading!
  7. Schedule time to do the things necessary to keeping your resolution. If it’s “eat healthy” you need to make time to shop and prepare healthy meals.
  8. Tell people, especially the supportive ones! The more people you tell, the more accountable you will feel.
  9. Celebrate the milestones – 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, a year!
  10. Don’t stop at a year. If it is a resolution worth keeping, continue after the year is out and build on it. I am more excited about my creative resolution 2015, then I was 2014!


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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 
dandelion

Girl Digging, acrylic
girldiggingrev

Beach Girl, illustration style in progress. Last version – watercolor
beachgirl3

A few abandoned watercolors:
abandonedw

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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6 months of my creative resolution!

watercolors
…and still going strong. In the past 6 months I have accomplished 52 watercolor paintings, 8 acrylics on canvas and 64 sketches! It is amazing to me what writing a goal down can do.

When I first typed the words, “I hope to draw, paint and create my way through 2014!” – I didn’t know what I would spend my time doing. Would I be decorating the house? drawing? painting? refinishing furniture? Imagine my surprise when the first months were filled with acrylic painting – one of the things I have the least experience in! I even pulled unfinished canvases – years old – off a shelf and finished them, like this carrot.

Carrot

Carrot

And one day I decided to add watercolor to my sketchbook and suddenly I was falling back in love with watercolor! I wanted to do more and more things. Each project led to ideas for 10 more! I felt joy and fulfillment.

I certainly had moments when I wavered. The unexpected connection and support from fellow bloggers pushed me on as well as the encouragement from my family who kept saying, “Don’t stop.” Six months in and I’m not stopping. I’m still not sure of my direction, but I’m “finding” myself as an artist and learning a lot along the way.

Thank you for joining me on my journey! 🙂


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Wavering in my creative resolution (just a little)

bannernew2b
I created a new banner to remind myself of some of the things I’ve accomplished in the last four months. I was wavering a little bit in my enthusiasm for my creative resolution, when my daughter said to me, “Don’t give up.” Why are 13 year olds so smart?! She is right of course. And I don’t want to give up. I just needed a little push and maybe a pat on the back. 🙂


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The Five Minute Sketch

I am proud of how, I have kept, my creative resolution, this past month. I spent a lot of my creative time, painting in acrylics, which is something I’ve wanted to focus on, for a while. In a short amount of time, I’ve refined my skills and I’m happy with my progress. I plan on continuing with acrylics, in the next few months.

Another part of my resolution was, filling my sketchbook, which I’ve been lax about. I’ve done 12 sketches, which might sound decent, until I admit that, four of them were done in one day, and most were done right after the first of the year. If my resolution was dieting, I surely wouldn’t be losing any weight!

Yesterday, I did a quick sketch. As I sketched my running sneakers, I decided to renew my resolution to sketch more, and decided I would do quick five minute sketches. It’s an experiment in “what can I accomplish in a short time?” It also feels like, less of a commitment, if I only have to pick up the book for five minutes. I don’t want projects, in my sketchbook, “hanging over my head.” As I’ve mentioned before, I’m great at starting projects, but it takes real effort, on my part, to finish them. I just want the sketchbook to be, practice time or a way of keeping track of ideas.

sneaker sketch

For the past month, I’ve kept my sketchbook on my nightstand, which has been a great reminder. I’ll continue to do this, but now I plan on picking it up more often! I’m interested in hearing from you! How do you guarantee you spend time on your projects? Do you allocate a certain time each day, or week? Do you work on a project from start to finish or in bits and pieces, like me?

My sneakers caught my eye yesterday, because, drawing shoes, was one of the first projects in my first drawing class (several years ago). My teacher, Eva, was a thin, fragile, soft spoken, much older woman. The first day of class, I hate to admit this, I looked at her and thought, is she 90? Am I going to learn anything?

Needless to say, Eva proved me wrong. Within a week or two, I had an “aha” moment and my drawings went from outlines to shaded, three-dimensional looking objects. I loved Eva, she taught me so much and was so supportive. I enrolled in her class, several times and was very sad when she retired. I certainly learned not to judge a book by its cover!

When Eva asked that we bring in a pair of old shoes to draw, I chose my son’s worn baby shoes. I went on to draw my daughter’s first ballet shoes and much later, my other son’s soccer cleats. I think Eva thought worn shoes were a great subject, because of all the nooks and crannies. There is so much shading and detail to add. I think shoes are hard to draw! Getting the perspective and foreshortening to look right, is a real challenge.

babyshoes balletshoes cleats


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Happy New Year!

This year I’m taking my New Year’s resolution to a new level. I’m holding myself accountable, by making a commitment to blog about my progress. In the past I’ve been great in the ideas department, not as good in the follow through! But this time, I hope to draw, paint and create my way through 2014! Join me on the journey so you can witness the successes (and failures) and maybe we’ll both learn a thing or two on the way!

Here’s to a successful resolution and a Happy New Year, Cheers!