Journey 88: International Mail Art Project

Mail art turquoise cards

I completed my mail art today and tomorrow I’ll mail it, along with cards created by Dayan and Aubrey. Dayan and I experienced our first mail art project late last year, entering our works of art in a project sponsored by The Memorial Art Reference Library in Joplin. We had so much fun and enjoyed viewing the many submissions in January at the exhibit. Shortly after, I received a notification about another mail art project, via Twitter, this one hosted by an artist in Austria.

Mail art turquoise

We decided to submit works of art for this, our first international mail art project. As a reminder, mail art is a post card sized work of art that is created and then mailed. The first one we did could be any subject, any media. This project has the theme of Turquoise. The word or the color should be represented in the art work.

Dayan had the excellent idea of creating a piece that spells out the word Turquoise, by cutting the letters from pictures of monuments and buildings in different cities around the world. Secured on a turquoise background as well, his work is titled, “The world in…TURQUOISE”. I love the originality and creativity of his work. And, since geography, maps and architecture are passions of his, it showcases his interests. I was thrilled as well that the E in turquoise is represented by the Scott Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Mail art turquoise Dayan

Little Aubrey joined us last Tuesday as Dayan and I were beginning our postcards. I had picked her up from school and she was all in when I told her what we were doing. She created a lovely card that has the word TURQUOISE above a sea of the same color. I was actually amazed that she did that herself, selecting a crayon that was the perfect color for her work. Aubrey recently gave me a poster that she made in school that listed a goal of hers for 2015. She wrote, “My goal is to be a better artist.” What a great intention and now a work of hers is on its way to a far away country.

Mail art turquoise Aubrey

I was the slow one in the group. I started my post card last Tuesday and just completed it today. It is a very simple design, and yet it incorporates turquoise in the background and my door symbol and my word for the year. For added textural interest, I watered down the tempera paint and created a wash of turquoise. Then I smoothed a paper towel over the wet paint, textured side down, absorbing some of the excess paint and leaving subtle imprints behind when I removed the paper. The door is wide open, symbolizing opportunities, and my word is a reminder to keeping following the paths that appear. I flecked black paint over the whole design. Not difficult to create, yet I enjoyed the process and I am happy with it!

Mail art turquoise Cindy

Tomorrow the post cards will be mailed, to comply with a March 31 or before postmark, on their way to join hundreds of other mail art projects that have been mailed to Austria from around the globe. I am thankful for the opportunity and grateful for grandchildren who are willing to join in with creative abandon. I’m wondering what opportunity will appear next?

Mail art turquoise all

Journey 83: Continual Joy

journey of joy

My journey today was a string of events that didn’t necessarily have any connection to each other. I found it difficult to narrow in on one aspect of this Tuesday, and stepping back, saw that my journey today might resemble the humorous Family Circus cartoon, where one of the kids’ journey throughout the day is depicted by a wandering path of dashes. Individually, each small journey was a dellight. Combined, the day’s journey was raised to a level of deep and abiding joy.

I started the journey with lunches with Joey and Oliver, at their school. This was my second visit and I knew the routine….where to check in, where the cafeteria was, where to sit to best watch for the boys. I enjoy these 30 minute breaks with the grandkids. It is a time of chatting and laughing as they eat, surrounded by a constantly shifting sea of kids. I find the setting cheerful and the experience entertaining as the school principal, wearing a mic, keeps up a steady interaction with the kids. Today was song day and I heard the song “Happy” twice and “Brave” once. The children sang with gusto. I was intrigued by “Brave”, sung by Sara Bareilles, and listened to the video on YouTube several times throughout the afternoon. What a great song about speaking up and bravely living your truth. Joey and Oliver were wonderful conversationalists and lunch companions and I left with a smile on my face and love in my heart.

journey of joy Oliver

journey of joy Joey

A quick impromptu lunch followed for me, which a friend ended up paying for. Both were unexpected and enjoyed. Next stop, the purchase of the DVD The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, released today and highly anticipated by me. I look forward to a thoughtful viewing of this film at home, where I can stop and rewind any scene that calls to me, and freely express the emotion that wells up during this final Middle Earth film.

journey of joy The Hobbit

Picking up granddaughter Aubrey from school, we met grandson Dayan at his home. With snacks nearby and a Dr. Who episode playing on the TV, we spread out art materials and began work on mail art postcards that will travel to Austria. The theme of this project is “turquoise”. Dayan had the brilliant idea of photocopying monuments and buildings in cities around the world, with the colors turquoise and blue predominant in the pics, and using those to cut out the letters to spell turquoise. For example, the Scott Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland became the E. This is a perfect fit for his interests. My piece will reflect my journey this year and incorporate the open door symbol. I’ll use turquoise and black paint and a variety of textures. Aubrey decided to make a postcard too, entering into the experience wholeheartedly, creating a sea of turquoise and adding the word turquoise above it. She was introduced to Dr. Who this afternoon and loved the episode that we watched, titled The Girl in the Fireplace. I enjoyed the time spent with my eldest and youngest grandchildren, appreciative of how patient Dayan is with his little cousin as he explains things to her. He showed her where various countries are located on his big wall map in his room. Aubrey is a quick learner and asked him great questions.

Journey of joy mail art

To cap off the day, I met with my book club group. I so appreciate this enlightened and authentic group of women. Each of us is on a journey of growth, not seeking answers so much as seeking life and the freedom to enjoy it deeply. We are reading our way through The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. The chapters on Who Are You?, The Lucid Self and Infinite Energy sparked interesting and soulful conversations and honest and open sharing of our unfolding journeys.

Interspersed with the highlights of the day were calls and texts with family, clients, lenders and friends. It was an ordinary day, made extraordinary by the connections with others and the living of life. Awareness brings gratitude for each moment and the desire to fully engage in that moment, offering out of a full heart, receiving graciously from the bounty and goodness of others. It was an incredibly joyful day, measured in steps and smiles, heartbeats and hugs….my favorite kind of day.

journey of joy untethered soul

Journey 11: Mail Art Projekt Exhibit

Mail Art Projekt Dayan

This afternoon, I had the privilege of attending a reception for the Mail Art Projekt Exhibit. Located in the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, the exhibit features art pieces mailed in from around the world. Back on Day 330 last year, my grandson Dayan and I competed our entries for the Projekt and dropped them into the mail. These postcard sized works of art were fun to create and we looked forward to seeing the pieces displayed this month.


Today we had the opportunity to attend the exhibit, find our art work and view the many other Mail Art pieces. At the library I met Dayan and his mom…my daughter Elissa…and my sister Linda. Also attending were Dayan’s dad Kevin, stepmom Kim and his sister Emma and baby brother Eli. As we arrived, I was thrilled to see a large group in attendance at the reception. The event was also covered by at least two local tv stations.

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit 2

We had fun browsing the amazing Mail Art. I failed to get a picture of it, but there was on display a map of the world with pins marking where each entry came from. Art was mailed in from around the world and the art was as varied and interesting as the countries they came from. I loved that it was a hands-on exhibit and we were allowed to pick and examine the postcards. I loved too that there was a small table set up with materials so that visitors could create their own small work of art. Dayan’s little sister Emma made a precious Mail Art to take home.

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit

Dayan and I let our family members look around and see if they could find our Mail Art pieces. They discovered them quickly! Displayed near each other, it was a thrill to see our art work exhibited along with other creative and intriguing pieces. We discussed some of the more unusual Mail Art, like the one with a whole skull thrust through the postcard and the multiple card piece that was not only clever, but told a story.

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit cool postcard

We had so much fun doing this Mail Art Projekt that we are entering mail art in another project, this one located in Austria. Those pieces are due in March and have a theme of Turquoise. Dayan shared with me his idea today for his Mail Art and it is incredible! He is way ahead of me. I know I’d like to use watercolors this time….and that’s all the planning I have done!

Mail Art Projekt Exhibit hanging art

I am grateful for this opportunity that the Post Memorial Art Library offered. Dayan and I both hope they will make the Projekt an annual event, as we would like to continue to enter, and we’d love to continue to grow in our ability to create interesting and great Mail Art. The exhibit will be on display for the remainder of the month. Check out this fascinating collection of art.

Mail Art Projekt Dayan and Yaya

Day 330: Completed Mail Art

Mail Art Dayan and Cindy

Dayan and I completed our Mail Art pieces, in time for me to get them to the post office and in the mail today! The artwork needed to be postmarked by December 1 and we are well ahead of that deadline.

Mail art, also known as correspondence art or postal art, is an artistic movement centered around sending small scale works of art through the postal system. It was created in the 1960’s and continues to flourish on a global scale. American artist Ray Johnson is considered the first mail artist. He developed the New York Correspondence School, a network of mail artists.

Media commonly used in mail art includes postcards, paper, a collage of found objects, letters and numbers, cutouts, stickers, images, rubber stamps, drawings and painted objects….pretty much anything that can be artistically arranged and placed into an envelope to mail. Mail art is officially considered art, once it is dispatched.

By that definition, the art that Dayan and I created became mail art today, as I dropped them off in a padded envelope at the Joplin post office. He and I enjoyed our project, destined for the Post Memorial Art Library, located within the Joplin Public Library. We gathered an assortment of materials and then let our creativity take over.

Dayan’s mail art focuses on maps and travel. He completely covered his oversize postcard with a paper background and affixed letters that declare: “Travel Like Magellan”. I love that! His artwork also includes a globe with a moveable airplane, a compass and a hotair balloon. Dayan definitely has the travel gene that pops up in my family. We have a trip planned to Italy in 2017, after he graduates from high school. What an adventure that will be! His mail art is a beautiful representation of his desire to explore the world.

Mail Art Dayan

My mail art focuses on this year’s word, BEYOND, and my symbol of an empty bird cage. The bird in flight near it represents freedom of spirit. I, too, have the travel gene, and my artwork shows that through the luggage sticker and the signpost with the words, “GO SOME PLACE NEW”. As a hint about what’s to come next year, my new word is also on the postcard. There are three words on there, other than the words on the signpost. I won’t reveal 2015’s word yet. I’ll save that for December, but it is on the card!

I am grateful to Leslie and Jill, from the Post Memorial Art Library, for sharing with me about their upcoming Mail Art Projekt. My grandson and I enjoyed creating art pieces. What a wonderful opportunity to spend time together and to give our creativity expression. We look forward to viewing the Post Mail Art Projekt exhibit in January.

Mail Art Cindy

Day 325: Mail Art Project with Dayan

Mail art example

Sample Mail Art

This afternoon was really a series of firsts, all shared with my grandson Dayan. Last week we spent an afternoon selecting materials to create mail art to send to the Post Memorial Art Library in Joplin. They are sponsoring the Mail Art Projekt, with entries to be postmarked no later than December 1. The art, which is created on large postcards, can feature any subject or theme, as long as it can be mailed in. Completed pieces will be displayed in an exhibit in January 2015. This is just the sort of interesting project that my artistic grandson and I could enjoy together as a first, and we agreed to create mini works of art on oversized postcards.

Today, I picked him up from school so we could begin creating. He’s a growing teenager, so first things first. We grabbed a late lunch to go at the newly opened Orient Express in Webb City. I have one of these amazing little take out cafés near my house. I’m glad to see another one open in the area. Dayan called ahead to make sure they actually had opened. For our first visit, we ordered sesame and general tso chicken and crab rangoons and headed back to his house to eat before we dived into our project.

sesame chicken general tso chicken

Dayan had the great idea to pull up Netflix and watch Dr Who while we ate. Dayan is a huge fan of Dr. Who. I began watching the series, starting with season 1 of the new series, so that Dayan and I can discuss the show. We found where I left off with the 9th Doctor and his companion Rose. I have to say, it is more fun to watch Dr Who with Dayan, who knows everything about the series and filled me in on important-to-know info.

Dr Who 9th doctor

We left Dr Who going on the tv while we emptied out sacks of art and craft supplies. Dayan is focusing on a geography theme, with an emphasis on traveling, while I am creating a piece of art that includes this year’s word and symbol and hints at next year’s. Armed with scissors and glue sticks and a plethora of materials, we chatted and laughed and paused often in our work to watch the Doctor and Rose in their escapades. I treasure these times with my grandson. He is already talking about colleges. In such a casual atmosphere, we talk about all kinds of things, from movies to relationships, dreams to the mysteries of life, and the latest funny happenings at school.

Creating mail art is fun. Spending time with Dayan is priceless. I love watching him create.  I value his insights and his fresh perspective on life. And he’s got a wicked sense of humor. In fact, I had so much fun hanging out with Dayan today, that I totally forgot to capture our firsts and our art projects in process with my iPhone camera. Oh well. I am grateful for google pics. And I’ll make sure to get photos of the finished mail art next week.

mail art example 2

Sample Mail Art

Day 316: 2014 Student Art Exhibit

Pam Leisenring Art Students 2

After showing property today, I had time to stop by the Post Memorial Art Reference Library to check out the November exhibit. It has been a real joy this year to discover these monthly exhibits. Through them, I have met wonderful local artists and seen beautiful and amazing art pieces.

This month’s exhibit features acrylic paintings and pastels by the students of local artist, Pam Leisenring. Pam has taught and worked to promote the visual arts in Southwest Missouri for more than 30 years. She is a co-founder, along with the late Mary Ellen Pitts, of the Southwest Missouri Art Alliance and the Thomas Hart Benton Four State Regional Art Competition and Exhibit held at Crowder College every October.

According to the info with the exhibit, Pam specializes in bringing the creative experience to each artist in a very personalized way. By keeping the students on individualized programs and building on their intrinsic strengths, she encourages all to step outside the box and push on to higher levels. Pam introduces a wide variety of techniques, and her teaching style allows for immediate problem solving and increased retention for further application in future projects.

Students learn to “see” in a new artistically expanded way, increasing enjoyment and perception of the world around them. All artistic levels, from beginner to advanced, are included in the same class setting, which is a relaxed learning situation. Pam offers weekly sessions, during fall and spring. Students may join in at any time.

I enjoyed looking at the variety of artwork on display. Landscapes shared space with a cheerful portrait, a unique vignette of bottles, painted on a triptych, a magnificent horse and a beautiful close up of a single iris. I couldn’t pick a favorite, as I appreciated them all. The student artists included in the exhibit are Joleen Davis, Vangie Hall, Rhonda Hayward, Ron Hayworth, Cecilia Hempen, Pam Lickteig, Mary Parks, Brenda Schatzley, and Diane Thornton.

While at the exhibit I also got to say hi to Leslie and meet Post Library assistant, Jill Sullivan, just after she was interviewed by KOAM News. Jill shared about the Post Mail Art Projekt, and an upcoming workshop that will be held Saturday, November 15, at the library. The Projekt is a fun opportunity to create innovative correspondence and send it to the library, via snail mail. The deadline for entry is December 1, and the mail art will be showcased in an exhibit January, 2015. I won’t be able to attend the workshop, however I was excited to learn about mail art. I see another great first coming up, one I can share with grandson Dayan, and with the younger grandchildren, if they want to make a postcard too. I’ll share more about this exciting project, or “projekt”, later! What a perfect day to visit the exhibit at the Post Library. So often, that is the way my journey unfolds, leading me without effort to the next adventure.

Pam Leisenring Art Students