Category Archives: Thoughts

Life lately…

Hello lovely people! How are you? Things are going very well in the Newport home. We just got back from celebrating Grace’s 8th birthday in Disneyland! The Claire Bear stayed home with the grandparents, so it was really special (and a hell of a lot easier) to just be able to spend time with Grace.

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She loved Disney…of course. Her favorite ride – Space Mountain! Below is the very embarrassing but hilarious shot that is taken while on board this insane roller coaster. Although, I look like I am about to be killed, I am actually having fun…sort of. Grace on the other hand, looks just thrilled and a lot less terrified! We laughed about this one for days…

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On the Art front, I finally completed my most recent abstract commission. It sat like this for a LONG time…

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Then one day, I just couldn’t fight it anymore…so I tackled the underpainting.

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And then finished it within a couple of days. My client loves it! Thank God! I’m so honored that it will be hanging in her front living room above the mantel. Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 1.39.14 PM

I did the underpainting in acrylic and then went over the entire thing with these water-mixable oils that I am totally in love with! I was originally trained in oils and I’ve missed them ever since art school but once acrylics became so popular I just migrated over to them. Less toxicity and easy clean up but I’ve always missed the buttery richness and blend-able quality of oil paint. Discovering these has been exciting and I want to continue exploring them.

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So…the BIG news is that I leave for my very first Art Retreat on Thursday morning with my friend Katie! I can hardly wait! It is the Nuture Your Creative Seed Retreat hosted by the lovely, Serena Berry on the enchanting Bainbridge Island, WA.

The teachers will be Jeanne Oliver and Stephanie Lee!! SO EXCITED! Jeanne has been an inspiration to me for years and was truly the one that led me back to art, so it will be such an honor to meet her and learn from her in person. I adore Stephanie’s book and her whole thought process behind her creations, not to mention all the inventive techniques she has to share, so I know she will be an amazing mentor too! I feel so grateful to be able to experience this! Like deep in my bones grateful. 4 days of art, connection, creativity and even a dash of yoga. I couldn’t ask for more! Thank you, Katie for being brave enough to join me on this adventure!

I look forward to sharing my creations and experiences with you when I return!

Have a fabulous rest of the week!

Much love,

Ivy

 

 

 

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Filed under Art, Books, creativity, Learning, painting, Thoughts, Travel

Little time, lots of inspiration.

Hello friends,

I know I promised to share more art so here are some pics of what I’ve been creating lately. I’m on week 6 of my Jeanne Oliver online art course. Its been an incredible ride! So much to learn, so much to create and SO little time! I’m trying to be patient with life and accept that I can’t paint all day while managing a household, two little kids and a very busy husband. Patience is not one my strengths.

I also have to really watch myself. You see, I get a little competitive. My fellow students are constantly posting all the beautiful art they are creating and I want to KEEP up…but alas, I simply cannot.  Luckily, we have access to the class for two years!

Here is a little Cézanne watercolor/charcoal study…this was a fun and relatively quick exercise. He was a genius at layering color with watercolors! Something, I’ve yet to master.

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Next, I attempted to paint one of Cézanne’s favorite landscapes…Mont Sainte-Victoire. He painted this scene over 60 times! This was a tricky one. SO many colors but I really enjoyed the challenge.

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Here’s a close up of my version.

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Painting Cézanne landscapes, inspired me to try one myself. Although, I’m not in love with this piece it was good for me to do something outside my comfort zone. This is an Irish landscape, depicting O’Brien’s tower.

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Then we went on to study Botticelli. I have not done my painting yet but I loved sketching from his work. His faces are brilliant and so beautiful.

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Okay, and lastly, I wanted to recommend this book to all those creative Mama’s out there! I kinda horde art books but this one is my favorites right now. It gives me hope that if I plan a little better, I can find more time for my art and not neglect my kids!

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Alright…well I best be going. I hear little Claire bear waking from her nap. Back on the job! ;)

Hope all is well in your world. Try and take time for yourself to create, read, cook or whatever makes you happy – you won’t regret you did! Also, I would love to know any tips on carving out this time – since I’m kinda struggling! Let me know what works for you!

Much love,

Ivy

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Filed under Art, Books, creativity, Learning, painting, Thoughts

Inspired by Matisse

Hi there! How are you? Hope your week is treating you well.

As for me, well, I’m a little overwhelmed with creative energy. You see, I just started this amazing online course with Jeanne Oliver called “Studying under the Masters“. It’s a nine week course with nine different teachers. Each week, we get a new teacher and a new Master to learn from.

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This first week has been with Jeanne teaching us about Henri Matisse. It has been an absolute delight!

Back in Art School, we covered Matisse and hundreds of other artists but was I really paying attention? Well… not so much. With so many lectures, dead lines, assignments, critiques and social events (keg parties)… let’s just say I didn’t absorb as much as I should have. Often, I took being a student for granted.

Now, learning has become precious to me. It wakes me up and makes me feel alive, connected and passionate. That’s why I’m hooked on Jeanne’s courses.

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Oh Matisse, you wonderful man! I didn’t know I was so fond of your work till now! He was a master of color, pattern and portraits! I love how he captures a scene, flattens it and layers it with brilliant hues and complex patterns! His faces, sometimes refined and others primitive and simplified. However, his intensity is consistent. His pieces almost vibrate with energy and mood. Truly inspiring!

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Studying his work has made me feel free again…to just draw and play and not worry about perfection, perspective, technique. Just create and explore! I can’t seem to stop drawing! Even the white board on our fridge is covered in doodles. :) Here are a few of my own little works that I did in my sketchbook…all inspired by Matisse!

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More projects to come! So…what artist inspires you?

Have a fantastic Friday.

xo,

Ivy

{all Matisse images via here}

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Filed under Art, Art lessons, creativity, Learning, painting, Thoughts

Do MORE Art in 2014

Hello everyone! How are you all? I hope you have been enjoying the Holiday season with family and friends. So…are you ready for 2014?

I think I am. I’m excited about the new possibilities and adventures ahead!

Of course, it’s always good to look back over the year and appreciate all the beautiful experiences we’ve had. To ponder all that we have learned and how we have grown. The mistakes, the regrets…it’s all part of our path so don’t focus on those too much. ;) The choices we make now are what truly matters. What will you do with your New Year? What changes will you make? How will you choose to spend your time? These are all things that are on my mind today.

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One of my “resolutions” is to DO MORE ART! I am now referring to my office as my studio and I re-organized the entire thing to display all my paints, brushes and artsy stuff. Easily accessible and ready for me. I signed up for an art retreat. I hung up images that inspire me. It felt SO good to set this intention! Now, I just have to do the work (not that art ever feels like work to me). Come to think of it…doing the art isn’t the hard part. It’s moving past the fear, the doubt and the all too familiar and un-nerving sensation that once I begin it could end in a complete ugly disaster.

I adore this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert. She totally nails it.

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So here’s to a fabulous 2014 full of love, joy and creativity! Sending you all big hugs and best wishes! Thank you for all your wonderful comments and amazing encouragement!

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under Art, creativity, holiday, photography, studio visit, Thoughts

Dear Me…

Hi friends! Oooh baby it’s cold outside! At least for us Portlanders. I am actually loving the crystal clear sunshine and frost laden mornings. It’s like the very air shimmers with ice. So magical. I am praying for some snow!

Thank you all for your beautiful, kind and thought provoking comments you left on my last post. I deeply appreciate you sharing.

Yesterday and today, I have chosen to put my household chores aside and focus on my art. Every time I do this, I am amazed at the incredibly comforting and joyous feelings it brings. I light my favorite candle, put on Pandora and just let myself escape into my creativity.

Today, was very introspective. I am still completing my Brené Brown homework – one exercise was to find photos of ourselves at different times in our lives and then write a message to “that” girl with the knowledge you have now. I chose my wedding day.

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What would you write to yourself now, looking back on those times when you were about to embark on a new journey? So young. So naive. Clueless. Unaware of all the challenges and joys that lay ahead. Blind to the outcomes.

I found this quite emotional and also very healing. It made my appreciate the trials I have been through. It made me glad for the hard days. The pain. The failures. The wrong thinking. It made me have gratitude for the wisdom I’ve gained and for the baggage that was sloughed off as I tumbled through my twenties, like a pebble in the tide. It was powerful to stand solidly on the shore and look back on those turbulent waters of my past.

Try this with a picture of yourself. It doesn’t have to be an art project – just go for it. See what comes up. Be gentle with yourself. This exercise is meant to promote self-compassion so don’t go yelling at yourself in a picture at some frat party, drunk or scold yourself for wearing that God awful outfit from the 80’s or for not losing the baby fat. :) Write to yourself with love, with empathy, with kindness. Give yourself a mental hug. “That” girl in your picture probably really needed it.

xo,

Ivy

P.S. For those of you who wanted to take the Brené Brown class but thought they had missed it – they are repeating the first part so you can still sign up! I just signed up for Part 2! ;)

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Filed under Art, creativity, Learning, Love, Stories, Thoughts

Wandering…

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Hello there. I hope all is well in your world. Right now, mine is a little messy. Literally and figuratively. I just finished the Brené Brown course and absolutely loved it. It has truly been life changing and has been stirring up all sorts of emotions. Old energy is shedding but self-doubt has been trying to rain on my parade…as usual.

With all the flux, I’ve been cleaning out areas of my home that no longer serve me. One of those neglected areas was my laundry room cabinets. They were stocked with all my supplies for creating skin care products… (my obsession 3 years ago). As I gathered up the countless little vials of essential oils, dried herbs and tubs of concoctions, I found myself crying. I stopped for a minute to check in with my mind and see what all the fuss was about.

Ahh…I was berating myself. For failing. For being flaky. For investing all this money and time into something I gave up on. For being stupid. Unfocused. Confused. Wasteful. ugh. Brené referres to these moments as “shame storms”. This was a category 3.

Then I remembered the last week of the Brené lessons – letting go of certainty. I was reminded that it’s okay to wander, get lost and not know which way to turn. Even in those moments we are whole. I had not failed. I had just wandered. I had needed to do that, at that time and it has led me to where I am today. So what if Grace & Ivy began as a skin care hobby!? It ended up launching my blog, helping me rediscover my love of writing, leading me to a new passion for vintage and ultimately, reunited me with my first, true love – ART.

Was it a linear, logical journey? Nope…but that’s not really how I roll anyway. Is it over? Have I got it all figured out? Hell no! But that’s okay.

So, please, let me remind you dear friends, that if you are feeling a bit lost or are wandering. Fear not. Know that it is part of your own journey. We are not supposed to have all the answers. Life doesn’t come with a compass or a map. Use your heart as your guide and believe that even in your most vulnerable place – you are right where you need to be. Trust yourself and never compare your path to someone else’s. Like a snowflake, each one is unique.

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Sending you all love.

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under Learning, Stories, Thoughts, Words