Friday, March 16, 2012

The Postcard Challenge 2012

Week 11  The Netherlands

Week 11 finds our Bookseller in The Netherlands. He sounds like a happy tourist and proud owner of a very important antique map: Bleau color map of Africa, 1617, framed so viewer is able to see both sides.
Translation of Hank's postcard:

The Netherlands are as beautiful as they are interesting. Lots of prints and maps in all the bookstores. I bought a beautifiul Bleau color map of Africa in a two sided frame. This is the Dutch edition from about 1617,
Paid a ton for it, but I think we can do well with it (I hope)

An American, Mary Mapes Dodge, wrote a book in 1865 called Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland. This book is where the story of the boy who stuck his finger in the dike originated, but he was a different character,one who had no name in the book. Hans is a skater who, according to Wikipedia, introduced Americans to speed skating.
Amazon, last look, had 1196 copies of this title, in various editions and conditions. No one seems to have a copy of the true first edition, nor the first edition that was printed a year later in the Netherlands.
This is a digital enhancement of a watercolor painting i did of Hans. Not a good job at keeping poor Hans in good proportion, but I planned the space weirdly and did not give him quite enough room for his legs, so I tried to show them bending as he skates.  :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

P.S. here is a picture Hubbs thought was too much like the Empire State bldg, but it was originally for this week.  It also was only inspired by, but is nothing like the real thing, the fascinating and lovely Aurora Borealis.  (Please look below for the post card and make any comment for that for Week 10, not this one.)

Week 10 CANADA
Our Bookseller finds himself at home this week, taking care of the store while wifey flits up to Canada to see the Northern Lights again. Her sister generously drove her to see the Aurora Borealis in all its glory.  Rose has an obsession about them and will not sell books on the subject, hoarding them for herself.

 I forgot to change the handwriting on the generic card to mine, but this digitized so badly, you can't tell the difference anyway and will need the translation:

Dear Hank,

Thanks for taking over the store duties on your brief stay home. It was so wonderful to be able to see the Northern Lights again! My computer rendering does them no justice! I will be back before this card.

In her call to him, she tells him he can share what she is seeing in part by checking out the book: AURORA The Mysterious Northern Lights, by Candace Savage. Firefly. 2001. BUT, she warns him, DO NOT DARE SELL THAT BOOK!  She, of course, treasures it for herself.
If he can't find it:" just GOOGLE, and then look at Aurora Borealis in the various colors.  FANTASTIC!  Too bad the solar flare did not allow you to see it in NY this week."

For this image, I looked at various photos of the Aurora Borealis, and then did several fantasy 'paintings' with some of the colors, and merged two of them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Week 9     Switzerland

Our Bookseller is still flitting around Wales, revisiting Hay-on-Wye, and other attractions, and settling down at The Dragon, in Swansea, birthplace of Dylan Thomas. He might go to Switzerland before next week, but for now, he is the recipient of another post card, from Wifey.

TRANSLATION of Wifey's handwriting:
Dear Husband,
I failed to place in the race in Switzerland, but at least I did not fall off the camel (at anytime I was on one.) Yes, I rode that camel, but not in Switzerland, and certainly not recently, so don't panic. The race was in 2008. I was nowhere near Dielsdorf at the time.I am still slaving in the store. LOL!
Doug and Sebastian told me they would drop off this postcard at the hotel on their way back to Scotland. Isn't it fun? Do you remember seeing it before? Actually, I copied it from a photo someone took of me when I was in Egypt, in case you don't. When things are slow at the store, I whip out the art supplies, andI finish things like this off on the computer. 

CONTINUATION FROM POSTCARD, in a note in a book she has sent to Hank:

See? I am keeping busy! 

   We had this book in the store, so I sent it along,with the boys, too. (Adventure Divas: Searching the Globe for a New Kind of Heroine, by Holly Morris. Villard. 2005.) You might read it to unwind after a long day of hiking the Matterhorn, or whatever you are doing between bookstore visits. It's pretty interesting and light reading. She is an amazing woman! Amongst other things, she climbs the Matterhorn, and even becomes the first woman ever to enter the traditional camel race of the Saharan oasis town of Timia. In the Tuareg camel race, Holly came in second (to last.) So,how appropriate is it for this trip? It is very inexpensive, so you can leave it for the next traveler in the club car of the train or at the airport.

   Take the guys out to dinner before they leave or get lost in the Alps. Give them hugs for me.

 BLAME SHERI for my card!  I felt pressed for time and rather than starting something new for this week's card, I asked Sheri to find a way to let me use what I was drawing/painting at the time. When she wasn't fast enough, I had to resort to Google once again. :) It just happens that there is an actual foundation for such a convolution of images and ideas as my Swiss postcard. 

The original photo of the gentleman and the camel:  (AP Photo / Keystone, Patrick B. Kraemer)

Friday, February 24, 2012


   At first, because I was very busy and because I could not think of a legitimate reason for our Bookseller to get an ok to travel to Cuba, I was not going to do this week's postcard. The pull was irresistible, however. :) 
  Week 8 does NOT find our Bookseller in Cuba.  He had wanted to meet his friend Nick there, but Americans are restricted from travel to Cuba unless they have a special license. He had no legitimate reason to travel there, so he stayed on in Dylan country, Wales, for some relaxation and exploration.
   Hank calls every day but is sure to send a post card from each place he visits. Wifey, who loves the postcards and adds them to her personal collection, decided to send him one, for a change, since he is missing out on a trip to Cuba.


I forgot about the generic postcard I created last week, but finally did use it for 'age' color. I found a vintage Cuban card online for inspiration and one for postage. As you will see in the 
next picture, it is Cuban postage,but sorta authentic (VINTAGE.) 

 My handwriting is almost as bad as Hank's, so here is a translation:

Dear Hubby, 
   So glad you were able to get a room at The Dragon! Enjoy! Too bad you could not meet Nick in Cuba.  Thought I'd send you a vintage Cuban pc I found in the store, stamped and all.  Altho in an envelope, I pasted your temp. address over original. 
   The calls are good, but I do enjoy the postcards!

I copied this postcard from a vintage Cuban postcard I found online, including the Saying on it. I used Derwent's INKTENSE Outliner pencil to draw and then the color pencils to watercolor. I used them DRY and then used a wet brush to make them truly watercolor.
Using INKTENSE before learning how to watercolor was not smart for me because it is as I always used to think of watercolor-unforgiving. Once the wet has dried, it is permanent! One is left to cover the mistakes with layers or live with them. I did a bit of both.
I finally uploaded the pic and that is where I copied the lettering and edited it to fit. Otherwise, I tried to not cover over the INKTENSE so you could see how much of a beginner I am. :) Most of it is original color except where I overlaid the lettering. That required editing.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Yikes, here I go again for the umpteenth time.  I nearly lost all my WALES stuff here, but Clare, Jen, and Tanya helped me get most of it back and encouraged me.  Thanks!  Jean, they filled in for your tech help whilst you slept.

SO, all I lost was:

   everything else is below

 This is a GENERIC postcard template I did to save time in the future. I added correct postage, more than necessary, because I wanted to use both the Roald Dahl stamps and the one issued for Wales this year. I even hand cancelled the final one because it was easier than looking for correct AND cancelled stamps. I even copied Hank's address/writing to save him time. All of the next postcards will have fronts done this way. Lazy, eh?

Week 7 finds our Bookseller in Wales. He sends a postcard from a town full of bookstores- Hay-on-wye! How great is that? Wifey and he have both wanted to see that since forever, and now he has. The book he mentions is A MARVELOUS 2 Volume set, leather bound, with more than 90 plates of The Border Antiquities of England and Scotland; Comprising Specimens of Architecture and Sculpture. (Gotta love those castles, for example!)

Translation of Hank's words:
Dear Wife,
Wales is beautiful, but could use more sun. Visited Hay-on-Wye. Bought there a stunning copy of Walter Scott's Border Antiquities 1818.  A hard sell in the US but I fell in love with it. Still dying for a slice of pizza.  Hope all is well at home. "Wish you were here."
Luv, Hubby Hank


I saw a wonderfully angry sky photo of a castle in Wales. It motivated me to start the picture below with the dollar set of watercolors. I found Neocolors II in my stash and my daughter gave me more loose ones. I finished this as best I could, using the Neocolors II and uploaded. It actually looks better in person for some reason.

I must say, I didn't need many colors for this. Sure felt dark and stormy with these few, but hope springs eternal and a bit of clearing up is going on (more so in the digitized version than my original, where colors are darker.) BUT I do love the Neocolors II and hope to get better using them.

Darcy, thanks for all the fun and learning this challenge has meant! See you next week.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Apologies to poor Hank. Last week he did delete the salutation Dear, and thought he had written Wifey, which has always been ok with me.  He never did leave out LOVE, I just thought he did even though it was right there on screen. Two old codgers!  Someone suggested maybe he was distracted by the maids.  Not sure how he took that comment.  LOL!
Week 6 finds our bookseller in Belgium.

The above, almost not there drawing, was a #2 pencil drawing based on a lovely miniature of  the scribe Jean Mielot, 2nd half of the 15th century. He did illuminated manuscripts, amongst other things. It is at the Brussels Royal Library.

After using watercolor (a kid's set from the dollar store) I still needed color, so I used markers again, but this time BIC. I uploaded this as yet unfinished picture and used a graphic program to continue working.
I deleted the little bench in the original drawing, manipulated the image to fix the window, and called it complete, even though I see a touch not colored in near the edge of the right wall.
Watercolors? Guess I need something more than the dollar set, and/or more patience. Markers are not blendable and although the Bic set had more than the Sharpies set I have, neither were adequate.

This is the final ADDRESS side to the postcard. OH, my! Color again did me in. The TIFF file I saved this in came out in horrible color and resolution, so I put it into graphic program and resaved it as a .jpg file. Much better, although I just cut and pasted the text sections with the old colors and one never knows what it looks like on someone else's screen.
Dear Wife,
Belgium is nice, quaint. Bought Sir Haig's WWI battle maps in original box. 100th anniv. is coming up. Lots to celebrate here. Hope all is well at home. "wish you were here." Love, Hubby Hank

NEXT week maybe I will try some of the watercolor pencils I dug upin my stash of art supplies from decades ago. Some have never been used, so we shall see what, if any, improvements they can make with the next postcard.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I thought i'd show my first steps in making my post card this week. First I decided on another costume card and found some online to use as motivation. 
I drew the girl with a #2 pencil and took a picture of it with Photo Booth because I was unable to use the scanner at the time. I sent this as email and saved it to my desktop. I uploaded the picture of the drawing to two basic graphic programs because neither do all that I'd like to be able to do. I have to switch back and forth, changing from .png to .jpg and vice versa as I work on the drawing.

LOL! Sorry, could not help it when I saw this staring out at me. It is the drawing uploaded to the graphic programs and it shows the first 'painting' steps using both programs, going back and forth between them. (Despite what I called it, it is NOT scanned.)
This is the postcard after I finished painting the costumed girl and added and manipulated the other three images (from three different sources.)
  Finally, I filled in the background with various cuts and pastes of painted swatches I did pixel by pixel by pixel.  I can only imagine in horror having to fill the whole background in pixel by pixel. Texture or variations in color are  not 'fillable'  in one easy step, to my limited knowledge of both these programs.

The Bookseller finds himself in France and remembers to send his wife a post card with a costume.
The postcard address side was found online, and manipulated to add appropriate postage and cancellation. Hubby then wrote the card. Translation below. Card was then scanned and uploaded.

Wife, (did he really leave out the salutation Dear?)
Paris is like a wonderful dream, very beautiful and interesting. Charming places to buy books.  Picked up First French illustrated edition of the Count of Monte Cristo, 1846, exquisite gold tooled full leather binding. May not make much money on it, but I fell in love with it. Could not resist.
"wish you were here"
(hmmpff, forgot Love, ?)
OOPS!  my mistake, it is there-Love, Hank

Friday, January 27, 2012

The 4th week finds the Bookseller in China.

Ok,  STILL stuck in Sharpies and digital modes.  I drew a  weird and not very pretty dragon,  based on a card I saw somewhere. Then I "painted" with Sharpies, uploaded it to two different programs to be able to do the simple manipulations I wanted to do and the digital fill-in coloring for background and to make sign, etc.  Found a Chinese pc online, digitally erased and recolored and "stamped" with correct postage on address/writing side.  Printed that out, got the writing done by spouse, and finally uploaded whole mess here.  It is a fun challenge, despite what progress it looks like I am making with all this new stuff. Story line is suffering, to be sure.  Will have to work on that.

Translation of Hank's writing:
Dear Wife,
I just love China. Great pizza! (ha ha) Country is in a building frenzy. They say the national bird is the "Crane." Picked up 17th c. album of landscape paintings by Huang Chun, which we can sell at auction.  Wish you were here. Luv, Hank.
He HAD wanted to add but did not have room on this card: Really love the history, sights, and the people.  Having traversed the Great Wall made him happy.  His sense of humor never changes, so he managed a couple of shots at it despite lack of writing room.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Week three finds the Bookseller in Brazil.  

He writes: Now in Rio! So much to do. Picked up a nice philatelic gem in an antique shop: Napier's Stamps of the First Issue of Brazil, with all 40 plates in rear pocket. Pub. in 1923, #57 of 200 copies. It is in English so I got it at a good price. Will put $750 on it. Got to go. Wish you were here. Love, Hank.

This is an interpretation of a vintage post card. It shows Cristo Redentor, a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world, 2300 ft. above the city . (See Wikipedia.)  I drew it with Sharpies (oh, my, never again) and uploaded it and did more coloring digitally.  That is a propeller plane flying in front of the statue. Below can be seen Sugarloaf Mt.

Friday, January 13, 2012

That was painful!

NOW, I hope, I will get this week's post card posted.
The Bookseller, having heard from his wife that all is well, is now in Spain, a country always dear to her for many reasons.
The front is a poorly rendered drawing, reminiscent of the vintage Spanish Flamenco post cards which were often embroidered.  Alas, this one is not, as it would surely have improved it. The flowers and Spanish symbol are digital enhancements.

The address side of the postcard is a digital image altered and appropriate postage digitally added.

If you cannot read his handwriting, which, thankfully, his wife can, it says:
Dear Wife,
 Como se dice? Biss! In one day, the Home of Cervantes (how Jen would love it, and think of it each time she looked at her Don Quixote print) and the home of Lope de Vega AND charming little bookstores in the "Barrio de las Letras" neighborhood in Madrid.  Tomorrow I will visit the PRADO which is nearby. As usual, will mail books to the store.  
su esposo

I seem to have lost, more than once now, last week's comments and post cards. I will try to put the post cards back before I post this week's.
This is the front of a repro postcard I made by altering a digital image of a 1927 Austrian postcard. It was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Beethoven.
The address side of the repro was made similarly, with appropriate postage and a postmark.
The Bookseller writes to his wife/partner in New York.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First Attempt! Thanks for the Motivation, DarcyW, and the Help, Julia and Sandy

  Having been online since 1984, and never having had a Blog, Darcy's 2012 challenge was just too hard to resist. Of course, I may not get any art done, or even develop the story line, but it is such fun just to think about the possibilities!  I am anxious to see all the responses she gets.