Eileen McKenna Art & Design

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


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Winter Wonderland (watercolor with salt)

winterwonderland
I’m not sure what made me start this Winter scene the day after Halloween. I guess I was thinking about the weather to come! I was inspired by my “ready to fall” painting, which started out as an ink drawing of a tree.

My steps:
I drew a few simple tree shapes. Then I painted the sky and ground around them. On a whim, I salted the sky section to give it that frosted look. (If you’ve never used salt before it is a cool technique. Salt your painting when it is still wet. The salt absorbs some of the paint. Wait until it is completely dry and then brush off the salt.) I was happy with the effect. It reminds me of frost on a window. I added white to the trees and a few splatters of white for snow.
winter1 winter2
salt
salt3 salt4


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Autumn Tree

newfalltree
I told you I was into trees! Trees and leaves! For this piece I started painting, very wet, with watercolor. After the painting dried (a little) I went back and added more color and some leaf shapes. When that was completely dry, I started drawing, in ink, the shapes of the leaves and the lines of the bark. Then, I added more color.

I love the style of this. It is so fun to doodle in ink. You kind of go into a trance where you are half paying attention. Sometimes it takes a little bit, but eventually I find my groove. I find it helpful to add the ink while I’m watching TV!

There were a couple of parts of this piece that were bugging me, so I did a little retouching in Photoshop. I don’t normally do this. I’m a Graphic Designer and spend a lot of time using Photoshop. I prefer to keep my art “handmade,” but I loved this piece and had to fix those nagging issues.

My steps:
I need to start clamping down my paper to a board or taping it. My paper buckles and the paint puddles.

falltree1

Here’s where I added more color and the hint of leaf shapes:
falltree2a

Before computer retouching. I’ve added details in ink and more color:
falltree3

See more trees, trees and leaves!


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Painting an abstract is harder than it looks!

Tree

Tree

My abstract painting sat unfinished for longer than I care to admit. I thought it would be so easy, but after I painted the background colors, I was stumped. I even tried to get my faithful readers to vote on how I should finish it. Needless to say, they were as uninterested as I was!

Finally, I’m ready to bite the bullet, and just finish! I have to admit I have been itching to buy new canvases to start a couple of new projects. But, I am forcing myself to finish a couple of the outstanding paintings: the abstract, the jellyfish, and (I can’t forget) the bike! Okay, so I may not finish all of them!

I did a couple of sketches (freehand and on the computer) to determine a direction for the abstract painting. I am most interested in #1, the bird on the branches. I’m going to search online for a stock photo, to use as reference for my tree.

4sketches canvas

I found an image I liked and started painting. The branches were a lot more detailed, than in my sketches. Every time I work on a drawing or painting of a tree, I notice I tend to make the branches going in a similar direction. To compensate for this, I’m turning the canvas, every so often. I like how it is coming out so far, but I think it needs more branches! Leave it to me to turn an “abstract” into a detailed painting of a tree. I just can’t help myself!

I finally got the hang of painting branches. I applied the blunt part of my square brush onto the canvas. I got a much more realistic limb, than when I was doing strokes with the brush.

step1 step2 step3

I’m almost there. I just need to fix a couple of the branches that look weird because they get thicker, further up the tree, which is probably physically impossible! I could add branches forever…time to stop!

almostthere

The final step is adding the bird. I’m nervous about where to place him! In the end, I don’t think this painting qualifies as an abstract! But, I’m happy with how it turned out. (And that it is done.)