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Postcard Artwork

1 Oct

Brooke turned 25 this past weekend and she had requested that I make her a set of paintings that when placed together on the wall would create one large image. Well, paint and I have a love/hate relationship where I just can’t force myself if I’m not loving it, so I decided to think outside the box on this one. I had come across some history-themed postcards while wandering around Davis Square that sparked some ideas of an American Revolution style project that would be right up Brooke’s alley.



Archival Ink Pens

Black paper

Picture frame

So these are the postcards I picked up; John Adams, Faneuil Hall and JFK.

I decided to draw the maps of the Midnight Ride routes of Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott onto the postcards so that map covers all three cards.

Using Adobe Illustrator, I was able to trace over the routes and delete the reference image. Initially I had planned to just print the map directly onto the cards but was afraid that they might mess up and I would need to buy more postcards.

So instead, I drew them on free-hand which I think actually ended up looking better and more personalized. At this point the project seemed too easy and a bit plain, so I wrote the preamble to the Constitution in the background of the John Adams postcard. Then I felt like all of the cards needed some writing. So Faneuil Hall has a quote from Abigail Adams written on the street and I wrote a quote from JFK onto the shore line of his postcard. Sorry, I don’t have detail images of these.

The postcards measure 4″x6″ but I didn’t want any of the card to be cut off so I picked up a basic three pane frame from Target that fits 5″x7″ photos. I used some black paper to act as a background to the postcards once inside the frame.

All wrapped up and ready for delivery! You can start to see some of the quotes in this image.

And it has already found the perfect spot on the wall in her bedroom! Happy birthday, Brooke!



House Portrait Revisited

27 Aug

After seeing the house portrait I made back in February, my stepdad requested one of our house. His birthday was a few days ago and I decided it would be a perfect gift for the occasion. The overall technique for this project is the same, but I used acrylic paint on canvas instead of watercolors.



Tracing paper


Archival Ink pens


Acrylic paint

Paint brush

Picture frame



Printer – optional

I took a bunch of pictures from all different angles to make sure I could see all the details I needed. I chose this one for the composition – the rooflines(though hard to make out in this image) have distinct lines and all of the major elements of the facade are visible. I upped the contrast and sharpness to their maximum to make tracing easier.

Instead of printing out the image and tracing on a window, I traced directly on my computer screen.

Once everything was traced, I used my printer/copier to blow the image up to fit the 12″ square canvas I had.

Then I drew the image onto the canvas freehand in pencil. This was small and simple enough for me to just do by hand rather than transfer a mirrored image like last time. Once the image was drawn in pencil, I went back over with pen and added in textural details. I also decided to keep the trees in the image, but give them a translucent feel so that the house is still the focal point.

Using acrylic paints watered down greatly, I started paint from the back forward. So the sky and grass were first, then the house and driveway then the trees. The ink began to bleed a bit because of the watery paint but not enough to blur the image.

I found this shadow box frame at Michaels that I thought would allow for the thickness of the canvas inside of the frame. Once I got it home I realized the canvas was just the tiniest bit too large to fit in, so I got to work on making it fit.

There was a little lip on the inside of the frame that allowed me to glue the canvas to the back, but that meant the bracket to hang the frame would be recessed. So, off came the bracket.

Here is the original backing for the frame, I glued that to the back of the canvas in order to protect the canvas and have somewhere to re-attach the hanging bracket to.

I didn’t like that the side of the canvas was showing though, so a quick coat of black paint around the edges fixed that up.

Done! This project took me just a couple hours and since I had everything besides the frame already, cost me less than $10, but gifts like these are thoughtful, personal and always a hit. This now sits prominently on a bureau in my parents’ bedroom. Happy birthday, Mark!


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