Take Hostages, Make DIY Postcards, and Inspire Only Yourself


Ever since unemployment struck the 2500 of us this summer, “do what thou wilt” has been the bumper sticker for a gap-in-the-resume road trip. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas meets Kung Fu Panda. This is a non Christmas card DIY postcards project.

Indeed it’s the best time of the year to innovate or plan a bewildering creative project. While the household dreams in heavenly peace, unleash your creative fires on your particular cauldron i.e. canvas. In the morning put on the ugly Christmas sweater, add Baileys to your coffee, and “act normal”.

gilda expressionist watercolour
What’s your real versus being “normal”?

This post does not recommend you to “get creative” you ARE creative. As an artist during the holiday season, I’m justified in taking the hostages enclosed in these postcards.

Man and cat watercolour surrealism
Two old friends. Hey, I’M the artist!

The “hostages” are my unsuspecting family, friends, and colleagues who volunteered to be models for miniature portraits with me posing beside them (originally photo selfies). Promising to snail-mail them the finished work as postcards, their eyes twinkled and they happily posed. In a few there are family members posing together, but most of the selfies include me. When I started this DIY postcards project they were willing volunteers. Bless their innocence!

Many of my previous colleagues are the poster children for youthful, hardworking immigrants with the gleam of the future in their eyes.

Other colleagues were children of immigrants, like myself, or multi-generationals who grew up playing in the ravishing freedoms we have from political and religious bonds.

With the original selfies loaded on my computer, I was ready and able to do accurate sketches. However, this was not life drawing studio with the in-person depths of a live nude body. It was a flat monitor with frozen selfie moments. As I drew and painted “accurate sketches”, I lost the pleasure of making art. Finally I said “Forget it”, from now on I destroy thoughts of “I must” and “I should”. Henceforth, I channelled automatism, a technique founded by the French surrealists in the 1920’s.

Be Animal. Recommended by 6 out of 5 doctors.

Pretty soon, as I painted “from within”, I realized I was not Leonardo Da Vinci, but the Red Dragon inspired by Hannibal Lechter with access to watercolours, and other such scalpels I would use to ugly-beautiful my transformations.

watercolor portraits expressionism
Postcard sketches in watercolour, first sketched with Pigma pen

I toyed with, degraded, loved, abused, mixed and mismatched the watercolours. They did so much with feelings of fluidity as opposed to “must” and “should”. I arted as loud as I wanted and cared naught for the neighbours with beautifully barbaric results:

watercolor portraits yellow experiment
Watercolour everywhere
watercolour wax pink purple
Watercolour, felt marker, candle wax.

It is liberating to mosh together different time periods, friends, family and colleagues on the same piece of paper. I felt our skins and hair colours into being, and added twinkles to our googly eyes using the White 101 Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen Brush. A dab of white gouache also stands out over watercolour.

This DIY postcard project shows how to upcyle handmade art. By turning old art into DIY postcards my art got out there and I moved on. The artist you are today, is not the artist from 1, 2, 3 years ago.

What’s your incentive for your particular canvas? My Christmas wish for you is to get a drop of inspiration, or perhaps a water-cannon’s worth for your next creative endeavour. I would love to hear how it turns out for you. Happy holidays!