The Post card as Art

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Today’s post card to Kathi
My “dead friend” Charlotte Bronte has been known to say “… short notes give one the feeling of a very small piece of a very good thing to eat” and I agree.  Though both Charlotte and I love nice long letters we both appreciate short notes too.  In fact, Charlotte added “… I am very glad to get notes; so don’t think, when you are pinched for time … that it is useless to write a few lines; be assured, a few lines are very acceptable…”

And so every day I send off one short note in the form of a post card in addition to one of my nice long letters. I like to use post cards for these short notes because  a post card requires less postage than a short letter and because a post card most always contains a picture, and you know what they say about a picture.  It’s worth a thousand words.

So today I send a post card off to my cousin Kathi.  I recently had a tea and baked a pretty impressive apple pie if I do say so myself, so after all the work of baking and hosting the tea, it seemed only right to take a picture in order to memorialize the event and share my joy over and over again.  Most of the picture post cards I create come out of scenes from my daily life.  And it’s funny, knowing I can take these pictures and use them for my correspondence gives me good reason to go the extra mile in making things as nice as possible.

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The Red Lion Inn
I first started sending post cards years ago when I discovered The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  I loved that inn then, and still do.  The Red Lion Inn was the inspiration for my invention – Country Inn Days.  You may have read about these days in a former post.  The Red Lion Inn sold many lovely post cards and I bought them all.  I kept some, but being a letter writer, I sent others away to friends as a way to share my joy.  I also took lots of my own pictures.  Here you see one of them.  I think the porch at The Red Lion Inn is its best feature.  I loved it so much that I patterned the porch at my own 1853 house after it.

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Tea served at my own private Inn, The Jeremiah Brown House
Now, on a Country Inn Day, when I’m  playing the part of innkeeper and hosting a tea, I take pictures along the way in order to create and send off my very own Country Inn Day postcards from my very own Country Inn, The Jeremiah Brown House.  Sharing doubles my joy. It’s great fun!

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Another tea at the Jeremiah Brown House
Creating a lovely table setting is a lot like painting a lovely picture.  It’s fun, but it’s also work.  Some art we create lasts and lasts; a painting, a song, but not a table setting.  After a tea or meal the setting’s moment of glory is over.  All that work could be forgotten, just a vague memory unless we photograph the scene.  If we do take a picture we’ll have the image forever, available for post cards and photo notes.

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Besides taking pictures in our own private worlds it’s also wonderful to buy picture post cards on our travel adventures and our visits to  favorite places near and far. Sharing these sites with friends and family allows us to share our joy.  I used to live in Boston and I absolutely LOVE The Boston Public Garden. Whenever I return to Boston, as I do quite frequently, I spend hours in this magical place.  In fact the arboretum-like feeling of this garden is what inspired me to choose The Jeremiah Brown House for home.

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Entrance to The Jeremiah Brown House (1853)

And because I love my trees so very much, naturally they often become the subjects of my Country Inn Day postcards.

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Carol Ann in Chicago

Sometimes we might find ourselves in a place that is really special but has no card shop handy, and even if there is a card shop, there’s no picture for sale showing exactly what we’re seeing and enjoying. This happens off in the country all the time, but it happened to me in downtown Chicago recently.   My husband and I were walking along and I was awestruck by the impressive skyscrapers all around me.  What to do?  Take a picture of course!  Making our own picture post cards is fun and very personal for though the store-bought cards may at times  be of better quality, they don’t ever include our very own smiling faces.

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The Crop Bistro, Cleveland, Ohio

I’ll often send my pen friends pictures of lovely places in and around Cleveland.  There are  lots of such lovely places, but Cleveland, like many industrial cities, gets only bad press.  I want people to know there is a great deal of beauty here too.  We have wonderful restaurants,  like the beautiful Crop Bistro housed in a gorgeous historic building.  We also have fabulous parks, charming small-town neighborhoods, terrific culture, (I used to work for The Cleveland Orchestra) and we’re working on the sports.

I think I should be hired as a public relations representative for Cleveland because I’m forever bragging about the city, broadcasting its finer points, and sending snazzy picture post cards to my pen friends all around the world.

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Two dashing fellows

Of course it’s lots of fun to photograph people too.  Here you see my husband Bill (in the white) and our friend Steve who was visiting from Florida.  Steve, our friend Susan, (Susan’s not pictured here, sorry Susan) Bill and I, all went to Blossom, the Summer Home of The Cleveland Orchestra where we attended a concert.  Camera in hand (as usual) I got lots of good pictures.  Won’t Steve be surprised to go out to his mail box one day and find this picture post card waiting for him?

Any time  I get together with friends and family is a great time to take pictures for my post cards.  Who wouldn’t enjoy finding not only a postcard addressed “just to them”, but a picture post card featuring their very own picture?  Add a sweet caption and it’s a great way to let your friends know you’re thinking of them. There’s enough room for a short note on the back of the card too.

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My son Patrick “supported” in friendship by his UCLA chums
Any photo post card you send to your friends should put a smile on their face, but some pictures are more fun than others.  The more fun your subjects are having,  the more fun they’ll have revisiting that fun.  Life is short.  Enjoy yourself and share that joy.

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Even though it’s delightful and artful work creating your own picture post cards you don’t have to make all of them yourself.   You’ll find all sorts of post cards for sale.  My letter friend Joy has gone into the post card business and soon you’ll be able to buy her designs.  She makes lovely, artful cards.  I’ll keep you posted on how to purchase them.

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Daniel Gerber’s (American, 1880-1958)
The River’s Bridge

Art museums are  wonderful places to find post cards of great and famous art works. You can use these cards when writing short notes to your friends, start a collection of beautiful post cards for your personal pleasure – looking through them whenever you need  a spot of beauty, or you might  buy a dozen art post cards, tie them in a ribbon, and use them as hostess gifts for the next dinner party you attend.  These cards might be serious …

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Day ‘N Night by JETGLASS
Your Best Water Heater Buy

or they might be a little silly.  At one time this picture was meant to be a serious advertisement, but now it’s just a fun post card.

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And this card is fun too, especially if you’re female.  Note the caption:

“I made some Niman Ranch lamb tenderloin with garlic, black pepper, and Indonesian soy sauce for dinner.  I hope that sounds ok.”

I love this fella’s expression, don’t you?

So many humorous forwards fly around on the internet these days, but snail mail can spread a lot of fun as well.

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Inspiration

And snail mail can also spread a lot of beauty around this weary world.  My friend Evelyna loves afternoon tea as I do and she finds beautiful tea images on post cards to share with me.  These pictures inspire my own tea gatherings.

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Evelyna’s tiny script helps her say a lot on a small post card

So though a post card will never take the place of a long, juicy letter it does have its value.   Just as we appreciate  hor dourves as the small but delicious little treats they are, so too should we appreciate the post card as the lovely little art form it is.

Don’t take my word for it.  Buy or make some post cards, send them out and see what happens.  If you’re not yet a letter writer but you’d like to be, post cards are a nice way to get started.  If you are a letter writer, why not add some post cards to your correspondence ritual?  You just may find

When you give (post cards) good things (more post cards) come back to you

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