I've also been looking around for references on the web to the phenomenon of postcard sketching - or mail art as it's sometimes known. You can see what I found at the end of this post.
My first proper postcard sketch
|Sketch of "Terrasse a Vernon" by Pierre Bonnard|
150mm x 120mm, coloured pencil and pen and ink on Mountboard - posted to Australia
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I often sketch in galleries but February was the first time I'd ever sketched in Christies Auction Rooms in London. I've always had an aptitude for spotting the most expensive painting in the room! :)
Terrasse à Vernon, an oil painting by Pierre Bonnard, sold the day after I sketched it for a new world record sum for a Bonnard - £6.4 million. Which actually cost the purchaser £7,209,250 ($11,578,056)! That made it the top lot for the Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale on February 9, 2011.
This is a link to a video of the auction of the Bonnard painting at Christies and this is the link to my post on Making A Mark about the experience of sketching at Christies After Bonnard
That particular day, the 8th February, I'd seen four exhibitions and walked a long way and stood for a lot longer looking at paintings. Standing is absolutely guaranteed to foul up my awful foot with the torn ligments etc and it was perhaps unsurprising that I then had major problems with the foot for the next six weeks - which caused very great difficulties in walking.
As I was unable to get out and walk very far to do my postcard for the February round of A Postcard from my Walk I decided to try and reproduce the sketch I'd done of the painting in my sketchbook.
In the January round of the postcards, some people sent proper postcards (ie without envelopes) and I was keen to have a go. So this time I tried using pen and ink and coloured pencils on Daler Rowney Mountboard - so that I could construct a proper postcard.
Formats for postcards
First I had to work out what was the format for a postcard. The reason for this is that it costs less to send a postcard compared to a letter. So I can work bigger but I'd have to pay more for the postage - especially one which is going overseas!
As I'm used to working big and I was quite intrigued as to what would happen if I had to start working small.
After much research on the web, I found out what are the minimum and maximum dimensions for sending a postcard overseas. These are:
- minimum: 90mm x 120mm (ie a 3:4 format)
- maximum: 140mm x 235mm (ie a 1:1.67 format)
I've now sent two more postcards off using the maximum format which gives a more panoramic landscape format - which I've decided I rather like. You can see my second one here - Trees at Tate Modern - which went to Martin Stankewitz in Germany and the third has yet to reach its (to be revealed) destination so I can't post it yet.
|Trees at Tate Modern|
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils on ivory coloured mountboard - posted to Germany
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
It seems to me that the weight and type of surface needs to be one that will stand up to movement thtough the post. That's why I inclined towards trying to mountboard
The mountboard also works very well with pen and ink and coloured pencil. Not as nice as Moleskine sketchbook paper but then nothing is....... It could however make a good support for any other surface I fixed to it (oh how I wish for sheets of Moleskine paper!) I think the next thing to try is a textured surface - maybe using the Daniel Smith watercolour ground or gesso.
If anybody else has used different supports successfully for sending postcards through the post without them getting damaged I'd be interested to hear as mail art is a very much a new endeavour for me
Resources about postcard sketching
It's evident that there are a few "Postcard from...." blogs around which tried to emulate Julian's "Postcard from Provence" project - however it looks like quite a few have departed from the postcard format and size.
There's also the question of postcard sized and postcard format. For me the latter means it can actually be a postcard and it can actually be sent in the mail as a postcard. I guess the niceties as to where boundaries on this begin and end is something other people can tell me more about!
There is of course the project I'm involved in A Postcard from My Walk where I think after some initial trepidation people are moving towards postcard formats for their sketches
- You can read a great article about postcard sketching in Japan on Russ Stutler's website
- this is a blog about a Mail Art Postcard Exhibition - but this isn't about sketching, it's about mail art
- the RCA Secret is a unique annual exhibition and sale of original postcard-sized art, made by professional artists, designers and illustrators, plus current postgraduate students at the Royal College of Art. This struck me as being more about format size than the actual act of posting the art. You can view the postcards here.
- Sunday Postcard Art is another blog about postcard art. It limits works to 6" x 4" - but the longest journey this art makes is in its upload to Flickr
- This blog post describes an event project- Watercolor Postcard Painting at the von Liebig Art Center Photo Journal
- Zazzle apparently has a category for sketch+postcards. These are prints rather than originals. What's interesting is the weight of card stock they use. Plus the scope for possibly generating some income from one's sketches! ;) (Here's an example from Martin Group of trees with path into the landscape)
PostcardKeep in touch with Zazzle custom postcards! Add your favorite image to a blank postcard or say “hi” with a pre-existing design. Save paper and mail a note without wasting envelopes!
- 4.25" x 5.6" (portrait) or 5.6" x 4.25" (landscape).
- Printed on ultra-heavyweight (120 lb.) card stock with a gloss finish.
- No minimum order.
- Get custom stamps to match!
If you know of any links to other projects, blogs, websites or any other resources please let me know.