Author Archive

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

Free Owl Sewing Pattern

March 12, 2014 5 comments


I made an owl pattern you can use for free! Please no sales or commercial use involving this pattern. I am retaining copyright on this pattern; you may use it for personal enjoyment, gifts and swaps / trades. The weather in Chiberia still has us snowed in. I was pretty bored from being indoors and created this pattern for a small stuffed toy, hanging ornament or you could even use this pattern for a paper collage.

I recommend felt for a sewn pattern; t-shirt scraps will work well also. Embroidery floss and some hand embroidering is a nice way to embellish this pattern. Buttons make nice eyes. Using felt or any stiff fabric for the feet will make the stuffed toy version stand upright.


I find it helpful to print the pattern on thick paper like cardstock, cut out the pattern and trace it on the reverse of the fabrics being used to sew the owl. You can enlarge the pattern digitally or on a photocopier. The pattern here is made to be 4 inches tall. Right click and open the image in a new tab if you are having trouble getting the full sized pattern image to download.

Free Owl Pattern Shellie Lewis 2014

Nature, Only More Indoors…

March 8, 2014 1 comment


I spent yesterday at the Garfield Park Conservatory and took a lot of reference photos which I uploaded to my MorgueFile account. is a great resource for free high resolution photography and digital image resources. It was good to be around the plants for a few hours and pretend there was not massive amounts of snow all around the greenhouse. I took photos, did some drawings and wrote letters. I can’t wait for actual spring to arrive. Here are a few unmodified photos that I added to MorgueFile stocks. Free photos get approval from admins and the rest will be live for downloading in 24 – 48 hours on the site. Here are four favorite shots.


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Woman versus Facebook

March 4, 2014 2 comments

I am archiving this by re-blogging it here. Many thanks to author Alexandra Rosado for her courage and clarity.


Alexandra Rosado portrait


February 27, 2014

Even though most of my profile is private, I’m making this post public on the off chance that the person who reported me will see it if they aren’t on my friends list (I am still unsure about that).

Today I changed my Facebook profile picture to a self portrait that I took in September of 2013 as part of a photo project that I ended up abandoning eventually. Even though I gave up on the project, I liked the picture. It holds important significance for me. Just moments after I changed it, however, I received a notification stating that it had been reported to Facebook for “nudity and pornography”. Someone had seen the photo of my bare torso and had immediately been so offended by it that they decided it needed to be removed from Facebook within seconds of it showing up. To the person who reported my photo, I would like to say I am sorry.

I am sorry that you have been conditioned to believe that a woman’s bare skin is pornographic and obscene by default. I am sorry that you cannot separate my skin from sex. I am sorry that you believe the flesh I was born in, that I learned to walk and dance and swim in, that I scraped my knees on the playground in, that I carried my daughter in, that has been held and hurt and rejected and sunburned and painted on and pierced and filled with too much food or too little food and bruised at punk shows, is lewd and meant for the consumption of others and not for my own use.

I am sorry that I was not born male. If I had been, I could walk down a public street showing the same amount of flesh pictured here and no one would bat an eye, because the only sexuality that needs to be silenced is female.

I am sorry that you couldn’t bear to go about your day without correcting my behavior.

I am sorry that a photograph that was meant to be a statement about myself became a target for your own discomfort, that you couldn’t look past my tits and try to see what I was saying.

In this photo I’m crying. In this photo I am 105 pounds and I am tugging and squeezing and pinching at my body to make it smaller, smaller than it was ever meant to be because I have days sometimes when I feel like I am too much, that I take up space that I don’t deserve. I have days sometimes when I want to shrink so far inside myself that no one else can see me. I have days sometimes when I don’t eat enough. I have days sometimes when I don’t want to eat at all. I took this photo to illustrate a part of myself that I don’t have the courage to talk about even with the people I trust the most.

Thank you for reporting me, because until now I haven’t said these things to anyone. I hope that you come to terms with your own issues about bodies and sexuality and skin.

Since this photo was taken I’ve gained ten pounds. I’m healthier now. I still want to disappear a lot of the time, but I can’t yet. I still have things I want to say.

Categories: Rant

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