Tag Archives: mail

Storm Circle

Here is an artist book done in October 2017. Using acrylics, I painted the pages on ad cards I received in the mail. Then I assembled it into a book by folding and stapling the cards. They are not all the same size, so some pages peek over other ones.

Then I wrote words to go with the pages as poetry/text. I didn’t want to cover any parts of the paintings – interrupting their full expression seemed to interrupt their meanings, or at least the enjoyment of a person examining all the details. So I typed up the words and put book and pages into a clear plastic envelope to keep them together.

I will show you the pages with their associated words. Then – the whole poem at the bottom of the post.

But first: Front Cover and Back Cover:

Storm Circle

Thunderclouds
spun up out of a blue bad temper.

The house. The green field
beyond the fence.
Unsuspecting.

The sky

The sky
sliced open in clean-edged cuts.
Lightning
strikes the field.
Again.
Again.
Again.

Thunder
splits

the air
a wedge of
unfallen rain

the signal given
lets loose
a blue fury

all-out breakneck rain
slowing its blows
becoming
frail
uncertain
dissipating into gray
old age

ending.
A streak of sunlight
across the green field
brilliant orange

fading into
pink illumination
showing the way into evening
the storm
a memory
The field vibrates
electric green

10/10/17

Here is the whole poem.

Storm Circle

Thunderclouds
spun up out of a blue bad temper.

The house. The green field
beyond the fence.
Unsuspecting.

The sky

The sky
sliced open in clean-edged cuts.
Lightning
strikes the field.
Again.
Again.
Again.

Thunder
splits

the air
a wedge of
unfallen rain

the signal given
lets loose
a blue fury

all-out breakneck rain
slowing its blows
becoming
frail
uncertain
dissipating into gray
old age

ending.
A streak of sunlight
across the green field
brilliant orange

fading into
pink illumination
showing the way into evening
the storm
a memory
The field vibrates
electric green

10/10/17
artist book

Crossing in the Mail

This post is the story of a collaboration between me and Kerfe at Method Two Madness. We are posting the wrap-up today. Take a look at her blog post to see her side of the story.

A while back I wrote a post that showed some mail art postcards that incorporated handwriting. I’ve been on a plan to improve my handwriting for some time and the topic keeps spilling into my artwork, too.

In the comments to the post I mentioned the technique of crossing lines of handwritten text, used in the past to save paper. You would write a letter, send it, and the recipient would cross the paper with their own words and send it back. I did various items in this style – I love the curly intertwined look.

Anyway, in the comments, Kerfe at Method Two Madness and I got to talking. The upshot of things is that we decided to try this crossing thing ourselves.

Long and short, we sent each other handwritten pages in the US Mail. Then, we crossed the received pages with our own words and sent them back. We ended up with our original letters and much more. Here’s my side of the experience. I’ll go in chronological order as it happened to me.


First, I wrote to Kerfe. I had no idea what to write. I kept putting it off. Finally I got hold of myself, took me and my pen and notebook over to the Dixon Meadow Preserve about 15 minutes from home (I wrote a post about this trip with some nice photos – look here). I walked out into the preserve and sat on a bench on the boardwalk in a beautiful sunny day.

I wrote a couple of pages about how it felt to be sitting in this place at this particular time – one day, unique. I felt at peace. Here are my handwritten results:

Mailing the letter was the next step. When I sent these pages off to Kerfe in the mail, I also sent her some photos, so she could see the place I was writing from.


Then, Kerfe’s letter to me arrived. I realize now I did not keep a copy of it as it appeared originally, but I know she has this image for you to see at her site. But I can tell you, she wrote an amusing narrative about handwriting itself as it has appeared in her life.

Once again, I was confused as to what I might write (Kerfe set a high standard). I settled for another stream of consciousness handwriting explosion, relating what was happening to me that very day.

Looking at this beautiful tangle of words, I wondered if she could read any of it. To help out, I typed out my words in the line formation they took on the page.

1.
Well, the rain falls all morning and the sound
of it on the roof can make a drum corps sit
up and take notice and drive the thoughts
right out of your mind and send the cat
to hide down in the basement and I’d follow
him too but I’m a lot busier than the cat is
or so I’d like to think but maybe it’s all
just filling the hours every day all day
with the cooking (what do you think of a spinach
quiche for dinner?) and washing clothes
or at least taking the clothes to the washer
so the patient machine can do the work while
I watch and stand ready to assist with the
folding and so on all of the while considering
the idea of ironing, maybe later in the week
and washing the shelves where I store my clay
work in progress which I did manage to get a
load of tiles in the kiln, in fact they are in
there right how and I don’t know if you’ve
ever considered what it would be like to be a
clay tile in an 1800-degree kiln and is it worse
than a piece of bread in a toaster which of
course is a silly thing to imagine but more
interesting than counting ingredients for dinner?

Then things went a little off-center in my head. Somehow I got the idea to re-write the “poem” but in another voice (I did not handwrite it, I just typed.)

2.
Well, it precipitates throughout the pre-noon hours and the noise
of it on the rolls of asphalt sheeting that form a covering on the house can make a percussion ensemble
pay attention and whip the cogitations
out of your head into the ether and compel the resident feline
to take cover in the lower levels of the house and I’d accompany him
but my obligations to the smooth running of my home occupy me fully, more so than any feline,
or that is my impression though perhaps the entirety of it is
mindless activities repeated over and over until I am dead
including food preparation (give me your opinion of a tasty spinach
egg pie for tonight’s meal) and laundering our garment collection
or at the minimum supplying the washing machine with a steady diet
so the ever-willing appliance can do the heavy lifting while
I observe and maintain my readiness to handle
making the garments drawer or hanger-ready and the like all while reflecting upon
the topic of pressing the clothes with a hot-plated instrument at a later time in this seven-day period
and cleaning the storage area where I maintain my supply of pre-ceramic material
work in progress my current backlog of which I have just today
fired up in the kiln, the assortment being located there at the moment and I wonder if you
might at some time have given thought to the experience of being
a clay tile in a hellish inferno of 1800 degrees F and comparing it to
that of a slice of bread enduring the electric coils of a toaster being admittedly
an asinine and senseless time-wasting thought path but of greater fascination
than enumerating the components of tonight’s dinner?

Then I did it again, one last time.

3.
Whole lot of rain all blessed morning the racket
on the roof drown out a drummer standing on your head
deafen him you too if you could think that long
blow your last nerve and that cat knowing what was good for him
cowering in the basement me too
but I’m a whole lot more important than the blessed cat
I don’t think it I know it but sometimes I get the idea maybe it’s all just a whole lot of back and forth
spiced up with cooking things like spinach quiche (hoity-toity dinner night
once in a while, what is the matter with that?) and laundry blessed laundry
though thank the heavens I’m just putting it in the machine
not beating the clothes on a rock let the washer do that I say
It’s hard enough standing around
doing that folding until I lose patience just throw it in the basket thinking of
the blessed ironing sometime next century if I can put it off that long
and scrubbing down those filthy dusty shelves where I store the clay
masterpieces I make no it’s not a hobby I make MONEY at it and I did
get a load of those blessed tiles in the kiln
that’s blasting away at them right now and here’s a thought
imagine yourself
a piece of dried mud stuck in an oven hot enough to melt metal and then
compared to an English muffin say in the toaster I laugh at you
bothering to listen to me and think about this it’s so dumb but it’s better than
figuring out how to make a spinach quiche for dinner, right?


I sent Kerfe a couple of photos of my basement to round out the package.

And some mail-art postcards composed of lists (I make a lot of lists) with some extra handwriting on them. I wanted to commemorate her theme of handwriting history.


The last part of this experience was receiving my letter, crossed by Kerfe. She did each page separately and in a different way. They are beautiful.

Here is my original page 1 now crossed by Kerfe,  with her typed words below.

Here is my original page 2 now crossed by Kerfe, and with her words typed out below.

 

A friendship strengthened by the power of words, that’s where we end up. I am grateful. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope for many good words to come your way today.

Yellow House Postcard

In May I visited my son in Washington, DC, for the day. We walked over to his office. On the way I saw a row of houses. Very cute little guys they were, and the yellow one in particular.

I took a photo. When I came home, I made this drawing and colored it. Then I sent it in the mail to my son.

I’m wondering if I’ve already told you this story. Well, if so, why not again – this little house deserves a second glance…

postcard-houses-in-washington-dc-2016-small

Pressed, Not Ironed, #4

More printed postcards. These are a bit warmer. As cousins to the cooler-toned cards, well, they add a little zip to the gathering, maybe.

Please Check the Mailbox #1

I have a nicely-filled box of cardboard rectangles cut into postcard size, 4.25″ x 6″. So, when I’m painting, and I have some extra paint on the brush – I sometimes keep a pile of these ready to finish off that paint. Then, later on, I take these cards and see what I can do with them. I have a supply built up and you can see the way my mind goes from session to session in what I did to these cards. Here is an initial group, from about a month or so ago.

Questions, Anyone? About Painted Postcards

Several people have asked me questions about the painted postcards recently displayed. In the interest of spreading around this form of mail art, here go a few answers.

1. What’s the surface you’re painting on?

And the answer is, ad cards I receive in the mail. They look like these:

ad cards small

They have shiny, slick surfaces that are great to paint on. Occasionally the surface may be too shiny – you can sand it a little or throw out the card and try another. I have found that paint may chip off some of them as well (there is no tooth to this surface and to gesso it or the like destroys the ad card surface I so love). So, I let them dry thoroughly and then I coat them with acrylic medium, gloss or matte, doesn’t matter. This stops the chipping and gives a nice finish to them.

I don’t buy anything to make these cards. It’s all recycled. My friends help me out and leave their ad cards for me, usually in grocery bags set on my porch. You laugh, but it works. I turn out a lot of these.

You could use any surface you want or any paper you want, taking into consideration it needs to be sturdy enough to handle the mailing process.

2. What kind of paints?

I use acrylics and I load them on thickly with a brush. Sometimes I use a plastic spackle spreader or a plastic knife with serrated edges.

3. Procedure?

Usually I have a lot of these lined up and they begin as a place to put the extra paint from my brush that I’m using for some other project. I hate to waste paint. Later on I work on them one at a time until I’m happy with the result.

postcards in process small

4. Do you paint both sides?

Yes. Then I pick the one I like best for the “image” side and the other is for the address.

5. Will they hold up in the mail?

Yes. I send them all the time. I’ve mailed dozens, if not hundreds. More likely, hundreds, now that I think of it. You need to put extra postage on them, though – I put first class letter postage rather than postcard. Better safe than sorry.

6. Can I use some other paint or technique?

Sure, why not? I make collaged cards as well or ones that I’ve glued drawings to or whatever. Mix and match. I’m just talking about the painted ones here.

7.  Can you send me one?

Certainly. Email me your address at claudiamcgillart@gmail.com .

Deliver the Mail

Recently I sent a package. Being thrifty, I re-used an envelope that I had received. The post office tells you to mark out any previous shipping information. When I did, with a heavy black marker, I was irresistibly reminded of a truck. So, I just went on and decorated the package with this truck and driver.

I just couldn’t help myself.

The moral of this story is: The envelope can be as important as the contents!

Mail Me

Two mail art postcards. They are done in acrylics and painted on ad cards (you know, the slick shiny printed matter that comes – free – to your mailbox). I do like their slippery surfaces and the interaction of the printed pictures and text already on the card with the paint.

Here is a shout-out to my friend Martha, who every so often slips up to my porch and leaves a bag of ad cards and the like for me to use. I appreciate it, because I go through a lot of them. Thank you, Martha!

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Mail art. That’s where it goes! Off into the world to land far away. Or maybe just a few miles away. Doesn’t matter. Opening the mailbox and finding some mail is great, I think.

These items are done on ad cards I received in the mail – the kind that urge you to get new windows or attend an art opening or visit a retirement community for a sales lunch.

I see that these all are kind of circle-y, aren’t they?

Eight by Eight

Here are three acrylic paintings done on 8″ x 8″ masonite. I’ve done a few paintings in this size and I really like it. Seems to be a good amount of room for me to spread around my big brushstrokes but not too much to be intimidating. I have bought more surfaces in this size as a result and look forward to painting on them.