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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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}

Do MORE Art in 2014

Hello everyone! How are you all? I hope you have been enjoying the Holiday season with family and friends. So...are you ready for 2014? I think I am. I'm excited about the new possibilities and adventures ahead!

Of course, it's always good to look back over the year and appreciate all the beautiful experiences we've had. To ponder all that we have learned and how we have grown. The mistakes, the regrets...it's all part of our path so don't focus on those too much. ;) The choices we make now are what truly matters. What will you do with your New Year? What changes will you make? How will you choose to spend your time? These are all things that are on my mind today.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 12.54.50 PM

One of my "resolutions" is to DO MORE ART! I am now referring to my office as my studio and I re-organized the entire thing to display all my paints, brushes and artsy stuff. Easily accessible and ready for me. I signed up for an art retreat. I hung up images that inspire me. It felt SO good to set this intention! Now, I just have to do the work (not that art ever feels like work to me). Come to think of it...doing the art isn't the hard part. It's moving past the fear, the doubt and the all too familiar and un-nerving sensation that once I begin it could end in a complete ugly disaster.

I adore this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert. She totally nails it.

3f6ad01402fc311305bf7a4b797eb94c

{via}

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 12.54.00 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 12.54.19 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 12.54.34 PM

So here's to a fabulous 2014 full of love, joy and creativity! Sending you all big hugs and best wishes! Thank you for all your wonderful comments and amazing encouragement!

xo,

Ivy

Dear Me...

Hi friends! Oooh baby it's cold outside! At least for us Portlanders. I am actually loving the crystal clear sunshine and frost laden mornings. It's like the very air shimmers with ice. So magical. I am praying for some snow! Thank you all for your beautiful, kind and thought provoking comments you left on my last post. I deeply appreciate you sharing.

Yesterday and today, I have chosen to put my household chores aside and focus on my art. Every time I do this, I am amazed at the incredibly comforting and joyous feelings it brings. I light my favorite candle, put on Pandora and just let myself escape into my creativity.

Today, was very introspective. I am still completing my Brené Brown homework - one exercise was to find photos of ourselves at different times in our lives and then write a message to "that" girl with the knowledge you have now. I chose my wedding day.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 1.30.44 PM

What would you write to yourself now, looking back on those times when you were about to embark on a new journey? So young. So naive. Clueless. Unaware of all the challenges and joys that lay ahead. Blind to the outcomes.

I found this quite emotional and also very healing. It made my appreciate the trials I have been through. It made me glad for the hard days. The pain. The failures. The wrong thinking. It made me have gratitude for the wisdom I've gained and for the baggage that was sloughed off as I tumbled through my twenties, like a pebble in the tide. It was powerful to stand solidly on the shore and look back on those turbulent waters of my past.

Try this with a picture of yourself. It doesn't have to be an art project - just go for it. See what comes up. Be gentle with yourself. This exercise is meant to promote self-compassion so don't go yelling at yourself in a picture at some frat party, drunk or scold yourself for wearing that God awful outfit from the 80's or for not losing the baby fat. :) Write to yourself with love, with empathy, with kindness. Give yourself a mental hug. "That" girl in your picture probably really needed it.

xo,

Ivy

P.S. For those of you who wanted to take the Brené Brown class but thought they had missed it - they are repeating the first part so you can still sign up! I just signed up for Part 2! ;)

Wandering...

3854866_9657808_lz

{via}

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.

4b6f39c52596ef9c5f30afba36638a50d2ndebs

{via}

Sending you all love.

xo,

Ivy

Fall Magic

Hello. How are you? After a lovely breakfast with my dear friend, Amy...and nap-time happening as we speak...I find myself with some quiet time. So, I thought I better get around to sharing some of my Fall pictures with you before Winter is upon us! We are lucky enough to have a beautiful little forest at the back of our yard. On the edge of this peaceful wood is a gorgeous Japanese Maple tree. I love this tree and often find myself staring out the window at its elegant branches and delicate leaves. In the Fall it is truly magical; lit from within as the the autumn sunlight pierces the cold green shadows of the woods. Its leaves like tiny flames perfectly formed and glowing...

tree2

tree3

tree4

tree6

tree8

tree9

Don't you love Fall?

Hope your week is treating you well.

xo,

Ivy

Art Journaling : Brené Brown Class

Hi there! How's life? Things have been going well here and I've been diligently working on my Brené Brown art journal homework from the Oprah life class. Following along with the book has been truly life changing. The messages within have been resonating deeply with me as I become aware of my own issues with perfection, shame and self-worth - pretty heavy, I know. BUT so inspiring and refreshing at the same time! I've had several "ah-ha" moments that made me smile while other pages brought on the tears. One huge epiphany I experienced, was when I realized the cause of my recent creativity block. It wasn't because my creative juices ran dry or I ran out of inspiration...it was because I was focusing on attaining approval rather than just being authentic. I wasn't creating for me. I was creating for others and seeking praise. All of sudden, the likes on Facebook didn't make me feel good anymore, the hearts on Instagram didn't mean anything. I felt numb. So I stopped making art. Joy was replaced with doubt.  Understanding why this happened has brought me great clarity.

Working in my very first art journal has renewed my creativity and given me the chance to further digest the information in the book. I had promised to share some of the pages with you...so here they are...

I thought that the first assignment was very appropriate. That scary first white page was dedicated to giving yourself permission.

art journal2

Next, we had to take pictures of ourselves with our "Pledge" written on our hand - "I'm imperfect and I'm ENOUGH!" Love that.

artjournal6

artjournal7

The class went on to explore the word - COURAGE and it's original meaning: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. Then we listed the people in our lives that we trust and share our story with. We placed this list in the center of our heart. I wrote the word "Thank You" on my list to remind myself to be eternally grateful to these special people.

artjournal4

Then we were assigned to find a photo that captures our "true self" and write about who we see, what makes this person light up and how we need to treat her. Loved how this exercise made me feel.

artjournal5

This last collage kinda just happened...the inside of the journal cover needed some art! :)

art journal1

As I mentioned, I've never art journaled before and I'm really loving it! I'm getting a little braver with my materials and exploring new ways to blend words and images.

Have you ever kept an art journal? If you do, I would love to hear how you like to use it.

Hope your week is full of inspiration.

xo,

Ivy

Finding Inspiration.

7f3f868834b18c3b9ba7fef6acea895c

***

Hello. I'm afraid its happened. I've become stuck. Damn it. One moment I'm a wellspring of creativity and the next I'm dry as a desert. Is it the weather? No. Maybe I'm not sleeping enough? Hmm.

You know what it is?

It's doubt.

Worry.

Lack of confidence.

Sometimes it comes out of nowhere and runs me over like a hijacked bus. Bad part is...I'm the driver.

I know it is normal. It's human. But it's so frustrating. It makes my heart feel heavy.

A friend recently questioned me, wondering what I would do after I finished painting pretty faces. She didn't mean anything by it...just curious about my artistic path but now I can't get it out of my head. Is my art phony? Shallow? Is it inauthentic? Maybe I've been influenced by too many people. Maybe it is coming across as forced. Maybe I should just stop doing it.

My creative spirit comes to screeching halt. Stuck on the side of a busy street with negativity whizzing by. Unable to cross. To progress.

I need to find inspiration. I need to get off my butt and get with the program and beat these thoughts. So I spent some time (while devouring a bar of chocolate)  gathering some links that offer great ideas to do just that!

* Check out these great lists that prompt ideas, spark thoughts and get your out of the rut.

* A practical and simplistic guide to inspiration.

* A wonderland of inspiring Pinterest quotes

* Check out this fabulous site dedicated to inspiration!

Ok, wish me luck! If you are dealing with your own creative slump I hope this helps! Also, I would love to hear how you seek inspiration.

xo,

Ivy

I'm dreaming of...

Hi there. How's life treating you? We are back into the swing of school around here and I'm trying to get organized and make the most of each day. Not easy. I often find myself being pulled in so many directions that I get overwhelmed. So, I retreat into my own little daydreams. Highly productive. Not. We have been renting a beautiful home in a fabulous neighborhood but it's been three years and I'm getting itchy feet! Growing up, I lived in 10 different houses and two countries (the U.S. & Australia). When Chris and I got together, we moved 5 times in 4 years. Finally, we settled in Portland and have lived here for almost 11 years. No wonder I'm getting wanderlust!

Moving is in my blood and I'm totally dreaming of us buying a large piece of land and building a sweet farmhouse. I want a big porch, an old barn for my art studio, chickens (why not?) and a large, white kitchen, where I would bake bread and make delicious meals. Realistic? Probably not, I don't even bake - but wow, does it sound good to me right now. I'm being drawn to wide open spaces, quiet, solitude, a slower pace. A place to focus and create. Sometimes life just feels so noisy. Know what I mean?

So in my procrastination, I pulled my favorite farmhouse images from my Pinterest board to share my vision with you...

52aa6cd2dc1b8dfa32e4b6b4184e1448

1e2cd25b0426cb7b41952e30598c7150

88d04c547a58d2c822bf9a673d0eab05

2361ecfff52046ff719226ebb31059ab

91abbff07a9f9f8987d6d423051e9beb

99ea1acdf09419bc30933fca5a6f7ca4

85650ae1c3c578ada5daa1d1e32d8c78

32098758cdc3d9ed083c0b89c7b3abad

e6e314c86abb5d1bc7e7cf8dfab39d7f

fb32374663852575b354d212e1a3d55a

e25b003922ebef5b8ea2c1a22cd0ed02

Okay...I think I got that out of my system. Now back to the laundry...ugh.

Have a beautiful afternoon.

xo,

Ivy

* For sources and more dreamy Farmhouse images see my Pinterest board.*

Abstract Art: A new challenge

Hi all! How's life? I'm a little giddy right now because I just finished another piece of art. This time, it was a LARGE (for me) piece of abstract art. The client (a dear friend) had a very specific color palette and she wanted it to feel very organic - no strong linear elements or sign of anything recognizable. Eeek!

You guys know my work...it's detailed, mostly realistic and nothing even close to abstract. I hesitated when she asked me to do this project but agreed thinking it might be a fun challenge. She insisted that there was no rush. No deadline. That helped my nerves...somewhat.

Within the next couple of weeks, I ordered a large easel and gathered some supplies. Before you knew it, I had taken over our living room, setting up in the bay window to take advantage of the light.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 1.58.59 PM

Sitting face to face with this large canvas I felt serious doubt. I didn't know what the heck I was doing!? Pushing past the fear, I proceeded to get my paints on the palette. Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 2.08.44 PM

Almost mechanically, I began applying color slowly with control and then, as my logical mind excused itself from the room, my whole body relaxed. An art trance. Peaceful and serene, I trusted my hand.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 1.59.41 PM

My hubby sneaked into the room and snapped this pic of me with his phone. I hardly noticed him. :)

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 1.59.22 PM

This was just one of the stages this painting went thru. It actually looks nothing like this now. I will share a pic of the finished piece next week after it is installed above my friend's mantle.  She loves the finished piece and has already commissioned me to do another one! I couldn't be more thrilled and humbled. Looks like I found a sweet patron for my passion. My fingers itch to begin the next project!

My lessons from all this -

1. Don't be afraid to try something new.

2. Don't let fear prevent you from growing.

3. Go outside the box and revel in the freedom.

****and most importantly****

4.  Trust your gifts.

Try something new soon and feel the thrill of stretching beyond your own limits.

xo,

Ivy

Still life: Color Study

Hello. How has your week been so far? I'm not sure if it's the shifting of seasons or just all the changes happening right now but I'm feeling a bit out of alignment, emotionally that is. Restless, impatient, moody, unsure...ugh I'm a bit of a mess. I'm trying to find resolve in some self-reflection but as many of you know - finding quiet time when you are at home with kids is rather scarce. However, with Chris traveling this week, I hope to spend some evenings painting. That usually does the trick and calms my spirit. We'll see... Anyway, wanted to share a still life/color study project I shot a little while ago. I find that most of my photo shoots just happen. One minute I'm cleaning my studio and the next, I'm arranging objects and snapping pictures. It always surprises me but the happenstance nature of it kinda works for me. This tiny rose was the catalyst.

color study

Seeing color connections makes me happy and this vintage tin set the pretty palette.

color study2

color study3

color study4

Try doing this with pretty items around your home. It's a great way to practice your photo and styling skills plus if your eye loves color like mine does, you will find this simple exercise very rewarding.

color study5

color study7

Flowers always seem to inspire me. Thank you little rose!

Hope you all are having a lovely week.

xo,

Ivy

P.S. To further facilitate my self-reflection I'm considering getting "The Desire Map" by Danielle LaPorte. Anyone checked this out yet? Looks seriously good. (I'm not the best with maps but one navigated by desire sounds right up my alley.)

Queen of Flowers II - A mixed media collage

Hi everyone! Happy Friday! This week flew by and I am just now getting the chance to sit down and visit with you. How has life been treating you? I wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the sweet and encouraging comments left after my last post. It's always a bit scary to share my artwork - so please know that I greatly appreciate the support! Art is such a core part of me. When I actually take time to do it, I am amazed at how it fills me with happiness and peace. I was so pleased with the last collage that I did a second one. I snapped pics of my progress with my phone to document the evolution of the piece.

Similar to the last project - I started by collaging bits of vintage ephemera to the inside of an old book cover.

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 1.31.24 PM

Enter my muse (another Anthropologie model) who I painted over, inked her face and hair and added scrapbook papers for her dress. You can also see in the upper right hand corner I added some pink acrylic paint to start balancing the color composition.

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 1.31.34 PM

The last details were added to complete her, including a sweet antique Australian stamp (a little shout-out to my homeland!), a jeweled crown and of course a bird. Gotta have a bird.

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 1.32.17 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 1.32.30 PM

I stamped the cover of the book with this chickadee stamp and added the word "fly".

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 1.40.24 PM

So there you have it, another little collage project that I was able to complete in a couple of days during Claire's naptime. So much more fun than folding laundry!

I have just listed prints of this collage and the last one in my Society 6 shop too!

4719931_9367225-frm715wt01_lz

Have a beautiful weekend!

xo,

Ivy

 

Sydney Love...

Hello there. I'm sharing more pics of Sydney today. My experiences there were completely amazing and I can't even express the joy and gratitude I felt. Pictures do a better job than I can with words...

the stunning Harbor.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.49.17 PM

a stormy sky over Palm Beach.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.52.59 PM

a magical tree at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.52.24 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.51.01 PM

feathers in the grass at Circular Quay.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.46.41 PM

  the beauty of the Opera House.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 10.08.47 AM

G'day.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.46.15 PM

a beautiful morning at Balmoral Beach.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.47.28 PM

gazing up at the Ferris wheel at Luna Park.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.50.17 PM

a dear friend's charming beach cottage.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.52.02 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.51.50 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.52.46 PM

a cake made with love to share with friends.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.52.12 PM

bug-hunting with my best friend's daughter.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.51.24 PM

exploring Manly Beach.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.48.05 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.47.50 PM

sipping bubbles while...

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.51.14 PM

gazing at this lovely view.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.51.37 PM

my last day.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.49.40 PM

coming home.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 12.52.36 PM

It was bittersweet to leave the place where I spent most of my childhood days but coming home to my family was wonderful. I got to see my old friends and their new lives. I got to meet their children and visit their homes. We shared many laughs about the old days but the best part was seeing how they have all grown into amazing, beautiful and successful women. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for dropping everything for my visit, showing me a fabulous time and welcoming me into their hearts and homes again. I felt truly blessed to be surrounded by their grace and love.

Have a lovely rest of the week and thank you for letting me share these with you.

xo,

Ivy

Blog Design Mood board

Hi friends. How is your day going? So far so good over here. I've already done my homework for my Blog boss e-course, which I'm excited to share with you. We were assigned to make a dream blog design mood board. I started it yesterday and could not stop till it was done. I'm so excited to be actively  re-designing the blog and finally making the transition over to a WordPress.org. Don't worry, I will let you know when it happens so we don't lose track of each other. It's time for Gracy & Ivy to graduate to a new level. So here's my mood board... Dream blog mood board

Let me know your thoughts. Nothing is set in stone at the moment and I may even make another board to play around with some more ideas and different colors.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

xo,

Ivy

8 Blogs to adore & explore

Hi there! This week was a bit of a doozy. It started off okay, but by Tuesday I had a fever and was in bed with a bad cold. Ick. However, due to much positive thinking, excessive amounts of Vitamin C, Chinese herbs (recommended by my acupuncturist) and lots of rest...I managed to rally and was back on my feet yesterday. I was still under the weather, but managing to take care of Claire and get some housework done. Today, I'm much better, thankfully, because the hubby and I are heading out tomorrow for a weekend in Oregon wine country - sans kids! So excited! Anyways...on to today's post (which is also some homework for my Decor 8 Blog Boss e-course). I wanted to share with you 8 beautiful blogs to adore and explore! All eight blogs are well organized, easy to read and of course, provide plenty of eye candy, original and authentic content and creative ideas!

Odessa May Society

Authored by Jennifer Prince, this elegant blog is so lovely. Jennie has a beautiful sense of style and is a very talented photographer - capturing sweet, simple moments of her life with her precious daughter. Her curated products, images and diy guides are always a treat!

2.20.13i

2.20.13l

2.27.13

all images via Odessy May Society

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

Lobster & Swan

A stunning and inspiring blog from the UK. Authored by Jeska, this gorgeous blog goes from fashion to interiors to crafting with all sorts of creative imagery, personal Instagram shots and diy ideas. This is one of my favorites and is sure to brighten your day. Don't miss this one.

livet-hemma-spring-620x866

my-week-620x620

paper-fun1-620x701

all images via Lobster & Swan

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

Inspired by Annetta

Annetta is one of my fellow students in the Blog Boss e-course and I just discovered her stunning blog! Her photography is drop dead gorgeous and although this a new blog to me, I can tell it is going to be one I visit regularly. Her creativity and inspirational work is contagious and as a new photographer myself, I can only aspire to create such beauty. Go explore her images and get ready to ooooh and ahhh! ;)

6a017c32f1647c970b017d41ca07e0970c-320wi

6a017c32f1647c970b017d41a96bc7970c-800wi

 6a017c32f1647c970b017c37882a3b970b-320wi

all images via Inspired by Annetta

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

pia jane bijkerk

This blog has been a long time favorite. Pia is a mother, photographer, stylist and author and has lived and traveled around the world collecting inspiration and capturing beauty everywhere she goes. Her authentic style is seen in all that she touches and her books are treasures on my shelf. While she is taking a short break from the blog presently, there is still plenty to explore from her extensive history of past posts. Her books are a must for those who adore handmade, travel and beautiful things.

 pjb_mhw_cover PJB_sampleMHWpage1

PJB_toureiffel

all images via Pia Jane Bijkerk

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

She Make a Home

This blog covers the gamut - from yummy recipes to diy projects to uplifting messages. Ashley Pahl is the creator of this creative lifestyle blog and her talent, drive and dedication are felt authentically throughout her posts. Another fellow student from Blog Boss, Ashley is living the dream as mother, blogger and owner of a beautiful handmade stationery store. Find all sorts of artistic inspiration and practical advice on her truly wonderful blog.

paper cut stationery handmade greeting cards

chai latte recipe

all great changes are preceded by chaos quote

all images via She Makes a Home

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

This is La La Land

Everyone needs a go to blog when you feel like a good laugh. Look no further - check out this one to get an inside peek into Lauren's life as she tries to make it as an actress in L.A. Lauren is a dear friend, although I am not being biased when I say she is insanely talented. Not only can this girl write, act, model, paint, draw and play music she is straight up FUNNY! Her encounters, adventures and antidotes on life are authentic, in your face and will make you giggle out loud. She writes from the heart so don't be surprised if you laugh and cry while reading her posts. Her artistic and quirky snapshots illustrate her stories perfectly.

torani-holiday-bummer-face

pants

  strudel

all images via This is La La Land

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

a creative mint

This blog has also be a long-standing go to for inspiration and eye candy overload. I adore the style of creator, Leslie, and she has been a past co-teacher with Holly on Blogging Your Way. Her sense of color and creative explorations are always enchanting and her photography is simply divine. Go take a look if you haven't already, Leslie's blog is a gem and so is she.

6a01156ed03c2b970c014e8919adba970d-800wi 6a01156ed03c2b970c01538f267e14970b-800wi 6a01156ed03c2b970c015432f9aeef970c-800wi

all images via a creative mint

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

Jeanne Oliver

I have to give a shout out to the amazing Jeanne Oliver and her beautiful blog. Jeanne has been a past teacher of mine, guiding me to create art again with the Creatively Made e-course and helping me to improve my  business with the Building a Creatively Made Business e-course. Her blog is a fantastic place to see behind the scenes of her creations and products, read about her life and personal challenges and just get inspired! Her photography, artwork and writing are authentic and heartwarming plus her vintage, French style is so up my alley!

TheDoveimg275600

IMG_0753a

creativelymadecollagewebsite-1

{p.s. I'm excited to be taking her brand new art course - check it out here.}

all images via Jeanne Oliver

joyfulsong_vintageornaments_22_lines

Okay, so I know that was a meaty post but I hope it gives you plenty to peruse over the weekend! Let me know which blogs spoke to you - enjoy!

Have an inspired weekend!

xo,

Ivy

Birthday Party

I know I didn't post yesterday and I'm super late today but I have good reason. Grace is turning five tomorrow (I can hardly believe it) and it's been a whirlwind of activity! We have family in town, a party to throw...two actually, if you count the family gathering and tonight, her Nana and I decorated and loaded up bags of goodies for all the little girls that will be in attendance at the Princess themed festivities tomorrow. We wrapped up presents and laid out her party dress with a new pair of perfectly shiny, white patent leather shoes. Too cute! I think I've done everything on the list...so why do I still feel flustered? oh well. Let's hope it goes well! I will be sure to take lots of pics to share with you! Okay, off to bed...this princess needs her sleep too! Hope all is well in your world! Sweet dreams.

xo,

Image via here.