Tag Archives: handmade

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

 

48 Comments

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

Life lately…

Hello there! Oh my goodness, it’s been a tough couple of weeks! My little Claire bear is just now getting over pneumonia. Poor baby…and well…poor Mama. We were both sick of being cooped up so it was fantastic to take her to daycare yesterday and see how happy she was to run into the classroom and play with her wee friends.

I started the day (childfree) with a trip to the nail salon for a quick, Spring manicure! My hands were trashed from constantly washing them! It’s amazing what a coat of pretty nail polish can do to lift your spirit! ;)

Anyway, as you can imagine, I haven’t had much time to paint or do anything really BUT thank goodness for my iPad because it’s so easy to reach for it and create something minus the setup/cleanup. Here are a couple of digital collages I made this past week…

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Absolutely love creating on the app – Procreate! Such fun! Oh, and I just splurged on a new pressure sensitive stylus. I highly recommend it!

A couple of other things to share with you…I just received the most gorgeous necklace from my jewelry designer friend.

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It’s a beautiful piece of lapis lazuli and it resembles a dreamy piece of the starlit sky! I adore it! Thank you Amy!

I also finally got a bracelet from Becky at Farm Girl Paints on Etsy! It reminds me to keep my head up and live courageously – not easy for this girl – who tends to back away from scary or intimidating situations…

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Oh and I did a little Spring cleaning in my studio! I’m hoping to start creating more frequently now that both kids are healthy!

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And….lastly…a little glimpse of Spring blossoms popping in my neighborhood. Such a beautiful time of year!

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I hope you are all healthy and happy! Enjoy your weekend!

Much love,

Ivy

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Filed under Art, creativity, Digital Art, Etsy, favorite things, flowers, Home, Shopping

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

14 Comments

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

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

18 Comments

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

15 Comments

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

Into Fairy Land

Hi there! How are you all doing? We are having a slight shift in weather and it seems to be making me feel a bit moody. Ugh. I hate feeling like that. I know I should probably be blogging about Fall Home Decorating or something but I just don’t feel like it…so instead I’m sharing another piece of artwork that I finished this weekend.

Art seems to be the only thing that calms my nerves these days and makes me so very happy. I could sit for hours creating if I had the chance to…

Oh, and I must tell you about this book.

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It has really helped me work more effectively and create more often! Love that! Of course I’m not sure how my family feels…I’m kinda taking over the living and dining room!

Okay on to the art…

So this is a mixed media piece using collage, acrylic paint and modeling paste. It had been sitting on my desk for months unfinished. It was supposed to be a self-portrait but I hated it.  So I painted over my face and started over. Sometimes you just have to do that and no, it’s not supposed to be me anymore. :) I decided to make the face more primitive than usual for me and just draw from my mind instead of a visual reference.

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I began working in the darker tones using some watered down raw umber paintScreen Shot 2013-09-16 at 1.15.48 PM

Then slowly building color. She’s looking a bit pissed off though, isn’t she? Not exactly what I was going for…

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So I painted out the eyebrows and lifted them to change her expression and open up the eyes. It’s amazing how much power the eyebrows have when depicting an expression! I used modeling paste and a stencil to create the lace-like tendrils that hang down around her. They are nicely raised which adds a little dimension and texture to the piece. I found the words in a vintage book and loved the idea of her entering into a different world – Fairy Land. :) yah!

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Here is my happy mess on the dining room table!

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It felt so good to finally complete this piece. I have three more in the works!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

xo,

Ivy

7 Comments

Filed under Art, creativity, mixed media, painting