Postcard to Yourself

Art journaling has become rote: You paint several backgrounds first, then design and layer stencils, paint, collage, and words later.  Move on. There is charm in free-slapping paint and words. You can also be precise with color and words, like Teesha Moore, whom I admire greatly for meticulous design.

Postcard with butterfly made of maps and Monsoon Papers. © Quinn McDonald 2013

Postcard with butterfly made of maps and Monsoon Papers. Butterfly path says “Sometimes your inner hero grabs the map and flies off with it.” © Quinn McDonald 2013

Long a fan of writing-only journals,  I still prefer to work out thoughts and emotions one page at a time. Without the constriction of a completed background color that no longer matches my emotion. If I work on several pages at once, they are all free-standing, drying in peace, without waxed paper.

Free-standing pages give you emotional and creative freedom. You can gather and sort at leisure. If you use 5-inch by 7-inch watercolor paper (A5 or A6 work just as well) you can also use them as postcards.  (Use regular letter postage in the U.S.) The stamp and postage mark add charm and a certain amount of wear, making your thoughts look well-used.

I belong to an international postcard exchange (Postcrossing)  and send about 30 postcards a month. People post their requests, hoping you will send a theme or style of postcard. Some people request no handmade or art postcards, and I honor that request. One person requested postcards with butterflies, and I made one, only to notice she didn’t want handmade cards. I had addressed it already, so gesso to the rescue. But that meant not sending it to someone in the exchange. I decided to send it to . . .myself. I wouldn’t mind the gesso’d over spot.

Back of postcard, with butterfly made from textbook and braille paper. It says, "Sometimes, you have to follow blind, trusting as you fly. It feels awkward, but you are still flying." © Quinn McDonald 2013

Back of postcard, with butterfly made from textbook and braille paper. It says, “Sometimes, you have to follow blind, trusting as you fly. It feels awkward, but you are still flying.” © Quinn McDonald 2013

Getting a postcard is completely different than turning a journal page and reading. Grabbing your mail and sorting it has a mindset of grumpy bill paying, tossing out, getting the chore over with.

Discovering a postcard with a personal message is the equivalent of slamming on the brakes before you pass the store you’ve been looking for. You see and feel the message in a completely different mindset–one of vulnerability and surprise. What better time to get a message you need?

—Quinn McDonald designs free-standing pages, postcards, and containers to hold them.  She is teaching these postcards in Tucson on September 22, 2013.


7 thoughts on “Postcard to Yourself

  1. Well, I have saved all of them (postcards), along with various pieces of paper from my life: notes from my husband, receipts, cards from friends, lists, business cards, certain bills, just things that make up my life. I am planning on an art piece…maybe a collage… a large, very large collage! I love paper.

  2. I like the idea of sending postcards to yourself, and in a way each page in my own journal IS a letter or postcard to ME, not sent but made with a specific message to me. I don’t understand the idea of collecting postcards from places you haven’t been, but my collection of handmade postcards is a treasure! 🙂

    • Journaling is about the journey to the interior. Your blog the last several weeks has been fascinating–about the trip to work, about the flowers that are blooming. Even though I have never been in any of the Scandinavian countries (although I’ve seen them from Germany), now that you have shown some lovely fountains and flowers, I would love to visit. It’s interesting, I am not so fascinated in postcards of places I have seen, but places I have not yet seen. That’s so cool that there is another whole concept on the idea!

  3. I belong to Postcrossing as well, and I just love it! I get so excited to receive a postcard from another human being somewhere in the world. I enjoy decorating my postcards and hoping that they bring a smile to someone’s heart. It’s that connection that we all want in a small and easy way.

    • That’s what I love about Postcrossing, too–the easy way it works. No pen pals, no complications (although some people have preference lists as long as my leg and twice as complicated!), small and fast messages to people all over. What do you do with the postcards you receive? I want to make something out of them.

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