This has been a very difficult card, and as I write this I am still not sure what I intend to do. My recipient has said on her profile that she does not want to receive any hand-made cards or painted. She was in fact very strident on what she did and did not want to receive which but my back up. So do I paint her a card or not?
Now Postcrossing make it very clear that the choice of what is sent is up to the sender and while the receiver my put forward a preference they cannot dictate what you send. So I have painted a postcard, but now I don’t really want to send it. Maybe I will just share it with you on the blog and send her an ordinary postcard. Not sure. Don’t want to send something I spent hours in creating to someone who has already said they do not want it.
- Topic The topic was easy as the recipient likes tea and coffee and I wanted to do a tea-cup for her. I decided against a pretty rose print one and did a retro one as she likes the Beatles.
- Technique This postcard and the next I did on the weekend and I had time to get out my paints. I prefer acrylics as they are cleaner than oils, and easier to work with then gauche. I haven’t had the paints our for a while and it was good fun.
- Outcome Very happy with this one. It turned out how I wanted and it has a nice fresh feel to it. I have also refrained from putting a border around it.
I will let you know what I do with the card.
I thought that this postcard was going to be easy. Some of these postcards have been completed in under an hour, from image searching to finished article. The Coon Cat, which has been the favourite so far with readers and the one I feared the most was easy in the end. This one took me ages.
- Topic The recipient Klaus in Germany was a food and wine lover, someone after my own heart. I immediately had an idea for a postcard, I wanted to do a grapevine on a trellis. When I went searching for an image, I couldn’t find one that would work for me, getting very frustrated as I had seen the subject matter on plenty of wine bottle labels before, ( I admit to being familiar with plenty of wine bottles in my time), it wasn’t that unique. In my surfing I did find a number of pictures of tendrils so I decided to do tendrils on the wire instead. I have often admired the tenacious tendrils they have a mind of their own and are amazingly strong.
- Technique I wanted to show the difference in the materials I was drawing. It was clear in my mind. Black ink, cross hatched for the wire line. Pale cream of the tendril and muted greens for the background, showing hints of the vine leaves. The wire went well, the tendril took more time, but that background really tried to defeat me. You would not believe how many layers of colour are in that background. The first attempt had it too green and nothing stood out, so another four layers of colour and I had something close of my minds image.
Tendrils take 1
- Outcome Three hours of work, one hour of image hunting and it is still not as good as I had imagined it. Sometimes I just have to let go. I am happy with it, but would really like another go at it to see if I could get it better. I think it needs to be a bit closer so I can get the detail in that i need. As you can properly tell by now, I like cropped, closeup images. I really enjoy getting close to everyday items and showing them to people as they might not have looked at them before. That is what I see as one of the roles of art, to show people a different way of looking at the world, maybe they will then get more out of the world then they did before.
Well Klaus, I hope you like for postcard, it was made for you as an old world , from me a new world wine lover. Plenty of effort went into it and a couple of glasses of a very good Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsular. Great wine region near Melbourne.
Helsinki, Finland is my next destination. This made me happy as I have a soft spot for the design ethics of Scandinavia. I love the soft colours, the clean designs and the less is more approach. This of course made me think that I should do a postcard in this style. But wait. Is this appropriate? I want to make postcards specific to the person I am sending it to, but that does not mean that I should copy their style. I am sure I don’t want a postcard on what someone else feels is the Australian style.
But then again what is the Australian style? I like to think it is about clean, saturated colour of the sky, the red outback earth and blue sea. I think it is the feeling of space, of wide horizons. In an artistic sense, I see Europe as oils, USA as acrylic and Australia as watercolours. Not just the faded watercolours that show our ancient landscapes, but also the bright, full coloured watercolours that are transparent enough to let the white of the paper sparkle through.
- Topic So I went back to my earlier theme of wildflowers, Lelia mentioned she loved nature and I love Kangaroo Paws. They are an outlandish flower, really stiff, but soft, covered in a plush velvet. They are architectural and have a great colour. These I am familiar with as I have been drawing them for years.
- Technique (yes, changed this to technique as I am not changing the medium at the moment, too much in love with my new colour pencils. Did I tell you I have 120 different colours!!!! a girl could not dream of anything finer) I wanted to stylise the flower, while still giving it plenty of movement. I wanted really saturated colour for this, there are at least 6 layers of colour. I was going to colour the background, but decided on less was more and kept it simple and clean. My nod to Finish aesthetics.
- Outcome. Very happy with this, and so I should be, no pushing of the boundaries with this topic. You may be asking yourselves if I am not happy with a postcard will I send it. The answer is no. I have only done one bad one so far and that is not going anywhere. These postcards are going out for the world to see, I have my pride.
Maine Coon Cat to California
My next card is off to California, it is going to the Jensen Family. They love their cats and they have a Main Coon and a Persian Cat. I have heard about Main Coons they are big, fluffy cats with amazing eyes and huge ears. Now I must admit at this point I am a dog lover, but cats eyes are amazing.
It is interesting what people lead off with in their profile. The previous postcard went to the Russian couple whose first words were about how much they loved each other, while the Jenson’s led with their cats. I started with my name and where I live, how prosaic. I need to go back and revisit my profile as the most important things in my life are not my name and address. Yep, just went back and had another look at my profile and it is not showing what is really important to me in a dynamic way… now I just have to figure how to do just that.
- Topic Did not have to go far to get the topic, but what was I to do with it. I have rarely drawn a cat before and I it scares me. I looked up Main Coon cats, and they are great. So did I want to do a caricature, a full length portrait or what. No ideas came. I had to go back to what I loved about cats and it is their eyes, so vivid in colour, unlike dog’s usual brown. So finally settled on this picture of a close up of a main coon’s eye. I can tell you, the eye was fine to draw but how was I going to get all that fur to work.
- Medium Decided to go with a more natural style, still with coloured pencils but this time no outlines, no ink. This is a different style for me, I really like a good outline, crisp definition between objects. A good discipline to forgo this and let the shading delineate the differences in the cats face.
- Outcome Wasn’t so happy when I initially finished it. Had to walk away from it, as I was frightened I would over work it. Apart from the nose it came together fairly quickly. I was good and worked the drawing up gradually from light to dark, working over the whole picture rather than finishing one area before going on. Except for the eye of course, but that was the fun bit. But when I came back to it I was pleased , it has worked surprisingly well. Happy after all, some times drawings just need space apart and fresh eyes.
Pleased to let this little cat out into the world. It can leave this house of dogs and wing its way over to California. Hope they like it.
This is the reply I received from the Jensen Family
“wow – when your card arrived we were all amazed that someone would go to the effort to create such a work of art for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We all love the project you have created and are happy that we were lucky enough to be included. We looked at your web page and checked out the other 4 cards you have created and think they are awesome. Thank you again for doing such a great drawing and good luck with your future drawings, I know the recipients will be most happy when they receive them.
happy post crossings,
the Jensen Family”
Second card done. The concept is working well, for it is certainly taking me to areas I have never ventured into before in topics for my postcards.
It was February 14th when I received my next destination. Valentines Day is not something that I embrace, though it is gaining ground in Australia. There was plenty of talk around the office staff on how they were going to mark the day. Most were making some gesture either large or small. So it was fitting that my next card was going to couple in Moscow, who first line in the profile proclaimed that they were very much in love. The topic had to be love related.
- Topic I bowed down to the universe and went with the love theme, but what to do. They had also said that they liked The Beetles so a quick google of hearts and Beetles, took me straight to The Lonely Heart Club Band. Of course! Not that we had lonely hearts here, but scanning through the pictures, I found the logo for the album and decided to use this very 60s style in the postcard. A bit of a challenge to get the feel right for this period, but I am fairly happy with the outcome.
- Medium Again I have used coloured pencil and ink. This will be my standard choice for the moment as I need something that is easy to pick up and put down again quickly. I am drawing in snatched pieces of time and pencils are so easy to get out and use. I love the depth of colour that you get when you layer colour and even on these flat areas of colour I have used a couple of different colours to bring a vibrancy to the work.
- While certainly not my usual choice of topic, it has been a great deal of fun. I love drawing patterns and the colours used are from the logo and not my usual palette. It has done what the project is about and pushed me into different topics and colours.