Experiments in Watercolors

I got an itch to learn how to watercolor a couple years ago and have been dabbling here and there since then. I started by trying to recreate some patterns I found via Pinterest (mostly flowery ones by Rifle Paper Co.), but I soon needed to find my own watercolor voice. This year I began a series of watercolors based off of photos from my travels. In the process of creating these watercolors, I discovered that I’ve been lying to myself for quite some time. I always said I couldn’t draw, but it turns out I can! I think I’m getting better with every new page in my watercolor Moleskine sketchbook. Here are a few of my favorites:

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USS Pennsylvania

USS Pennsylvania Postcard | wakeupanddance.com

USS Pennsylvania Postcard Writing| wakeupanddance.com

Am home now. Very warm here. Left Oakland last Wednesday. – ?

I’m not sure who signed this card. Might be a Violet that I’ve seen sign other postcards. Something about this one seems special. It has a metallic sheen to it and the scanned image doesn’t do it justice. I’m not sure if the USS Pennsylvania holds any significance, but perhaps we’ll find out later in other correspondence. I did manage to find some interesting facts about the ship though. This was the first ship to have an airplane land on it and was renamed Pittsburgh so that a battle ship in the Atlantic fleet could be named Pennsylvania. This caused a brief confusion in my initial search because this postcard is from 1910 and the more famous USS Pennsylvania wasn’t launched until 1915.


To Kiss a Miss – Sep. 5, 1911

To Kiss a Miss 1

A postcard sent to Miss Ivah WIlliams from Brushcreek California. It took a little guess work to decipher the rubber stamp marking, but it turns out that Brushcreek is near Oroville, California and had a post office from 1856 to 1916. Given the postcard he chose to send her, I wonder if there was a spark between them. Seems a little too flirty to send to just a friend. Message below. Read more

Panama Canal Sept. 29, 1913

IMG_2975I inherited a large cedar chest filled with old photographs, letters, and postcards from my Grandmother last winter. As we went through her belongings it occurred to me that we needed to digitize the items in the chest for all of us to be able to look at since we are spread out across a few different states. As I started flipping through the old photographs and letters, it became clear that they were too neat to keep to ourselves, so I’m sharing my finds here. I’m not very familiar with the subjects, but as I go through everything I hope to learn more about this part of my family tree along with an idea of what life used to be like in the early 1900s.

For instance, take this postcard. It’s a picture of my great grandfather, Sam, who worked on the building of the Panama Canal. I had heard that one of my relatives had had a hand in the building of the canal and that the money he earned helped the family to get through the Great Depression better than most folks. Now I’ve found the photographic evidence and I was surprised that he had been able to turn a photograph of himself into a postcard wayyy back in 1913. I had thought that this was a relatively new concept that came with our smart phones and apps. Apparently people were doing this over a hundred years ago as well! Read more