Gretchen Markle

'WISH YOU WERE HERE' - The Postcard Project


Phase 1 of his project is now closed.  Thank you to all who have participated.





Do you like to receive 'REAL' mail (the old-fashioned kind)?  Well, in this new project of mine, I will send you a hand-painted watercolour postcard.  Interested?  Read on:

I will send you a handmade postcard the old-fashioned way, i.e., by post (REAL or 'snail' mail).  All I ask in return is that you send me back a postcard (homemade or commercial).  On it, tell me in fifty words or fewer why you like - or don't like - to get 'real' mail. 

Eventually, I'm hoping to put together an exhibit based on the postcards I send and the ones I get in return.

If you would like to participate, please fill out the following form, making sure to fill in all the boxes with an asterisk (*).  If you're not sure what to put for 'Suggested by', just put in 'Gretchen' or 'you'.


***If you know somebody who you think would like to get a postcard, you may also nominate that person. Even if s/he is a complete stranger to me, I'll still send her/him a postcard - without any obligation on their part.

What to expect.

Please be patient.  It might take a while for me to send your postcard.  After all, I have to paint them all. 

HOWEVER, if you don't receive a postcard within three weeks, please sign up again or contact me.    Both forms and sent postcards have gone missing, and of course I wouldn't be aware of it unless you query me.



To see the postcards I've painted to date, go to  See POSTCARDS.


MORE INFO (if you're interested):



It brings together a number of interests of mine:

I think email is wonderful.  It allows me to keep in touch with friends all over the world.  But, as handy as it is, it is lacking that extra personal touch that comes from holding an actual letter or postcard in your hand. 

I love working small and loose.   The postcard format is perfect:  It's small, so completing one is not a daunting task.  It's informal, so I don't get 'precious' with my painting.  It's inexpensive, so I can throw paint at it and not worry about it costing the earth.  (Stamps are another matter...)  And it's a fun medium, so I can play.

I've always wanted to be able to give away my art and not have to worry about selling it.  'Gretchen's Goodbye Giveaway' was great, but I probably can't do that more than once in my career.  With the postcards, I can make small pieces and give them all away.  And I don't have to worry about storage.  Yippee!

I used to write a lot more 'real' letters, and I often included little drawings.  Years later, I found that many of my friends had loved the letters and had even kept them!   So I know that 'real' letters are special.



It's very simple.  I put my kit into my backpack and go off on my bike or foot until I find someplace beautiful to paint.

                             My kit/ready to go                                                                        My kit open and ready for painting

(Interesting postscript:  The brass painting box has a history.  It  is probably 70 years old.  It was originally given by botanical painter Emily Sartain to her good friend, Victoria's grande dame of horticulture, Doris Page, who gave it to me.  When I needed an indestructible container for my paints, I resurrected it and popped in my own watercolour pans.)


I am getting back the most amazing postcards!  Thank you, everyone.


June 14, 2012

Today I got back my first postcard!

41 out/ 1 in

June 15, 2012

Today I got my first handmade postcard - felted!

June 23, 2012

I discovered that some participants' forms have not reached me.  (They go through an intermediary.)  Maybe that's why some people  - who I was sure would love the project - didn't seem to have signed up!


July 10, 2012

Today the 100th participant signed up!


October 31, 2012

Today I sent my 150th postcard!



The project is still ongoing.  Things slowed down for several months, but they've picked up again in the new year.  I'm aiming for at least 250 postcards sent out...  Please pass on the word and help me get there.


March 12, 2013

Today I sent a postcard to the 200th participant!


April 29, 2013

DEADLINE:  I will keep the project going for one year.  Since I painted my first postcard on May 31, 2012, that means there is only one month left for you to participate.  Please sign up now.

May 30, 2013


July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day.  I've just finished teaching a weekend workshop at the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (see in LINKS).  I gave a short presentaion in which I mentioned the Postcard Project, and it looks like a lot of people are now interested in signing up for the project.  Yippee!



The project continues and is morphing into something new.  It will now involve school children.  The grade 3/4 class here on Gabriola Island is going to do a postcard exchange with a similar class far to the east.  The final location isn't yet finalized, but wherever the other kids are from, this will be fun.

Deadline coming soon


I'm sorry to be ending the project, but as of March 31, 2014,

the cost of stamps in Canada is going up 59%.

A stamp that used to cost 63¢ will now cost $1.00 (+ tax, of course) .  At these rates, I simply can't afford to keep sending out postcards at my own cost.  And so I will be ending the project soon.  Sorry.



July 15  Project closed.