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     I’m excited to share that during the month of May, a collection of my Antique Postcard Art will be featured at Jafajems, in Montclair, New Jersey.  Since 1998, this venue owned by Carol Jafagee, has offered a unique collection of textiles, furnishings, and decorative items for the home including pillows, throws and carpets, pottery, artwork and candles, furniture, frames and glassware.
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Montclair Train Station, c. 1920

     Carol has been a client of mine for some time. In December, after contacting me to order artwork for her shore home, we discussed the possibility of having my artwork carried in her shop. Now, I am happy to announce that during the month of May, Jafajems will feature a dozen pieces of artwork created especially for this venue; a mix of original vintage postcard art (1905-1940s) presenting scenes of Montclair, Glen Ridge and New York City. 
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Buildings of NYC – 1940s

     Since 1989, I’ve created thousands of these postcard creations for many gift-giving occasions especially suited for those who have “everything”. These small works of art offer great nostalgic impact; preserving memories of hometowns, favorite cities, special vacations spots and more, as well as postal history. 
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     I truly look forward to this opportunity as Montclair, a suburb of New York City, is a community where over the past several years I’ve developed a loyal following. At one time, it was my privilege to be involved in helping to organize the former Montclair Craft Show, an event that once featured the work of the area’s finest artisans.
     Spring time is a perfect time for starting anew – and it’s been refreshing getting back into painting (and blogging). I will continue to post about my writing (lots going on there) as well. 
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Springtime in Paris – c. 1910

     I also thank so many of you who have reached out to me, and my family, after the loss of my sister, Manette in March. Being immersed in the creative process helps to stay positive during difficult times, but I truly miss her encouragement and sense of humor. 
     If you’ve got any questions regarding my art and/or writing, please feel free to contact me at lbkauthor@gmail.com. If you wish to be on my newly developing mailing-list please use my contact page to  provide your e-mail and USPS mailing address. 
     If you live in Essex County or nearby, I hope you’ll stop by Jafagems to explore Carol’s shop and add to your art collections this May, and beyond!
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Presenter/Keynote Speaker for the Manasquan River Artist Group last November

For information about  Jafajems please visit: http://jafajems.com/
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Antique postcard art -- Greyhounds, circa 1915

Welcome to my Blog, a place for those with a “weekness” for dogs.  This post presents Nikki Moustaki of the Pet Postcard Project.  Nikki’s tireless work on behalf of homeless dogs is worth noting, and you can learn about the special way she helps shelter dogs in this post. 

I would also like to thank Renee Premaza, NJ Dog Trainer, for interviewing me this morning about my work on behalf of Will Judy’s National Dog Week and my book Every Dog has its Week.  It was so great to be able to talk about this deserving subject….My pre-taped segment with her will air on Thursday, October 14  from 10-10:30am on WNJC-1360 AM.  It will also be available in her radio archives at www.jerseydogtrainer.com

Long before the internet, cell phones, even rotary phones, Americans relied on a pencil, a pen (if they were lucky to have one), a one-cent stamp and a small rectangular piece of paper, to communicate all kinds of personal messages with friends and family. 

This tiny, but powerful, writing tool was called the Picture Postcard and during the early part of the Twentieth Century it was the way Americans communicated by the billions!  Industries and shops sprung up just to keep up with the public’s obsession with them.  American and foreign cities and towns, flowers, beach scenes, buildings, landmarks, birthdays, holidays, and yes, cats and dogs, all could be found gracing one side of these miniature works of art.  Picture postals were also a unique way for those without cameras to capture the exciting experience of foreign and domestic travel that was increasingly available to many. 

Before the backs of these cards were “divided,” senders of postcards were only allowed to write the intended recipient’s address, sometimes only using the street name, followed by “City.”  Somehow they got delivered, often three times a day, at one time in our postal history.

back view of framed antique postcard art

Lucky for us, so many postcards survived and are still available to a new generation of collectors.  I came upon my first antique postcards in a shop in Vermont over twenty years ago.  I began using them in my paintings and a business was born.  My work allows me to present images that are between fifty and one hundred years old.  I work with my own collection and the cards of others, and these pictures hang in homes and offices throughout the world. 

In the past year, my energy and attention has turned toward writing, and if you are a regular visitor to this Blog, you know it was set up to educate the public about the legacy of Captain Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement and my book, Every Dog has its Week, that documents the history of the week from its inception in 1928.  Even Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, published his own set of cards called “Dog Sentiments,” featuring poems and writings about his favorite subject.

Landseer-Crumbs from the King's Table, antique postcard art

Speaking of dogs and postcards, in January of this year I happened upon something called the  Pet Postcard Project.  What a concept!  Started by Nikki Moustaki in Miami, this deserving effort converts postcards into food for shelter pets.  I wrote an Examiner piece about Nikki that can be viewed at www.examiner.com/pets-in-newark/lisa-begin-kruysman.

Because I believe that change comes about through “small” collective acts, I think Nikki’s program is genius!  To read more about Nikki’s work please see www.betterwords.typepad.com/petpostcardproject.  

It has come to my attention, I have not properly introduced myslef.  My name is Lisa Begin-Kruysman and some people might know me by my artwork, not my writing (yet).

I grew up in Hackensack, NJ, and I have had the good fortune to claim many great places as temporary home, or hang out. For the past 15 years, I’ve lived in a beautiful wooded waterfront community in Ocean County (NJ) with husband, Rich, and 8 year old Hooper, the dog. 

Before living this peaceful life, I was caught up in the hustle and bustle of New York City, working as a recruiter for what was called then, Home Box Office, Inc.  I had an office, with a view of Bryant Park and even an assistant, all before turning 30! What did I do? I resigned, traveled to an art school in Italy and came home to become a full-time artist.  Some days I think of what could of been, but then I look out my studio window, at my dog, and hubby  and wonder no more! Living by the water,  isn’t too shabby!

My work focuses on vintage postcards incorporated into paintings. You can learn more about this at my website, www.postcardart.us. My work is rewarding, collaborating with clients to create that perfect gift, busy at arts events almost every weekend in the summer and fall.  As you might guess, some of my favorite postcards are those featuring dogs.  Of course, I intend to use some of them in my book project.

As a creative person coming off the holiday high, the new year is a scary place.  With commissioned work almost complete, future shows weeks away…(and freezing temps) it is hard to stay motivated.  Writing has been a perfect remedy, a way to keep focused.

I just have to say a thank you to my “kid” sister, Manette Loudon. She has been invaluable to me, helping with this Blog, for instance.  I am a noted techno-klutz, and she has been my Blog coach.  My sister likes dogs, but if there was a National Horse Week, she would be saddling up and blazing the trail.

When we were 14, and 13, respectively, my parents whisked us away from Hackensack, to Boulder, Colorado, for a year.  Six of us and a toy poodle made the trek in a station wagon.  Along the way, just 2 hours from our destination, our car was flattened by a double wide.  The car was totalled, but we all miraculously survived.  Did I mention, my parents hadn’t secured a home base for us in Boulder? So carless, and temporarily homeless, we entered Boulder in a police cruiser!  Oh, but here is the “funniest” part, in the middle of all of this, my sister asked my parents if she could have a horse when we got to Boulder.

Long story short, within 48 hours, we had rented a beautiful ranch house on North Broadway, just a few miles from Colorado University where my dad would work.  The house came equiped with a few acres and, conveniently, a stable for a horse.  After the first day of school, my sister arrived home, horse in hand.  A beautiful half Arabian, half quarter horse named Muna del Adrienne.  The horse had been abused and in need of safekeeping.  My sister was happy to oblige. She spent a memorable 10 months with that horse, they were inseperable.  It was a sad day for all when we returned east and had to say good-bye to Muna.

I tell this story because it highlights the power of creative visualization and faith, (okay, maybe some luck). But at this time of year, it is a nice memory for me, and a lesson for everyone that it doesn’t hurt to think big.

Manette, by the way, is a talented documentary producer, her documentaries on serious subjects like the overmedicating of our children and our autism epidemic have won awards at the Hoboken and Key West Film festivals, among others.

And a I would just like to wish my niece and god daughter, Roxy  a Very Happy 15th Birthday up there in snowy New York state.

258 days to National Dog Week!

Hooper

"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda

DJ

DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”

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