Eileen McKenna Art & Design

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


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Finished feels so good!

Watercolor beach painting

I’m thankful for today’s snow day and the break from everyday life. That and a few days of sketching figures gave me the push to finally finish this beach scene with the three girls playing in the surf. I’ve been afraid to finish this one – afraid of ruining it. As I sat down to work on it, I thought, “Done is better than unfinished, no matter what the result.” And the more I work on painting figures, and getting the shadows right, the more I’ll learn.

Stages:

I use watercolor pencils to draw the figures. Just wet the lines and it disappears!

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Adding beach bodies to my paintings

Painting figures on the beachI’m proud of the progress I’ve made since starting to paint the beach on January 1st. I feel as if I’m finally capturing the movement of the waves. But something has been missing. Around here on a beautiful summer day the beaches are packed with people. Sometimes we struggle to find a good spot down by the water.

So, I’ve been collecting my photos that include people and trying to incorporate them into my paintings. Last night I did some loose brush sketches. Painting figures in my sketchbook

Today, I worked on refining the water in a painting where I had penciled in several people. Then I erased the pencil lines and using a watercolor pencil drew in the figures so I knew where to add paint. Figures don’t come easy to me and I have to work at a figure to get it right. Watercolor pencils are great because it’s easy to “erase” your lines by wetting them. You can mix the lines into the other colors or absorb them onto your brush.

I’m hoping if I focus on beach bodies for a while, I’ll see progress, like I’ve seen with my waves.

Here’s my favorite wave painting so far. Painting waves in watercolor

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Painting a Figure (Little Girl Digging – Part I)

girldigging
I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m excited about this painting! I started by mixing a grey base color for my sand. I mixed thalo blue, cadmium red, and cad. yellow (as opposed to using black and white) because I wanted the sand to have color in it. I’ve struggled before with painting sand! I covered the entire canvas in this color, even where the ocean and little girl will be.
sandbackground

I added little ticks on my canvas to show where the grid is.
grid on digging

I mixed cad. red and white and added some cad. yellow to get a flesh tone, which I mixed with my base color. I wanted a color that would work as a base for the little girl, that wasn’t far off from my original (sand) base color. This way, I won’t feel intimidated to loosely sketch in the girl. Hopefully, I’ll easily be able to change any area “back” to sand if necessary.
mixingskintone

Following the grid closely, I added in the shape of the little girl. I plan on flipping the canvas over and refining her shape (with the same color). As I start to feel confident in her shape, I’ll start adding colors that will define her and pull her out of the sand. I’m developing this process on the fly – wish me luck!