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.
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.
Here is my recent output.
Remember, if you’d like a card mailed to you, email me your address, email@example.com. I will mail internationally.
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.
I’m excited to be getting back to art at all. Next I want to start making postcards again.
Started last fall, this painting turned out to be tougher than I imaged from the original pastel sketch that inspired it:
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.
The titles are homage to Carl Sagan.
The paintings are for sale. They are brighter than they photograph. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Only one painting again last week. Actually there was another, but it was a graduation gift (a 4×4-inch canvas, requested by the grad’s mom, so that the young woman will have a sort of “quilt” of small canvases to take to school). I neglected to shoot a picture of it, but it’s a lot like this one, and will be A.’s own private piece of art.
This is the first of a series of “B(l)oom” (A’s little painting is “B(l)oom” zero) the title being a play on “bloom” and “boom,” take your pick (or do both). The next will be on square canvas as I continue to explore my longtime love for explosive color.
Must get back to finishing some cards for the postcard swap that starts May 1.
… and it’s untitled, but for the first time in weeks I have made some art. Another painting, started before major life changes took up my focus, time and energy, is in progress. I’ll get back to that, but this one just came in a rush. (See my other blog to see what has taken up my time and energy.)
No post cards for a while, but I hope to get back to mail art again when my new routine settles down.
Not too much output yet this summer, for the usual reasons. Here’s this week’s work. Apparently I’m into hot colors. Happy July!
The above began as the first version of “Orange, red, purple,” but it wasn’t working so I just played around with images until it became rather whimsical. (I rarely just give up and call a piece a failure–of course there have been some–but I usually try to push through until I get something pleasing or, if all else fails, fun.) I also just realized that each of these four pieces was an attempt to express the same idea, and “Orange, red, purple,” is the closest fulfillment of that vision. Also the simplest and quickest (and last) one. That’s often the way art is. It works best when you quit trying so hard.
Received a nice packet from Honi in New York state, including the scan of a weave, and the dear little purple envelope with butterflies on it and a tiny handmade book inside.
As I prepare for summer busyness with travel and grandchildren, here is my recent skimpy output, plus a card from my granddaughter. One other card was submitted to Postcard Poems and Prose, so I’ll save it to link to that site, should it happen. My lame excuse is a big birthday week and the excitement of reviewing a lifetime’s art output for a gallery show in November.
If you’ve been following the news in Central Texas, you know the drought is over, and there have been catastrophic and tragic floods, with people losing homes and lives. We are on a hill and we’re fine, dry, safe and grateful.
That’ll probably be it for a while. Happy summer!
Although the spring rains in Central Texas have not ended our drought, they have kicked the butts of anyone who suffers from allergies, which is just about everyone. So I’ve been in a bit of an artistic drought. Here’s my recent paltry output:
“Code” is second in a series about coded language. I love Gregg shorthand–still remember it after learning it in high school a thousand years ago–and I’m exploring different forms of coded language. The poems fragments say: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (From “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver); “Life has loveliness to sell/buy it and never count the cost,” (From “Barter” by Sara Teasdale); and the last is after the title of a poetry collection I’m reading, “Grab Life by the Throat.” (The title is actually “Catch Life by the Throat,” but I like “Grab” better.)
I’m working on a book of dream poems, possibly to be titled “Skating under the Aurora.” This is the second version of what may be the cover art. It has a way to go yet to capture the dream.
Plus one card received:
I have a surplus of cards to send, so if you would like to find a piece of hand-made original art in your mailbox, email me at email@example.com. International requests are welcome, and I’d love to swap.