my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface 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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A Painting from Start to Finish

Watercolor Swim Race by Eileen McKenna.

On your mark, get set, go! First, I painted the swimmers, lane lines, etc.

Step 1 Painting swimmers

Then I added the water.

Step 2 painting swimmers

Then more water, especially around the swimmers.

Step 3 painting swimmers

Lastly, details to the line lines and white gouache for splash around the swimmers, and I reached the finish line. 😉


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Painting swimmers

Swim meet warm ups. Painting swimming pools in watercolor.

A few years ago I did the painting below. Since then I’ve thought of painting another version of it. Yesterday, I finally did.

Swimming Laps watercolor painting

As I started, I decided to tape off the edges with thick painter’s tape, to create a white border. First I painting the swimmers, so I could add blue (water) over parts of them.

Process for painting swimming pool in watercolor

When they were dry I painted the water. I had marked where the swimming lanes would be and tried to keep the blue in these areas lighter.

Process for painting swimming pool in watercolor

I painted the swimming lines next using a flat brush and red paint and white gouache.

Swimming Laps. Painting swimming pools in watercolor.

I added more blue to darken the water in spots and added white gouache around the swimmers for splash.


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Swimming Laps – a fabric print

Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6301733-swiming-laps-by-eileenmckenna

I’ve loved the pool since I was little. I swam on a swim team all year round as soon as I finished lessons, and continued all the way through high school. My mother was from the city and can’t swim well. When the family moved to the beach she decided all her children had to learn to swim. I’ve done the same with my kids. They pursue other things during the school year, but come summer they all swim for the local pool.

Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6301733-swiming-laps-by-eileenmckenna

This print pattern was created from swimmers and watercolor areas in my sketchbook, combined and overlapped in Photoshop. I’ve lamented before that I can’t sew, but I’m determined to make something with this fabric – maybe a drawstring bag or headband. I’ve been pinning patterns on my Pinterest board. I just need to find a friend who sews!

Interested in making something with this fabric? Order it from Spoonflower. See my other print designs here.


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A swimming pattern…perhaps

Swimmers in my sketchbook. An idea for a pattern design.

My goal this year is to design a pattern a month. So as the month starts to wind down, I’m thinking about swimmers.

Last month I created an ice cream truck pattern from illustrations in my sketchbook. It’s available for purchase on Spoonflower here.

Ice cream truck print pattern / fabric

Ice Cream truck treats fabric print on a pillow

In January I designed a penguin polar bear pattern. Available here.

polar bear penguin Christmas pattern with Christmas trees, wreaths, and mistletoe

See all my designs in my Spoonflower shop.

Want to learn how to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop? Read:

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.

 


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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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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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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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Swim Team Cards

goggles
Summer swim team is coming to an end! I made these cards for the swim coaches. In the past, I would have never followed through on my idea. I lacked the confidence to show others my work. But now that I have shown you – the good, the bad and the ugly, I followed through with my idea and am happy to give these cards to the coaches.