Tag Archives: mail art

The blues…


“Once in a Blue Moon”
Watercolor, gouache

I worked on my blue postcards this weekend and finished them up. These are all similar (though not exactly the same, since they’re all originals). They took considerably less time than I usually spend on these projects. I don’t know why I feel compelled to create little mini masterpieces each month… well, I do know… I’m neurotic, is all, when it comes to my artwork. I’m trying to finish up old stuff… mail out things that have been sitting here for eons, and have yet to be taken care of. It almost seems like I can’t move ON and take the next steps before I close out some of the old things that have been hanging around and being ignored.

I have to share this from Anahata Katkin’s blog (we share the same astrological sign), since it almost exactly sums up how I”ve been feeling lately:

For the astrology buffs out there, my official Saturn Return is in about a week. For the rest of you -and for me- that means I feel like a complete dork and I’m having a real time of it. I have the dreaded feeling that suddenly I’m going to get swallowed up by the grumpy old man that is hanging around in my head. I can be intense, yes. My friends and family would all easily enjoy a good jab at my stubbornness and shall we say over enthusiasm. But grumpy has not been one of my Brownie stripes until lately. It’s all comical since there is no apparent reason for discomfort in my life. Sailing along and some how missing ME. You know. The real me. (Do you have a real you that seems like a kid you accidently forgot at the pool and then suddenly remembered when you got to the grocery store!?) I have that sinking feeling that I better find the missing pieces before I begin this next chapter in my life. As I was saying the other day-everything in life feels up for renegotiation. (I know classic Saturn Return BS.) Here is what old Brezny says this week to help me with my vague attitude:
“It’s the Season of Burning, Churning Yearning. Here are three of the most important things I’ve ever told you about how to get what you need. (1) If you don’t precisely articulate your conscious desires, your unconscious patterns will come true instead. (2) If you want your conscious desires to trump your unconscious patterns, speak or write your conscious desires every day. (3) It’s better to have three huge, soaring, potent desires than 25 puny, scrabbling, half-assed desires.”

Woo-hoo! Time to figure out my three huge, soaring, potent desires rather than 25 puny, scrabbing, half-assed ones! [Hmmm… wonder if dinner with Keanu would count as a former or a latter desire… hmmm…]

And finally… I’ve been a grumpy butt lately (though not always unjustifiably)… just having one of those LAST STRAW moments… SO if I’ve offended you in some way, or hurt your feelings, I ask for your forgiveness and request your indulgence… and if it was something you said… I’ll forgive you and seeing that my memory is like a colander, there is a pretty good chance that I’ll forget about it too.

Mellow and yellow…

I’ve finally finished my yellow postcards. A month late, but they’re done. Now it’s time to move on to the blues, which I’ve already started on, but haven’t finished.

            
(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

My favorite card is the last one; the one that looks like a tattooed nude. It started off as a chair, but it’s shape was asking for some transmorphification. Most of these are a combination of many media: watercolor, collage, pigment inks and embossing power, markers, and transparencies.

I ended up using the hooded raincoat girl more than the other one… and the raincoat ended up looking more cloak-like but it fit into the mandala concept well. I flip them over and then address them randomly, so I hope whoever gets each one will be happy with what they get.

Yellow postcards and raincoats…

I’ve been working on my (June) yellow postcards… they were supposed to go out around the 1st of July but as usual, I balked and I’m still working on them. I’d collaged and painted a sheet of watercolor paper and cut it up. I’m at the next (and hopefully final) step of adding some final elements to most of them. Some of them seemed to need more than a little touch up, and I thought I’d draw some raincoat clad people and apply them to the tops of the collaged backgrounds (hence the sketch, above, of the raincoat girl). Will post more this weekend, by which time I hope to have completed the cards.

News of my world… feeling the yellow

I’ve started working on the next batch of postcards, peripherally, anyway. I’ve been going through these huge piles of magazines that I have, gleaning images for my image stash, and throughout that process have been putting aside the “yellows” that I’ve found so far. Of my three huge magazine stacks, I now only have about a six inch stack left, so I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been saving these books for years to go through and harvest images from, and it’s always been one of the projects I’ve pushed off to the back burner for lack of time as other issues were always burning more brightly.

I’ve finally (and hopefully sustainably) regained my health (well, I still have 60lbs to lose, but that doesn’t count… :P) and my energy levels have improved. I’m feeling creative… yaay! I have lots of plans… today I’m going to the office supply store and picking up a “daytimer” refill and will attempt organization. I am notably inept at it these days. I used to be really great about it until somewhere into the middle of my marriage, when I just chucked the whole concept out the window. My husband creates a sort of chaotic void (resists order like I’ve never in my life witnessed heretofore). I can’t really explain it in any other way. I used to really resent him for it but now see it as an opportunity for change for myself; not get sucked into the black hole but learn to use it and work with it… be flexible with my schedule instead of a) rigid (I was doing that for a while after my son was born and I returned to work. I’d spend inordinate amounts of time traveling to and from my workplace, slogged through my work day and then got home and had to go all of the domestic stuff too… AND have creative time… at the time I’d pretty much dropped most of my art and was slowly getting back into it via scrapbooking and rubberstamping). My attempts to recruit him for assistance failed, and so I was stewing with resentment, and then dropped the ball because it got too heavy for me to carry alone. Lots of things disintegrated over time… including our marriage… which led to a nine month split in 2002/2003 and an enforced reunion (because I’d lost my job and Gabriel and I were in need of a place to live… it was his one bedroom apartment or the street).

I was at yet another turning point in my life… our separation had been difficult for me… I wasn’t the one to call for it and was saddened and dismayed that our nine year investment into each others’ lives (not to mention having another co-created life amidst us) had come to this… failure. I looked upon it as a failure, as a loss of an investment of time. That’s how I used to look at all of my (previous) relationships.

I learned to surrender… I’d been so busy trying to “man-handle” the flow of life… it’s until you let go, flow with it and trust that you will end up where you need to be that it finally takes you to the next place you need to be heading. Trust… surrender… those are the two things I learned… regardless of what situation… good or bad… I needed to learn that.

In any case… shortly after we got back together, we decided to stay together, at least tentatively. I’d gained a new sense of myself (which he honed in on and was impressed with the ‘change’… I’d been depressed for several years prior to the “collapse,” or maybe it was some of that combined with really low red blood cell count… I found out that I was anemic–borderline transfusible–and that explained a whole lot of things as far as that went…) and creatively was taking off in a new direction. I was doing lots of collaborative art dolls and journals and incorporating my own artwork into the mix, instead of using rubberstamps and such.

Just a few short weeks after we moved to our third floor apartment in Irvine (to be closer to his workplace… and mine too, as I began temping as a patent secretary again in the Newport area) he had a moto crash (shattered his tibial plateau, requiring reconstructive surgery–i.e., pins and a plate–and three months of “weightlessness”–i.e., using crutches to get around). Two weeks after that my mom–who lived in the ‘burbs of Montreal–had a massive heart attack and passed on (my dad had already gone that route in 1991 via lung cancer). What a year… what a doggone couple of years… but that was the last of it (at least for a while) and all of this changed me in so many ways.

Buddhists embrace the concept of “impermanence”… I don’t prescribe to any specific religion but I suppose the Buddhist philosophy may be closest to my understanding at this time (though I don’t practice any dharmapada)… I’ve run the gamut of various religions, simultaneously find them all equally fascinating and disturbing… and have come to the conclusion that I don’t have a need to follow a religion… I am who I am… I consider the universal energy flow around us and the earth my “parents”… I’ve been orphaned and adopted, even though I’ve only just recently come to realize it. Humans seem to feel the need to impose limitations upon themselves. I’m not sure whether that process yields negative or positive results. In a way it makes us “think outside the box” in order to overcome the restrictions, while at the same time it gives us the sense that we have finite powers, and limited in our capacity to do and change things, which narrows our perspective to the likes of looking at the universe through a straw.

+++ Sidebar: how did I get off on such a tangent?! +++

Anyway… so here I am, ready to embrace another new, and hopefully creative and productive phase of my life.

Back to my daytimer thought… I have several stories I am working on. One is possibly novel length (perhaps more of a compilation of short stories rather than one fluid story–not sure yet). The others are shorter: one is destined to be a children’s story, for a younger (but not really elementary) readership; the other a visual story: few words accompanied by printed plates. I plan to print them on the Gocco and hand-tint them with watercolor using a very simple and subtle palette, making a limited edition of 12 seven inch square hand-bound books.

The daytimer will serve as a way for me to carve out time for all of these, but still be able to maintain essential other things into my schedule: work… parenting and wife-ing duties… housekeeping and chef duties… exercise… personal/”me” time for reading, journaling, non-scheduled “arting”… like that.

And on that note, I’m off to make some breakfast…

Postcards cut & addressed…

Mondays are a bitch anyway, but let’s face it, some days just suck the big lemon. Sometimes it depends which side of the bed you get up on… other days it has a whole lot to do with sleep deprivation… and then again, some days, like today, it’s a combination of many things, including the aforementioned pair as well as “outside influences” (meaning other people’s behaviour, which you have absolutely no dominion over). So after suffering through the day, it was with great delight that I arrived home this afternoon to gaze upon this lovely package from Anahata Katkin. With the layers of tissue paper peeled away, the treasures revealed themselves: a set of Nepalese hand-carved heart milagro wooden stamps, a white Signo Uniball pen imported from Japan and Anahata’s Journaling the Journey Workshop Book.

My day just got a whole lot better! Time to go and play…

Pastel postcard production

I’ve started on the next batch of postcards and will mail both last month’s and this month’s out together shortly. Thought I’d share some photos of the process of their creation…

Started off with a watercolor background on some thick watercolor paper, and thinly cut strips of light colored papers, applied with my favorite collage medium, Perfect Paper Adhesive (matte)…

Then I sketched some ladies’ heads to go with the spray of flowers I cut out… all were scanned into Photoshop and manipulated and then printed out onto transparency…

Almost done now… the sheet of postcards is about ready for cutting up. Added some stenciling with acrylic paint, and chalk marker.

Weekend’s end already!

I can’t believe how quickly the weekend has flow by. I’ve not accomplished a whole lot, but I did manage to get one load of laundry in the washer just now, and the dishwasher loaded and started up. I’ve been rather unproductive… mostly sleeping a bunch and feeling tired and out of sorts… not really sick, but not really feeling all that good either.

I did manage to almost finish up my Colors of India postcard piece… a bit more to do on the two top right ones and I think I’m ready to cut them up and finish them up individually… may stick some other things onto some of them… we’ll see.

Gabriel and I did do some silly, slightly demented things… like watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail this afternoon, and drop in on the comic book store yesterday. I picked up Y The Last Man‘s two first books (they’re pretty dang good) and Neil Gaiman’s Midnight Days… absolutely loved the “Hold Me” segment, which featured John Constantine (amongst other characters from Gaiman’s Sandman series) and was drawn by Dave McKean, whose pen work is simply magnificent… I love his squiggles… they do something for me… and the story, well… it really did something for me as well… amazing what wonders simply being held does for the soul.

Inching along with the postcards

Well, I’ve come a little bit further with my Colors of India postcards… it’s all moving so slowly. I’ve still been under the weather, though I’m finally on an upswing… must be that Z-pak the doctor prescribed this weekend. Hopefully we’ll all be germ-free shortly and feeling spritely again.

The upper left corner has an image of Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god. The following are quotes from Wikipedia:

Ganesha is worshipped as the lord of beginnings, the lord of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences, and the god of intellect and wisdom. He is honoured with affection at the start of any ritual or ceremony and invoked as the “Patron of Letters” at the beginning of any writing.

He is the Lord of Obstacles both of a material and spiritual order. He can place obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked, and can remove blockages just as easily. The Sanskrit terms vighnakartā (“obstacle-creator”) and vighnahartā (“obstacle-destroyer”) summarize the dual functions. Both functions are vital to his character, as Robert Brown explains: Even after the Purāṇic Gaṇeśa is well-defined, in art Gaṇeśa remained predominantly important for his dual role as creator and remover of obstacles, thus having both a negative and a positive aspect.

Paul Courtright says that:
Gaṇeśa is also called Vighneśvara or Vighnarāja, the Lord of Obstacles. His task in the divine scheme of things, his dharma, is to place and remove obstacles. It is his particular territory, the reason for his creation.

I find it interesting that many Hindu gods (in fact, the whole pantheon of gods in general) have this duality in their nature. Is it so surprising that we mere mortals are “afflicted” with the same attribute? So much time and effort is expended into quashing our shadow sides instead of honoring them as an integral part of who we are… the push and pull that moves us forward… toward completion of a cycle. Each has a purpose, and each can be harnessed to move us forward. I believe that transcendence begins with acceptance.