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Know your Subject

Knowing your subject when painting | painting the ocean
I often think about an online class I took by Val Webb called “Drawing Children.” At the time, I was amazed at how well Val knows the nuances of the faces and figures of children. Now as I paint the ocean – almost exclusively, mostly in watercolor, but recently in acrylics – I think about not just the techniques to make the painting look realistic, but the characteristics of the ocean.

As I was painting the water, specifically the foam at high tide, I was painting and pulling back the strokes, because I was thinking about how the water is being pulled back by the tide. This is something you wouldn’t know just by looking at a photo. All the time I’ve spent at the beach might be making a difference in my painting. Last summer, after painting the ocean all winter, I looked and observed the water differently than before.

Work in progress where I was “pulling back”
Know your subject - painting the ocean

My son recently asked if I was going to paint anything else. I guess to him, every painting is similar. To me I’m learning with each painting. The ocean looks so different at different times and different angles. I’m sticking with the ocean, and I’m currently challenging myself by working to capture this amazing subject in acrylics.

Click here to view my collection of watercolor seascapes. Prints are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes.

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Capturing the Bluest Blue Sky

Painting the sky in watercolor

I’m happy with the results of the sky above, which is ironic because I thought this painting was a lost cause. This is what it looked like:
Blue skies in watercolor

In an effort to capture the saturated blue of the sky (with a hint of purple), I had previously used several colors (including cadmium red and ultramarine) and the above was the result. It was too purple, and too dark. It looked like a cloudy day.

I didn’t give up. I removed a lot of the paint  by wetting it and soaking it up with the brush, and also blotting with a paper towel. Then I added cerulean blue on top. It was this layering of the colors that helped achieve the blue I was looking for. I don’t think the cerulean alone would have worked as well.

I also painted clouds and highlights with white gouache. I’ve been using white gouache for the foam of the ocean for a while but only recently have I been using it in my skies. I’m loving the results. Just shows that you gotta push through the ugly stage!

Read more on painting watercolor skies here:
Painting the sky in Watercolor #watercolor #skies #sky 

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

View my collection of watercolor seascapes at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Prints are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes.

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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Creative Holiday Gifts for budgets big and small

Ornaments #ornaments #creative #gifts #Christmas

If you are looking for a creative gift, browse my ornament designs at www.zazzle.com/eileen_mckenna.

Want to make a bigger impact? Canvas prints make a great gift! Browse the available paintings at shop.eileenmckenna.com.
Mini canvas

How about some wearable holiday spirit? Give an enamel Nutcracker Pin!
Nutcracker enamel pin 
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Currently shipping only in the continental U.S.

Get creative with your gift wrap! Six holiday designs to choose from – including these toy soldiers, available at www.spoonflower.com/profiles/eileenmckenna.
Christmas toy soldier gift wrap

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Surf Collection

Surf Camp #1 by Eileen McKenna https://shop.eileenmckenna.com/Surf Camp #2 by Eileen McKenna https://shop.eileenmckenna.com/
Surf Camp is the third collection of watercolor paintings I’ve released as Limited Edition Giclee Art Prints in my online shop. While my previous paintings featured bright blue skies, for these two paintings I had the pleasure of painting dark cloudy skies.

The Green Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints at shop.eileenmckenna.com The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


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The Green Collection

The Green Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints at shop.eileenmckenna.com
I’ve added six new paintings to my online shop! Four of the paintings are “The Green Collection.” You may remember that in August I launched my shop with “The Blue Collection.” Grouping the paintings by the color of the ocean made perfect sense to me when the giclee printer suggested it. Something that has always fascinated me about the ocean, is how the same water, in the same place, can be different colors at different times.

The Green Collection is the second set of watercolor paintings I’ve released as Limited Edition Giclee Art Prints. Click here to visit my online shop.

The paintings in the Green Collection are (from left to right):

  • Jetty Surfer
  • Breaking Wave
  • Rolling In
  • Windy Day

The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints at shop.eileenmckenna.com


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Appreciating living by the beach

Surf campWe sometimes take things that are “normal” for granted. I grew up in a beach town and now live 10 minutes from the beach. After a beautiful afternoon at the beach, followed by a morning watching my son participate in surf camp, I realized, “We are SO lucky.”

When I was a kid, there was no surf camp. How lucky these kids are that learning to surf is so accessible! How lucky that camp isn’t on asphalt, but on the beach. Skudin Surf Camp is run amazingly. Seeing the kids popping up and standing as they take their first wave in is inspiring.
Surf camp
I’m trying to get my fill of beach days before summer ends. 😎

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


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Waiting

Waiting by Eileen McKenna. Beach watercolor painting. Ocean landscape. The Blue Collection
This watercolor was painted at the beginning of my “painting the beach” project, in early January. The painting is based on a photo I took on New Year’s Day. You can tell it’s a cold day because the surfer – who is just noticeable – is all in black, in a wetsuit and cap. He has let a wave pass him by while he waits for a better one, hence the name of the painting “Waiting.”

“Waiting” is part of “the Blue Collection” and is available as a Limited Edition Giclee Art Print in my online shop!


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Capturing the Ocean in Watercolor

Painting the beach nd ocean in watercolor

I’ve aspired to capture the ocean in watercolor for years. In December I made “painting the beach” my New Year’s project. The snow was falling outside, but I was inside painting waves. With each painting I learned and improved.

Some of my firsts in early January.
Painting waves in watercolor

I watched a few YouTube videos and learned from others (and wrote about it here.)
14 tips on painting waves in watercolor

I tried new tools and supplies and incorporated them into my process.
Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

I’ve kept with it and over six months later I still often paint the ocean. In some ways I feel like I’ve found my thing.

Yesterday I was standing in the ocean, watching the waves break, watching the foam churned up by the waves wash in and out. It was surreal, like standing in a painting and all I could think about was white gouache.

Original beach watercolor landscape by Eileen McKenna

Have you read:
Six Ways to bring the Beach into your Home https://mycreativeresolution.com/2017/05/19/six-ways-to-brin…h-into-your-home/


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A Collection of Paintings

Choosing paintings for art prints
I asked for help in deciding which paintings to make art prints of. I laid many of my beach landscapes on the table, numbered them, and asked my family and a close friend to pick their favorites. One painting, was clearly a favorite. There was overlap on a couple of others.

At the giclee printer, I laid out the top choices. The woman there – Nadia – showed me how four of the paintings worked together because the color of the ocean in them was blue, while three others were green.

Wow, as soon as she grouped them I saw them in a new light. That was it for me. First we would make prints of the “Blue Collection,” and hopefully soon after the “Green Collection.” Nadia also pointed out that instead of going by the color, you could also group by shape – the square paintings, and the horizontals. But for me, this color grouping was perfect.

Here is the Blue Collection.
Watercolor jetty. Beach painting. Painting waves/the ocean.    Watercolor beach painting Watercolor beach landscape by Eileen McKenna