Any Flat Surface Will Do - Collage On Anything!

Art Magnet Made With Recycled Laminate Sample

There's a running joke in our household that if something is flat and not nailed down it will probably end up in one of my collages.  

As the "Queen of Recycling" (a title given me by friends and customers), I always look at recyclable materials with a view to whether or not they'd make a good substrate for my art. 

Case in point, about 12 years ago I was in the home improvement store looking at those little laminate sample chips you can pick up when you are thinking of replacing your kitchen countertop.  They come in a myriad of colors and textures and are strong and durable.  They have rounded corners typically and a hole punched in them, and are about 1.5" X 2" or so.  Initially, I used them to make art jewelry pendants which I sold on Ebay and Etsy for several years.  

Eventually, I found some larger pieces that were about 3.5" X 5" and started making larger art magnets with them.  I hadn't made any in quite some time, when I recently came across a stash of them in my studio and decided to play around with them again.  I had been wanting to use up some of my Gelli plate prints that I have amassed, so I thought I'd make some fun and funky art magnets.  Here's what I did:

Here's a couple photos of the fronts and backs of the laminate pieces.  I have chosen to do the art on the back (unfinished) side because it has a more grippy surface than the slick "good" side of the laminate.  Plus, that way the finished piece will have a really nice look to the back side as well as the front.  

Laminate Samples - Front

Laminate Samples - Back

I cut my Gelli plate prints a bit bigger than the size of the laminate sample, which is about 3.5" X 5."  I chose some of the brighter, more colorful prints I have because I was planning on making these collages into some of my smart-ass magnets and I wanted them to be fun and playful.  

To ensure good adhesion, I used heavy body gel medium (Golden) to glue the prints to the backside of the laminate and let them dry.  Then I trimmed around the edges of the laminate to remove the excess paper.

Collaged elements, doodling, lettering, and other paint treatments came next.  I ran a stamp pad around the edges of the piece to finish the magnets off and then sprayed each with three coats of high gloss sealant.  Two flat, sheet magnets (the kind used for business card magnets) were put on the back of each piece.

Back Of Lamnate With Two Magnets Attached

Art Magnet Made With Recycled Laminate Sample

Art Magnet Made With Recycled Laminate Sample
This was a fun and quick project with great results.  It has reminded me that I should re-visit my previous types of work from time to time, bringing with me the latest techniques and tools I am using.  It brings new life and a new spin to the tried and true.

Thanks for visiting and have an artful day!

Much love always!

Newest Gelli Print Art

Hello all;

This is just a quick post to show you some of my recent work.  I've been playing with prints of my Gelli plate prints and enhancing them with doodles, flowers, etc.  I really like how these enhancements really make each print a whole new piece of art.

I've been using assorted markers and pens and some colored paper here and there.  Love how colorful and whimsical these have turned out and I hope you enjoy them too.

I liked how "Enjoy The Journey" turned out so much, that I have ordered a very small limited edition run of notebooks featuring this print on the cover.  I'll be listing a couple of them in my Etsy shop in due course.

Until next time, happy arting!


Guest Blog Post - "How To" Mini Art Journal With Old Office Supplies

Art Journal Made With Recycled Office Supplies

Hi everyone!

I thought you might like to see a recent guest post I did over on the "12 Months In View" website.  The theme was gratitude and thanksgiving, and I made a small art journal with recycled office supplies.

You can find the link here:

How To Make A Mini Art Journal With Recycled Office Supplies

And here are a few photos from the post, just to pique your curiosity.

Thanks for looking and happy art-ing!


New Grid-Based Art Journal Experiment

I was cruising around cyberspace several months ago and was reminded of my interest being piqued months before that by a blurb from mixed media artist Cathy Bluteau.  I had briefly seen an image of a unique approach she took to doing some grid-based art journaling.  When I came across it for the second time, I decided to investigate and ended up taking her online class.  

You can find out more about her class here:

Cathy Bluteau Sneak Peek Video

Here is the finished page.  It is in a 9" X 12" Strathmore journal.

Finished Journal Page - 9" X 12"

I just marveled at how easy this unique process was once Cathy showed me the way.  You just draw out squares and rectangles to fill your page, then you fill those shapes with all kinds of things, using all kinds of techniques.

I colored in all of the squares and rectangles first with markers (Spectrum Noir and Faber Castell Pitt Pens).  I tried to stick to a limited palette of colors - purple, pink, red, orange, gold and yellow.  After that was all done, then the real fun began!  I did some zentangle-inspired doodling, some funky lettering and then went to town on the collage/mixed media end of things.  I used all kinds of recycled materials and things that had been sitting around my studio just waiting to find a home.  Assorted graphics cutouts, old stickers and office supplies, dimensional paint, salvaged scrapbooking embellishments, vintage dictionary text, quilling paper and much more.  It was hard to know when to stop and honestly, I could still keep on going with it.

I will certainly be using Cathy's fabulous technique again for future journal pages.

Here are a couple more photos with close-ups of various areas of the page.


Upper Left Of Journal Page

Upper Right Of Journal Page

Bottom Left Of Journal Page

Bottom Right Of Journal Page

Mixed Media Greeting Cards - Part 2

Following up to my post from last week (October 10, if you didn't catch it), here are a few more of my handmade greeting cards.

I hope you enjoy them!



Hello everyone!

I have a link up on my Facebook page with some free vintage Thanksgiving images for you.  Here it is:

Vintage Thanksgiving Images Download Link

Hope you'll enjoy making your wonderful creations with them.  Be sure to share photos of your projects when they are done.  I'd love to feature your work on this blog.

Cheers everyone and Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!   I am very thankful for all of you!


Mixed Media Greeting Cards - Part 1

I've been making handmade greeting cards for about 20 years, the last 15 of which mostly focusing on mixed media.  I love making them and hope that the giving of a real card that you can hold in your hand has not become a lost art.  You wonder sometimes, with e-cards becoming so popular, as well as how easy it is to send a sentiment by Facebook, Twitter, or phone.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you a few of my handmade cards.  I use all sorts of things to make them including:

  • prints of my own work;
  • vintage images;
  • reclaimed scrapbooking materials
  • old wallpaper, dictionary and book pages;
  • paint, markers, dyes and inks;
  • recycled office supplies;
  • dimensional paint and glitter;
  • maps, sheet music, etc;
  • stamped images

and almost anything else I lay my hands on.

Here are a few samples.  I'll post more next week.

Cheers, my friends!


If you haven't already gone to my Facebook page to download all those wonderful vintage Halloween images, here's the link:

Halloween Images Download Link

You can use these images for so many different artsy craftsy applications.  The sky's the limit!  Have fun with them and be sure to let me know what you create using them.  I'd love to feature your work on this blog.


How To Be A Production Artist - Part 1

Original Art - "I Am Here"

I am often asked about my techniques for being a production artist so I thought I'd share some of my strategies here with you.

As an artist who has a full time job too (and a life, occasionally), it's really hard to carve out much time for my art, let alone make that scarce time really efficient and get the most out of it.  Fortunately, many many years ago now, I figured out how I could make the art that I did have time to create (and sell) go further, thus giving me much more satisfaction in what I was able to achieve.  I already resent that I can't spend all day making art, so I am very grateful for discovering this process.  I am sure there are many other production artists out there who have different ways of making their art go further, these are just a couple of examples of what I do.

First, here's a photo of an original piece of art called "I Am Here."  It is 3" X 5" on canvas.

Original Art "I Am Here"

I scan each and every piece of finished art, assuming it will fit on my scanner bed.  Since I usually make pretty small art, it is not a problem.  Scanning gives me excellent quality images, far better than any camera I have ever used.

This piece was scanned three times, each at 300 DPI.  I scan at 100%, then 50%, then 25% and end up with three JPG files.  I then copy the 25% JPG file to create a fourth file onto which I put my copyright watermark.  It is this fourth image that appears in sale listings or here on my blog or on my Facebook pages.  I never put any art online without a copyright/watermark on it because I have had so many of my art images stolen over the years.  At least with a watermark on it, if someone steals it they are going to have to do a bit of work to clean the image up before they can make pirated copies.

Now that the image has been scanned, I can play with it however I like.  I often work in Microsoft Publisher for this step.  It is a super easy program to use and gives me great results.  I use it mostly for final layout and printing.  The other program I use is PhotoShop, but I am not very proficient at it.  I just play around in it once in a while to see what effects I can create.  

In this first example below, I have taken the "I Am Here" image and used some of the tools in PhotoShop to blur the background a bit and move the colors around and play with the brightness.  If you take a close look you can see how it's a bit different from the original.  I saved this JPG as yet another version of the original, so I now have five copies of the image.  Then I imported copy number five JPG into MS Publisher and sized it to print two copies (each 5" X 7") on an 8.5" X 11" piece of paper and printed it on a color copier.

Image Manipulated With Various PhotoShop Tools

After cutting out the two images, I did some journaling around the heart in black permanent marker.  I also did some stacked journaling in white gel pen around the edge of the heart.  The black marker was also used to enhance the sentiment on the image.

Print Of PhotoShopped Image With Journaling And Doodling Added

I'm sure you are beginning to see the possibilities you have with these techniques.  You can continue to take your images as far as you like, while always keeping the integrity of the original image for future use.  This particular piece will probably end up glued into one of my art journals and have some more collaged elements added to it.  Who knows??

I'll post some more examples of this and other production techniques in the coming weeks and months.  I hope this post has given you some food for thought about how you can make your valuable art time go a lot further.

As always, if you have any questions about my processes, I am always happy to help out.

All the best, my friends.


Featured Artist - Ginny Markley "Playing With Paint"

Handmade Art Journal By Ginny Markley

Artist Trading Cards By Ginny Markley

The absolute BEST thing about joining online art communities is the wonderful friendships you make with other artists from all over the world.  I can't even begin to express how important these people are to me and how much I value having them in my life.

Case in point, my dear friend Ginny Markley.  We have never met in person.  She lives in Florida and I live in Western Canada.  While it is my heartfelt wish that we do meet one day, even if we don't she has a special place in my heart.  A talented, generous soul, Ginny has a terrific blog you may want to check out.  She offers tutorials of how she creates her wonderful work.  Here is the link:

Ginny Markley's Blog

Ginny recently surprised me with one of her wonderful handmade art journals, along with some of her fabulous ATCs (see photos above).  If you are interested in how she created the journal, here is the link to that tutorial:

Paper Lunch Bag Art Journal Tutorial

And here is a link to her ATC work too:

Ginny's ATC Tutorial

It will be my absolute pleasure and honor to use this beautiful gift in which to create my art and I will think of my dear friend, Ginny, whenever I use it.


Miniature Art With Vintage Slide Mounts

Recycled vintage slide mount art magnet

I am often asked about my miniature mixed media and collage art so I thought you might like to see some images of a recent magazine submission I sent in.

These are vintage slide mounts (each is 2" X 2") that I have covered with a variety of salvaged papers, or  ink, paints, stamped images, etc.  Each one is one-of-a-kind and features vintage images and assorted recycled doodads.  

Some of these slide mounts have been turned into magnets, while others will become focal pieces for future cards or small art.

Featuring Kay Strum - Greeting Card Artist Extraordinaire!

Some time ago I posted a couple of entries on this blog with links to my mixed media backgrounds, predominantly made with my beloved Gelli Arts gel printing plate.  I was so pleased with how they turned out I wanted to share them with all of you for you to use in your own art, as you wished.

Here's the link to those backgrounds if you missed them:

Blog Post With Free Backgrounds

Facebook Page With Free Backgrounds To Download

My friend, Kay Strum, is an artist at making the most beautiful greeting cards.  When I saw the results of what she had done using my backgrounds as a backdrop for her cards, I had to put a post up here for all of you to see her awesome work.

Thank you, Kay, for sharing your wonderful art for us all to enjoy!


Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

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Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum