Mail Art Show in Marseille, France

Mail Art Mermaid 300


A completely unrelated mail art destination is also thinking about mermaids. Galerie LE LAB in Marseille, France is accepting mail art for a show with a mermaid theme. Anyone can send in a piece and something will be sent back when the mermaid mail art is received.

International shipping for an envelope is currently $1.15. I made my painted envelope using mixed media that includes Japanese brush and Rapidograph pens, colored pencil, metallic colored pencil and acrylic paint on watercolor paper, 5 x 8 inches. The black ink is waterproof so it is easy to paint over the drawing using thinned acrylic paints. The metallic colored pencils give a little bit of shimmer to the work.

If you want to join this art show the website is here, or go and see the other art received. The art needs to be at the gallery before May 10, 2014. I usually give two weeks or more for items to arrive in most parts of Europe.

Angels and Mermaids Artist Trading Cards

On fun thing that artist trading card groups do is “Theme Swaps”. I joined in group trades for art with angels and mermaids. I usually work from imagination since it is hard to get a visual reference for either angels or mermaids. I keep looking but I have not managed to see either Therefore, I have to just make up some kind of cartoon and paint it. Here are some recent painted artist trading cards I completed.

ATC Swap Angel


Mailed to India, how exciting!

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Basic Hand Drawn Animation

April 12, 2014 6 comments



400 x 400 pixels

Here is the finished little “What’s in your mailbox?” animated GIF someone requested for a mail art group. It’s cute and it was fun to make. Too bad the GIF format pixelates color gradients. The animation looks better in the program because the glowing light and clouds are smooth. I have no idea why there is not an animated JPG format; only a programmer could explain why.

I put a lot of time into the second round of this little seven second animation. I forgot to save the original Photoshop file where I matched and laid out the layers of the rough pencil sketches. I just did a screen capture of the GIF I put online, dropped each screen capture as a layer for the new Photoshop file and up-sampled the roughs to 144 dpi.

I was going batty from slamming layers in Photoshop all day. Sal, my Hockey Blogger Boyfriend, insisted I find the Beavis and Butthead “Animation Sucks” episode, which further proves that Mike Judge is both brilliant and hilarious in describing reality. Animation is pretty exhausting. It helps to try and not do it all at once. You really need to take breaks when working on an animation project. It also helps to remind yourself that the professional grade work is done by huge teams of people using better software and hardware!


Small 250 x 250 pixels

Roughs for an animation in progress…

March 31, 2014 1 comment



I have been fascinated with animated GIFs lately. The ones I have made thus far have been photography based. Animated GIFs are a nice, compact way to show many images in one section of a webpage, like when I mushed over 100 of my artist trading cards into one GIF. Then I made pages of a zine I drew into a GIF. It was only a matter of time before I tried to make a hand drawn animated GIF. My mail art and swapping friend Lou wants some kind of nice graphic for a mail art trading group. I was thinking about a cute country mail box done as a digital cartoon.

This is the (very) rough animation so far. I have puffy clouds, grass and daisies to work in with the animation. My main idea is to have a country mailbox that opens up to reveal many envelopes and sparkles. It’s just a little 400 px square 144 dpi graphic. I am not going for a lot of detail, just something more interesting than a static image. I should able to make the door open more smoothly with the rotate tool in Photoshop and adding more layers for more frames. This is one of those unpaid type jobs that I am playing with for fun. I think if I do not use any black outlines -or just minimize black outlines- and use a lot of digital painting style it will look interesting.

Make Free Box Fold Frames Using Recycled Packaging

March 25, 2014 7 comments

How can you make a picture frame for free? How can you also fit the framed artwork in an envelope? I spent the better part of yesterday working on these problems for the Free Art Friday in Gloucester, UK group. I have been communicating with a member of the group and had mailed some loose linocut prints. The group really wants to present their free street art to the public ready to hang, and the costs of framing the donated art is prohibitive.

There is one art supply I have a great deal of and costs nothing: recycled food packaging (chipboard). I tried a few different methods over the day and feel these steps will give you a decent dimensional surface to display art yet can still be stuffed in an envelope and mailed flat. You need to make a basic box form and mount your artwork, print or photograph on the surface. Here are the 5 steps:


1. Take your recycled food box apart and decorate it. It used rubber stamps and pigment based ink on boxes that had white interiors. You can paste on decorative paper to the surface. If you use acrylic paint, I found that paint may crack during folding the sides, so apply any paint after step #3 yet before step#4. If the wetness of the paint warps the box material, press it flat in between sheets of wax paper using boards and weights or heavy books.



2. Measure the size of your artwork and add the sides. For example, if you have a 4 x 6 inch artwork and add a 1 inch border, you need to cut a piece of chipboard that is 6 x 8 inches. This will give you the front surface (4 x 6) and the folded 1 inch sides.




I used a thin permanent marker, a ruler and a t-square tool to mark the lines. Use a razor blade or pen knife (X-acto knife) to score the blue lines with a ruler. Just make a light score, do not cut all the way through the blue lines. Use scissors to cut all the way through the red lines at the top and bottom.




3. Fold up the cut through small flaps at the top and bottom. Then gently fold up the sides. I found it works well by hand and I did not need a bone folder or any other tool for folding. You will have a box when the sides are folded. It looks best if the small flaps are tucked under the longer top and bottom flaps.




4. Use hot glue to glue the flaps in place and keep the box intact. White glue or PVA craft glue can be used if you clamp the corners and give it a few hours to dry thoroughly. Tape was too weak to hold well, so I recommend strong glue. This is your finished frame. You can paste the artwork on the front of the frame now or after step #3. The folds will show the front area where there is room to place the art.



If you are mailing the box frame, skip using glue. Just fold the box and unfold sides, make it flat and mount your artwork, print or photograph on the front. Let the person receiving the mail use glue to complete the frame. You can fit the flat mounted artwork in an envelope easily.



Here is the artwork on the finished folded box frame!



5. Glue a tab with a string or ribbon to the inside of the back. The box frame with your art is ready to hang up on a wall!





There are ways you can diversify this idea. What if the box shape was covered in collage or mixed media art? I plan to draw directly onto the chipboard surface and make the box frame and artwork one item. Try adding spray paint stencils or silkscreen art to the box surface. Paste ribbons around the sides of the box frame. You can also try using heavier materials like corrugated cardboard. I was working for a display method for small, flat art to be mailed in an envelope. Assemblage and collage art with objects would be an interesting process if glued on a box frame strong enough to support the materials.


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Categories: Mail Art, Recycled

More Mail Art to the Lviv, Ukraine Show

March 24, 2014 2 comments

I mailed two more collage art work to the Show Your Vision collage art show coming this September in Lviv, Ukraine. Here are the details and address to mail to: original post. It has been wonderful to send work that is enjoyable to make, that is wanted to by someone and may offer feelings of goodwill to people going through hardship. Please send a collage art item to support this mail art show and the artist that is hosting the exhibit.



Deep Water by Shellie Lewis, mixed media collage, 14.8 x 21 cm, 2014


New York, New York by Shellie Lewis, mixed media collage, 14.8 x 21 cm, 2014

Chicago Zine Fest is This Weekend March 14 & 15, 2014

I will be going on Saturday to hopefully do a lot of trades. Here is the Chicago Zine Fest homepage and a list of events.

Categories: Chicago

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