Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Kew Gardens

This exquisite colored pencil and sepia ink painting is from Katherine Tyrrell .  She said this is a sketch of one of her favorite views in Kew Gardens.  It’s the east/west axis from the Palm House looking toward the Chinese Pagoda.  The Pagoda in reality is a deep crimson but Katherine said it always looks blue when viewed from a distance.

It was such a treat to come home from my vacation/working week away to find this wonderful piece of art just sitting there waiting for me.  I can’t even put into words the beauty of each colored pencil stroke combined with another color to magically make shape and depth and glowing contrast.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A ray of Tuscan sunshine!

This beautiful card came from Robyn in Tuscany. I'm afraid my scanner hasn't captured the colours at all well but the stone walls are painted in a range of very delicate pinks and soft browns which seem to radiate with the warmth of the Tuscan sun! I love the shadows playing across the blue/green door and it's all been painted so delicately.

On the back Robyn has written "This is the door to the old convent house we rented when we first arrived in Castiglion Fiorentino. I stop by often because it is now owned by friends but mainly because it holds such great memories of our first year in Italy with an open fire, two dogs and no television!" Isn't that wonderful? Now I want to open the door and go inside!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A beautiful tree and a bit of the Californian Hills

I am so excited to received this stunning card from Pat - for days the card has been sitting popped up on my computer(a reminded to scan and post!) and I have been admiring the seemingly effortless way she draws trees! It has been such a treat to be looking at it for the last week now

And then when I picked it up to scan I suddenly remembered that this was only half of it...look what is on the back- beautiful blues, purple, cream and yellows!
thank you Pat! I love it!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Salsa anyone?

Its not often that postcards make my mouth water, but this delightfully illustrated recipe version managed to do that - you may start a trend here, Desiree, or a new exchange... She says these purple fruits grow like Chinese lanterns (or Cape gooseberries?) inside papery, puffy balls until they bust through the cover revealing the fruit inside. They are apparently usually pale green, though I've never heard of tomatillos, let alone purple ones - but I love the colours and the lovely loose way they've blended into the shadows. On the envelope is a sketch of Desiree's labours to produce this interesting food. Now all I have to do is find me some purple tomatillo seeds!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A Great-looking Canadian in Germany

 Isn’t he/she (it’s hard to tell with Canada Geese) a beautiful bird!  This one looks especially striking painted by Albrecht Rissler in gouache on (IMHO) the perfect shade of softly grey-toned card.
I’d have to say, however, that the appearance of Canada Geese is just about their only redeeming feature.  Albrecht was nice enough not to refer to them as an invasive scourge, but the Americans are not so forgiving… I’ve heard they regularly bag a few hundred Canada Geese and feed them to the homeless, and I wish somebody would do the same here in Victoria!  Our defenses have been limited to barking dogs – quite effective, on golf courses for example, where they employ Labs and Alsatians.  But the geese do not respond well to condominium-sized dogs, whom they out-weigh and ignore.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Value of Strong Values

Watercolour 21 x 15 cms

The richness of the values in this beautiful postcard from Cathy Gatland is a fantastic demonstration of the power of deep, contrasting values in watercolour. The painting pops right off the card. The beautiful detail of the Sparaxis on the reverse side is stunning. A real prize! Thank you so much, Cathy.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Towers and Tea From Sydney

My turn to receive a card from Liz Steel. Another super combination of architecture and afternoon tea!
I particularly like this side with the Sydney Town Hall tower on it. The unfinished towers in the rear, which i guess are office buildings, give a great insight as to how Liz works.  Basically no hesitancy and no fuss!  I need to try and instill that into my own pen work.

The rear as ever has beautiful stamps and the special one of Borromini.  I met up with Liz while she was in London a few weeks back and we had tea and scones then too. Sadly our tea didn't come in such a brilliant tea pot.  This colour red is lovely!!

Thanks Liz, it's a super card and a wonderful reminder for me too of our afternoon.  I hope you'll make it back to London soon! 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Postcard from Maulbronn

Founded in 1147, the Cistercian Maulbronn Monastery is considered the most complete and best-preserved medieval monastery complex north of the Alps. Surrounded by fortified walls, the main buildings were constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries. The monastery's church, built in the transitional Romanesque-Gothic style, had significant influence on the spread of Gothic architecture over much of northern and central Europe.

The water management system at Maulbronn, with its elaborate network of drains, irrigation canals and reservoirs, is exceptional. (from UNESCO's World Heritage List)

After Reformation Duke Christopher of Wuerttemberg established in 1556 a Protestant monastery school, which was converted into a Protestant theological seminary in 1807 and still exists today. Johannes Kepler, Friedrich Hoelderlin and Hermann Hesse studied there.

More informations: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Maulbronn_Monastery_complex?uselang=de

Martin painted and drew this atmospheric view in the shady depths outside of the fortified walls, looking at the monastry forge. And in contrast to some of his cards in the past, there was obviously a sunny day. As usual Martin made some funny remarks. This time they are about visitors at the place where he was working for this card. I'll quote his words in German because its difficult to translate. I'm sure you will find out the meaning yourselves.

Martin wrote: »Lieber Albrecht, ich gruesse Dich herzlich von den Untiefen des Maulbronner Klostergrabens. Rocky und Herrchen kommen auch vorbei. Rocky will mich fressen. Herrchen traegt Zopf, Hosentraeger und Schmerbauch. So geht ein beschaulicher Nachmittag zu Ende. Dein Martin«

Lieber Martin, vielen Dank für diese schoene Karte. Sie bekommt einen Ehrenplatz in meiner Mailart-Sammlung!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Leaves and bugs - discoveries from the garden

watercolor study autumn leaves and bugs by Felicity Grace, postcard

Felicity Grace has done a beautiful postcard painting for me. The card came in an envelope per snail mail. The materials, paper and colours are wonderful and so is the work! The beauty of nature is perfect and so is this postcard.

No matter to whom I show it, all want to have it, frame it and hang it in their home ..thank you Felicity!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Butchart Gardens by Charlene

Charlene sent me this wonderful postcard depicting a deep ravine below the Butchard Gardens. She says that it is so shady that everything, even the lanterns are covered in moss. It is described as the North American version of a Japanese Garden. 

I have been to the Butchard Gardens, it is so amazingly beautiful and the fact that it was her husbands depleted cement quarry that she managed to turned into an breathtaking garden is quite remarkable. In the early 1900's, without a formal plan, Mrs. Jenny Butchard vowed to create a beautiful garden that everyone could enjoy. She requisitioned horses and carts to bring in loads of topsoil. Little by little, a garden emerged where and ugly scar had been! If you ever are able to see these gardens you will be amazed at the lovely garden areas she created. This is where my husband first saw tuberous begonias and we still grow them to this day. Thank you Charlene, I loved the memories it brought back, making me drag out my photos and pamphlets I saved from our trip!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ripe red berries fom Coin Perdu

Ronelle van Wyk sent me this lovely little painting from her summer place in France. It’s on papyrus, of all things, which adds wonderfully to her spontaneously exuberant style.  As always, Ronelle cradled the painting carefully, along with some lovely surprises, in an envelope sporting another of her unique splashy pictures.  Isn’t it a treat?

Card of Cornwall from Vivien

Along with the July postcard from Charlene this beautiful August card of Vivien was also in my mailbox when I came back from vacation. The picture shows the wild Cornish coast near Porthgwarra the way I've experienced several times. It's done with water soluble pen, watercolor and gouache white. I love very much the spontaneous technique of this small painting, the circle composition and especially the harmony of colors.
On the reverse is another treasure. The collage represents very well the colors and atmosphere of a country I love too. Thank you so much Vivian!

Postcard from the Mayan ruin of Copan/Honduras

I don't know how long this July postcard was waiting for me in my mailbox in Heidelberg. Yesterday I came back from vacation at the Baltic Sea and in Berlin. So I'm sorry to post it so late. (The card was postmarked on 20th July – I left for vacation on 14th August. So the card needed quite a long time.)
Charlene, thank you so much for this impressive historic image. You wrote: »... The painting is of hieroglyphic stairway at the Mayan ruin of Copan. It is currently under a protective tarpaulin, so it's tricky to paint – and impossible to photograph in its entirety..«
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