Monday, April 30, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Slugs and Prints

This week flew right by. While I was a little sad to find nothing in my mail box, I was delighted to hear that two packages arrived at their destinations.

In their postbox...

I had set aside an old atlas page for a mail art envelope ages ago but it wasn't until I was putting together Barbara's mail art package that I found the perfect fit. Her home town of Kamloops was highlighted perfectly so that my stamp and address label fit around the town. There's a great shot of the finished envelope on Barbara's blog. In this perfectly suited envelope I stuffed in a print of my first arthouse sketchbook page that I thought she'd enjoy, being an avid gardener. I made two mini envelopes and stuffed one with bugs and bees and the other with cats. A few clippings including a funny New Yorker cartoon, geometric shapes, a Russian flashcard and a gardening clipping with a wonderful quote about spring. I topped off the package with a couple of silhouette prints.

Sarah received my reply to our first exchange with a bright magenta envelope stuffed full of prints, stamps, drawings stickers and a local postcard. Sarah lives in the UK and I thought it might be interesting to send along some Canadian stamps as well as a postcard that highlights the landscape right around my town on the island.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

4x6 Trade

I was tempted by the thought of Arthouse Coop's 4x6 exchange project but dissuaded by the necessity to have a US stamp on the envelope. While I was asking Twitter what they thought, Marcus at Lucky Jack Press offered a personal trade. I took Marcus up on his offer and quickly got to work.

After some hemming and hawing, starts and stops, I decided to create a self-portrait. I used some of the handmade watercolour paper I received from Jill and started with a wash of green, grey and black in the background. I penciled in my head using my sketchbook page as a reference. I cut the face out and created three, two-sided inserts. I used magazine clippings, illustrations, origami paper and stickers. Each side represents a memory or event.

I put tabs on each insert after realizing it wasn't very easy to get each one in and out.

Marcus replied with fold-out 4x6 card representing elements of his surroundings in the Yukon. A mixed media polar bear with a stoic gaze appears on one side while the inside's colours are reminiscent of a Yellowknife sunset.

The other side held a photo of the northern lights. It took me a little time to recall where I was when I saw them in person. With a little help from my mother, I was able to recall that it was likely on a camping trip in northern or central Saskatchewan. Away from the city lights where the stars are piercingly bright and the gentle waves of aurora borealis can be seen dancing across the sky. It's really magical.

A Baker Lake art postcard was also included with a message that conveyed a longing for spring. I think all Canadians are feeling the same way, no matter how mild or harsh the winter.

Marcus had been teasing me with hints of the story of Sedna. While this initial trade didn't have any Sedna illustrations, I'm pleased to read that our trade will continue and perhaps Sedna will appear one of these days.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Self Portrait

I was having a particularly bad day a few weeks ago. Instead of wallowing in my funk, I picked up a scrap of cardboard and started to draw my self portrait. I felt like shades of grey and brown but I mixed bright colours with my gouache. The light pencil lines and the rhythm of filling in the shapes felt therapeutic. Before too long the fog was lifting and my shoulders straightened.

It's one of the better likenesses of myself I've created. It's honest; I look tired and a bit worn.

This reminds me of  My Many Coloured Days by Dr. Seuss; a book I often read before I put my daughter down. Specifically these two passages:

Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.

But it all turns out all right, you see. And I go back to


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

LE Sketchbook: Suitcase

The suitcase sits by the front door again. Ready for another week away.

See the rest of my Limited Edition Sketchbook pages.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Colour and Postcards

This week had a colourful package arrive to a dear friend. My first collaborative postcard and a small surprise arrived in my mailbox.

In their postbox...

Kye received the most colourful package I could gather together. I enlisted the help of my minions children to paint some cards as a thank you for the little mail art bags that Kye sent to them. I decorated a couple of small envelopes to match and tucked then inside a larger envelope with prints, stamps and clippings.

In my postbox...

The first postcard in our new exchange arrived in an intimidating timeline. Jessica's first piece shows a masterful use of materials, balance and restraint. The words on the card read "you and I the entire species represented in paintings". Lovely, right?

Her package also included a wealth of ephemera including clippings, stickers and string for my contribution.

I have been working on her reply and it appears that I may need a few rounds to get my collage kinks out. I don't seem to have Jessica's talent for balance and restraint. The fact that it makes me a little uncomfortable is a good thing. It's a challenge and it's making me push my limits a little.

Catherine put together a delightful collection of items shortly before welcoming her first child into the world. Along with pictures of boats and sheep, she included a card with her first repeating pattern.

My orphaned postcard from Post Muse arrived this week to my surprise and delight. I sent her an email in September and had long since settled on my email being lost along the way. This fountain in NYC holds a special memory for my husband and I. We visited the fountain on one of our two trips to New York in the Fall. On this occasion I didn't feel like battling any crowds and we spent two glorious days walking through all of central park.

This next week will be a mix of mail art, scanning and mailing my Limited Edition Sketchbook, and lots of gardening, if the weather permits. What are your plans?


Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

LE Sketchbook: Bottle Our Time

Store it. Save it. Bring it out when we need it.

See the rest of my Limited Edition Sketchbook pages.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

LE Sketchbook: Just the two of us

After the kids are asleep. Just the two of us.

See the rest of my Limited Edition Sketchbook pages.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Changes and Bowl Cuts

After a nice, but exhausting Easter long weekend I took a small break in my mail art posts. I'm back to normal today with a couple of great packages.

In their postbox...

I was inspired by a postcard Jessica created and decided to change our mail art exchange. I gathered a collection of odds and ends and wrote a short list of rules. A 5x7 card of any material is sent along with a selection of goodies. We are allowed 3 extras of any sort but glue is a freebie. We will send the finished postcard as well as another collection of bits back.

It turns out that this past week marked the first full year that Jessica and I have been exchanging mail art. How appropriate that on this week I change our correspondence! Perhaps we'll keep this theme for a year.

In my postbox...

Emily replied to my 'hugging' skunk envelope with a sweet kissing fish package. Inside I found a eclectic array of paper ephemera. A hello fishie card greeting me while the bright blue puff fell on my toes as I opened the envelope. I giggled at the 80s haircut (one that I may have had in my youth) in the teeth brushing picture and gazed at the moments captured in the night sky picture and dinosaur costume postcard.

One of my favourite things about mail art exchanges is seeing the paper different types of paper ephemera. Old book pages, new-to-me magazine clippings, packaging, etc. If you exchange mail art, what's your favourite part?


Friday, April 13, 2012

LE Sketchbook: Errands

A week's worth of errands and activities packed into a day. Fueled by ambition and coffee.

See the rest of my Limited Edition Sketchbook pages.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

LE Sketchbook: Home

Shoes by the door. Home at last.

See the rest of my Limited Edition Sketchbook pages.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LE Sketchbook: On Your Way Home to Me

A sweet feeling. A mixture of excitement, anticipation and happiness.

See the rest of my Limited Edition Sketchbook pages.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Washi Paintings

A few weeks ago I made a few more washi paper paintings. This time I used gouache instead of watercolour and opted for blind contour drawings while using pictures of seed pods as a reference.

Spring was on my mind. I've been spending many hours reading through my gardening books and magazines and dreaming of planting seeds and the first leaves poking through the soil.

Small Petals


Pod 2

I often feel a renewed sense of energy and creativity in the spring. I use brighter colours in my work and draw inspiration from the blossoms and bright green sprouting all around me.

Is your creativity renewed during a certain season?


Monday, April 2, 2012

Mail Art Monday: Chickens and Vintage Paper

I had two outstanding packages that I have a hunch have arrived but don't know for certain. I'm taking a chance and posting about them this week. Apologies if they are a spoiler.

In their postbox...

Jill sent me an original painting of a chicken so I returned the favour with a clipping I found in National Geographic. Along with the clipping, I included a vintage camera picture with  many circles snapshots. A silhouette postcard, a grasshopper print as well as a local postcard were tucked inside a handmade number envelope. A pile of star stickers and a few pieces of washi paper finished off the package. Jill had sent me some lovely handmade watercolour paper and so I sent her some of the washi paper I've been using lately. I've used her paper for a 4x6 exchange, which I'll be sharing soon.

Jessica recently moved from Australia to America and I'm hoping my package arrived before the trek. Inside the shell envelope I included a sailboat watercolour print, many bits of paper ephemera and a few stamps.

In my postbox...

Belinda's package arrived in another beautiful see-through envelope. A letter was written on vintage onion paper. A slight diversion, if you will. She mentioned that the paper was from the 80s and I, being born in the late 70s and a child of the 80s, have a hard time reconciling that 80s items are considered vintage. That means I'M VINTAGE!! Anyhoo... focus, Jeannine! Belinda's love of colour was apparent in each item she selected. It was a cloudy day when this arrived and my spirits were lifted to see so much happy, bright colours grouped together.

I have put aside my mail art making for the last few weeks in order to concentrate on finishing up my Arthouse Limited Edition Sketchbook. I also signed up for the Map Project. Both are due to mail by the end of April and neither are done. In fact, one isn't even started. Eeps! I should be able to squeeze in a week of mail art before I panic over arthouse... maybe.

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