Tag Archives: learning

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

 

45 Comments

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

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

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}

8 Comments

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

18 Comments

Filed under Learning, Stories, Thoughts, Words

Some exciting news…

Hello there. How was your weekend? Ours had everything typical of a weekend including, pizza, thai take-out, a kids birthday party, sleeping in (not) and pancakes. Not exactly exciting, but fun anyway.

I have some exciting news to share with you today. On March 1st, Somerset Apprentice will hit store shelves and little ole’ me will be featured within its inspiring, art filled pages! I feel so lucky and humbled to be included among such wonderful artists!

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One of the projects I did for Jeanne Oliver‘s class – Creatively Made – will be outlined in detail with a helpful DIY guide that will walk you thru the steps to create a vintage journal. I can’t take credit for the idea, since Jeanne masterfully taught the lesson within her e-course but I was very pleased with the process and the outcome. It was a joy to build this romantic book. You can check out the full post here.

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So, I hope you will check out the latest Somerset Apprentice. If you have never read the magazine, it is bursting with creative ideas and projects – many by very successful and well known artists – all laid out with guides to their processes! Brilliant! It’s a must read if you need to fire up your artistic side!

Thank you again, dear readers, for all the support and encouragement you have given me. I will always be grateful.

xo,

13 Comments

Filed under Art, Crafting, magazine features, News, photography, Stories

Up for the challenge…

Hi everyone. Happy Friday. I come to you today excited about possibility, learning and expanding! Even though I am exhausted from a night up with my poor teething, Claire – I am thrilled at some of the new things I’ve been trying lately!

First of all, I am super excited to let you know that I just signed up for Blog Boss – a new e-course with Holly Becker from decor8! I took her first course – Blogging your way – a couple of years ago and it taught me so much! This next one looks to be amazing and I can’t wait for class to begin. There is still time to enroll – check it out here.

8488219001_66bd99db2d_oLately, I am trying to expand my photography knowledge so I’ve been dabbling in portrait photography. I know you have all seen my attempts with my children but recently I’ve been taking pics for friends and it has been quite the learning experience. I have such respect for those professional photographers out there that do portrait work. It is a true art! My latest subject was my neighbor, Taryn Emerson. She is such a fantastic friend and an incredible interior designer too! She asked me to take her portrait for her website (in production) and online social profiles. I agreed. So, last Sunday, I handed over Clarie to my hubby and off I went down the street with my trusty camera, in the hopes of capturing my friend and doing her beauty justice! The overcast sky provided the perfect, softly filtered light. We jumped around from her place to mine, outside, inside, front yard, back yard…but ended up with this as our winning shot!

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Some of our other attempts…

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Taryn was a great sport and put up with all my amateur-ish mistakes. In between giggles, she was poised and patient.

It is so wonderful to have another creative buddy right in the neighborhood and she is always encouraging. She likes to challenge me too…which is a rare gift in a friend. Since I have been avidly taking pictures, she suggested I shoot her gorgeous designer kitchen for her portfolio too. I balked at the request, insisting I knew nothing about interior photography and how we would probably have to rent lights and wide angle lens. She rolled her eyes and said, “Oh come on, let’s just try it!” So over a bottle of wine that night, we styled the entire kitchen and shot it the next morning…

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It was so much fun dusting off my interior design skills to style this lovely space and collaborating with another designer is something I have missed! When we started the shoot it was dark and gray outside and I was doubtful that the light was sufficient but like a sweet gift, the sunshine broke through the clouds, spilling light into the room. We scrambled to move Taryn’s heavy kitchen table so we could let the shadow of the window unfurl onto the warm wood floor.

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All in all, we were both pretty pleased with ourselves and I learned a lot! There is nothing better than the feeling of meeting a challenge, especially a creative one. So don’t limit yourself, expand your creative gifts – sure it can be a little scary and you might even mess up but one thing is for sure – you will learn and you will grow – and that is worth it every time!

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo,

***Check out more of Taryn’s beautiful interior design projects here and like her new Facebook page here.***

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Filed under decorate, Home, interior design, News, photography, Stories, Styling