Since I’ve been making postcards, I’ve wanted to incorporate some of my poetry into them. A few weeks ago, sitting in our meditation garden, I began a series of short poems that resulted in a series called Meditations, 1-7. I have made them into postcards and will make sets available as gifts. I am also working on a painting that will incorporate images of all the poems.
One of the best parts of this project was the fun I had with Photoshop, and how much I learned.
I already have a set wrapped as a gift, with the recipients’ address and a postcard stamp included.
After “Party in Seattle,” I seem to have started a public transit series. I still have a London Oyster card stashed away, so there may be more. This is the Paris Métro and Capital Metro in Austin.
One of my favorite exercises when I started back to school for an art degree was taking images of totally unrelated objects and combining them in a way that made some sort of compositional or artistic sense. In that first exercise I slapped a Portuguese man-of-war (i.e. sort-of, though not biologically, a purple jellyfish) on top of a croissant. Someone else in the class put a big pickle on an arm of a saguaro cactus. I called this one “Float Like a Butterfly,” but not really after Mohammed Ali. I just liked the title and really enjoyed putting the weird objects together. I’m posting it full size for the details to show.
This is literally the palette and part of the wrapper from a box of pastels.
Since this was another combination of weirdly unrelated objects, I just focused on the pelican and called it “Wonderful Bird,” attributing the title to what I mistakenly thought was a poem by Ogden Nash. So I learned something today: my favorite “Ogden Nash” poem is by Dixon Lanier Merritt.
A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the helican
After a great start to the school year, I’m keeping up a pace of a card a day in the second week.
Two things are different, and I’m embarrassed to say that as an artist it’s way late for me to come to this:
- Soon after I get home from school drop-off I head into the studio and get to work, instead of taking care of laundry or other household chores. In the past, unlike Anne Lamott, who wrote in “Bird by Bird” that she could write with a “corpse in the sink,” I have a low tolerance for dirty dishes. I’m learning to me more like Anne.
- Also for the first time, I can get so absorbed in the work that I lose track of time–the “time of the game,” as my philosophy professor called it, because he said that’s why casinos don’t have clocks. They want people to get lost in the game and forget the time. (I do manage to get to school for pickup, or to appointments, and I don’t go to casinos.)
I’ve kept count of the cards I’ve done since the first swap in 2014, and I’m up to 209. Not great for more than five years, but watch me now! Here’s the current output:
This is part of the “shuffle” series, using random colors from a Color Aid pack. I sent it to a neighbor who recently had knee surgery to cheer her up.
The title is for the photo of sun and moon art taken at Terra Arts, outside Fayetteville, Arkansas.
When I bought the watermelon I had to keep the label!
I made this while my cleaning lady was here and she seemed to really like it, so I mailed it to her for a surprise.
Still using the precious faux Australian stamps made by the late Nat Uhing. I think she’d like to see her work still circulating. The ticket is from my Jeopardy! audition trip.
I wonder how long it’ll take me to reach 300! At this pace I should be get there before the holidays.
My goal was five postcards a week, but the month was crazy and challenging and I made only five in the whole month (plus one I’m working on, a manipulated photo from Paris that I’m experimenting with hand-coloring; look for that in a later post).
Here’s my 2019 output so far:
This may be my last swap. The cards are beginning to look so much alike that it seems there’s one classroom, technique or factory cranking them out.
My goal for 2019 is to produce “Kindness Cards,” which I may donate to organizations that can sell them to their members to raise money, or I will send them or give them away to remind people of the importance of kindness. Some will be original art; others may be produced with computer graphics, allowing me to make many more cards.
The cards in sent for this swap can be seen here.
Here are cards I received from the Fall ihanna swap. Most are from around the U.S. One was from the U.K. I received only nine this time; the tenth one below, the small one on the lower right, was a return in thanks for one I sent.
I’m giving myself an art day today. I’ll work on some knitting, begin a stitchery project, and organize the studio to get started on 2019’s Kindness Cards.
Make something beautiful this year!
I sent out my 10 postcards for the ihanna swap, but I’ve received only eight. I’m hoping the last two are international and just taking a long time. In the meantime, here are the ones I sent:
I’ll post the cards from the swap once I’ve received all of them.
Happy holidays! See you in 2019!
I received a total of 11 cards this time–one person I sent to replied with a card, which was a nice surprise. (The “swap” isn’t normally a direct exchange–Hanna sends you 10 names and your name is sent to 10 different people.)
Most of my cards were from the U.S., many from California. One is from Germany. Here are the cards I received:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I will mail internationally. All of these below have been sent, so if you request a card it will be new.
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.