You Can’t Do It Wrong

One of the many things I love about art is that there are no mistakes and you can’t do it wrong. Sure there are failures, um, projects that don’t work, which can go right into the trash, but it’s all part of the process. Better still there are “happy accidents,” mistakes that enhance the finished product.

When I started doing postcards for swaps, about four years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do or how to do it. But knowing I have a good eye for color and composition, and a degree in art, I figured I’d learn technique as I went along. Much of my early cards were doodles in marker or quick watercolor sketches. Gradually I got into collage, where I had little experience. With a couple of jars of Mod Podge, an X-acto knife, scissors, a ruler and various card stocks and papers–and a whole lot of just playing and seeing what comes about–I’m probably making about half my cards in some sort of collage or mixed media. And it’s still a blast!

A recent card recipient asked me about my process, materials, and what happens in a swap, so rather than reply to her I thought I’d post it here, along with my most recent work. (Good swap info is on ihanna’s site.)

Since we moved into a house with space for a studio, I have a pretty good storage system–drawers, shelves, bins and–best of all, a large work table.

Conveniently located next to the laundry room (where there is additional storage).

Also next to the garage, where I have more shelves and drawers, mostly for sewing, knitting and needlework supplies.

Desk, writing corner, printer, scanner, and laptop for graphics, photoshopping and everything else.

Stacked drawers for papers and other source material.

Work table.

I share the space with a guinea pig, who serenades me with his “oinks” the whole time I’m working. I want to “re-home” him.

Good light and a view of the atrium entry. In the summer I can watch hummingbirds.

I get material everywhere: catalogs are printed on high-quality coated paper so they stand up well to adhesive; I cannibalize postcards and greeting cards; papers and card stock of all types; scrapbooking paper for backgrounds; magazines; calendars; stickers. Some material comes from the scrapbooking department of the craft store, but it’s mostly found objects. My favorite recent find is an empty Chinese cigarette packet–found in front of our house in Central Texas! I don’t know how I’ll use it, but I sure will.

Chinese cigarette packet!

 

Latest piece on the work table.

Here is my recent output.

Peacock in Monet’s Garden (collage, sticker from a Monet art book)

 

Purple Madness (collage, feathers)

 

Can’t Help Myself, I Love Color and Flowers (watercolor, collage, washi tape)

 

Spring Friend (collage, paper, washi tape)

Remember, if you’d like a card mailed to you, email me your address, jillybeanswiggins@gmail.com. I will mail internationally.

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Kindness Cards

My log of finished postcards since I began in May, 2014, is at about 150. Not quite the productivity I might like to have, but life keeps getting in the way. (Visit my other blog to find out how.)

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to do at least one kind thing each day. That led to the idea of giving away my postcards, renaming them “Kindness Cards,” and asking the recipients to pass along any act of kindness they can.

I have managed to crank out eight cards this year. I went to a knitting and needle arts retreat last weekend and asked people to sign up for cards, so that got me working on cards as well as knitting! I’m finishing up some knitting projects, re-learning to crochet, and have a couple of stitchery projects at the ready, so there is never an idle moment with these hands.

Here are the 2018 Kindness Cards so far. If you would like to receive a card, email your address to jillybeanswiggins@gmail.com. I will mail internationally. All of these below have been sent, so if you request a card it will be new.

Fresh Colors (collage)

 

Gilt (collage)

 

I (heart) reading (collage and cord)

 

Quilted Happiness (collage, stickers and washi tape)

 

Sea Love (mixed media)

 

Pink on Pink (mixed media)

 

Once Upon a Time (mixed media) (flowers by my granddaughter Chloe)

 

Jamie’s Scrubbies (water color, sparkle gel crayons). A young woman named Jamie was making sparkle scrubbies at the retreat.

I spilled a container of paint water my granddaughter used yesterday (more on her paintings coming up), making it necessary to clean up the art table. After I finished cursing, I took the opportunity to tidy up the area, and realized I had a gold mine of material–images, stickers, maps, paper scraps, etc.–piled up in a basket, so I’m in the process or sorting, organizing, and finding a better place to file/store the material.

Sorting and organizing the goodies. So much fun stuff I had forgotten about, including old postcards, souvenirs from travel, maps and other interesting bits and pieces.

November Postcard Swap Cards Received

Only nine for the November ihanna swap, but I did send out 10. Most are collage or mixed media. Here’s what I received:

From Sarah. It says “Greetings from Slovenia,” but it has US postage.

 

Maya, California

From Ellen, but I don’t know where.

 

Yvonne, Sweden (stitched)

 

Paula, UK. The button is real.

 

Karen, Florida

 

Loretta, Massachusetts

 

Quinn, Arizona

 

Ann, UK. This is my favorite. It says, “Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I’m changing myself.

 

 

 

 

Fall 2017 iHanna swap

Because of our move from Austin to the Texas Hill Country, I didn’t participate in the Spring swap. It’s been so much fun getting back into making postcards. Here are the 10 that went into the mail today, plus one from earlier this year: #diypostcardswap

Birds in a Bush (water color, stamp, washi tape, water-color pencil), to California

 

Caution: tape! (watercolor, washi tape), to Washington state

Strange Golden Creature (mixed media), to Maryland. Never figured out where this guy came from. I added a border of washi tape, not scanned.

 

Parade (water color, washi tape, glitter gel crayon, confetti), to South Carolina

 

Untitled (drips), (watercolor, washi tape), to Ohio

 

“Blue Boat Home,” setting of a Unitarian Universalist hymn (graphic design, manipulated photos), to Ohio. You can listen to the song on YouTube

 

Autumn nap (collage, paper, washi tape), to Florida, where they don’t get autumn

 

Fractals, marker, to California

 

How to Rake Leaves (collage), to Cornwall, England.

 

Skating under the Aurora 2 (water color, glitter water paint), to Fife, Scotland (intended for possible use as the cover for a book of dream poems, a dream that has yet to be realized).

This was not part of the swap, but it’s the only other postcard I’ve made recently and it hasn’t been posted before.

Celebration (collage), to friends in Austin.

Do-over

In the last post before we moved, I posted a “finished” painting. Now that we’re settled and the painting has emerged from packing, I decided it just wasn’t quite done. It needed more texture.

The granddaughter (who lives with us) started school last week, and with unpacking and organizing pretty much done, I got out paints and gave this another shot.

Here it is placed on the wall of the studio, along with the first and second in the “cosmic” series, “Creation” and “Evolution.” (All are acrylic on masonite.) The first is dated 1979, the second 1980, so it took me an awfully long time to complete the cycle.

The three paintings blast out a greeting as one enters the studio from the garage.

I’m excited to be getting back to art at all. Next I want to start making postcards again.

Art at Last!

After four months of deciding to move, finding a place, selling the other place, moving, trying to settle into our new home…. I have a studio and I’ve finished a tiny bit of art!

This was a plain gray board with only the lettering on it. I bought it for a narrow space in our bathroom in the old house, with the intent of making it colorful, many months ago. The only thing I had done was the pale aqua wash. Turns out it doesn’t quite work in the space I had planned in the new house, but it’s still in the master bath, opposite the toilet, helping start my day on a bright and positive note.

Here is the before:

Plain plaque with only the aqua wash (it was gray).

Partly done:

Finished:

Tarted up. (Collage, washi tape, acrylic paint)

 

In its place to help start my day.

Chloe felt bad that I wasn’t doing much art, so yesterday she insisted we collaborate. She drew them in Sharpie, and I painted the middle one.

Art by Chloe and Jill, now hanging on her violet wall. (Acrylic and Sharpie.)

One of the best things about our new home is the studio space. Since I share it with a 10-year-old, it’s not very tidy, but there’s enough room for both of us and I have plenty of storage. (Chloe also has a drawing table in her room, but we keep messy work in the studio.)

Studio (that was intended as a utility/mudroom, as far as I can tell). Good natural and artificial light, easy to clean.

Finally, a Finished Painting!

Started last fall, this painting turned out to be tougher than I imaged from the original pastel sketch that inspired it:

"Cosmos," preliminary sketch, pastel on paper, 12x12

“Cosmos,” preliminary sketch, pastel on paper, 12×12

And the holidays got in the way, followed by husband’s surgeries (three) and normal life with a 10-year-old granddaughter, who lives with us, and a dog, and all the other activities that keep me away from art.

The smaller one was also supposed to be a preliminary sketch, but I finished it after working out the color challenges on the large one. The color blending was difficult, especially at the boundary between yellow and violet, which (as I know from art school) are complimentary colors and, when mixed, turn neutral–beige.

"Cosmos 2," acrylic on canvas, 12x12

“Cosmos 2,” acrylic on canvas, 12×12

The titles are homage to Carl Sagan.

"Cosmos," acrylic on masonite, 24x24

“Cosmos,” acrylic on masonite, 24×24

The paintings are for sale. They are brighter than they photograph. Email me at jillybeans@gmail.com if interested.

Nine Cards from November Swap

Fall’s ihanna swap yielded only nine cards. The ninth, from Italy, took a very long time, so I’m still hopeful number 10 may come from some remote location like Fiji or Australia. Here are the nine:

 

Stitchery from Italy

Stitchery from Italy.

 

From Minnesota, a sweet little (real) bag spilling little bits of (fake) jewelry.

From Minnesota, a sweet little (real) bag spilling bits of (fake) jewelry.

 

Life questions in a collage from the U.K.

Life questions in a collage from the U.K.

 

Self-portrait in paint and stamp from South Texas. (I digitized her image for her privacy.)

Self-portrait in paint and stamps from South Texas. (I digitized her image for her privacy.)

 

Collage seascape from California, one of my all-time favorites.

Collage seascape from California, one of my all-time favorites.

 

Whimsical collage from Germany.

Whimsical collage from Germany.

 

Another from England, a collage that changes "impossible" to "I'm possible."

Another from England, an upbeat collage that changes “impossible” to “I’m possible.”

 

A whimsical collection of gerunds in collage, from Sweden.

A whimsical collection of gerunds in collage, from Sweden.

 

Finally, an amazing little packet from California, tied up in a mesh bow:

20170112_101133_resized

 

Fall Postcard Swap

Here are some of the cards I sent in the most recent iHanna swap.

Shiny puffy hearts (water color pencil, glitter paint, paper)

Shiny puffy hearts (water color pencil, glitter paint, paper)

 

Pride of Barbados (marker)

Pride of Barbados (marker)

Doodle #25, Flow (water color pencils, glitter paint, paper, marker)

Doodle #25, Flow (water color pencils, glitter paint, paper, marker)

Doodle #24, Sparkle dots (water color pencil, glitter paint, paper) The sparkle dots had to be added after my granddaughter accidentally splashed some sparkle paint on it)

Doodle #24, Sparkle dots (water color pencil, glitter paint, paper) The sparkle dots were added after my granddaughter accidentally splashed some sparkle paint on it.

I addition, I sent several that were variations on the Skybluepink poem in the last post, except that I used several photos of a real sunrise we had recently.

I’ll post images of the cards I receive after they’ve all arrived. So far I have two.

 

Skybluepink poem and postcard X4

The title that my poetry group liked was “Something Else My Mother Was Wrong About,” but I decided it was too snarky and kind of like the invented run-together word.

All are water color with type on a vellum overlay. I’d love feedback on your favorite version. If you’d like one, send your mailing address to jillybeanswiggins@gmail.com. International requests are welcome.

skybluepink-4

skybluepink-3

skybluepink-2

skybluepink-1