About the Artist: Bruce Bowden
I am a recently retired dermatologist from Washington State in the USA. I have painted only a few of these stamp compositions each year. The rest of the time I was busy raising my family and taking care of my patients.
I glue most of my paintings onto envelopes, though I have left a few loose. For the ones mounted on envelopes, I mail them back to myself whenever I’m on a trip. I’ve also been very lucky to have many friends and patients who would take one or two of my letters on their trips and post them back to me.
This is why I call theses stamps my ” homing pigeons ” — it seems a *miracle* to me that they could be put into a mailbox thousands of miles away and arrive back at my very own mailbox across the street from my home in Bellingham. My Instagram account is = paintingpostage. You may want to check that out : )
A note about my dad: He had a hereditary eye disease called Choroideremia. It causes people to go blind somewhere between their 20s to their 40s. My dad’s night vision was terrible even as a youngster but his day vision was adequate into his 40s — so he was kinda of lucky. He told me that doctors suspected his disease was inherited and told him not to have children. But when he and my mother got together — it was before the days of birth control pills and so she had me — Dad told me that he felt guilty about it and so went in one night turned off the night light in the nursery and passed a silent toy above me in the dark. When I grabbed it — he knew I could see. He knew I had not inherited it. They had a subsequent daughter ( my sister Heather ) who did turn out to be a carrier and her son has the disease.
In his later years he poignantly told me that when he died he would finally be equal with everyone else ( who was dead ) because none of them could see any better than him. Still he was glad there was no genetic testing in his day as he would not have wanted to be aborted — he had had many pleasures in his life.
So I grew up beside him understanding how precious vision was and how every day we get a gift of seeing the world around us. He ended up blind and with a cane. Later he had a stroke and then died. But he taught me so well the pleasure of color and light and I think that is part of these paintings for me — is a celebration for him.
Each composition was inspired by something that I saw, heard about, experienced or read about — whether it was the quality of the light, the pleasure of the colors, the emotions experienced during a trip or expedition, or an exotic sight. Some of my imaginary countries I will never get to, but my friends have been there and so have my “ pigeons ” which have flown home with a report.
I have never sold any, nor are any for sale. These were created for my own enjoyment. Occasionally though folks ask me why I chose this particular artform? I believe it is a particularly good way of remembering how LiFE is a continuous stream of individual moments which are felt more deeply when we travel.
The art world right now really likes large paintings. Mine are the opposite because they are very small. The discipline of that forces me to strip away the clutter and go for the essence. Rather than visual complexity, it presents a chance for me to relax and savor, a respite from the continual visual bombardment of our time.
I hope a few of my pigeons brighten your day or remind you of personal moments. Please let me know if you find a favorite.
Here is a recent photograph of me :
My other website is devoted to my work as a firelookout in the mountains — in this case it highlights a week I spent working Desolation Peak, the same lookout that Jack Kerouac staffed back in 1954. If you would like to check that story out — head over to desolationpeak.com
If you would like to contact me —– please send me an email direct at
firstname.lastname@example.org ( —–> note the “1” after my name in the address )
You can also find me on Instagram – paintingsdisguisedaspostage