Saturday, January 11, 2014

Coming Out of the Closet

I have been wanting to do something with this squirly-curly design for a long time. This is a painting on a wood panel dating from Louis the Sixteenth's time. I had played with it on a postcard of a woman and when I serendipitously passed the big rectangle over the woman's face, I instantly knew I needed a strong face with eyes that grabbed you.

  As fate would have it.....

I have had this postcard of the woman for a long time. It's in pretty sad condition, but I love this woman's face, those EYES. No way I could throw this card away.
Initially, I thought she must be German. 
But the back of the card  tells me it was actually printed in Italy ....

... because the first word in the list is Italian ("stampato") and then the German word and finally French for "Printed Matter." (Different postage rate than if labeled a postcard.) So I don't know if she's German or Italian or what. I just know her face is one that draws you in and you can't help but stare back.

The card was mailed in 1904 to Alphonse, who worked (or owned?) the Turbine, a sawmill in Allarmont, France, in the eastern Vosges. On the front, the sender wrote:
I can't understand all of it, but I believe the sender is an old war buddy of Alphonse. "Viva the class and the good tobacco and the conscripts who have 1 ??, 77  [until they can] see this young girl. Salutations." 
So not a very romantic message to go with the face, but I recall Mary Green's words about using script strictly as a graphic element, not as part of the story and .... I pair them up anyway:

While my main emphasis is to frame the woman's eyes, I love the 'coincidence' of how the head/hair of woman in the wood panel painting falls right on the woman's lips. It looks like lipstick, that funky lipstick style of a 1920s pierrot or harlequin figure. It also looks like the little lady is kissing the big lady.

Note: During the 48 hours before I started working on this project, I finished reading a novel, The Bones of Paris. It is set in Paris in 1929 and features liberated women flocking there to spread their wings and their legs. I had also seen Saving Mr. Banks at the movies. This movie is a Disney-fied version of how Walt got P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, to hand over the rights to her story so they could make a movie.
 (You will feel sorry for the author in this Disney film but in real life, she was not a nice woman. She did something which I think must surely rank up there with the Seven Deadly Sins: she adopted a twin. Yes, you read that right. She didn't adopt both of the boys. She took just one.) Anyway, in real life and in the movie, Travers did not approve of one of the Disney changes: the housewife Mrs. Banks in the story became a suffragist in the movie.

So I guess I can claim that subconsciously I was under strong feminist influences while I played in Photoshop with the two postcards you see above, but the truth of the matter is that I am quite conscience and fully aware of my feminist stance:) So my little 16th century lady becomes Lady Liberty and in bold Weltschmerz font, I add my feminist statement. By the time I finish the collage, it is 2 in the morning and time to sleep on it.

Four and a half hours later, my internal body clock wakes me up right on schedule despite protests that my wrinkles need more down time. 

Back at the computer, looking at my collage again, I feel I need to give folks a Weltschmerz font-feminist-free option. I also change the eye area to black and white for even starker contrast. 

So what is she now? How will I describe her? What will be my listing title? 
I still have a little lady kissing a big lady.
Marketing to the lesbian-gay audience seems like the natural thing to do.

But as anyone here in the United States who has an ounce of awareness knows, some things that seem so simple and natural and obvious are also the source of much polarization and division and hate speech. 
Would it be worth it to me as a business owner to sell 1 digital greeting card scan to a lesbian if I risked alienating scores of my religious customers?
No, one $5.99 sale would obviously not be worth it.
But as a human, what will my silence cost me? 
I believe in equal rights and freedom for all. I am a feminist. I am a humanist.

So why do I hesitate? 
Because I have had it instilled in me for decades that I should not unnecessarily offend people.

I do a "lesbian" word search on Etsy. Seven thousand, four hundred and 87 items instantly come up. I check out a few listings. A couple make me blush:)

Words from a a news article I read last night are still fresh in my ears.
Frank McCain, one of the "Greensboro Four" who helped put this nation on the right path toward freedom and equality for all during the Civil Rights movement, died Thursday, at the age of 72.
One of McCain's compatriots, a fellow "Greensboro Four" member who was known as Ezell Blair, Jr., back then and is now a Muslim who goes by the name Jibreel Khazan, said this:
"Frank would say we didn't want to set the world on fire, we just wanted to sit down and eat like everybody else. We wanted to be included in the round table of humanity."

I've made my decision.
The table is set.
 My art, for better or worse, is available to all.

5x7 Greeting Card Instant Download Lesbian Love Gay Feminist in PINK Original Digital Collage created from Antique French Postcards

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

You can lead a horse to water ...

But what COLOR do you paint him when he gets there?!

Such is the quandary my new year has begun with:)

Well, I guess it's not really a quandary because truth is I already painted not one but two horses. Let me explain. Perhaps I've gotten my cart ahead of my horse(s:)

New Year's Eve I was greeted with a message from Jim of barnwood4u, a fellow Etsy seller who makes frames from recycled barnwood. He was inquiring about printing some of my images and reselling them, ready to hang in his wooden frames.

When I went to his online shop and saw the rustic barn wood frames he crafts, I immediately thought of an old postcard image that's been hanging around my stash for ages. It was listed in my store when I opened way back in 2008 (!) and I sold a couple copies of it but soon let it expire. It's not my typical FrenchKissed offering. It's a cowboy!

Now my husband says he's not a cowboy; he's a farmer cause "see the harness on the horse -- that's to attach a plow with."
I don't care. He's wearing tall boots and a big hat and he's standing next to a horse. In my book, that makes him a "cowboy."

So anyway, imagining my "cowboy" hanging up in a rich barnwood frame, I felt that he needed some sprucing up. You know, brush off that layer of dust from all that plowing, add some paint and color. SO..... I went to the all-knowing Google to find out what I could about "L'Abreuvoir." I found one reference from a museum in Chambery, France. I knew that l'abreuvoir was French for the trough. According to the museum, the full title of the painting is "Chevaux à L'abreuvoir" (Horses at the Trough). I did another Google search using the full name and again, this was the only full color image of my postcard that I found.

Well.... for my taste, it was a little dark! But I figured that was just the style, you know, Old World Masters, light and dark. So I went to work on my sepia postcard. It didn't take long to realize that I am  no Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret! (By the way, Monsieur Dagnan-Bouveret was born in Paris in 1859 and died in Quincey in 1929. He painted "Horses at the Trough" in 1884 and this work earned him the Knight's Cross of the Legion of Honor. Thanks to the Chambery Musee des Beaux Arts for that info!)

Now, back to my life as a forger of paintings.....Aside from wondering why a man working out in the fields would be wearing light colored, gold-striped (?) pants, I was doing much hair pulling over the dark horse in particular. Every Photoshop trick I tried resulted in a black blob. I finally acquiesced and decided that Black Beauty was going to be Chestnut Champ. Following in Mr. Dagnan-Bouveret's hoofsteps was a humbling experience indeed. But in the end, I was satisfied with my rip-off, uh, I mean my forgery, uh....my tribute to the Parisian artist.

Until this morning, that is.
A light bulb went off and it finally occurred to me to search Google for the image in ENGLISH. Duh!
This time, I got several results. And while my vexation continues, at least I now know that I am in good company for it seems that others had trouble with that dark horse, too. And in fact, I'm not even positive exactly what colors "L'abreuvoir" really is! Online samples went from ...

to totally golden!

After seeing that last one from the 19th Century Art Worldwide site, I was really discouraged and debated on starting over. I kinda felt like the tile-making company who just eschewed the color dilemma by sticking with a sepia monochrome:

But for now, I'm going to go with my version available here in my Etsy shop.

I say 'for now' because it's quite obvious that I really have only ONE option for this mystery to be solved.
I must GO to Chambery, France, and see the painting hanging in the museum. I must see it in person with my own eyes! (Nothing like starting the new year with dreams and goals:)
Bonne Annee, mes amies!

UPDATE: The French cowboy is now available as a framed print in Jim's shop here.

Very handsome, don't you agree?!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Holidays: Gifts for You!

Dear Zibbet Customers: You can still get FrenchKissed digital scans while I'm on vacation via instant downloads on my Etsy shop:) 
During checkout, use code DEC252013 to get 25% off your order!

Mes amies, I didn't want to depart for my winter vacation without saying good-bye and leaving a little gift for you. They say good things come in threes, so I've three things to share with you. Above you'll see my "original original" antique French Happy New Year postcard. 

Below is Gift No. 1: a spruced up version of the original with blank space at the bottom to add a Christmas or holiday greeting.You might like it as is, with its vintage look. Or you can customize it with your paints! Click on the image and it will open up in a new window. Save and download to your computer!

Gift No. 2 below is the FrenchKissed  version:)

Gift No. 3: A name!
Take this name to your local library or your favorite bookseller and you'll be set with some VERY good reading when you need a break from the holidays and just want to revel in some 'me' time:) Ms. Pope has written three mysteries set in France: Cezanne's Quarry, Blood of the Lorraine and The Missing Italian Girl. It was through Oprah's book list recommendation for The Missing Italian Girl that I 'discovered' Ms. Pope and come to find out she is my neighbor just over the river and down the road a piece in Eugene, Oregon. Through her books, you will fall in love with Bernard and Claire. You will follow them from Provence to Nancy to Paris. You'll learn a LOT and you'll enjoy watching the mysteries unfold. 

PS Please share this blogpost* with your friends! And don't forget to tell them that in my Etsy shop, they can get a 25% percent discount on any order, no limits, no restrictions, good now through the end of the month using  code  DEC252013.

Now, it's time to shave the legs and pack the swimming suit. I'm off to the Turks&Caicos!
Au revoir et a bientot!

*Please share this blogpost and NOT the actual scans:) 
Please honor my artistic work and abide by these TERMS of USE:
You are being gifted a LIMITED-use commercial license giving you the right to 1) PRINT, use and resell these images "as is" or altered. These images cannot be resold digitally or in college sheets. With this gift, you agree to these terms and you agree to NOT 'share' these images with friends:) Instead, direct your friends to my blogpost.  And remember, when you direct a friend to my shop to buy digital scans, you will receive a free image of your choice as a "thank you" referral!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Instant Download Trouble Shooting

When you buy an instant download from FrenchKissed on Etsy, you will receive an email with a link to the download via Crafthub.

In 10 or 15 minutes after you purchased your digital downloads, if you don't see an email like the one above, then check your spam folder. 
If the email is not there either, then double check which email address you use on Etsy. Your digital download link will be mailed to your ETSY account address.

When you open your email, you'll see this:

Click on that blue link! It will open up a new window and you will see this:
Ignore the "open" option. Click on the last square "download" link!
Then you will get a new SAVE AS window that pops up and looks like this:
It is at this stage that I think most download problems occur. We "save as" but we don't realize WHERE we are saving our image in what folder on our computer. Many times when I save something, I don't get a 'save as' window that pops up. After much confusion, gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair, I discovered that my computer had a 'built in' DOWNLOADS file and it was in this big black hole that my stuff was being saved! In the example above, I created a folder specifically for FrenchKissed downloads. You will save your images in whatever file you select, but it warms my heart  to think you have a folder just for me, uh, I mean FrenchKissed:)

ANOTHER OPTION to retrieve your download is to go directly to the Crafthub site.
When you go there, here's what you'll see:

Just follow the instructions:
Log in using your Etsy E-Mail Address and your Order Number. 
Your order number can be found at the top of your Etsy confirmation email, it will look like this:
Congratulations on your Etsy order from frenchkissed.
Your order number is: #######.

I hope this helps you!
IF you still have problems, email me or send me a text message on my phone number provided in your Etsy receipt email. If I am on vacation, I may be limited in what I can do away from my computer, but I'll certainly try to resolve your problem within 24 hours!
Merci beaucoup,
Trishia aka FrenchKissed

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Holidays from FrenchKissed

Just a reminder: the discount code for 25% off any order, any amount, in my Etsy shop is DEC252013.
The code is good all month long:)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art for My Sake

Emboldened by Mary Green's online classes, I thought I'd share with you my before and after of a collage I created: "Paris Beckons!"

One of the things I reaffirmed in taking Mary's class is that yes, there are art 'rules' to go by (balance, proportion, the Golden Mean, etc) but in the end, so much about art is subjective. I love the majority of Mary's collages. One of them is now my computer desktop image. And yet....there were a few times in her class lessons where I said to myself, "No, I don't like that." Or she would show two different versions and explain why she went with the second one. And I'd find myself saying, "No, I like the first one."

As she often pointed out, so much is one's personal taste.

Even when I didn't like something she collaged together, I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated how she showed the thinking process she went through as she created.

It all boils down to the fact that being an artist is .... kinda scary. Cause no one is going to like EVERYTHING you make. And while one creates with the hope that a piece will appeal to the masses and make a million dollars, in the end, the one person who has to love it is the artist herself.

After I revised my "Paris Beckons" collage, I thought I might solicit more feedback before I submitted it to the printer. On second thought, though, I decided to go with the scary feelings and just put it out there! Because no matter how much critique someone gets, no matter how many changes one makes or what feedback one gets -- eventually, one has to 'let it go.'

Another important distinction Mary pointed out in her classes is that she often works with collage pieces simply as art elements for their color or pattern or size and shape. But there are others of us, myself included, who prefer to collage with a story in mind.

The inspiration or "story" behind my "Paris Beckons!" was that conflict of interest one experiences while traveling. The spirit is willing, but the feet are bloody tired! With a decade between my last two trips to Paris, my aging body reminded me of this battle all the more.

My original version was created in August 2011. I loved the "antiquity" in the image, but looking at it two years later, I felt it was too dark. When I began my revision, I switched from the original postcard format to a 5x7 greeting card size. The first layer is a real photo that has no connection to Paris except in my head!

This photo of paint and an arrow was on a huge piece of cement, part of the remains of a power plant in Oregon. But the red, sorta white and blue color scheme always makes me think of France. As you can see in the collage, I rotated the image so the arrow points up to run parallel with the Eiffel Tower and to echo the bird's song, "Time to get up. Rise and shine" 

Playing with the options in Photoshop, I was able to make the red more vibrant. The red is the energy of the city which never sleeps and subsequently says, "why should you?" That's the rising sun that says "get up" despite the fact that one has just traveled 10 hours by jet with 2 layovers enroute adding another 8 hours of trave time, followed by hauling a 30-pound suitcase up three flights of subway stairs ..... You get the picture:) 

Also, some of the dark Paris gray in the first version was replaced with a brighter "gritty" look, what I like to think of as the nitty gritty, down and dirty side of Paris, big city that she is. That grit is in her soul, too. Surviving wars and seiges through the centuries .... The grit and the rich burnt sienna tones also echo all the antiquity and history found on every street corner. And the flea markets, too! There is such a fine line between grungy and shabby chic vintage, but oh how fun it is to muck through it all at a Paris flea market!

I think one of the main things I like about my collage is that it's not the typical Paris greeting card.

It will be interesting to come back to this image in another two years and see how I feel about it then......

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bird Brained -- C'est Moi!

For those who follow me on Facebook, you know that I recently acquired one bad-arse bird cage (about 50 inches tall!) while out 'garage saling' last Saturday. I asked for ideas on decorating it and received lots of great suggestions.
Originally, I was undecided about keeping it for myself or selling it in my little antique mall shop space. That's a common problem for collectors who are also sellers:)
I asked the assistant manager for her opinion on whether or not I should sell it "as is" or try to doll it up some. She advised me to keep it simple and sell "as is."

HOWEVER, there was one idea I came across via Pinterest via this blog  that I just could not resist -- and that was putting sheet music in the bottom.

Now, I love to hate my printer because it's always so uncooperative, especially when it comes to cardstock. But, it prints just fine on brown paper bags! If you've never printed on a brown paper bag, you really should try it. For my bird sh*t sheet music liner, I knew I wanted something rustic and shabby chic, just like the cage itself. So I printed my sweet little French song "Petit Oiseau" onto a chunk of brown paper bag.

The bird cage bottom is a long rectangle, as you can see. I simply cut my bag so the heart of my image was in the center and pieced together enough of the leftovers to cover the rest.

I've tossed in a few pine cones and I was going to add a string of lights but the ones I have are too big. So I really am going "simple" on the retail display. Still, I didn't want all those great ideas I received to go to waste. So, back to the printer and another side of the brown paper bag ----

I'll trim this down, add my sales tag (a vintage looking shipping label) and attach to the bird cage. IF it doesn't sell quickly, it's nice to know I do have options to 'charm it up' as well as the option to keep it:)

I have mentioned before that I have an offshoot of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) which is so bad, making me so scattered from one end to the other, that I call it ADZ. So I was having trouble leaving the bird cage "as is" and wanted to add "just" one more thing -- something bright inside it since it is a dark green itself. 
Well, I remembered a set of Audubon Society books I have. They were printed in 1965 and the covers are a plain white. I was thinking I'd just open up one of the books to a colorful bird picture in lieu of the real thing and display it inside the cage. You know. A dash of color. That's all. Well......my ADZ kicked in and I began to really examine the books page by page. I never realized there were so many stunning prints between the white covers. 
So I did a most scandalous thing: 
I cut pages out of the books. 
Bird picture pages.
And then I began working my brain overtime on how to get my printer to cooperate with me.
Overprinting on magazine and dictionary pages has been quite popular for some time now. So it felt exciting to actually be doing it myself! 
First, I spent quite a bit of time deleting the background from the "Petit Oiseau" image. If I had been working digitally, it would have been easy to see exactly where the bird song would "land" on the bird print. But working with actual pages, I decided to ... uh ... wing it! 
The bird print pages are about 6x9. I taped each page to a typing sheet of paper, 1 inch down and centered. When I got ready to print, I lowered the opacity of my sheet music to 70 percent. OH...and it is important to remember to print with the image facing you, turned upside down!

This is a small sampling. I have 21 prints all together.

The prints were beautiful "as is" but I figure adding the French sheet music is kinda like adding chocolate. Chocolate makes anything taste better. A touch of French turns any object into an 'object d'art' :)

And now, I guess I better quit talking about what I've been doing and actually get everything loaded up and down to the little shop .....

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hanging Up at My House

Not everybody puts plate racks and skirt hangers in their entry way. But then again, I'm not everybody.

You see, several months ago I decided that we needed a better coat rack than the long tall one with wooden pegs sticking out of it. I really love the look of those coat racks made from upcycled door knobs. I found several I liked online but shipping heavy door knobs and even heavier wood made the cost too exorbitant for a cheapskate like me. I decided making our own would be a little "project" for The Hubby and me. 

Not only do I love the vintage appeal of the old black and white enamel door knobs, but I like the practicality of hanging your coat on a rounded object instead of a spikey, pointed peg because I, for one, don't like the spikey-pointed-peg-look that your coats get from hanging on typical coat racks. You walk around for a mile or two looking deformed before the fabric relaxes back into shape.

So we went salvage shopping and I came up with those black thingies you see above and a couple of door knobs to go with the other door knobs that I've had for ages. Then, I began to realize that the "problem" with the door knob racks is that what makes them so cute in the first place IS the door knobs and that's all buried under coats, so what's the use, right? So the project for the vintage coat rack was handled like many of my "projects" -- it was shelved.

However, on one of those rare occasions when I talked The Hubby into going to garage sales with me, I came across a long metal thingie marked a mere $5 and said, "Voila! Our new coat rack!"

The Hubby looked at me like I was crazy. "That's a plate rack. That's not a coat rack." I paid my five bucks and said, "It's a coat rack now."
He still didn't believe me but as we walked on to the next house and the next garage sale (it was a neighborhood event), three different people commented on my plate coat rack and when I told 'em I got it for a mere five bucks and you could see them turning green with envy, then The Hubby thought I was still crazy but he was proud of me for my financial acuity:)

I know the coat rack wall still needs something to gussy it up and hide the screws. But for now, at least the coats, sweaters, bags, hats and scarves are staying hung on nice rounded hooks and not dangling from spikes on a wooden pole resembling the Leaning Tower of Pizza.

In our family, that's an accomplishment in itself!

Of course, that still leaves the matter of the black thingies and the door knobs I had bought and collected. Well, guess what? Yesterday, I got another creative ACTION spurt and did something. On the wall opposite the plate coat rack, I threw together another postcard display using a vintage skirt hanger. At first, I was just going to hang the hanger from its hanger. Then I remembered the door knobs and the black thingies!

A little E6000 to glue them together and now I have an interesting architectural element to hang the skirt hanger  postcard display.

We've been here 1 year and 1 month. I still have some boxes of 'stuff' that haven't been unpacked! But I feel I've truly made some progress in the last week getting surrounded by things that are special and beautiful to me. For the entry way, I focused on sepia images with just a few dashes of red-orange for pizzaz. I didn't angst over this like I did the wooden strip. (Thanks to you folks, I'm over that hurdle:)

My daughter and her parnter are coming to visit for my birthday!! Along with their 40-hour-a-week jobs, they are building up an artisan pork sausage business. So when they arrive, they will no doubt see one card in particular that I picked out to pay homage to them.

 I'll brag about one of my oldest cards from 1899....

Point out a postcard of the hospital where I was born (not QUITE 1899:)

Joke about my "town square" postcard ....

Now, The Kids aren't coming till Sunday. I've got one more door knob thingie. I'm on such a roll. No tellin' what I'll do with it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Help! Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Shame on me. I feel terrible that I didn't record where I found this image. It inspired me to ACTION and that's saying a lot. So I'm really indebted to the woman who did this. But trying to retrace my steps, I came up empty handed. I do recall that I was surprised to learn it is actually two cupboard door frames. And if you look closely, you'll see the hinge hardware and how the far edge of the top cupboard does indeed show the wood going up. However, in my eye, I was seeing two long strips of wood and I said, "Yes! This will work for me. I like this."

SO.... I found the perfect piece of wood. I may add another strip later, but for right now, I'm ecstatic with the piece I got. I crossed the river into Portland and went to a salvage place called suprisingly enough Salvage Works :) For a whopping $4, I got a piece of 100+-year-old history.

Look at that crackle! The dark rich color! My camera flash makes it look a bit lighter than it is. It's a deep umber. Luv it! They sell such wood pieces and trims for 50 cents a foot. IF you have a salvage store close to you, I heartily recommend you visit. Great stuff to be upcycled....

SO.... I was trying to think ahead (very hard for me!) and do things properly (very hard for me!) I got The Hubby's fancy smancy laser light leveler and he helped me make sure that the strip of wood was truly straight on the wall before I began hammering away. I was ready to use my dark brown panel nails. Yes, I actually thought ahead about what kind of nails to use! I knew I didn't want silver heads "blemishing" my antique wood and then causing me more work to go back and paint over with wood markers. I felt very smug with the dark brown panel nails in hand. Strange, I don't mind the silver in the bulldog clips on the lady's cabinet display but I'm not sure I like that shiny "newness" on mine. Perhaps I'll paint them a solid black later....

Anyway, I grabbed a bunch of cards. One nail. Then another. And then I started realizing all the decisions I needed to make. It wasn't just a matter of pounding in a nail every 4 inches.
Some cards are vertical. Some are horizontal. Some are larger than others.
Should I lay out all my cards on the floor first, to see exactly what's what and what goes where?

Should there be a pattern or theme or some kind of color coordination?

What about horizontal cards? Should I just place them on the edge of the strip at top?

Should I keep the protective plastic sleeve on the cards or hang them au natural?
My preference is to hang them as is, but the bullclip bites into the center of some of the images -- like my parrot/bird postcard. So for him especially, the extra length/protection of the sleeve seems necessary.
Will it look "funny" if some of the cards are in protective sleeves and some aren't?

I began to run out of bulldog clips. Yes, I had bought a box of 12. Twelve! A dozen clips to hang my 10 year collection??!!! Hahahaha! Silly me:) I knew I had more clips but didn't realize they were a different size ....

 I didn't want to make such decisions. For a change, I wanted to get a project DONE, FINISHED, COMPLETED. So I kept hammering. Soon I had about 11 vertical cards with just a bit of room between each one. I asked The Hubby's opinion. He was in the midst of cooking "Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic" so I couldn't get mad at him for not being a bit helpful in my dilemma.

SO.... I gave myself permission to NOT be frustrated for not FINISHING what I had started and relaxed in knowing that I could turn to y'all for your advice.

Now,  I realize that I often look but don't really see. You know? So I went back to study the picture of the cabinet cards. I saw then that she had quite a bit of space between her cards. Some of hers are horizontal and some are vertical. One is in a protective sleeve but the others don't appear to be. In one sense, I feel as if I've answered my own questions, but then again, the thing I also finally really "saw" is that her images are all black/brown and white. Since mine are multi-colored, they will definitely look "busier." Does that mean that space around each one is all the more important?

Do please give me your candid opinions and help me finish my project. Like fine China dishes that should be used every day and not stored away, my postcards that bring me so much joy to look at and touch have been long overdue for better treatment. No more tucked away in a box (even though it is one awesome decorative box made by my friend Marj:)  Now, let me clarify: I'm not planning to display ALL my collection. I have more than 1,000 cards in my digital business and most of them will stay filed away (hahaha! "filed" away as if I have them all so neatly organzied and alphabetized...hahahaha! I am too funny sometimes:) Anyway, moving along back to the display at hand.....many of these cards are ones that I just have a 'thing' about, a special story to go with it, or the way it feels. These are truly my personal collection. Any suggestions or ideas on how to proceed so that I don't end up pounding a bunch of nails that I need to pull out and move over?

I guess what I'm asking is:

What are the artistic rules on display that make the difference whether something looks lovely and not just a cluttered blob?:)
Should I paint all the clips a solid black? Should they all be the same size or are the different sizes of clips a nice touch of variety? I was going to hang all the cards from the "center" indent line. Should I hang some at the top and some from the bottom edge?

Again, any advice on artistic 'rules of thumb' for display in regard to groupings and displays will be much appreciated!!

UPDATE: A big merci beaucoup for everyone's advice!!! And Marj, I finally figured out the garlic joke:)hahaha!

Thanks to Gail, I spent an evening reading about Sibella Court and checking out her books (I'm next in line for a copy of Bowerbird at the library and I really wanna see/touch a copy of Etcetera), which led me to Rebecca Purcell and "Interior Alchemy" (a used copy headed my way from Florida:)

A big thanks, also, to Lynne, Marj and Chris for affirming that I need to leave space and go with groupings/themes. I will think of this as my own private gallery to change with the seasons!

Daqadoodles Debbie, in regard to color groupings, YES! I'm so glad you pointed that out. My mind was working in that direction and you've verified it for me.

In regard to painting the clips, that would be easy. I have a new can of black spray paint at hand. However, I'm also toying with the idea of wood push pins I saw at a store the other day. I had tried some of the mini-clothespins at my shop and the quality of the ones I got from Craft Warehouse are ATROCIOUS. If you try to clip and reclip more than 2-3 times, the wood pops out from the silver clip. SO I've become very anti-clothespin. However, I may try out the wooden push pins (will definitely have to put all of the cards in sleeves then for sure) and might even try mixing: some pins, some black clips ..... Hmmm.... I just realized that if the cards are all in protective sleeves, I could actually use a tack on the backside and no form of attachment would even show, but I'm not sure if they would gape forward or exactly how they would hang. Maybe I should try some of Sibella's masking tape:)

Anyway, again, I can't thank you enough. Listening to y'alls advice helped turn this into what it should be: from perfectionist-driven angst to a fun adventure in decorating and displaying!! Remerciements!