Send email Jayne with any questions, ideas, and your calender of events to Jayne Behman.
A professional artist for over 42 years, Jayne earned her BFA at UCLA and is completing her MFA at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her artwork is represented by galleries in the United States, including three locations along California's Central Coast.
A lecturer and educator, she is active in the local art community and writes for various publications. Her published book, Art Matters, is a visual art education tool being used in public and private elementary schools throughout the United States as well as by many Children's Art Museums.
Gratitude is an Art
by Jayne Behman
Making a list, checking it twice, and giving of your time. Plenty of thought goes into acquiring that "perfect" gift for that wonderful someone. Then you have the task to find the store that sells this prize. You wind your way through isles of hectic holiday shoppers, secretly hoping that the article you want remains available. Thankfully there is one left. You grab it. Only after waiting in a long cahier line is the purchase completed. (This scenario certainly makes the case for the growing popularity for purchasing items via the internet!) One gift checked off the long list, lots more to go.
Your job as giver is not complete.
The next step is to wrap the gift. This requires you to choose and purchase decorative paper and a colorful bow, plus a clever "To/From" card. It takes talent to create a pleasing package. The packaging is the marketing for what's inside.
When we make this kind of effort to orchestrate our gift giving, wouldn't an equitable exchange be a hand-written, personalized, and posted thank-you note?
Receiving a written note of gratitude is becoming rare. Like a piece of original art, the hand-written thank-you is an individualized expression—sometimes abstract—that often becomes a keepsake. A phone call cannot be revisited. Grandma can look at notes and remember, over and over again, the happy occasions.
Click image to see some examples
The Emily Post Institute has assembled simple answers to the most commonly asked questions about the post holiday thank-you note.
All gifts deserve acknowledgement, and as soon as possible. Don't hesitate. In some circles thanking someone in person is enough. Providing a hand-written note shows respect and consideration. Personal notes are a way of behaving.
Encouraging young children to write thank-you notes prepares them for their future. In all businesses, a simple written note makes you stand out in a crowd. Children's notes can be easily accompanied by a drawing. This could also make the thank-you note task enjoyable rather than a chore.
The internet allows us the quick and cheaper solution via email. It also furnishes a platform for emotional distance. For the casual relationship, an emailed note might be appropriate. Rest assured, Auntie Harriet will be disappointed when the hand-knit scarf she slaved over for you is acknowledged with an unimaginative animated e-card. Besides, not everyone is computer literate. Handwriting a note makes your "thank you" special because its personal.
The blank white card stock is spread before me. It takes several minutes to gather my thoughts. I might even sketch some ideas. My words are the picture to best convey my heartfelt feelings. These must be spelled correctly. Script must be legible. I spend time in the note's construction, even choosing the ink color. Certainly, a condolence note would be inappropriate written in red ink.
The note's size could contribute to how quickly you need to get to your point and how much you can say. Small blank note cards give just enough room to say it all. There are lots of these pre-printed on the front with the words "Thank you," so as not to surprise the addressee.
Blank card stock is likened to a blank canvas. One can add a special design, a little painting or drawing, and/or a picture on its front cover. These personalized touches turn into memories. We hold onto the past and look forward to the future.
We aren't all John Steinbeck, so having a Hallmark start us off may be a good thing. Pre-printed cards offer little space to jot down personal thoughts, but add them you must.
Artists reproduce their images onto note cards. These cards are unique. By purchasing an artist's card at a gallery or directly from the artist, you are supporting the arts.
Thanking people needs to be just that, expressing thanks. I opened an envelope attached to a box of candy, "for Jayne." The holiday Hallmark card wished me a joyous season. In a small area, the hand written scribble read "Jayne, my Mom made me get this for you. I wouldn't have gotten this for you. I would have given you something in art. I really, really want to thank you for everything you are doing for me. I love being a part of the studio and taking classes. [signed] Joey."
That scribbled note, from a 15-year-old student I mentored, meant the world to me. I still have it after seven years.