Category Archives: Thoughts

Vulnerability + love = JOY

Hello lovely blog readers,

I hope your week is going well. I have been down with a bad cold but I’m on the mend. All that time in bed, let me truly reflect on all that has happened in the past month.

Many of you know, I had an Art Retreat on Bainbridge Island about four weeks ago – the Intuitive Muse Retreat.

14370220_10157533520765074_7030692963287878259_n

goodie bags for the students

Where we focused on trusting our creative instincts and quieting the critical mind. We set intentions, journaled and made A LOT of Art! It was an amazing experience and a great honor to teach on this magical island – a place I had been two times prior but as a student! The women that joined me were incredible souls, all beautifully open and excited to delve into learning more.  (Little did I know, just how much I would learn along the way.)

So let me share with you a little about the journey…

Robin and I were lucky enough to stay in a sweet spot just a few steps away from the farm. It was the perfect place to center myself for the teaching that lay ahead and with a view of Seattle like this…well…it was beyond gorgeous and did much to soothe my anxious mind.

61e6e679-544d-4545-8567-8cb4022d4604

collage-1

The days leading up to the retreat were spent drinking tea and practicing my lessons with Robin. She was so kind and patient, listening to me go over things a thousand times! LOL.

837d16fd-1b7f-4703-b7a1-167f02551205

That’s the funny thing about what I do – it kind of terrifies me! I actually get very nervous when having to speak in front of a crowd. Online, in front of the camera, it is somehow easier but sitting in a room with a many sets of eyes on me – oh boy – it makes my hands shake and my nose sweat. (Yes, my nose sweats when I’m nervous, it’s very attractive – I assure you.) 😜

I knew that the hardest part would be the first night. The introductions. The part where I have to talk about myself.  I knew that if I could make connections, I would soon relax. I wanted to get to THAT place as quickly as possible but as time would have it, I needed to experience each stage as it came. There was no fast forward button on this gig.

That first night, we gathered at the ranch house for the welcome dinner.  I was greeted with beautiful, warm hugs and even a few excited tears. It humbles me each and every time I meet a student “in real life”. The connection I feel for them and them to me is a true thing. What a gift to receive. It amazes me to this day, how powerful the internet is and how very real the connections can be. Invisible heart strings that somehow manage to go through the computer screen. Magic indeed.

When it came time to sit in a circle and do our introductions, the ladies did the rounds first and I listened intently,  shaky hands folded in my lap. Each woman lit a single candle to represent her presence and placed it gingerly on a beautiful old artist’s palette – a treasure from Serena’s family. It was a sacred thing to behold.

14470621_10208666706877346_8851081890293880890_n

image by Serena Berry

I was stunned at the similarities of our stories. Before me, was a group of 10 women from all different backgrounds, all different ages and family situations but the common thread was apparent. We were all seekers. We had lived a life seeking out our creativity, searching for our joy and the connection to our soul. We had all jumped through careers, or passions – each coming in with force and usually fizzling out until we followed the next pull. The next insatiable curiosity. Photography, crafts, scrapbooking, cooking, gardening and even creating skin creams! We had all jumped through multiple phases on our journey towards Art. The fact is, Art is seeking. It becomes the vehicle of expression to discover the deeper layers, the hidden parts, the shadowy darkness and the shining light we all carry within us. So, while on the outside we had our differences, really, we were of one mind. One heart, hungry for more.

This helped ease me a bit as I felt the circle close. The bonds forming already – in a matter of minutes! But, my hands and slightly glistening nose gave away my nerves as I began to share myself with the group. I hoped they wouldn’t notice but I know they did. I hoped it wouldn’t matter or make me look unprofessional. I hoped, with all my heart, that I would be accepted. And there it was – Ahh – hello VULNERABILITY!

2bd38dd5-3e5e-4704-b98c-83ec89501610

This is where I was. Where I had to be. Exposed and vulnerable, yet doing what I wanted to do so very badly. Connecting and guiding and teaching. So with a deep breath, I accepted the uncomfortableness of it and just spoke my truth, trembling hands and all. I don’t know everything that I said but I knew when I had finished that I was safe. These women made me feel so and I was grateful.

The rest of the blissful days glided by full of hard work and wonderful art! The women battled it out with their inner critics, we laughed and shared stories and helped each other solve problems in our compositions. I was at ease, in my role, soaking up the precious time I got to spend with each student. Carefully listening and helping to guide them through projects they could enjoy and learn from.

collage-4

They created pieces that pushed them out of their comfort zones, slipping into the unknown, the fear – where the good stuff starts to emerge. Where the left brain retreats and our intuition begins to lead us. The sweet spot. The flow state. I could tell from the class when people were going through it, they worked intently in silence, not pausing to judge or worry. Just moving. Creating. It is one of the most joyous things to witness as a teacher.

14543679_10208666714117527_1485195324525380178_o

collage-3

Art time was interspersed with walks among the mystical places on the island,  like the Labyrinth where we silently followed the stones that wound us gradually to the center. And we all enjoyed the special Buddhist Bell that rings out after you have spun it just enough times while focusing on your truest wish and intention.

labyrinth

bell

Looking back on this magical weekend, I am so filled with gratitude for the opportunity. The chance to not only encourage others to trust themselves but a chance to step into my truest self as well. Each time I teach in person, I feel myself grow. Each time it gets less scary and every time I walk away knowing that this is what I am meant to do. It is where my JOY lives. If it means I have to push up against the vulnerability then so be it – I’m up for the challenge! 😉


 

A big thank you to our warm and gracious hostess, Serena Berry, who was nothing short of perfect – spoiling us with delicious food and ensuring everyone was comfortable. You made the retreat truly lovely and relaxing for our guests and for me too!

Thank you to the amazing women who attended! You each taught me something and inspired me with your open hearts and creative spirit. It was such a joy and honor to spend the weekend with you! I’ll cherish the memories of this special time, always.

14542429_10157514329370635_4066800933950933962_o

Much love to you all!

xo,

static1-squarespace-com

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under Art friends, art retreat, creativity, Learning, Love, mixed media, nature, News, Student Work, teaching, Thoughts, Travel, workshop

Poetry & Paint

Hello there and Happy Friday!

Goodness! It’s been so crazy around here! My ArtWorthy retreat is in just under two weeks, I’m in production on my new class , I spruced up the blog (it needed it) and well…I just got back from Mexico! I can’t complain though because – truly it’s all GOOD. Good crazy is just fine…right? I can deal with good crazy. ;)

I will be sharing pics from Mexico soon but I wanted to share some new work that I completed recently. These paintings kinda came of the blue for me…along with the words that followed. It always surprises and astounds me how much of our subconscious can emerge when creating art.

What Remains

What Remains, 2016 Mixed media on canvas 20″ x 24″

This piece was inspired by the photography of Errikos Andreou. I just loved the pose. It spoke volumes to me. I used a mixture of charcoal, liquid pencil, acrylic paint and gesso to create this.

While trying to name this piece a poem came to me…

I hold the strands of my life.
Ribbons of light, bone, blood.
Memory.
The tide has come in.
Washed it all
away.
I am left with
what remains.

It was both thrilling and a tad alarming to have these words spill from my pen onto the page. I am still slightly  unsure where these emotions came from…

Immediately after that one I created this piece –

1936396_10156713308505074_8674508446556143343_n

Tethered, 2016 Mixed media on canvas 24″ x 24″

Again words accompanied the painting…

Clinging to the shore
a tether to my heart.
At once,
I am engulfed
beneath the waters.
Silent.
Reborn.

A third piece is in the works. I feel like a series has begun here for me – a new and exciting adventure.

Have you had poetry emerge with your art? I would love to hear about your experiences.

Have a beautiful and creative Saturday.

xo,

static1.squarespace.com

 

8 Comments

Filed under Art, creativity, intuitive painting, Love, mixed media, News, painting, Thoughts, Words

The Inner Critic and my Spirit Horses

Hello beautiful souls,

How are you all doing? Spring is starting to show up around here. I adore all the sweet pink buds and daffodils! While the flowers have been blooming, I’ve been busy in the studio filming for my new class – Spirit Horse.

Let me tell you – these Spirit Horse are teaching me so much! I’m creating this class to give others the courage to create large Horse art and  WOW – I’ve found that my own courage is being challenged!!

My inner-critic has been on overdrive! I can hear her sniping at me – awful words and thoughts about myself. She’s a real pain and while I usually can keep her at bay, she jumped me a couple of days ago and I felt like a complete failure. Yeah…she’s not the most accurate voice in my head but she can be the loudest!

I decided I needed to drown her out and blast some music (Sia) and just draw like a crazy lady. Fast, (using the wrong hand half the time) and attack the page with charcoal and water! 15 drawings later…something emerged…something beautiful…something loving, something powerful!

The next three drawings flowed out of me. I cried the entire time (mostly out of relief and joy).

These beautiful Spirit horses arrived with such an overwhelming energy of love. It completely blew me away. I hardly knew what was happening.

IMG_7825

IMG_7823

IMG_7824

Once we can silence that inner critic our creative muse comes out to play. I am so grateful she didn’t move out entirely!!

I encourage you to do this if you find yourself paralyzed by fear and self doubt it your art! Move your body! Dance! Sing! And then approach the easel with an open and gentle heart. See what emerges as your inner critic starts to quiet.

Share your art with me! I would love to see it! You can post on my Facebook page!

Much love to you all!

xo,

static1.squarespace.com

4 Comments

Filed under Art, Art lessons, creativity, Learning, Love, online class, Stories, teaching, Thoughts, Uncategorized, workshop

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.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 1.31.39 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 1.32.29 PM

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…

space mountain

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

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 1.38.44 PM

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

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 1.39.02 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 1.53.30 PM

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

 

 

 

5 Comments

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.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.18.20 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.18.30 PM

Here’s a close up of my version.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.18.42 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.18.54 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.19.08 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.19.19 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.19.29 PM

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

15 Comments

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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.18.36 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.19.23 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.19.09 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.19.40 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.18.49 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.20.02 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.11.54 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.12.18 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 1.15.52 PM

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