Paintober, Day 2 – Bird by Bird

In late 2015, I discovered Hahnemühle’s blank watercolor postcards, and they served as my Christmas Cards that year. Sending holiday cards isn’t something I normally have the spoons to do, but I wanted a project to work on, and particularly to share with my friends who live in far-off states and countries. So I created about two dozen custom mini-paintings and sent them fluttering into the sky, on trucks and planes and stuffed in mailbags. It was an experience I loved, and I’ve been meaning to repeat it ever since.

Me: I really ought to buy more of those blank postcards
My brain: I agree. Maybe this weekend, we can visit the art supply store, and–
Me: Hey look, The Fifth Element is on TV again.

A few months ago, while trekking through downtown Portland, I found these, and Paintober seems a perfect venue for their journey into the world.

“Bird by Bird,” which will be mailed to a friend this afternoon, is based on the Anne Lamott writing instruction book of the same title. Like most of my creative work, the concept veered dramatically as I worked from what I’d originally intended. I’d thought that the viridian spirals would be rainfall, but they looked more like a bird’s feet, and I thought of the titular passage from Lamott’s book:

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'”

“Bird by Bird” postal version:


With vivid light, lightening, and craquelure texture effects added:

bird after

Ideally, I’d like to complete a second postcard today. Just gonna take it bird by bird.


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