My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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Goggles! Another pool themed fabric

Pool themed fabric designs - Swimming Laps, Pool Tiles, Goggles. Fabrics for all the swimmers!
Hot off the Spoonflower press! My “Goggles” fabric has arrived. So excited for the addition to my pool themed fabrics. The “Goggles” design joins “Swimming Laps” and “Pool Tiles.”

Where are all the quilters? These fabrics would be great for a quilt for a swimmer. You can order them on Spoonflower, just click here to visit my Spoonflower shop.

I’m waiting patiently for the swatch of the newest addition to my beach fabric family! Stay tuned. 😀


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Summer = Swim Team

purplegoggles
I can’t believe summer is just weeks away. School is ending, and summer swim team will be starting! If you’ve been following for a while, you know I find a lot of inspiration at the pool. Here’s a recap:

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Ideas from my sketchbook

swimmer
I have really fall in love with my sketchbook. For me, it isn’t so much a place to practice, but a place to come up with ideas and explore them. It is the epitome of no pressure, just playing. Often a new idea from my sketchbook becomes the inspiration for a painting or a pattern design. I’m trying to get back to a more regular sketching schedule. It leads to more paintings.

If you are wondering where I’ve been lately, my business has really been picking up. It’s really exciting to grow and nurture something and see results. You can see my latest graphic design projects on my Facebook page or visit my website www.eileenmckenna.com.

 


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Forcing myself to finish.

nodiving
One thing I’ve learned about myself as an artist, is that I dive into a project with enthusiasm. I think it’s the Aries in me [read more about that here]. It’s great for starting a project, but for me, a couple of things can get in the way of finishing a project.

  1. I lose enthusiasm.
  2. A new project grabs my attention.
  3. I get worried about ruining a project.
  4. I’m not sure how to proceed because I haven’t planned things out.

When I started my creative resolution I forced myself to finish a bunch of forgotten projects. I also forced myself to finished most of the new projects I started. And I adapted to work within my personality. Most projects I work on, I finish within a few days – before the enthusiasm fades or I get sidetracked (or I get paralyzed worrying about ruining it or I start to overthink the next steps).

Recently I started this pool painting. I forced myself to paint, what I thought of as the hardest part of the painting – the lane lines – before I left for a short trip. I knew that if I could get that step out of the way and left only the pool water and a few minor details, I’d be much more likely to finish this painting when I got back.
nodiving1diving2

Some of the valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last year and half, have less to do with painting and technique, and more to do with how I work. And how to get things finished.


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Sketching & Doodling in Summer

beachphoto
Where are the lazy days of Summer? It feels busy. I’m trying hard to squeeze in sketching time, even at the pool. And if I’m at the beach, I’m always taking pictures and thinking about the next painting.

mymornings
More and more, I realize how inspired I am by the seasons. My paintings of flowers have been replaced by beach paintings, pool sketches, and shell patterns. I see other artists online who are working on Christmas cards for the upcoming season. It makes sense – so their products are ready in time, but I don’t think I could do that! I love immersing myself in a season (or theme) and continuing to explore it with each project. I couldn’t put the shells away and start doodling Santas, at least not at this point.
poolsketch


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The town pool opens today!

purplecapswimmer
I’m looking forward to our local pool opening and swim team practice starting. Practice is early morning before the pool is open to the public. It’s pretty quiet while the kids are practicing. I usually sit and read. I’m a little shy about painting in front of others, but it would be the perfect time to sit and paint, with inspiration all around! So, you may be seeing less flowers and more blue in the coming weeks!

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Watercolor Swimming Pool

swimminglanesfinal
It feels really good to finish something that I have wanted to do for a long time – paint a pool. I have loved pools since I was a little kid, especially outdoor pools. I grew up in a beach town (I know poor me) and our local pool was an indoor pool. I was a swimmer and occasionally during the Summer we would go to a swim meet at an outdoor pool. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

My kids are lucky enough, during the Summer, to have practice and all their swim meets at outdoor pools. Our pool even has a high dive. Spoiled kids! During the Summer, while I watch my kids practice I always think about painting the pool and the swimmers. I’ve taken pictures, started, sketched, but I always struggle early on and never finish.

Last Saturday we were at a Championship swim meet at an indoor pool and I was sitting high up in the bleachers. I took this photo. I thought it was so cool how the pool was crowded with swimmers warming up. I posted it on Instagram and wrote “I’d love to paint this!”
poolphoto

Yesterday I gave it a try. I realized that if I did the bodies first and painted the blue over parts of the body, that part would look like it was underneath the water.
swimbodies  bodies2

In this first version I didn’t like that you couldn’t see one of the lane lines (the kids are sitting on it in the photo). The lanes were also uneven. And once I added the ink, I didn’t like it at all.
version1

I decided to try again. I see my willingness to “try again” as growth as an artist. I used to sit down and expect to get it right the first time. Can you imagine if a photographer only took one photo! I now know that I need to warm up, try things out, not get discourage, and keep working and trying.

I purposely kept things simple without a lot of detail. Both my sons liked my first attempt better! But I like the second one. I’m hoping to do more of these, now that I finally got started!
lanelinespool-2


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Floating in the pool

floating
Beach girl is playing in the pool! I can’t wait for the lazy days of summer! With two kids “moving up” this past week was crazy busy. I’m looking forward to the summer days when we say, “What should we do today?”

Painting the water was fun.
floating1

I struggled a lot with the shading on beach girl’s body. I can’t tell you how many times I “erased” watercolor and tried again – too brown, too black, etc.
floating2 floating3

And her face! I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to present this piece too you. I erased her face so many times, the paper was a wreck and she looked scary. Because I was “done,” I scanned it in and did the best I could to give her a new face (in Photoshop). What are you going to do? Time to move on.

BTW – When I was in high school (a while ago) I saw a painting at MOMA called “Drifting.” What was so cool about the painting was that the dingy in the painting wasn’t centered on the canvas. It was literally drifting off the canvas. What a lesson in composition! I’ve never forgotten it. I’d like to say that beach girl is purposely floating off the page. In reality, I was following a photo I had taken.

I’m looking forward to more time for art next week and more successful projects!