Category Archives: Postcard Sketch

Painting an Alaskan Postcard

I am still not prepared to post about my magnificent trip to Alaska this past Spring. There are so many notes to look through and photos that still to be work on, but I did come across one of the postcards I painted while aboard the Columbia on the Alaskan Marine Highway that I wanted to share.

Alaska by the Ferry

I painted a few postcards while on the ship, but, before I was smart enough to photograph any of them, fellow passengers took a genuine liking to my work and asked if they could buy them. Feeling a bit generous I opt to give them away for free. Originally I had planned to paint my own postcards throughout the trip and mail them home to friends and family, but there was so much going on that I never actually found the time to stop, sit and paint as I had fantasized. It was a lot of work to keep up with my travel journal on a daily basis, let alone paint the landscape. When my fellow passengers sincerely wanted to mail my Alaskan landscape watercolor sketches to their family I was more than happy to just give them the postcard. I did, however, get some good conversation in exchange and a reason beyond my personal enjoyment to paint some more.

One of my recipients was a young girl about the age of 13. She came from a large family of twleve kids and they would travel the country singing bluegrassy hymns at various fairs across the states. Her birthday was our final day on the ferry so I gave her not only a postcard I painted but a book of blank postcards for her to paint as well.

Another recipient was a woman from a group of people who came up to enjoy our 8th deck scenery. She was a bit intoxicated but affable. She and I had a enjoyable conversation about Alaska’s scenery and what we will miss most about the great state. She had forgotten to buy postcards for her family and wanted to mail mine if I would sell it to her. The idea of my artwork traveling through the mail was good enough for me!

The final recipient was a guy that I had a bit of a crush on through out the ferry passage. It took me several days to finally muster up the courage to speak with him and I had the brilliant idea of giving him my favorite postcard with my contact info on it.. too forward?? lol I hope not. no word from him yet, but who knows.

I don’t remember where the ship exactly was when I sketched this scene. I am suspecting, judging by the bright yellowing sunset, that we were between Juneau and Ketchikan when the days were still incredibly long. I sat on the 8th deck of the Columbia, admiring the passing mountains and islands covered with evergreens, felt inspired by the brilliant colors and jovial mood of the deck. It was a challenge to sit and paint with the wind whipping around. A few times I had to chase after my little paper cup of water before it blew into the water.

Part of my trip was to meet people and these little postcards did wonders in that category! Next time I make it to Alaska I will def make the time to stop, sit and paint. 🙂


Devils Tower Postcard Sketch

My Grandmother, a spirited woman of 79 years, just celebrated her birthday this past weekend – sadly I am 1,000 plus miles away.

She has always been one of my most supportive fans when it came to my artwork. I remember when I was maybe 13 years old and she asked if I would make a pastel drawing of a lakeshore scene from one of her camping trips for my Uncle as a holiday gift. To this day he still has the pastel drawing hanging in his living room and my grandmother still brags to everyone she meets about the details a that little drawing.

For her birthday this year I decided to paint for her a Postcard Sketch of Devils Tower. The first time I visited Devils Tower I was about 4 years old and I had never forgotten it. Running along the winding path near the boulders is one of my earliest most vivid memories. Twenty-four years later I returned to Devils Tower and had the most amazing experience reliving those precious childhood memories. I recognized specific spots along the walking path, in some ways they had not changed at all. I can easily recall running as fast as I could on the path until I had reached this one spot, when the path makes a sharp turn left, it was that place where I thought I would most definitely collide with these large, almost menacing, boulders – from a 4 year olds perspective – because I couldn’t stop running in time. Now those boulders still stand there, but they are not nearly as large, nor are they even remotely menacing.

I took the photo that this little watercolor sketch was based on along that memorable path during my revisit.

Happy Birthday Grandma!!