Eileen McKenna Art & Design

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


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Comparing last Fall’s work to this Fall

suntree
As I added branches to my latest illustration project, I wondered, “What was I working on last year?” I asked myself the same question at the end of the Summer and the answer was interesting. When I looked back to Summer 2014, I saw the start of my watercolor and ink style. I could pinpoint that first project where I added the ink details, and something clicked. The first couple of projects from Summer 2014 looked one way, and then a change took place.

Now, when I look back to last Fall, I see that I continued to work in that style. I actually don’t see much of a difference between last Fall and this Fall. To me, the projects are almost interchangeable.

Fall 2014
sunflowerouttakes falltree2 newfalltreefallleavesfinal

Fall 2015
boywithleaves1 watercolorinkleaves finalchangefinalrainbowfeather

But I don’t feel stagnant. I still think I’m growing and developing, and I’m happy to have found my style. Especially, after years of wondering how to find your style!


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Looking forward to a new season.

leavesonwood
One of the things I’ve learned about myself since starting my creative resolution is that I’m inspired by the seasons. I’m already seeing signs of what’s to come and I’m looking forward to it! Paintings (and sketches) of shells and the ocean will soon be replaced by leaves and trees and other Fall things! I can’t wait for the leaves to change…and the weather to cool down. 🙂

Here are some of my favorites projects from last Fall:

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The Dogwoods are blooming!

dogwoodphoto
After my run today I had to take some shots of the Dogwoods. The two Dogwoods, on either side of our front walk, have sentimental value to me. They were in bloom the first time we looked at our future home. We posed in front of one of the Dogwoods when we brought our daughter home from the hospital. The house itself has changed – expanded to fit our family that also includes two sons. But the Dogwoods have remained and every time they bloom, I’m reminded of the early days and that this is home.


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The Winter Sky and Bare Trees

baretrees
I’m somewhat obsessed with the Winter sky – the different colors at sunrise, sunset, the clouds throughout the day. All of this shown through the bare branches of the trees. I love how the bare brown trees have a bluish tint to them.

A sunset from my window:
sunsetsky
Another pretty sky.
wintersky2

The start of the painting – watercolor.
thestart
Letting it drip.
starttwomorepink

Adding the ink to the trees. I was hesitant to even do it, but the painting didn’t look complete without it and I wanted to follow through on my vision.
inkingtrees baretrees2


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My First Linocut!

finallinocut
Finally I sat down and carved my first linocut. It’s amazing – when you make a date with yourself and commit, you follow through. I had been putting it off, sketching ideas for the design, until I realized the design didn’t really matter – it was about trying out the tools and learning the process.

Linocut Tools:

I sketched an idea I had in pencil, directly onto the “Speedyball Speedy-Cut Easy” block. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to attach the carving blade to the handle, but I got it. I was surprised at how easy it was to carve. I carved around the trees first. For the owl I used a thinner blade to add texture (to show the feathers). I messed up with the beak when I momentarily spaced on what I was supposed to carve off – the negative space. But again, this is a learning process.

I used the back of the block, because I wanted two colors. I transferred the eye shapes over to the back with tracing paper – although they mostly fell within the moon. These fine details didn’t really print in the end. And I did it wrong – it should have been the mirror image of the eyes and moon. Imagine my surprise when the moon ended up on the left instead of the right. There were other mistakes: I should have wiped the carving before printing. I didn’t carve deep enough, but this led to a happy accident because I liked the texture it added and the yellow through the print. I can’t wait to do another one!

Here are my steps:

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You’ll need:




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I see the moon…

finalmoon
I finished my moon painting! I was working from a photo I snapped last week. Once I sat down and painted the background – I was sucked in. For the next few days, whenever I had a minute I pulled it out.

After the background dried, I softened the edge of the moon, to give it a glow. When the background was dry I started adding the tree branches. I decided to work with India Ink instead of the Payne’s Grey watercolor, because it is a richer black and less opaque. (It’s the test on the left.)
moonpic moonstart ink moonink

I wasn’t happy with how the branches were turning out. They seemed too stiff. So I wet all the areas where I wanted the branches to be, and added the ink. At first, it was a bit out of control (too much ink on my brush), but I got the hang of it. I guided the ink along to create the branches. I was happy with the results. The branches were much more natural looking.

wetbranches

 

 

 

 


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Winter

skitrail
I’m really happy with how the sky turned out – although the salt wasn’t working as well as last time. I had to try it several times – I think the painting wasn’t wet enough. Some of the salt is stuck on there for good. It adds a bit of sparkle! Maybe I let it dry too long?

My Steps:
The underpainting.
skitrail1
Adding ink.
skitrail3

One of the attempts with the salt.
skitrail4


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Crows

crows
I came across these crows in the Target parking lot. With the bright blue sky, the orange trees, and the crows flying around, it was beautiful, so I snapped a few pictures. Ironic that it was in a parking lot! My husband said a flock of crows is actually called a “murder.”

My Steps:
I started by drawing, in ink, a few of the crows. I added the sky and the shape of the trees in watercolor.
crows1 crows2

When that dried, I added a few more crows.
crows3

I realized the sky wasn’t blue enough, so I added a richer layer of blue. I also added more oranges and browns in more definitive leaf shapes.
crows4 crows4b

I drew the outlines of the leaves in ink. I added more orange and brown to give the trees more depth. I tried to cover up and soften the line that the second layer of blue sky had created between the sky and the trees.
crows5