Monday, July 30, 2012

handwritten letters bring them back to life

Letters are among the most significant memorial
a person can leave behind them.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I love old letters.

Actual, real, handwritten letters on paper.
This box is one of many that i've kept over the years.
Once in a blue moon,
i sit with a glass of wine
and re-read some of them.

I read letters from the people i knew and loved
and although many are no longer here
there is nothing like handwriting
to make me feel like they were never gone.

I thought i'd try something a little different last night.

A collage combining paper, paint
and a few pieces of memorabilia i kept hidden in a box.

I thought these things would make a good piece of art,
and bring to life the memories
rather than keep them hidden in a box.

This man (not Jesus, but the one in the middle, Father Yvon)... ;-)
was a childhood friend of my father's.

He spent his life doing missionary work in Cuba.
He died there last year.

I've always loved writing,
and when i was a young teenager, Father Yvon and i
began corresponding.

We did so for years,
and whenever he came home,
he would come and visit us.

We all went ice skating together one winter... 

I created some of the texture with paper towel and paint...

added some paint splatter, charcoal and color...

and i gave him a little halo...
yes i did.

You don't have to be religious
to appreciate those who dedicate their lives to helping others.

Father Yvon was one of those people.

Look at his beautiful handwriting...
There's just something to me
about the actual writing of a person
that makes it far more intimate
than digitally written letters.

I really loved doing this collage...
i can see myself using more of the memorabilia in that box
to do more (very soon). 

I'm already thinking of what i'll use next... ;-)

The Jesus image is one he had sent me
in a letter...

a few of his letters (or envelopes) to me...

Isn't this cool?
i love the look of that opened envelope
with those red and blue lines like pillars...

I did this collage on canvas, but next time,
i'm going to try actual wood.

A smooth surface would work much better than canvas.
You can see (in a few places) where the paper bubbled...
The paper would probably stick much better to a smooth surface
than to canvas.

Have any of you done collages on wood?
I've never painted on wood
and since some of you out there are geniuses at collage,
so i'm sure you could teach me a few things.

I really had fun doing this one
and if some of you out there
are letter geeks like me...
you may want to try one of your own.

Happy Monday everyone! 


  1. Cool Pauline. I too keep old letters, but not all the way from childhood. I had an idea for a collage using old concert stubs and event programs as well as my business card collection, but thinking was as far as I got. Way to go!
    Stay inspired!

  2. Pauline ~ this is a treasure ~ I once did a collage of my wedding cards ~ Having such warm memories and making a 'visual' is so loving ~ marvelous creative work ~ thanks, namaste, (A Creative Harbor)

  3. This is such a creative way to preserve these memories. I also keep old letters and now I have inherited dozens from my parents' collections. I may have to try something like this. Have a great week!

  4. Pauline, this is wondrous!! I have Let Go all the stuff of my Life that I'd kept over all my moves up until 2009 when I came back to the East Coast after 26 years. I was at the storage just BEfore I left on my Journey and my friend, Helen, had me sit a bit and go through a HUGE bin of photos and some letters, too. I found a shoebox and selected a few of those photographs, never for a moment thinking that would BE my last time to choose...
    When I decided to Let Go, those few treasures I'd brought went way UP in value to me.
    Seeing your collage brings so much back to me, a flood of memories.
    Just wanted to thank you for the nudge in that direction this Monday morning.

  5. This is a fabulous way to honor him. You are reliving the love and connection you have with him, remembering the way he gave himself to help others, and sharing him with the world through your art! Wow!!

  6. Such a stunning, loving tribute Pauline. What more can I say... xx

  7. This is a beautiful collage and a very lovely post. Your collage is full of love and memories, that now you will enjoy as a piece of unique art. Me, like you, love everything about letters, it's very exiting to receive and send those wonderful and personal letters.

    Have a great day!

  8. This is so personal to you and has such meaning--love this! What a great idea! And if you hang this on the wall you will remember him each time you see it. :)

    I totally agree that a handwritten letter is so much more intimate and personal. I will never give them up--well, until I my handwriting becomes totally illegible or my hand doesn't work anymore. ;)

  9. I remember to have a penpal and how happy I was when the mailman deliverd a letter.

    I've lost a few lovedones and now I really appreciate handwriting. It is so much them and it brings back memories.

    Your canvas is great! I like all the pieces of paper and how it turned out.

  10. One of my teen years pen pals found me on Facebook and we are resharing what we wrote almost 30 years ago. :)
    I agree with putting things on display instead of hiding them in boxes. Cool, idea about the envelopes.

  11. I love this piece Pauline filled with all your personal pieces, so very meaningful!

  12. How beautiful! I get such a warm feeling from this post. Your love and admiration shines through. I too love handwritten letters. My grandfather sent many letters to my grandma when he was away at war for three long years, and I have some of them. Precious... Your collage work is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing such a personal piece.

  13. Wow Pauline, You are something else, you know that? I just LOVE this:)) what a wonderful tribute to a friend. That halo it perfect!
    How inspiring! Thanks so very much for sharing this beautiful piece of art.
    FranT xo

  14. this is so inspriational...I LOVE it..thanks for sharing

  15. What a wonderful tribute to a special person in your life!! Inspirational too! I have kept things from my teens, letters and notes!! Great idea! I love cradle boards... I know a few artist who prefer them to canvas, because they can print out their art for collage. It looks nice and flat too!!

    Hugs Giggles

  16. Hi Pauline, I agree with you.
    sometimes I think that we should create a club, something like: "Lovers of the handwritten letters" and re-sent letters, I always say: a mail is faster, but has no smell of perfume, such as do a letter. right?
    very good your collage!

  17. Lovely collage, Pauline! :]
    What wonderful memories to treasure and to display them so expressively through art... you are "creatively clever". ~xx

  18. This is such a lovely collage and such a tribute to someone who spent his life helping others. Thank you for sharing your friend with us.

  19. Great idea, Pauline, and it looks wonderful! What a great tribute to someone who brought such meaning into your life. xoxox