Mail Art – Koi Pond

I had jumped into the puddle with both feet – I had agreed to send some mail Art to a new friend.  What to make, what to make?

You know that feeling of ‘I have to make something that’s good enough’.

Not sure what the official definition of ‘good enough’ is but we all think it when sending something don’t we?  To a new friend, to an art idol, for a magazine submission.

After seeing Roben-Marie Smith’s mail art to me survive it’s adventure from the USA to Australia – with loose sewing threads hanging from it – I was feeling a little bold about adding stuff to the outside of envelopes.

If you saw my The Owl and The Pussycat, you know I added quite a bit of height to that envelope but I also had the safety of knowing it wasn’t going in the post.  This time it was. [cue ominous music – da da duh daaaaah]

KoiI’m not sure where I got the idea from.  It just kinda popped into my head.  A flashback to a 10 year old Somerset Studio maybe (which I dived into for reference when it wasn’t coming together).  I was also feeling a little brave after doing an online drawing class.  The Koi aren’t a hard shape, so I could actually pull them off.  I drew a couple and cut them out to use as a template.  I didn’t just make an envelope for my friend, I made one for myself too.  In my last post, I talked about always giving my best stuff away, so this time I made two.  One for her and one for me.

I traced the Koi onto white card and cut them out.  Then I edged them with Liquitex acrylic ink in an Aquash brush (learned this trick from Jane Davenport).  Then I free handed the spots (read – winged it, fluked it, unexpectedly pulled it off).  Once that was dry… well dry ish, I am the Queen of Impatience after all – I added some orange Neocolor II water colour crayon and used an Aquash brush to get the watercolour look.  I was super chuffed with how they turned out.

I free handed the lily pads too.  I coloured them with paint and water colour crayons, did some leaf veins with the Liquitex black ink then more crayons over the top when the black seemed a bit too full on.  Wasn’t quite as happy with them but thought they might come together.

I painted the envelope with gesso then a mix of different blue and green paints.  It looked pretty average at this stage.  It was missing something.  I brayered on some droplets of Dyna-Flow inks (another addiction created by Jane Davenport).

Then I jumped.

I just started gluing on the Koi and lily pads.

And….. yuck.

So I walked away from it for about a week trying to figure out how to make it work.  Cause at this point in time it looked exactly like what it was.  A washed out painted background with stuff stuck on top.

Now, I’ve never been shy in admitting I’m a ‘Bin Girl’.

I’ll spend hours on something then chuck it in the bin cause it’s not working.  But having just come back from my workshop with Jane – who is very anti bin – I tried to work past what she calls the ‘awkward teenager phase’.

So I tried some stuff.  Stuff that I’d used before and liked.  Stuff that had been re-inforced at the Jane weekend as well as a class with Michael DeMeng I did years ago.  And whaddaya know?  It looked a little better.  OK, keep going, keep going.  I added some water colour crayon around the edges of the Koi and lily pads and moved it around with the Aquash brush.  And it started to come together. I used dark green, dark blue and black, letting the various layers dry.  Yes, I actually waited for them to dry.  It does happen on a very rare occassion.  I didn’t wait, however, when I did my envelope and you could tell the difference.  The colours all looked a little muddled and muddy.

Grrr… lesson learned.

(Probably not, but we’ll just go with that for now).

Then I did some cursive writing for my friends name then printed the address (including kind of running out of room for the suburb.  I wasn’t sure if I would make it and took the chance with less than perfect results but not shockingly bad).  I’ve since figured out I need to plan out the address a little more before I just go for it.

Remember – I’m not a risk taker.  I’m not a go for it person.

I’m just impatient.

Big difference.

 My love of those orange Koi fish and not having a back up idea meant I fought off the urge to bin it.  In the end, the envelope turned out great.  So glad I pushed through.  I figured it already looked crappy and was half way on it’s trip to the bin, so there was no harm in trying out some stuff on it.  And it turned into something I was super chuffed with.

And something I was proud to send to the other side of the world.

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