Hawaii

Hi my friends! Oh my goodness, I have been neglecting my blog but for good reason…Summer has begun and we’ve been busy with a new schedule and some travel too! Let’s catch up a bit…

In early June, we had the amazing opportunity to travel to Hawaii and stay at the Four Seasons in Kona. I had to pinch myself!

the gorgeous view from our room!

the gorgeous view from our room!

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It was through Chris’ work and while he was busy in meetings, I got to play around the pool and beach with the other wives. Let’s just say Mai-tai’s at the swim up bar before lunch became a daily ritual! I know that is a tad early…but really they are mostly juice…and rum. Ah. Forget it. Anyways…

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Oh, did I mention that we left the kiddos at home with my parents? Yeah. It was kinda awesome. I missed the girls, of course but to have time away at such a dreamy place was sublime.

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I have to share this little adventure with you -

We had the first couple of days to ourselves so Chris thought it would be fun to rent a canoe and paddle around the ocean. I agreed – imagining myself reclined and sunning while he did the rowing! :) Well…let me tell you…I was in for a surprise!

We unknowingly rented a Hawaiian racing canoe! Think super long, skinny boat with two tiny seats, and outrigger on one side. Looks like it will tip over and dump you into the ocean if you look at it the wrong way. We must have looked confused because a burly Hawaiian guy approached us and inquired about our reservation. We gave him our last name. He nods, introduces himself and then proceeds to explain the training he is going to put us through before we can take the canoe out alone.

Training?! What the —-?? Ok. Let’s do this – I told myself, trying to muster up my courage. It was when, in his long speech about operating the canoe, that he said “simulate a flip” that my heart start to beat.

“Wait…simulate a flip?” I asked, trying not to sound terrified.

“Yeah…it’s no biggie. We will get you out to about 150 ft. depth and then we will lean to one side and flip the canoe over.” He shrugged.

I stared at him. No biggie? I hadn’t even planned on getting wet during this “relaxing” canoe trip. Plus, I couldn’t even remember the last time I actually swam. Wading into the shallow end during a kid pool party probably doesn’t count.

“Yeah…he continued, and then I’m gonna have you pull yourself up on the capsized canoe and pull it over so it’s right side up again. It’s easy!” says the guy who is all muscle, complete with a sinuous dragon tattoo meandering the slopes of his bulging arms.

I continued to stare. I’m pretty sure my mouth was open.

Chris laughed a little and squeezed my hand.

I chose to watch from the safety of the beach as the trainer and Chris went out first. They made it look easy…of course. The canoe sliced through the water as they timed their rowing.

As they hauled the canoe back to the beach, I could feel myself mentally sliding backward. I didn’t HAVE to do this. I could say no but then somehow, I managed to push past my fear and cheerfully grabbed an oar. I was gonna do this!

I gotta admit, once on the canoe, and adjusting to the rowing, I found myself enjoying it! The water was beautiful. Infinite shades of sapphire, turquoise and teal. One or two sea turtles swam just beneath the surface, their sweet faces popping up out of the water as we glided by. As the ocean got darker and darker, I could feel my hands start to shake. I knew we were closer to the dreaded “flip”!

Finally, our kind instructor announced, “Okay, Ivette time to flip this thing over!”

My body tensed up as I gazed into the seemingly endless blue depths. I decided this was not a good time to ask about sharks…

“Just lean to opposite side of the outrigger and we will flip over. Then swim back up to the boat, pull your upper body on the canoe and reach with your hand to pull it over. You can do it!”

“Okay….”

Boom. Within a millisecond of leaning we were in the drink. I came up, sea water up my nose. Mascara running down my face. I must have been a sight. Somehow, my brain told my legs to kick and my swimming skills returned. Not sure if I was terrified or super annoyed, I swam back to that damn canoe, hauled myself up on it and flipped it right over! Yeah! It felt good!

Now, I just had to get back on the stupid thing. Kicking like a maniac (I probably looked like a dying sea mammal – basically a shark magnet) I finally pulled my lanky self back into the seat. The trainer glanced back at me to get a read on my mental state. I managed a smile and we headed back.

Chris and I took the canoe out together and enjoyed a “paddle”. We did quite well, till I turned back to him and asked “Hey do I still have mascara all over my….”

I had turned around the WRONG way and dumped us both in the sea. Damn it!

At the end of our little adventure, I was proud of conquering my fear and trying something VERY outside my comfort zone. Would I do it again? Probably wouldn’t be on my top 10 but I’m glad we did it. I found I was stronger, braver and more determined that I thought I was. Discovering that made it all worth it.

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Have you ever done something out of your comfort zone only to discover something about yourself? Would love to hear about it!

xo,

Ivy

P.S. I have also been working on some new art pieces…more on that later this week. :)

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Filed under nature, photography, Stories, Travel

Life after the Art Retreat

Hi lovely people. How’s life treating you? With lots of love, I hope.

I’ve been playing catch up since I got back from my wonderful Art Retreat. It was a pretty rough re-entry into reality after four days of blissful art-making, learning, laughing and connecting with beautiful, inspiring artists! I arrived home to a sick Claire bear and a rather exhausted hubby. Poor Chris!

Claire had conjunctivitis in both eyes and a nasty head cold. I scooped her up in my arms and went straight into mommy/nurse mode. Thinking that she would recover quickly was a big mistake. Her eyes cleared in a few days but the cold turned into viral infection with fever for 5 days and then ear infections! Sigh. BIG UNHAPPY FACE. My typical schedule went right in the trash and all that anticipation to keep creating art came to a screeching halt. It was a tough week…and then I got sick too…ugh!

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I’m happy to report that she is all better now! Smiling and laughing (and having melt downs) like her usual self. I am still on the mend but excited to get creating again. I even started a new e-course, that I am loving!

So…I know… you are wondering…how was the Retreat?

One word – Divine.

Katie and I left on Thursday morning to drive up to Bainbridge Island, WA. The weather was a perfect 75 and sunny. Couldn’t ask for a better day for a road trip. With my car loaded up with art supplies, we made the 3 1/2 hour journey with Starbucks stops and a lovely lunch in Olympia sprinkled in.

We arrived at our rental condo for the weekend. The actual retreat was at the Wacky Nut Farm but since we were the only locals attending, we snapped up this place which is just five minutes down the road. Totally gorgeous and highly recommended! This was our view…

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seattle night

That night shot was fun to capture! I set my camera up on the ledge of the balcony and did a long exposure! Very cool to experiment with…you must give it a try!

Anyway, once we got settled in we went over to the farm to meet up with the ladies. I was so nervous and excited to actually meet Jeanne and Stephanie in person! We were greeted by our ever gracious and lovely host, Serena and as we met the other women and the teachers I felt my shoulders drop and my butterflies disappear.  The retreat unfolded beautifully. The women were warm and open. The teachers were inspiring and genuine. And the art making was truly blissful. I’ll stop ranting and let the images tell the story…

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So happy to have had this experience with Katie!

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Our morning view! Not too shabby!

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The gorgeous Wacky Nut Farm.

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Nature walk with the girls.

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Bainbridge Island is gorgeous!

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Beautiful creations by my classmates.

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This was a collaborative piece! It was a true exercise in trust that Stephanie walked us through. Giving up control of your art and having faith that each student would add beauty to it was challenging but it was a seriously moving and emotional creative experience! It was amazing to have each woman make their mark on this piece. I love that it has been touched by them all.

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The wonderful Jeanne Oliver teaching our class.

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A mixed media piece I created on wood panel with collage, acrylic paint and wax.

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This little piece was a plastered piece of wood which I then collaged, painted and coated in wax.

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Another piece I created in Jeanne’s class. A mixed media piece on wood with collage, acrylic paint and wax.

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The whole gang gathered for a Mexican fiesta at Serena’s beautiful home for our last night together!

I will never forget these amazing women and I hope to see them in the future. Truly beautiful souls!

This retreat truly affected me and will be a powerful memory always. I hope to go on more art adventures in the future!

Thank you to all the ladies for being so kind, genuine and inspiring. Thank you to our fantastic teachers for pushing us, lifting our spirits and feeding the flame of our creativity and a BIG thank you to our host, Serena for being so incredibly warm, putting us all at ease and taking such good care of us. Your hard work, love and connection to us all was deeply felt and appreciated.

Okay sorry for the looooong post…but that was a lot to catch you up on.

xo,

Ivy

 

 

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Filed under Art, art retreat, creativity, encaustic, Learning, mixed media, News, painting, Stories, Travel

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

A Magical Garden

Hi friends! How’s life? I hope all is well. We are preparing for our trip to Disneyland to celebrate Grace’s 8th Birthday! She is beyond excited! Claire on the other hand, has decided that sleep is rather over rated and has nightly parties in her crib – laughing, talking and calling out to me. I’m exhausted, to say the least! I’ll be glad when this little night owl phase passes.

Anyway…A couple of weeks back we visited a magical place right here in Lake Oswego – The Elk Rock Gardens. It was a gorgeous Spring morning, so Grace and I headed over there to stroll the many paths that crisscross this enchanting place. I, of course, took a plethora of pictures, so I thought I would finally share them with you…

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yellow blooms

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What an amazing morning we had exploring this wonderful place! As Spring comes into full bloom, I encourage you to check out local gardens in your area! It’s so easy to forget about these precious places and just get caught up in our day to day tasks. So much inspiration can be found in nature!

Have a beautiful rest of the week!

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under creativity, family, garden, nature, photography

Experimenting with Encaustic Art

Hi there! How are you? We have been pretty good over here. Enjoying the beautiful Spring blossoms everywhere and the more frequent sun breaks too!

Maybe it’s the Spring energy or the fact that I’ve started the second part to the Brené Brown online class but I’m feeling inspired! I have been wanting to try encaustic art forever but I’ve always been a bit intimidated by all that comes with it.

Well…this week I finally dove right in! I ordered my encaustic medium, a heated palette (mini griddle), hake brushes, encaustic boards and a heat gun. While waiting for it all, I devoured this book and watched every youtube video on encaustic that I could find.  Yesterday, it all arrived on my doorstep and I was like a kid at Christmas! All smiles, clapping my hands and doing a little jig. I was that excited. Dorky but true. My mind was a flurry with all the dreamy creations I was going to make using this magical medium!

That evening, after the girls were down and the kitchen looked decent, I set up my encaustic paint “studio” (in my dining room). I opened windows, plugged in the griddle, melted the wax, warmed the brushes and the board and proceeded to lay down my first coat of wax. This is kinda how it went—->

Eeek! It’s all uneven.

The brush must be too cool.

Wait or is it the board?

Did I get the right brushes?

<insert swear word here>

Okay calm down.

Try another coat. Don’t forget to fuse first!

How long do I fuse for again? <swear word>

Second coat went down. Sigh…more unevenness…brush strokes, pitting.

<more swearing>

Okay, so maybe this isn’t as easy as it looks!

I stopped and took a minute to reassess. What am I doing wrong?

Then it dawned on me…how ridiculous to think that I would get it right on the first go! I told myself to relax and just play. I would learn by my mistakes and I had to trust that with practice, I would figure it out.

With that attitude adjustment, the rest of the evening was a blast! Here is my first attempt.

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The tree was stamped onto the board with acrylic paint. After that was dry, I put my first layer of wax down. The color was added by way of PanPastels and Gelatos that I smeared together into the wax. The pieces of antique paper were simply collaged onto the piece and coated in wax. Lastly, I added the jewels and painted some details with white acrylic. Here are some close ups of the textures created by the layers of encaustic. IMG_8989

You can see in this one where I used a stylus tool to actually carved the wax to bring out the details in the tree.

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It was late so I headed to bed…

Today, I couldn’t wait to get back to it, so as soon as Claire was down for nap I got creating! Here is my second go at it. I kept the color palette and composition similar so I could focus on technique. The process got a tad easier and I got a little braver.  On this piece, I used a stencil to create a raised wax pattern. I also moved my “studio” into the kitchen and worked right on top of our glass cooktop and countertops. Put wax paper down first! They are not kidding about those fumes from the wax, so I put my little griddle right next to the exhaust downdraft fan on my stove and it sucked all the icky fumes right down! I also opened up the kitchen window very wide. Last night, I learned the hard way and went to bed with a headache. So today I wasn’t going to risk breathing that stuff in.

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I also learned that if you add PanPastel, oil pastel or Gelatos to your wax layer and you don’t like them – Yikes! – you can clean it all off using Linseed Oil and a paper towel! Yah!!

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I absolutely love working this way and I’m looking forward to experimenting more with encaustics. I think I’ll do something more abstract next time? Hmmm…

Anyway, let me know if you have any questions. I’m FAR from an expert, obviously, but I’m here to help if I can! :)

Have a beautiful weekend and go try something new!

Much love,

Ivy

 

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Filed under Art, collage, creativity, encaustic, Learning, painting

Art Love : Françoise de Felice

Hello friends,

How are you? Spring is blooming all around us here in Oregon and it is truly so beautiful! My kiddos are finally all healthy (knock on wood) and we are looking forward to a trip to Disneyland for Grace’s 8th birthday in April! The Claire Bear will stay behind this time with her grandparents, so the trip should be a tad more relaxing.

So, I’m still working through my Jeanne Oliver online art course where we focus on one master artist each week. It’s been a very inspiring process! One week, our teacher was Kate Thompson and she introduced the artist, Françoise de Felice to us. Oh my! I’m in love. (Thank you Kate!) Her dreamy work is amazing…see for yourself…

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Stunning right? I adore the haunting, layered mystery of her work. I could stare at each piece for hours, visually deciphering the meaning behind the expressions and gestures of her subjects. Piecing together the story and admiring the interwoven patterns and textures, the subtly of color…sigh. I told you I was in love. Totally enamored.

What do you think of her work? If you LOVE it…I dedicated an entire Pinterest board to her. Check it out here to see more of her magical creations.

Hope you having a wonderful week.

xo,

Ivy

 

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Filed under Art, creativity, Learning, Love, mixed media, painting