Finishing your creative projects is important

Finishing creative projects
It’s such a good feeling to finish a creative project and motivation for the next one! I used to be awful about following through on my creative ideas. I would start a project excited about my idea and as soon as things got hard or weren’t easily working out like I envisioned I’d give up.
The finished painting:
Jones Beach jetty painting by Eileen McKenna
Where I started from today:
Jones Beach jetty painting in progress by Eileen McKenna
When I started my blog – My Creative Resolution, the first thing I did was pull out unfinished projects and finished them. I didn’t plan it that way I just did it. In doing this I learned so much about pushing through the hard parts of a project and I learned how rewarding and motivating it is to finish. I learned what turned out to be a crucial skill in the beginning of my creative journey. I also learned that done is better than perfect and never finished. And any “mistakes” I make are just lessons for the next project. If you read this far I hope I inspired you to pull out a neglected project and give it another try! Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna if you do. 😀
Have so many ideas you don’t know where to start? Gain focus with my Creative Ideas planning worksheet – Download it in my Etsy shop here.
Creative Ideas Planning Worksheet pdf for when you have too many creative project ideas
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Painting an abstract is harder than it looks!


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!


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.)


Is my astrological sign affecting my painting?

I had a bit of an epiphany, while I was working on my apple painting. I’ve written, several times, about how I get anxious on day two of a project. As I wrote in my last post,

“(On) day one, I’m excited and enthusiastic. Day two, I’m reluctant, anxious, intimidated…I have to push myself to continue with a project.” I forced myself, to get back to work on the apple painting, and as I worked, I came up with a plan for the next day. “I realized having a plan, made starting up easier. I didn’t feel as intimidated. Also, I know from experience, once I get started, I’m usually fine. I now know, that, before I step away from I project, I need to have a plan for the next day.”

I decided to search online, for traits that apply to my sign, Aries. I’m not that into astrology, but I couldn’t believe how dead on the description of Aries (on Huffington Post) was.

Aries motto is “Ready, fire, aim!” It may be backwards for others, but you’d rather figure out what to do while you are doing it. Impulsive actions, however, can bring you your share of trouble. While others are gathering information to make informed decisions, you are already on your way. As such, you could suffer from false starts. In fact, you Aries are so good at starting things that you can be off onto your next project before completing the previous one. As you Aries mature, you learn to slow down your reaction time in order to think about the consequences of your actions.”

That is totally me! Whenever, I try to put something together, and hit a snag, my husband will say, “Did you read the directions?” I, of course, am like, directions? Who needs those?! Obviously me, that’s why I’ve hit a snag!

The part about starting projects, but then moving on, really hit home. Since I started, I’ve been forcing myself to finish projects and it has been really satisfying.

For me, the “Ready, fire, aim!” motto, is so true, and may be the reason, I had all those unfinished paintings. I start a project, but get to a point, where I’m not sure how to finish. Instead of working through it, I put the project aside. This just reaffirms how important “a plan” is (and yes honey, those instructions). I will no longer, step away from a painting, without thinking about what the next steps are.

Today, I finished my apple painting. Words can’t describe how good it feels. I was a little nervous finishing, because I felt so close, and I didn’t want to ruin it. But, I had a plan (to add paint to the stem and the area behind the stem) and I executed it. Yeah me!


I also started the jellyfish painting, that I’ve been planning, since I took this photo. I covered the canvas in a medium tone blue/purple. The plan for next time is, to sketch in (with paint) the jellyfish and then add the water around them. I’m excited!

jellyfish basecolor

Check out your sign’s traits at:

  • Select your sign
  • Scroll down to “about the sign”
  • Enjoy! Let me know if anything rings true for you!

Revisiting Unfinished Projects

I came across several unfinished projects, while cleaning my office. I have a really hard time getting back into a project that I’ve abandoned. I think I’m afraid of ruining it. I forget where I was, and don’t even know where to start.

One such project, is an acrylic version of a bike on the boardwalk. I forced myself to start, even though it wasn’t easy! I had all kinds of measurements (because I was enlarging a section of a watercolor painting) and I didn’t even know what they meant! I had no idea what part I intended on working on next.

Once I got working again, things started to come more easily. I painted the railing and decided to do the sand and ocean next. I love painting the beach. It’s my favorite place. But, mixing the right color for sand and painting the ocean is really hard (for me).

For the sand, I mixed cadmium red and thalo blue to create a purple, which I added white to. This resulted in a grayish purple which I added cadmium yellow light to. In the sand area, I already had a base color, a purplish tan, which I thought might look good in the spots it will show through. I mixed a thalo blue with the cadmium yellow and added this greenish blue to my ocean area.

Here is my progress so far. Time to add the bike wheel…only slightly intimidating!

boardwalk2   boardwalk3