Painting "Cottages, Hawk's Nest #8"
Catherine Christiano, Cottages, Hawk's Nest #8, 2005, Oil on panel, 6 x 4 1/4 inches. Photo credit: Catherine Christiano.


The first postcard paintings I created were for an exhibition I was invited to participate in back in 2005 at the former Project Room 88, a delightful small exhibition space formerly located on East 88th Street in Manhattan. The exhibition was titled "Wish You Were Here" and the only stipulations were that works be the size of a standard postcard, 4 1/4 x 6 inches, and remain unframed. This opened up interesting possibilities. The title was evocative of mementos sent back home and the glossy idealized tourist images I collected as a kid. The small scale offered the opportunity for exploration without the time investment demanded of larger pieces. Also, the framelessness and intimate scale lent accessibility.

Ever drawn to the character of homes and the pictorial possibilities presented by structures and their interplay with light, I turned to the beach communities in my town of Old Lyme for my initial postcard pieces. While the paintings are small, their execution was by no means impulsive. For each, the arrangement of design elements including line, color, space, and cropping was considered. However, my concern was not with design alone but to convey a sense of the inner life of the place. From time to time, since 2005, I have returned to the postcard format including a series from a trip to Ireland as well as some still lifes and broader landscapes. However, the Old Lyme beach cottages are a subject that I have continued to return to, like a favorite vacation destination.

--- Catherine Christiano


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