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Pandemic Painting, Spring Swap

The local arts center is accepting work for a member show with the title “Created During Covid.” I’m submitting this painting, which was painted from a photo I took in early May. I love the dramatic sky against the church building, the Mormon church in my neighborhood.

 

Pandemic Sky (acrylic, 8×10)

I have received only eight cards from the Spring iHanna swap, but unless the last two are coming from Fiji or New Zealand, I think that will be it. The last one I received, in late June, was from Australia.

From Australia, California and Arizona

 

A story, some card stock, and a card incorporating a stitched sewing pattern. (I no longer have the envelope and don’t remember what state it’s from.)

 

From Nebraska, Arizona, and two from Virginia. The rain boots and the Dickinson quote (bottom) are my favorites.

 

Six in Six Days

Giving priority to art when life gets crazy may just be a way to stay sane. This year so far has been busy and stressful. But after playing around with rocks I was ready to get back to what I love the most, postcards (aka small format art–not all are mailed). Also unusual for me was working with more somber colors–maybe it’s just the late-winter grayness.

Tropical Cyclone (collage with ribbon, stamp by Nat Uhing)

Black Pearl Quicksilver Dolphins (collage)

Tea (collage with stamp by Nat Uhing, German stamps from a previous swap)

Lemonade (collage with washi tape)

Blues and Grays (collage with stamp by Nat Uhing) Can you tell I like dolphins?

Dog and Lamppost (collage)

I’m using up stamps made by Nat Uhing. Each time I use one I remember her and how much I loved her art and how much I miss her (she passed away about a year ago). Now that I have some collage out of my system, I may switch to painting or another medium.

 

Meditation Poems

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.

My pink-tongued blue-heeler posed for this one. (original photo, manipulated)

The meditation site where it all began. (original photo, manipulated)

My meditation tree. (original photo, manipulated)

original photo, manipulated

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.

Miscount/Mistakes (Happy Accidents)

Turns out my total count of cards was off. In the five years since I started this, I’ve made more than 250 cards. Here are the most recent:

Métro-Metro (collage)

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.

Float Like a Butterfly (collage)

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.

Pastel Box (collage)

This is literally the palette and part of the wrapper from a box of pastels.

Wonderful Bird (collage)

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 weeks of collage, it’s time for a change in direction. I may go larger; I may go with markers, or paint, or fabric/stitchery. I also have about four knitting projects going. Is there possibly a way to KNIT a postcard? I may try!

Still on a Roll

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:

  1. 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.
  2.  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:

Shuffle #12, Summer Garden (collage)

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.

Terra Sun and Moon (original photo, color aid paper)

The title is for the photo of sun and moon art taken at Terra Arts, outside Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wiggins Farms

When I bought the watermelon I had to keep the label!

Hand-made (collage with hand-made paper)

 

Floral Dream (collage)

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.

Party in Seattle (collage, stamp by Nat Uhing)

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.

 

January ’19 Output

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:

Page Torn from a Unicorn’s Library (collage) (given to a friend along with a hand-knit gift)

 

Doodle #26 (Shuttle Art markers)

 

Winter Dawn with Venus, Jupiter and Mars (water color)

 

Zen Tangles Meet New Markers

 

Happy in Water (collage) I am thrilled that this card will be sent to the remote island of Tristan da Cunha, in the South Atlantic, whose inhabitants have requested mail art for a permanent exhibition for island resident and visitors. Isn’t that the coolest thing? I chose this card with its water theme since it’s going to an island.

November Postcard Swap

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!

 

Postcards for fall 2018 swap

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:

Shiny Bubbles – Prismacolor water color pencils

 

Souvenir de Paris – collage with Métro map and ticket.

 

Blues – Prismacolor water color pencils

 

Dreary Saturday Morning – watercolor, collage, washi tape

 

Dreary Saturday – watercolor, collage

 

Paris Métro Maze – collage with Métro maps, tickets, washi tape

 

Autumn Folly – watercolor, stamping

 

The Secret – watercolor, marker, computer type on vellum

 

La Vie en Rose – computer graphic images of Edith Piaf (“Little Sparrow”)

I’ll post the cards from the swap once I’ve received all of them.

Happy holidays! See you in 2019!

 

Spring Swap Wrapup

All the cards for the iHanna spring swap have been sent and received. Most of the cards I sent were within the U.S. One went to Australia. I previously posted a few, but here are two more:

Have a Seat (collage)

 

Wildness (collage)

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:

This postcard booklet came from Germany.

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.