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By mid-October ’19 I’d made 60 post cards that, in my mind, were designated for ebay at some point in the winter when I had a little more time to go through the tedious chore of listing items. I invited a friend to come see the ones I’d assembled. I tried to flesh-out my idea to sell them and wanted her valued opinion. Each post card was signed and numbered and had a pleasing appearance. I fully enjoyed my time spent on them and giving them attention and I thought it showed on each card I presented. I put each card in a sandwich baggie and tagged each bag with number and title of card. I made up an inventory on my computer and printed it out. I felt my concept was sketchy and hope it showed I was motivated to go in a good direction. I wanted to hear her views as to how I could well present them on ebay & the possibility of them doing well there or how well they might do in any local gift shops. She was instantly highly enthusiastic; she left my house with all 60 cards, presented them to a nearby and very new Coffee Shop minutes after leaving my house. While I was driving to work that morning at approx 11:40, she texted me that the Coffee Shop owners loved the cards and accepted all 60 for Consignment. I thought, okay, I’ll put the next batch on ebay….
I was thrilled at how well and easily my post cards were accepted by this brand new Coffee Shop as well as my friend and that I’d set off in this direction on such a good foot.
Within weeks the Coffee Shop had sold 8 cards and the money earned felt ‘real’ and so did the praise. I bought more blank cards and started making more Postcards, these designated for ebay sometime after Christmas, in the deep, doldrum days of January.
But, I never did got around to ebay. Mostly because I was so tired in the evening. My Companion/Client wore me out and by the time I got home — around 6:30– I was physically and emotionally exhausted and it was January with all the anxieties of Winter heaped onto everything else. I kept on making postcards.
And then, along came Covid….
At the end of the 3rd week of February ’19, I was notified by Client’s DIL that Client was going to a Nursing Home the next day and thank you for your services. That was a multi-layered downer, also a Blessing. I’d gotten to the point where I almost couldn’t take any more, even though I was willing to keep trying…. The Blessing was a few weeks of freedom from the enervating schedule.
At this time Covid 19 was only a faint whisper in the news. Companion/Client and I heard about it one day on TV news, mid-January and remarked on the new item and had a discussion about the possibilities of this strange new flu. We decided that we’d be very careful about going out and to stores, talked about flu shots and should we get one and when & then onto other conversation.
For those few weeks of freedom I felt emotionally and physically crappy and also, vaguely, fearfully, hopeful. Every morning brought a little more personal healing to me and also more news about Covid 19. During those weeks of freedome before accepting any more clients, I was hearing more than mere whispers regarding Corona virus from friends and neighbors, online and off. By the time I went back to work for 2 new clients, the whispers were rising in noticeable volume. Suddenly stores were running out of toilet paper and food due to hoarders and we were being introduced to the concept of social distancing…. Covid-Fear became a constant in daily life and so has making Postcards. One thing, for me, sending out a daily post card from the Edge took on a whole new meaning and purpose.
On March 19, while walking across the parking lot to the grocery store, the man ahead of me turned his head to sneeze and I was downwind, about 10 feet behind. I felt the moisture from his sneeze and freaked out. I spent the next few weeks in voluntary Quarantine. I didn’t get Covid but I did get a bad scare and a lot of annoying physical symptoms that are Stress-related, resolved with healthy diet, rest, exercise, meditation. I haven’t been back to work, yet. Covid fear is now a thing in my life. I’m thankful and grateful for keeping on with all I can get out of and put into my life, keeping the post cards coming….
Postcard #’s 224 to present (706) were all created in the Covid-era. How I look forward to the last Postcard of the Covid-era and the beginning of the post-Covid era. I hope to make Postcards up to and beyond the that point.
I hope all are well and safe.
In mid-August 2020, I started making for-real post cards to send to friends who I hadn’t heard from in a very long time, in hopes of some kind of amends or re-connection from the past. For decades, I’ve kept a pad of post cards around to paint on, but never did I send them to anyone, I considered the size and quality of the paper as perfect sketch pads for composition and color-mixing experiments when I painted outside away from home. When I began my campaign to reach out to long lost friends I used some of my sketch post cards and lettered some kind of saying over the sketch/painting, using a felt-tip calligraphy pen that was left over from Calligraphy class that I’d taught some years earlier.
It was a very hard time in my dayjob work life and emotional personal life, when I started this campaign. I’m no spring-chicken and was in a place where my day-job was taking 26 hours a week with a very depressing and needy — but oh, so human — housebound and struggling with dementia Client/Companion. At the same time my 96 yr old mother was 4 years into effects from a Life-Changing Stroke, living in her own home, which had been turned into her personal Nursing Home, complete with all the Furniture for the Aging, with a 24/7 aide to watch over and care for her and she declining slowly, steadily and sadly into the quick sand of her Golden Years– I was feeling emotionally and physically fatigued — even in my painting, which is always my source of deep healing/rejuvenation. To make the most time to paint on a daily basis, during the 4 years of my Employment as a Companion/Housekeeper, I rarely took on work with morning hours; most of my 6 hour dayjob work days were from Noon to 6 which gave me a lot of good morning-energy time for my true work; I began to slip into a beneficial and healing discipline to begin my day and also add to my portfolio.
To begin my day: On my phone, I time the 3 hours. To begin my work-time, I turn on the Dalai Lama chant on Youtube which helps me to settle down and focus. It makes the first hour go as a deep meditation as I work. At the end of 3 hours I hear my Inner Child complaining that it was barely enough time and eager to tomorrow! And when tomorrow came, showing up to work and doing another piece of work, remembering the lesson from yesterday and doing things differently –finding purpose.
At some point in those beautiful July ’19 mornings working at a table out on the porch, it slowly dawned on me that perhaps I could sell similar post cards on ebay and the thought of it gave me enough purpose to analyze the developing inner and outer process and make some sense of it. It seemed a good and do-able idea and I began to put things together in my mind and create a process for this effort — once again reminded by those dawning thoughts and light bulb moment, that Process IS our only Product.
My plan at this point was to give the project a title and begin it as a series. I call the series Post Cards and since I started posting one each morning, all Post Cards are artist signed and numbered. I’m presently up to Post Card #704 and to date, (knock on wood) haven’t missed a day.
All 700+ can be seen on my Gretchen Getsinger — Watercolor Artist page on Facebook. 30 Post Cards are on sale in my Facebook Store.
Feb 17, ’21
Today is a very sunny and inviting day except for the temperature which at noon is 27 degrees. After the very cold weather we’ve had in recent weeks, the sun and the temperature make today feel like a heatwave. We’ve had quite a lot of stormy weather lately, so today is a treat, especially because more stormy weather is predicted for the next few days. Because it’s February, the kind of weather we’re having is pretty much to be expected. The light was very strong early this morning and pulled me into Awareness at 6:30 a.m. After Coffee and all the regular morning stuff I was able to be settled down and in work-mode by 9 and finished Post Card #697 a little before Noon.
As is usual these past few months, the study for today’s postcard is the curtain, sash and an aspect of the view outside the window. I’m somewhat hooked on the possibilities that occur each and every day and find the study of Curtain, Sash and Outside fascinating and have decided to go with this fascination for now.
To me, the initial drawing and 1st layer of wash is the fun part. I enjoy changing the rectangle of white into something comprehensive; seeing my thoughts translated with brush, paint and water to the format of the card and marks denoting Curtain, Sash and Outside.
The 2 brushes shown on the right are my 2 favorite brushes; the big one is a workhorse! The big brush is a quill brush and was well-worth the expense. I’ve been using it for a few years. The other brush is a Japanese calligraphy brush used for writing and drawing. Both brushes hold a lot of moisture and can be used for bold washes covering relatively large areas as well as for dryer dry-brush details. The Japanese Calligraphy Brush is relatively new, but I’m learning how to use it and enjoy the calligraphy brush as much as the quill brush. I use the Japanese Calligraphy brush for most of the tweaking — finer detail and dryer paint.
The Matte Board Bridge is placed over the post card and is a place where I can put my hand without fear of dirtying the post card while I’m working on it. The bridge also provides a surface where I can test out the chisel edge calligraphy nib before I start to letter on the card. The post card is taped over a grid with lines that I can see through the paper and help keep the lettering straight without all the hassle of drawing — and then erasing — pencil lines.
I sure wish I’d thought to begin the lettering higher up on the page. Hopefully, lesson learned for next time. Also, apologize for duplicate photo on top of page. Haven’t learned yet how to edit out the duplicate.
My subject for today’s post card is pretty much the same as it has been for the past month or so; the view from 1 of the three of my bay windows. Today I’m looking across the yard and up to the sky on the southwest horizon. It’s a very cold day but one of Sun Spill. The strength and brightness of Sun is most cheering as is the bright blue, wintry sky.
I start the work with a simple drawing of the main features; the curtain, window sash and sky. I attempt to set up areas of light and dark and fill in with as much color as possible.
This is after the paper is thoroughly covered with light and dark areas of paint. I tend to use very thin washes, keeping in mind that I’m going to be lettering over the paint layer and it’s hard to push a pen and ink over heavy layers of paint.
End Product: Post Card, still taped to grid on light table.
Three hours work and I’m feeling more peaceful than I was when I started.
My heart-strings round thee cling,
Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I’ve a hand to save,
Thy ax shall harm it not.
George Pope Morris.
Jan. 14, ’21
Evening is closing in at 5:07 p.m. It’s been a dark gray day, but it’s still light enough at this time of night to tell that it’s still twilight. Every day for the past few weeks we’ve been gaining a few more minutes of daylight and every minute gained is a sense that this train we’re all riding on is pulling out of the tunnel.
Today was what I call a doldrum day; a day filled with inactivity and a sense of stagnation. The past month has been characterized by doldrum days; I’ve heard so many people talking about how these days feel like Ground Hog Day — all over again (and again and again and again….) And a sense of depression that’s probably caused by feeling SADD. A day that opens and closes with sunlight would certainly feel a whole lot more uplifting.
Today something happened in the yard across from my window that made me feel very sad. An old man came out into the yard, leaned a long-ish ladder up against a somewhat large maple on the corner of the yard, put on his safety glasses, grabbed a small chain saw, climbed up into the tree and began cutting off limbs that were very familiar to me for the past 8 years. I think the old man is the new owner of the property and is looking to do things to his new place that will make it look more spruce and isn’t one bit aware of how I dearly love each and every one of those branches that he so casually lopped and let fall to the ground. When he was done in the maple tree he went across the yard and to the corner of the house where there was a mature tree of some kind, which I also love for it’s huge leaves and sweet smelling white flowers come June; within minutes, down it went and my heart sank at the big gaping hole and huge patch of unfamiliar sky that remained. So much sky remaining and no big branches and smaller brances and tiny twigs of branches reaching for the sun and sky. Now they’re all piled into the discard pile, in a heap in the corner of the lawn and their death is just one more sadness to add to these already sad, unsettled days.
I’ve looked to these branches for years and have done many paintings of them and how they look against the sky in all kinds of weather and seasons from my vantage place in my living room, from the bay window where I like to sit and look. Often, looking into these branches is the gateway to achieving my happy place where I feel free to create with paint. I’m sad because one of my greatest pleasures in everyday life has been lopped and thrown onto the discard pile. I now have many, many paintings that are a testament to those branches that lie dying in that pile., May be my tiny forsythia, long shaded by some of those branches, will grow faster and eventually flower in a future Spring. But, right now, that’s small consolation and I’d rather have had the familiar and comforting branches; I knew each and every one in so many ways, in so many days and seasons and temperatures and varying degrees of sunlight and I miss them. But, as I tell myself, C’est la vie. Now we move on…. I mourn their loss.
So much water over the bridge since my last post!
I’ve spent these past years at a job, which didn’t leave much time for thinking about writing or the time to actually do it.
But, since Mar. 19, ’20 — when the Pandemic hit — I’m not working and have had plenty of time. Of all the things I had to ‘let go’ when I started working again, I never quit painting, which has been a way of maintaining sanity, above all! In recent years I’ve been working on a series of Watercolor paintings done on post cards. When the painting is dry, I letter a quotation over the painting, sign and number the painting and it’s done. A post card, ready to write a message on and send to someone in the mail.
In the Now, preparing myself to become a working artist by offering these postcards for sale . This is a big and scary move for me.
This is the face of the post card I posted on Facebook on Christmas Day. It’s # 635 and is actually 4″ x 6″, which is a standard size acceptable for US Mail. To see more post cards visit my Artist page on Facebook. Look for Gretchen Getsinger — Watercolor Artist
It’s taken me days to write this much but my goal for this year is to blog often and build up my blogging strength. So, more soon!
“This goodness is the only thing that can ever save us. It is what grace looks like, this unmerited, freely given spiritual WD-40. Grace means that love is bigger than any dark weird shit life can throw at you, or even that we can throw at our nutty, tender, worried, exuberant, baby selves. All truth is paradox.” Anne Lamott
TED Talk link that impacted me yesterday
May 4, ‘15
The weather and color today is much the same as it was ten years ago on South Lake St. Warm, with breeze and soft clouds in a milky sea of pale, but warm blue. Fuzzy greenish-yellow almost-leaves on most trees except for the trees where the almost-leaves are a deep fuzzy pink.
I’m barefoot, short sleeves and suitable for at-home and in the yard pajama pants. That’s how warm it is. A few windows and my screen door are open. This breeze is refreshing. Earlier, I went to the basement to do laundry. It was quite cool down there. When I came back up and into my kitchen and stepped into the warmth, I momentarily thought I’d turned the heat up way too high.
When I looked at the photo of the painting from South Lake St earlier, the first thing I remembered from that day was that the High School Marching Band was practicing their drills in a large field on the other side of the trees behind my house. I had an hour of band music wafting in with the breeze. Throughout the month of May, there would be band music almost every school day up until Memorial Day. Today, here on Brookside Ave. I’ve been listening to birds, people on the street, occasional cars passing by and the hum of traffic from the nearby Interstate. All the trees I see from my window are all the colors of the trees in the painting.
Today is a wonderful Spring day!
Preliminary sketch for proposed Calendar page from on-site sketch, photo reference & Memories….
I’ve taken time off from my cataloging and refurbishing unfinished paintings to work on what I’d like to be a painting for the month of April for a calendar page. I have 9 paintings complete but am lacking April, May and June. The scenes in the proposed calendar are all from the farm next door to my mother’s house, where I grew up and where my mother still lives.
This preliminary sketch depicts the Peach Orchard that is near the barn that was built for and is still used as an Apple Storage and Salesroom. There are many orchards around the farm but they’re mostly Apples. The peach orchard trees and blossoms differ from the Apple trees and always reminded me of a van Gogh painting I saw in a book when I was quite young. Since then, I’ve read van Gogh’s letters & recall several passages where he wrote about painting in a pear orchard and share his excitement when facing an orchard full of peach trees on a balmy spring day.
The Kittens are well on their way to being Young Cats. They’ve gone from tiny and cute as bugs to small and cute as bugs but I can see that their legs are longer, their tails are longer and they have much more strength in their bones. They’ve also put on weight. They aren’t fat, just somewhat bigger than they were last week or the week before. From the length of their legs I’m wondering if they’re going to be large adults.
They both have very affable personalities. They’re both cuddlers with Hilly being more of a cuddler than Bill. Bill is a hearty eater – he woofs down his food and then goes after Hilly’s food. Hilly knows how to stand up for himself with a kittenish growl. They play well together.
Using our creativity is a form of prayer.
May 1, ‘15
This May Day ’15 is much as it was on long ago May Day ’05. There’s a tentative blue in the sky, often replaced or partially covered over by layers of multi-gray clouds. There’s a scent of spring in the air, but a cool one. Grass is undoubtedly green and lush which no gray can dispel. Buds on trees are still in the stage between bud and leaf and show on the hillside as if vivid yellow-green or pink clouds hovering over branches and trunks. Magnolias are blossoming. Due to the cool & cloudy weather, the flowers last for days. There’s a huge magnolia tree in blossom across the street. I’ve enjoyed the flowering for more than a week.
Kittens, the Boys, Hilly and Bill – are adding much life and happiness to my house. They’re both growing and are now a bit fatter and have longer legs than they did almost 2 weeks ago. They seem to be mentally balanced and sweet-natured little cats with distinct and unique emerging personalities. I (carefully) report that for the past 3 days, there’ve been no litter box problems. They seem to have grasped the concept of the litter box being the only place to ‘go’.
We’ve had visitors and the Kittens have boldly and openly welcomed each and every one. They’ve also entertained each and every one. One friend said it’s as if I have my own personal clowns to entertain me and anyone who comes to my home.
Kitten’s eyeing their First Robin….
I had a student here with me yesterday morning and what a great time we had! We talked about ourselves, Art, our lives and more Art. It was sunny and warm in my studio area. Not only did we enjoy watching the grass grow and become more green and the buds swell on their way to being leaves, but we laughed and talked as we worked and also enjoyed playful kittens. Then we had lunch. When it was time for her to go, it seemed as if she’d only been here for minutes when in fact, we were together for quite a few hours. I’ve been feeling much invigorated by the experience.
I was without Computer for 4 days last week, which was an interesting experience that reminded me greatly of first days without Albert. I couldn’t count the number of times I turned to my computer for one or another reason only to remember that it wasn’t there. In a lot of other ways, it was like times when the power goes out, like the Halloween a few years ago when I was without power for almost 4 days because of a heavy snow storm that downed many power lines, and left us all crippled and isolated. No Electricity and the roads so filled with snow and downed wires that it was futile to even attempt to go anywhere. But, like that storm, towards the end, when I was accustomed to the conditions, even enjoying them, the power came back on and so it was in the interim without the computer. In the middle of the 4th day, when I was actually enjoying my day, the computer-guy called me and said my computer was fixed and ready to go and I was soon back to my computer habits. Windows Service Installer has been reinstalled; all programs are up to date and all viruses removed. I now have no further excuse not to be working on an Inventory of all my paintings.
“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” (Edward Hopper)
April 23, ‘15
Oh, how I wish today were as warm and bright as April 23, ’05….
But, it isn’t. Here in the northeast, we seem to be in an April Shower weather pattern, which means that for the past three days we’ve seen a few widely dispersed moments of sun and blue sky, but precious few…. For the most part, the sky is gray with dark gray clouds and occasional outbursts of rain. It’s also quite chilly.
I’ve known for a few months that my computer needs some work that I’m unable to do. It also needs a good cleaning. Since I’ve been out of work, I hesitate to spend the money for the repairs. Fortunately, with repairs, the cleaning is free.
I’m planning on taking it for repairs late this afternoon or early tomorrow morning.
I don’t like the thought of being without my computer for 24 hours or more. I think I’m on it just about every hour of my waking day –sometimes for moments, often for actual hours. I think I can’t bear the thought of an evening without N*tflix, or time without Freecell, or F*cebook or email. I’ll have to process words in a notebook with pencil on paper. Photo upload and processing will have to be put on hold until my computer is back home.
Hopefully, it will make it back home in good working order. There’s the off-chance that installing a core program over the tons of data I’ve saved will wipe out many files. Without that core program, I can’t back up data on my computer.
Rock and a hard place….
I’ve come to a point where, in order to complete some projects I’ve begun, I need my computer to be in good working order, so will have to ‘bite the bullet.’ I’m putting as many files as possible on thumb drives. I’ve uploaded all my photos to a cloud.
I’m hoping to be back online soon.
Life with Kittens –now called Billy and Hilly — has been sweet. These two little bits of new life have been good for my soul. They’re affable, innocent and trusting. Their antics bring laughter. They’re heart-melting cute.
There have been a few minor problems. They both had travel induced and food-change diarrhea. They’re only 7 weeks old, so aren’t quite trustworthy about using the litterbox.
Their instincts are good – they leave the area where they’re playing or sleeping — but aren’t as discerning as to the difference in texture between kitty litter and my favorite rug as I’d like them to be. Like some little kids, it seems they’d rather play than heed the urge to urinate in the proper place and put off the urge until the last minute – and don’t quite make it. I’ve dealt with that by keeping a close eye on them and even go so far as to carry them to the litter box if they haven’t gone in the half hour since they last ate or woke from a nap. All a kitten has to do is appear as if assuming the position and I carry that one to the litter box. They seem to learn quickly and so far today, have been more responsible for themselves than I’ve had to be. When I hear a scratching sound, I go there and give them much praise. I think that within the next week I’ll be able to safely say that they’re ‘litter trained.’
To ease the diarrhea, I cooked plain rice into a soupy mush and added a bit of shredded chicken. They scarfed down a few bowls full in the past couple of days and the problem now seems to be solved. They both have hearty and enthusiastic appetites. No finicky eaters, here!
They’re both very curious about my parakeet. She’s boldy and courageously let them know who’s in charge and other than those few pecks at their tiny little feet, seems to be very accepting of having Billy and Hilly sitting alongside her cage and watching her play and eat.