About Us

George H. Wittenberg, III, AIA

I define “Postcard Art” as an original work of art mailed to someone through the postal system with the required stamps and cancellations incorporated in to the image. The works offered here are all original drawings created on site, using a combination of media – pencil, pen, ink, watercolor, washes and collage – stamped, and then mailed. Each card has “seen the views and traveled the distance” before I offer it to you here. See what others have said about my work inĀ Reviews.

Framing is a personal choice and should reflect the way you feel about the art. If it’s a casual environment, a simple natural wood frame is fine. My images seem to fit comfortably in a formal ornate frame or simple contemporary one. They seem to either “dress-up or down” depending on the room. I have a friend who framed his in a very fancy carved wood frame with a large mat, and I was surprised at how good it looked, but it fit in his high-style formal environment. Others look great in small neutral, even white mats and simple square natural oak frames. I have some in very small frames sitting on my bookcase.

Mats, their sizes, numbers of layers and color can really set off the art. I always leave the edges of the Postcard exposed inside the mat since they convey part of the total artistic experience of the card itself. To make a bigger statement about the pieces choose a bigger mat and double or triple mat them. The cards are small and vary in size from 6, 6 1/2, 7 by 8, 8 1/2 to 10inches. I have used mats as small as 1 1/2 inches to as big as 3 to 5 inches. I think the size of the final piece depends on the placement in the room and the look desired. I like to keep the mat color neutral, but again, using a non-neutral color could reflect the interior design and compliment the colors of the piece. Matting can really set-off the art and give it the presence it deserves. And grouped originals or Giclee prints can “make” a wall.

The Story of My Postcard Art

My postcard paintings grew from two of my most beloved pastimes … drawing and traveling. I have always drawn: Caricatures of my junior high teachers (which got me in trouble); a cartoon of the red-faced, overfed minister at our church (which got me into even more trouble). And as an even younger boy, I got to spend summers with my grandmother Lottie in New Orleans. Grandma Lottie trusted me enough to let me take the ferry by myself across the river to the French Quarter. On those days, I would wander and draw until twilight and have to run to make the last ferry back.

An Interactive Art “Happening”

GeoMails at Corsavey, FranceI mostly paint on vacation – when no projects loom and sunny mornings stretch out into lazy afternoons and no one wants anything and I’ve found a good spot to observe. I pull out pen, paper and paint to “write about” what I see in the Postcard paintings. As an architect (my day job!) I love to be in and observe buildings and cities. Sitting in a space or in front of a famous architectural masterpiece or in a famous building brings a level of appreciation, joy and inspiration that is difficult to explain – except through the paintings themselves.

When I Paint Postcards & Why

Geo Paints in AthensI mostly paint on vacation – when no projects loom and sunny mornings stretch out into lazy afternoons and no one wants anything and I’ve found a good spot to observe. I pull out pen, paper and paint to “write about” what I see in the Postcard paintings. As an architect (my day job!) I love to be in and observe buildings and cities. Sitting in a space or in front of a famous architectural masterpiece or in a famous building brings a level of appreciation, joy and inspiration that is difficult to explain – except through the paintings themselves.

Choosing the Stamp & Mailing

GeoMails at Paros, GreecePart of the fun of postcard art is choosing the stamp, placing it on the image, and mailing the postcard (which is sometimes the most challenging!). Buying stamps, special stamps, in a foreign language and currency is always a challenge. In Europe, one can still wait in long lines and have a personal experience with a postal official while purchasing. I’ve noticed how different countries respond to the change in their routine when I approach their window, and the people waiting in line behind me! In France a lady would not cancel the stamp “on the art”, because she didn’t want to damage the art. In Florence, when the post office personnel and I were totally confused over the word, “commemorative”, an elegant Italian lady interjected herself, translated for me, and told me her story of meeting an American during the war. In Lucca, when I tried on my last day to interact with the official behind the glass, who was trying to leave early, another elegant lady, this time a Californian who lives part-time in Lucca, stepped up, told the official off in fluent Italian, and handed me the very stamps I was lusting for (she later told me this “window” was known as the rudest in Tuscana). And finally the wonderful staff of the tiny Barga post office who would congregate when I arrived to see what I had produced “this time”, conversed among themselves about the local identity of each image, and exclaimed, “bella, bella, architectura.”

Making & Receiving the Postcards

When I start out on a postcard expedition, I try to travel light. My folding stool, metal paint box, clip board, paper cut to size, brushes, pens, ink, and of course water, almost all fits into my back pack. Finding the building or site involves the usual adventure of travel – getting lost, maneuvering subways, managing schedules and weather. Sometimes (often?) the picture becomes the extemporaneous spot that resulted in taking shelter from a rain shower or a desire for one more coffee. Once I get to the view or the building, getting started is as easy as opening a few items and beginning. I need to visually soak in the place, feel the colors and decide on the “gesture” of the drawing to begin. Sometimes water, sometimes no water, sometimes pen and ink or pencil drawings form the base for the paint and washes. I never think of the stamp, preferring to let it be spontaneous, later. After the stamps are placed in the work and the postal clerks are convinced its OK to mail them with the address on the opposite side, I either hand them over or take them to a box and “drop them in”! This moment, after all the work, always gives me a sinking feeling of, “Oh well, its up to the Gods and the postal system as to whether I’ll ever see them again in the same piece.”

I have never lost a postcard in the mail! But several have returned with markings of the postal process on them: a smudge of machine grabbing, once a tear, stick-on bar codes in the USA (I remove them) and small creases from handling. All of these create a participatory mark that adds to the event of travel and the uniqueness of the Postcard Art process.