Making mailart every day since December 1st, 2010!
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Thanks for visiting Mailart 365. This site is an archive of mailart produced by artists doing mailart 365 from December 2010 to August 2016. As of July 2016, we moved to a new and more modern site at www.mailart365.com. Come on over and check us out there
It is Tết (Vietnamese New Year) here in Hanoi and this year this marks the start of the year of the horse. I went into horse drawing mode today and here's the first. I found this piece really hard as the sleek lines of the horses legs are quite hard to get right. I went through lots of points where I thought "GAH! HORRIBLE!", but I had to silence the internal critic long enough to complete it. It was only when I added the dust lines that I can say I was really happy with it.
One of the best things about travelling for me is the quirky cultural differences and points of view that people have in different countries.
This is even more fascinating for me being in Hanoi at the moment, as my parents are Vietnamese, so the differences I see in the Vietnamese are a glimpse of what I could have been, had I not been born in London.
One of the things we couldn't get over when we came out to Vietnam on our honeymoon, was the strange compliments that Elena got from the locals, which went something like "You're so lucky - you are so fat!" as they admired her size 10 figure.
We also recently found out that it's almost impossible to get hold of any moisturizing cream or body lotion that doesn't contain "whitener" as light skin is seen as beautiful here.
Both of these traits I had already read about before I got here, but recently we discovered another thing that the Vietnamese find beautiful.
One of our friends, who is naturally quite pretty, recently started putting up the strangest profile pictures on facebook. When she came over to our house, Elena asked her why she had been putting up pictures that made her look so funny
"Ahh yes, I've been trying to take pictures with my eyes as wide as possible" she said, "I look great right! Everyone has been saying how big my eyes are!"
Since then, I've started noticing lots of pictures on facebook of people trying hard to look like owls.
Now that we realise this, we see "eye-widening" procedures everywhere. In opticians, they have glasses and contact lenses designed to make you appear like you have bigger, rounder eyes, and procedures you can have that make your eyes bigger.
Purely first world problems!!! As I made this piece I remembered that I had a $50 "thank you for spending a lot of money in our store" gift card I have to use at Coach. First world problems indeed. ;)(Don't judge... I rarely eat out. I like to see where I spend my cash! Lol)
Since I've been in Hanoi, I've been rather paranoid about post not arriving at it's destination as I've heard lots of stories about post going missing. However, we've been quite lucky and all of the post that we've sent since we got to Vietnam has arrived at it's destination, albeit slowly.
Because of the distance and the fragile nature of some of our pieces, we've taken to sending a lot of our post in envelopes. Whenever I put a piece in an envelope however, I always feel that there's something taken away, and I've taken to illustrating the envelopes too. I was particularly pleased with my last piece as the combination of envelope and contents really matched well, so I wanted to do another envelope/contents matchup.
This time, the piece inside was made a LONG time ago. I can actually pinpoint exactly when it was made, December 11, 2010 right at the start of the mailart 365 project! This piece, Zen Pond, was meant to go out with a quilled flower by Elena.
However, Elena and I wondered how we were going to post the 3D water lily flower and ended up not sending it at all. It remained on the outbox pile for years and we ended up having to pack it in our suitcase to bring it to Vietnam with us in order to finish it. The waterlilly stayed at home.
I needed a suitable envelope as the pond is tissue paper and paint, so I got out my trusty Sharpie markers and set about making one and the envelope is todays mailart.
It's actually changed it's destination as well, as I had already written the address when I started drawing.
I really loved how this came out and how it complemented the original piece, which is inside.
I only used medium Fineliner, which is quite thick, and I'm really pleased with how the bold lines make me look like a confident artist. I would usually be rather shy with my lines, using the thinnest fineliner possible. I think that the bolder lines look much more, well, bold.
I'd never seen these birds until I got to Hanoi. They sing beautifully and they are so sociable. Elena and I love watching them as the sun goes down. They will go around in pairs and they look so affectionate with each other. In between dive-bombing, they will cuddle up and nuzzle each other. It's really cute.