Saturday, February 12, 2022

If My Heart Had Wings

The inspiration for my Valentine’s Day postcard this year led me to this poem by Gene Olson, a poet who lives “somewhere in western Canada.”  

If My Heart Had Wings

by Gene Olson


If my heart had wings

It could not fly any higher 

Than it does when you and I are together 


The sweet sound of your breathing 

Your unrelenting breathing 

Oh my…what it does to me 


In your laughter I can feel your smile 

I can just tell that it starts in your eyes 

But, you must know, it ends deep in the pit of my soul 


Your voice, so sweet and soulful 

It raises my spirits whenever I hear it 

It has embedded itself deep in my dreams 


Oh…your sighs when we share an intimate moment 

They take my breath away 

As if you are breathing my soul deep into your being 


Your whit, it snaps like a whip 

And takes me by surprise every time 

So quick and intelligent, it always brings a smile to my face 


And your jealousy, what a sight to behold 

It strikes like a snake, overpowering your prey 

Leaving them whimpering in a corner like spineless jellyfish


Your beautiful mind though, that’s what I love 

Sharing our thoughts, our dreams and our fantasies 

It’s what drives you deep into my heart 


Your girlish flirtations, hehe 

How I do love them 

That’s what drew me to you like a moth to the flame 


But your heart, your ever-loving heart 

It has devoured me and engulfed me in its warmth 

It is the glue that binds my soul to yours 


If my heart had wings 

It could not fly any higher 

For it already soars on the currents of our love 


I first read Olson's poetry on, where he writes the following about himself:


"I live in a small town somewhere in western Canada. I am a fire officer in our local fire department and I am grateful to have the chance to help those who can not help themselves. I recently began writing poetry out of a need to express my feelings and as you will see, I try to put as much feeling into my poems as possible. I live life to the fullest of my abilities and enjoy the benefits of family and good friends. I write for myself, but I hope you can find some enjoyment in my rudimentary poems. Thank you for reading them."  


This Mail Art Project consists of two parts, each featuring a linoleum cut print of a heart with wings.  The first 65 cards in the edition has the print over a watercolor background intended to evoke the vastness of space and the limitlessness of the universe.  The second 40 cards in the edition was made by printing over fragments of acrylic paintings of the sky and abstract landscapes.


Please leave a comment about how this project resonates with you, then check out my other posts and share this blog with your friends.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Vaccine Odyssey: Where will the journey lead?

My personal journey through the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging in many ways. Since word of this novel virus began circulating, I was asked by my employer to be part of a small team that would monitor the science, consider impacts to the workforce, recommend actions, and communicate important information to employees.  After more than a year, these activities have taken a personal toll on my physical and mental health, and have proven to be an obstacle to my own understanding of the effects the pandemic is having on me in ways that are distinct from the organization that employed me.

Part of my pandemic journey was a decision to retire from my 30 year career in public service.  But leaving has taken a long time because I was asked to continue working part-time for six months past my official retirement date.   It pleases me to have finished my last assignments and to be finally, fully and completely finished with that chapter of my life; I finally have time to think about the personal impacts of the pandemic, of  being vaccinated, and of establishing new routines that do not revolve around the demands of employment.  I have begun a new journey in my life.

What I am finding in these few short weeks of being retired during a pandemic (because the pandemic may be slowing but it is not yet over) is that life seems more complicated instead of being more simple.  What are my priority projects?  Should I go out more? Is it safe to gather with friends?  What about activities outside the safety of our home, and mixing with strangers?  What size crowd is too big or too dangerous?    When do I need to wear a cloth covering over my nose and mouth?  What will fill my days if I no longer have the pandemic and other professional obligations to occupy my time and my thoughts?  What time should I get up in the morning?

My journey is something of a messy endeavor and I find it is rarely easy.  The journey of finding a “new normal” for me means accepting that things will never be the way they were before in so many ways.  It means giving up the sense of community I felt with my work group, and giving up the physical separations that have become familiar and somewhat comfortable in these past 15 months.  It means finding a new focus and meaningful activities to fill my days.

The introduction of vaccines to combat COVID-19 sends us on a journey out of the restrictions that preserved my health during the pandemic, and into a place and routines that are new and unfamiliar.  My personal journey into retirement is similar and simultaneous, yet distinctly different even though is part of the same whole.

Vaccine Odyssey: Where will the journey lead?

Each postcard in this edition of 108 was individually painted using acrylic colors on watercolor paper, printed with an original linoleum block cut, and varnished to protect the surface.  

Please leave a comment about how this resonates with you, then check out my other posts and share this blog with your friends.

Vaccine Odyssey (front, view 1)

Vaccine Odyssey (front, view 2)

Vaccine Odyssey (front, view 3)

Vaccine Odyssey (reverse)

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Valentine's Day is tricky.  We all want to know someone is remembering us fondly on that day above most others.  Evidence of the remembering lifts one's soul; complex feelings follow if we feel un-remembered.  Memories of feeling un-remembered many long years ago still haunt me, and at the same time inspire me. 

I have for many years made cards and given them to friends and strangers I encounter in person on Valentine's Day.  In recent years, it has become a significant undertaking since people in my work and personal circles have come to know of my practice and have found themselves in my path on February 14.

Making art brings me joy.  Sharing art brings me joy.  At the height of a global pandemic that requires continued social distancing, obstacles to making art are not necessarily significant at the same time the obstacle of sharing art in person is relatively immense.  My answer to the obstacle is mail art.

This year's Valentine's Day art offering is inspired by a poem written by e. e. cummings.  In its verses, the ideas of holding within, going together, admiration, and deep affection are expressed by the author.  The art illustrates a heart held and leaves one to consider what it is to hold, and what it means to be held.  This year in particular, these themes resonate for me as I share Valentine greetings.  I am delighted to include the poem in this post as I mail postcards to some who I will not see on Valentine's Day this year but carry in my heart.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Each postcard in this edition of 144 was individually painted using acrylic colors on watercolor paper and varnished to protect the surface.  

Please check out my other posts on this blog and share this blog with your friends.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I am wondering how you are

It is now fall and the pandemic wears on.  I continue to stay home to stay safe, I wear a mask whenever I am out in public (I do not go very much at all), and I miss being with my friends.  While I may be weary from staying home and wearing a mask when I do go out, the thing that wears on me heavily these days is not being with my friends.  I am wondering how you are.

When I do talk with friends these days, asking "How are you?" or "What's up?" feels a little superficial.  Those questions are too easy to answer quickly, and offer a way to skirt or avoid addressing what I imagine are bigger concerns and longings.  I want to convey my sincere interest and care in a way that will  invite a more authentic response and start a conversation.  I am wondering how you are.  

As time passes I see and hear from friends and acquaintances less often.  I fear my memory may become colored or clouded.  Will I remember your voice when I hear it again?  Will my pandemic-long isolation cause me to forget your smile?  Will we all age in ways that make us unrecognizable?

While organizing my bookshelf recently, I discovered my college yearbook.  Not feeling an attachment to the object, I was ready to sent it to its next life.  That next life is this mail art project, where the faces of my peers from those years at the university become a vehicle for me to explore what it means to remember, what it means to forget, what it means to long for connection, and what it feels like to wonder how my friends are doing.

I am wondering how you are.

I would love to hear from you.

This mail art project is the eighth in my COVID-19 series.  The project includes 180 original postcards made with mixed media collage, acrylic paint, and rubber stamps on water color paper.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Summer of COVID-19: Long and Hot

As the summer begins, Dallas is experiencing an alarming rise in the number of COVID19 infections. There is unprecedented strain on our healthcare system and confusing messages from the many voices that speak about the pandemic. Public health is mixed with politics as election season approaches. It will no doubt be a long and hot summer.

I continue to shelter in place, going out only to shop for necessities. Occasionally I go for a drive just to get out of the house for a change of scenery. I miss going to art museums, dining in restaurants, being with my friends, and events that allow me the opportunity to get dressed up or a reason to buy new shoes. I do enjoy planning meals at home, cooking, and using this opportunity to eat a little less and loose a few pounds so I can be more healthy. I have re-discovered the joys and benefits of stretching and yoga. I center my thoughts and focus on my breath during the time I spend watering the young plants in our yard. This summer I am experiencing a new combination of familiar activities and experiences. It seems the same is true for most people I know.

The "Summer of Covid-19" mail art project is born from my anticipation of the sunny and hot days this season will bring and the still-present and ever-growing threat of the coronavirus. The project also marks the beginning of a new acceptance of the fact that the current pandemic will not end soon or without more changes to the way I live my life.

I want you all to be safe and to stay well. Please wear a mask when you are out in public, maintain social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and encourage those around you to do the same.

Summer is only beginning and it is sure to be long and hot during this COVID-19 pandemic.

The 4" x 6" postcards in this project are painted with acrylic paint on watercolor paper, and given a gloss varnish. The reverse is printed with custom rubber stamps. There are 215 pieces in this edition.

Everyone deserves to get art in the mail during a pandemic. #MailArtSalon

Summer of COVID-19 - 101 of 215

Summer of COVID-19 - 103 of 215

Summer of COVID-19 - 104 of 215

Summer of COVID-19 - 107 of 215

Summer of COVID-19 - Reverse

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Stay Home - Be Safe - Send Mail

In March, my employer told me to take my computer and go work from home.  It’s been an interesting experience staying sheltered and distant these past months.  Some days are pleasant while others are filled with anxiety and frustration over a circumstance that is beyond my control.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and I spend all my time at home, I notice things about my environment that I never noticed before.  Other familiar parts of my surroundings take on new meaning when seen from my new stay-at-home vantage.  The way the shadow of our house crawls across the patio; the clouds that fill this pollution-free urban sky; and the unusual beauty of food packaging.  

This mail art project uses recycled art papers and cardboard waste in the shape of our house to reflect on the beauty that surrounds me and the warning from healthcare professionals that the pandemic is not over.  I choose to limit my contact with others and practice social distancing, wash my hands, and wear a face covering when I do go out in public.  

I encourage you to stay home, be safe, and send mail.

Stay Home - 101 of 149

Stay Home - 19 of 149

Stay Home - 49 of 149

Stay Home - 50 of 149

Stay Home - Reverse

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

COVID Amulet - Protect me from coronavirus

We know all too well that a virus can have enormous impacts in our lives.  For a tiny, not-quite-alive thing, it has shown its enormous power to disrupt routines and upend institutions.  In contrast, I also find images of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus to be beautiful.  This mail art project is about finding a way to express the tension between the beauty of the thing and its power to force changes that are often unwelcome.

Some time ago I did a project in response to another difficult circumstance in my life.  "Nazar Amulet" was an expression of my need for solace and protection in a time when I felt threatened.  It feels like I need another amulet right now.

An amulet is an ornament or small piece of jewelry thought to give protection against evil, danger, or disease. What would happen if the beauty of the virus were turned to protect from the disruption I feel?  Could others find a sense of security and hope that alCaleb1Skyla2
al will be well in such an amulet?

COVID AMULET - Protect me from coronavirus.*

* Fine Print: COVID AMULET has not been proven effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.  It may, however, bring the recipient comfort. 

Nazar Amulet - July 4, 2017

Nazar Amulet (reverse) - July 4, 2017

Monday, April 20, 2020

Uncertain Times

These days it feels like nothing is  certain.  There is much information but there is not a consistent or predictable message.  Should I stay away from people or should I abandon my social distancing practice?  Should I wear a face covering or not? Will the economy get better or worse, and how soon will all that happen?

This mail art project is about the uncertainty of the moment.  In days past one could have reasonable expectations and could make plans based on those expectations.  None of that seems possible at this moment because it is not possible to have a reliable expectation about what the future may hold.

In this uncertain time, there is hope that this pandemic will come to an end and society and its institutions will return to some predictable norms.  Perhaps this mail art project can help remind us of that.  What makes today a good day?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Spring in the Time of Pandemic

My neighbor across the back alley has a tall fence that is covered with vines.  Each year, those vines announce the arrival of spring by breaking into bloom and create a visually halting display of red, orange, yellow and the slightest bit of pink.  It makes my heart glad each time I see that curtain of blooms.

It feels odd to be so taken by the beauty of that sight as we "Stay Home to Stay Safe" during this outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.  The uncertainty and anxiety and fear that fills my days exists along side the beauty of nature that seems to be unaware of the pandemic at the same time it is at the cause of this mutation of Coronavirus.

I made this painted postcard edition of 107 cards plus 10 Artist Run cards to capture the feeling of this moment.  I have included a photo of the blooming cross vine in addition to photos of some finished cards and videos of my process for making this edition.

Be safe; wash your hands; cover your mouth and nose; and practice social distancing.  It is spring in the time of pandemic.

Blooming Crossvines

Completed sheet before cutting

Spring in the Time of Pandemic

Spring in the Time of Pandemic

Reverse of card 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Meditation on COVID-19

This week, the World Health Organization declared that an outbreak of COVID-19, a coronavirus, had reached pandemic proportions.  In Dallas, local health officials declared a disaster and a public health emergency.  Large gatherings were banned and events, large and small, were cancelled.  Churches cancelled services.  There was a rush to buy hygiene products, cold remedies, all sorts of pantry staples and toilet paper.  People were encouraged to wash their hands often and practice “social distancing” to protect themselves from an infection.  These are days filled with unusual news and challenges to routines.

I struggle with how best to respond.  Do I hoard disinfectants and toilet paper? Do I despair because the economy has very suddenly become soft and cause for despair?  How do I find comfort when dinners with friends are being canceled and we are encouraged to distance ourselves from one another?

These could be lonely times.

I have little to offer in this time of uncertainty, but I know that I take comfort in making art.  This Mail Art Project is my effort to capture the moment and document the circumstance.  We are vulnerable to a virus with unknown powers and asked to distance ourselves from one another.  Yet there is beauty in the world and wonder all around us.  Making art and creating this Mail Art Project brings me unexpected joy in this moment that could otherwise be filled with panic and despair.  It is a meditation on what it means to live in this moment.

May we know comfort and find connection in these days filled with uncertainty and a call to physically distance ourselves from one another.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I Need You To Survive

Mail Art Salon - March 24, 2018

It has been a little less than a month since my last Mail Art Project, and I still feel the need to make art in response to current affairs.  The official release of this project coincides with the March for Our Lives scheduled for March 24 in Washington DC. 

I recently heard the song "I Need You To Survive" written by David Frazier and it prompted me to create this current project.  Here are the lyrics:

I need you
You need me
We're all a part of God's body
Stand with me
Agree with me
We're all a part of God's body
It is his will that every need be supplied
You are important to me
I need you to survive 

I pray for you
You pray for me
I love you
I need you to survive
I won't harm you
With words from my mouth
I love you
I need you to survive

The images in this project were created using fragments of figure drawings; the "Red Cross" as a symbol of safety and help that does not discriminate; an overlay of tissue printed with vines and leaves; and a swash of golden paint.  

Let me know if this Project speaks to you.  As always, I think that Art is a Healing Force.  

Everyone deserves to receive art in the mail from time to time.