Happy Valentine’s Day

Hello friends! Happy Friday and Happy Valentines’s to you. I hope you are surrounded by the people you love. Hubby and I are going out for a much needed date night. Can’t wait to get all prettied up and sip a fancy cocktail.

I did splurge yesterday on a little gift to myself – this book – and I’m so pleased I did. I’ve already devoured half of it and I’m loving every page. If you were a fan of Eat, Pray, Love then you will LOVE Paris Letters by Janice Macleod. I’m so tickled with the book that I just subscribed to receive one of her magical, illustrated letters from Paris via her Etsy shop. Anyways…had to share this with you!

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Okay I’m off to get ready for my date….it takes a while these days! ;)

Much love to you all,

Ivy

P.S. I’ve been doing a ton of art so I promise to share more of it next week! More vintage treasures to show you too!

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Filed under Books, favorite things, Love, News, Paris, photography, Still life

Friday Art

Hi. It’s Friday so that’s great. I’m sick again with a cold – so that’s not so great. I hope you are weathering through this season of illness better than me. It seems that little Miss Claire, who attends day care a few times a week to play with her  toddler buddies, also loves to bring home germs. My immune system is being put through the wringer! Oh well…

Anyway, I really don’t have much energy today so I’ll spare you any lack luster writing and just share the little painting I did the other day. We are now studying Cézanne in my e-course and his landscapes are so beautiful. I had to try one myself, of course I couldn’t resist adding the girl in there too.

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It was fun doing a landscape, which is rather out of my comfort zone. Several times I almost stopped and threw down my brush, in frustration….but with some patience and lots of layers of paint it finally came together.

This piece was done in acrylics but I really experimented with different mediums to create a more oil paint like consistency. In fact, I tried using KY Jelly with my paint. Sounds silly but it works! It seemed to increase the viscosity and made the paint dry a little slower thus blending beautifully! This world famous art forger used KY Jelly with his acrylic paints when replicating famous works! He ended up in jail…but at least he shared this tid bit with us! ;)

Have a wonderful weekend and stay healthy!

xo,

Ivy

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

More Matisse love.

Hi all! Happy Friday.

This week has been rough! I got sick, then Grace got sick…now Chris is sick. Ugh! It’s such a domino effect! My throat is still killing me but I made myself paint yesterday. I couldn’t stand it! Once I got Grace all cozy in her bed with toast and O.J., I armed myself with a strong cup of tea and got to work…

As many of you know I am taking Jeanne Oliver’s course, Studying Under the Masters and one of our assignments was to study one of Matisse’s works. I chose this piece, entitled – “The Idol” 1906.

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The intense colors, patterns and contrast attracted me to this piece, mostly because they are completely out of my comfort zone. I really wanted to push myself. The painterly brush strokes and somewhat unfinished elements to this work also made me nervous BUT I went for it anyway. I had started this work several days ago and was itching to finish it!

Here are some shots of my progress. (I had to keep reminding myself that the goal here was to learn from his techniques and NOT create a perfect replica. I’m not an art forger, after all! lol.)

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Just like Matisse, I executed my first sketch using charcoal and then did an under painting using Raw Umber.  My chosen substrate is a Blick Birch Panel.

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I blocked in the colors and tried not to think too much. Thinking while painting is over rated, in my opinion, too many icky, critical thoughts come up and inhibit the process. Trust me, I had many moments when I almost gave up! image copy 4

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As you can see, my scale was a bit off. So I decided to use a little artistic license, and add a bouquet of flowers in her hands. I’m sure Matisse wouldn’t mind. ;)

This was such a wonderful experience. It really got me using bold colors and much looser brush strokes. I found the freedom of not making everything so refined very inspiring. I felt like I was painting with emotion and not logic.

Doing this piece inspired me to create my own little Matisse portrait. I was able to complete this in one sitting…which is SO not like me. I could go back and add more detail but I’m not sure I will. Leaving it a bit raw and primitive feels good.

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So far this e-course has blown my mind! It’s always a good sign that my creativity is flowing when I start actually composing paintings in my head…(like all the time). It’s a little distracting but it fills my heart with such joy.

They say life begins on the edge of your comfort zone and so far…I think that might completely true.

Have a beautiful weekend. Stay healthy!

xo,

Ivy

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

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

An Art Gift

Hello friends! How was your weekend? We actually had a pretty quiet one, which was a welcome treat. I even got to do some collaging with a friend on Sunday afternoon – so much fun!

I’ve been wanting to share this project with you for some time but I made it for a friend as a gift and I couldn’t risk her seeing it on here. :) She received it on Friday so now I can show you!

I love these little 4″ x 4″ canvases because they are super affordable, easy to hang and you can usually finish up the project in a couple of hours depending on how elaborate you get.

I started by collaging vintage papers – covering all sides of the canvas. Then using chalk pastels and scrapbooking paper I added a second layer of color. Followed by a couple of doilies and some white acrylic paint applied with a brayer.

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To get that yummy encaustic look I love so much, I coated the piece with a layer of heavy gel medium, using wet fingers to smooth it all out.

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It hasn’t quite dried yet in this shot…so when it does it will be a little bit more transparent.

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After the gel dried I added these lovely words and a vintage butterfly. My dear friend has been through a lot and has recently found love again (yah!) so I found these words inspiring for her.  They come from a poem by Alfred Tennyson entitled “Summer is Coming“.

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I couldn’t resist adding some details with my fav white gel pen

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For more contrast, I added color to the butterflies’ wings with acrylic paint.

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It was so wonderful to create something special for a good friend. I think I will be making more art as gifts in the future. As always, please let me know if you have any questions about this process. I am happy to help!

Being inspired to create something for someone you love is great motivation to get your ART on! Try it and surprise someone with a one of a kind treasure. :)

Have a lovely week!

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under Art, Art lessons, collage, Crafting, creativity, mixed media, painting, vintage

Vintage Silhouette Girl

Hi there! How are you?

Well, 2014 is off to a good start here. Both Grace and I are using our studio and have been busy creating. We even ventured out and enjoyed a local art center where we both got to dive into our creations. So much fun!

The piece I’m about to share with you had been lying around forever. It started as one of those super cheesy Hallmark-like plaques from the 1980′s that I found at the thrift store for 99 cents. It needed some love, so I gessoed it and proceeded to collage it with vintage papers. I added washes of color with my Gellatos and water. Love these little tubes of color! *tip* use pretty paper that you love to figure out your color palette. ;)

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I then continued to layer paint, doilies, washi tape and scrapbook paper. I also ran my brayer through white paint and rolled it over the piece a couple of times. What is hard to see here is the texture…it actually (accidentally) ended up with a faux encaustic look due to the thick layer of Heavy Gel medium I added thinking it would dry just how I wanted. It didn’t. I panicked. I ended up scraping most of it off, cursing and then smoothing the whole layer using wet fingers. I thought I had totally screwed it up. But nope. I ended up loving the effect and discovering a new way to use gel. Yah! I LOVE when a mistake turns into something beautiful. It happens a lot in Art – if you can just push past that immediate panic.

(You can see the texture better in the pictures I took with my Big Girl camera below these iPhone pics.)

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Vintage silhouettes have always appealed to me, so I incorporated one into this piece instead of painting a girl. I found this silhouette here. Considering my art nouveau obsession, I couldn’t just leave her be – she needed a lovely headpiece and flowers too!

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Here are some better shots of the finished work with accurate color too. The doodles and hand lettering came as a bit of a surprise to me – being outside my box – but it just felt right and it was fun to experiment with the boldness of the black ink and contrast of the white gel pen.

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I’m excited to try another silhouette piece and you should too! No drawing necessary! ;) Let me know if you have questions.

Thanks for letting me share my work!

Much love to you all.

xo,

Ivy

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Filed under Art, Art lessons, collage, Crafting, creativity, mixed media, painting, vintage