Where Did You Get That Avatar Of Yours???

I am often asked about my Facebook and blog avatar.  You know, the little face with sunglasses that reads "odd things in my mind."

Well, here's the answer to that question.

The image comes from a mixed media collage/assemblage I created in 2007.  I used an old bingo card, a variety of stamped images, walnut ink and a vintage escutcheon image (courtesy of Retro Cafe Art) for the main body of the piece.  Recycled wire and salvaged beads create the hanger and I used old wallpaper to print the sentiment onto, which reads "She Had Not Yet Decided Whether To Use Her Power For Good Or Evil."

So there you have it.  One of the great mysteries of the world has been solved!  ;-)

Gelli Kids Art Magnets "How To"

I've had some magnet blanks sitting around for several months now, taking up space on my work table.  I see them every time I sit down and each time I think, "geez, I really should think of something to do with them and free up this space for something new."  Then, as usual, I procrastinate and another day, then a week or more goes by before I get tired of them again.

FINALLY this past week I got around to doing something with them and now they are all done and can find a home in my Etsy store and hopefully, ultimately, a new home with someone who'll treasure them.

I've been doing a series I call my "Gelli Kids" which are a bunch of cute little characters that I make with my Gelli plate printed papers and who are featured on Gelli plate pages in my art journal or on small canvases.  It's been a bit of a challenge I gave myself to see how many different Gelli plate printed pages I could use in a single application.  In some cases, four or five different types of prints have been used, which has been so much fun to do and which has resulted in some pretty cool effects.  This project is no different.

I started off with a couple of cardstock circles that I had made in my very first Gelli prints a few months ago. For the purposes of these magnets, it is the bottom circle I am talking about from the photo below.  I actually made two prints quite similar.

This circle of cardstock was about 5" in diameter and I was able to get two pieces from each circle for a magnet blank.  Each magnet is 2.5" X 3.5" the size of a standard business card.  Here are the four I got from using the two circles of cardstock.  They have been mounted to the magnets (which are sticky with a peel away cover).  I also coated them with a shimmery, glittery clear glue which doesn't show up well in the photos.

And there they sat for a couple of months until inspiration hit.

I was putting together a bunch of smaller-scale Gelli Kids and the lightbulb went on that I could use these magnet blanks and create some miniature art that would be almost entirely made with my Gelli prints.  I just cut out simple shapes for the top and bottoms of the characters and doodled on some and stamped words in places. The faces used are copies from some of my other collage art.  They had all originally been polymer clay face cabochons in much larger art .  I added teeny flowers (punched) with  zetti-style black and white stems and tiny faux gemstones at the center.    A couple of coats of sealant and they are ready to go!

I am very pleased with how they turn out.  The colors are bold and brilliant and the glittery background makes them so fun!  I could sit around all day making these, I think.  Hope you like them too!


Simple Collage Art Project "How To"

"The Quieter You Become, The More You Can Hear"  (Lao Tzu)

Here's a really simple collage/mixed media art piece that will demonstrate for you beginners out there how very easy it is to create a beautiful collage with minimal materials and minimal cost.  There is absolutely NOTHING new used in this piece of art!

I started with a piece of heavy chipboard that was part of the packaging of some appliance.  It is a nice, sturdy piece and measures about 5" X 7" so the minute I saw it I knew it would make a good base for a small collage.

I covered it in a piece of scrap wallpaper.  If you don't already know this, wallpaper is an excellent material for collage and mixed media art.  It is very strong and can be used for a number of artsy applications.  I often use it for backgrounds for my art.  And it's free!  You can go to your paint store and get the sample wallpaper books for free.  They usually throw them out.  Don't pay for the books, just go somewhere else if they want to charge you for them.  You'll have a great collection of all kinds of printed backgrounds to use in many, many ways.

To cover the chipboard with the wallpaper, I cut the paper larger than the chipboard allowing about an inch extra all the way around.  I will usually use white glue (Aleene's is my favourite), spread evenly on the chipboard and wrap the wallpaper around the chipboard, mitering the corners of the paper for a nicely finished edge.  Burnishing or running a brayer over the front side, helps to ensure a smooth surface to work on later.  Turning the piece over, I used more white glue to adhere the excess paper around the edges to the back of the piece.  (See photo below of the back of the piece.)

When it's all dry, I am ready to start my collage on the front.  I had found a wonderful Buddha image in a discarded National Geographic magazine and knew I wanted it to the be the focal image in a collage.  Because of how it was shaped (see photo), I aligned it to the lower right.  I will typically work with images this way.  Whichever way they come to me, I work with that.  If they must be left aligned to look correct in the context of the collage, then that is how they get placed on the background.  If the bottom of the image is missing for some reason, then it will probably get aligned to the bottom of the page.  I never "fight" how the image is, I just work with it.  In this case, the image was a 90-degree angle (bottom and right aligned) so that determined where it would be placed.

With Buddha aligned to the bottom right, the logical place for the next image was the upper left, for balance and symmetry in the piece. Given that this was now going to have to be a Zen themed piece, I tried to keep in mind one of the main principles of Zen and that is simplicity.  I knew I was not going to add a whole lot of elements to this piece so whatever elements DID make it into it, they had to have enough presence to hold their own.  I used the stamped image of the sun/moon face on Gelli plate printed paper and it was a nice complement to the Buddha.  I deliberately chose the bright pink paper for the face so that it would juxtapose with the muted purply tones of the Buddha image, yet still work together overall because the colors are complementary to one another (and to the background as well).

At this point, I knew that there wasn't too much else to be added to the piece for it to be done.  When you are at this stage in developing a piece, it's good to step back and look at it with a critical eye.  Where are the blank spaces that cry out to be filled?  What more needs to be done?  What areas need to be left alone?  Play around with placement of your elements until it feels right.

The bamboo bits are stamped images on scrap paper, again kept to a minimum and the text was cut from a photocopy of one of my previous collage pieces from years ago.  I will often recycle text or quotes over the years.  There is no reason on earth to have to reinvent the wheel every time you set out to make some art.  In this case, I knew the quote would be perfect so why not use it again.

And that is the whole piece.  A couple of coats of matte sealant and it is ready to go.  I will cover the back with another piece of recycled wallpaper so that it has a finished look.  That way, it won't matter if this piece is framed or if it is displayed on a small easel.  Either way it will look great!

I hope this lesson has shown you that you can get some great effects with a minimal amount of work and with low-to-no cost supplies.  Start looking around and see what you can make art with.  I'll bet you'll be surprised at how much you CAN do!

Have fun in your artsy adventures, my friends.


Simple Journal Pages - Part 4

Hello everyone!  Here's yet another example for you of how to do simple pages in your art journal with your Gelli plate printed papers (or any paper for that matter - doesn't matter if it's Gelli prints or not).

Again, I am using my 5.5" X 8" Strathmore mixed media journal.

In the first photo, I've just glued into the journal one of my bazillions of Gelli plate printed papers and trimmed away the excess.

I wasn't particularly happy with this print, so I decided to add a bit more interest to it by tearing some irregularly shaped strips from another Gelli printed page and gluing those bits to the page too.  Now I like it a bit better.

Next, I created a little character to be the central image of the journal page.  I made the body from an over-sized scrapbooking tag that was kind of dress-shaped or body-shaped.  I cut out some star shapes from yet another piece of Gelli printed paper and adhered them to the dress/body.  There's lots of glitter on this piece, which doesn't show up well in the scans.

I took some stamped images of arms, scanned them, resized them to a variety of lengths and then created a page (8.5" X 11") of arm images in MS Publisher.  My thought was that I could use all these arms in my various characters I make in my art journals and mixed media work.  When the page was filled with all these images, I ran a piece of paper through my printer that was a photocopy of one of my Gelli prints, so that when the arms page was printed, it printed onto this paper.  I hope that is clear, if not let me know and I will try to explain better.  Basically, I now have a Gelli print photocopy of a whole page of sets of arms.

I cut out a set of arms to use for this character and glued them to the body, along with a face (stamped image that is stamped on a different Gelli print paper).

Then, I glued the character onto the journal page.

Lastly, I used my white Gelly Roll pen on the eyes to define them more.  I also glued some buttons down the front of the body and added the text (cut from magazines and then highlighted around with a black permanent marker).

All in all, a great page that really allows all the interesting colors and texture of the Gelli prints to speak for themselves, due in large part I think to the simplicity of it.  Sometimes it really is a good thing to just leave well enough alone.

Namaste, my dear friends!


FREE Background Images For Your Artsy Projects

If you follow this blog at all you'll know I am obsessed with my Gelli Arts printing plate.  I have TONS of papers that I have been printing and, in some cases, scanning for future use and re-use.  That's the recycler in me.

I thought I would share with you some scans of a few of those pages for you to use if you wish.  These are simple JPG images so all you have to do is right click on the images you want and save them to your own computer.  You can then re-size them and print them as you like.  I like to use MS Publisher (because it's such a simple program for this sort of thing).  I just plop the image into MS Publisher and then size it up to fit an 8.5 X 11 piece of paper and print it in color.  Then I can use it for kinds of artsy projects!

You are welcome to use these images for anything you create.  I only ask that if you sell whatever you create with these images, that you cite your source when you list the item for sale.

If you missed my blog posts about what to do with these scanned backgrounds once you print them out, check this post:                    Third Generation Gelli Prints Tutorial

Have fun!

Gelli Plate Prints, India Ink And Zentangles

What to do with all those Gelli plate printed papers???  Hmmm.  Well, I think this is a pretty unique way to use them and super simple too.

I took a piece of paper that I had monoprinted on with my Gelli plate.  I hadn't been too happy with how this   particular piece had turned out and tried to figure out what I could do to improve it so that I would actually use it in my art.  (Sorry, I didn't take a scan of the page without anything on it so I could show you each step.)

I took my India ink and with an eyedropper, started at one end of the long side of the paper (it's 8.5 X 11 copy paper) and drizzled the India ink liberally along the edge so it would run down the page in multiple streams of varying length.  Then I set it aside to dry.

When it was dry, I turned the paper around and did the same thing again from the other end of the long side, allowing the ink to link up with some of the drizzles from the previous step.  After it was dry, I touched up each of the ends to form a border of black ink and let it dry again.

Then I decided to do some journaling and zentangle inspired doodling in the spaces created by the drizzles of India ink.  I used my Uniball Vision gel pen (permanent) because it flows quite nicely over the paint on the page.  I alternated between journaling and doodling as I moved across the page, and I turned the page as I worked to make it more interesting to try and read the text.  (It reads "go with the flow" and "bend but never break.")  Here's what it looks like partly done.

And here is the finished page, which I think I will glue into a journal.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out and it was a great solution, I think, for a piece I wasn't very happy with to start.  Now, I can hardly see all the things I didn't like about the print.  I think I'll try this again!

Have a great day everyone!

Simple Journal Page - Part 3

I must thank you all for your kind comments and overwhelming support of the recent journal pages I've done with the Gelli plate printed papers I have been cranking out.  It seems you DO find inspiration from these simple pages and that is the whole point for me posting them.  If I can inspire even one of you to try something new and get your "art on" then it's all worthwhile.

Here is another simple journal page, from start to finish.  Nothing close to rocket science about it, but it was fun and done quite quickly which is always satisfying when you have limited art time.

So, the first step was to glue down one of my Gelli plate printed papers to the journal page.  This page was one where I had taken the original, scanned it and then used a filter on the jpg image in Photoshop and then reprinted it.  It kind of looks like it's under glass or sort of watercolor-ish, don't you think?  This is in my 5.5" X 8" Strathmore Mixed Media journal.

Next I took a contrasting piece of Gelli plate printed paper and cut out three flowers.  I will usually work in odd numbers when composing a layout and three works well in this size of journal.  I've had the face image for several years (it is a scan of a ceramic face I used in an original mixed media collage many years ago).  I will often do that, use images from previous work, particularly interesting faces.  Anyway, I glued three copies of the face to some neon yellow paper (salvaged office supplies), trimmed the  faces close, and then adhered them to the flowers.

I took the three flowers and moved them around the page until I knew what spots they would be glued to and then started figuring out how I wanted each flower's stem to appear.  I used my Faber Castell Pitt Pen (black India ink) to doodle the first stem and then glued the first flower into place.  I scribbled around the flower and put dots around the face.

I absolutely love the look of black and white on bold color and knew I wanted to have striped, Zetti-style stems so when the black ink was dry, I took my white gelly roll pen and made the alternating white bands and then drew highlights on the black.

Next, I placed the other two flowers loosely on the page to gauge where they would go and drew their stems in place.  The flowers were then glued down and outlined like the first one, then the white bands and highlighting added.

That's it!  It was a fun and quick page to do and I love how it turned out.  Perhaps you'll try something like this too?  If so, I'd love to see your work!


April Giveaway Winners Are ...

Winners of this month's giveaway of five copies of my vintage image collection on CD are:

Lesley Ratcliff
Sue Pompetti
Louise Robertson
Jackie Mohring
Jm Monroe

Congratulations to all the winners! Send me an email to: joannabanana@shaw.ca with your mailing address so I can get your CD to you pronto!

Thanks to everyone who entered the draw and stay tuned for the next one on or around May 1 !!


More Abandoned Art Magnets

Hello!  I can't believe it's April already!  Woo hoo, summer is on its way!

I'm really getting carried away with this Art Abandonment thing.  Although I have been abandoning art for several years now, I have really gotten into it lately since I have been involved with my online group.  This month, I will continue to abandon more of my art magnets in my own and other communities as I travel.

These are miniature prints of my original art and each one measures 2" X 3.5" (see quarter in the photo for scale).

As I mentioned in my January post to our Art Abandonment Group (Facebook), magnets are great for abandoned art because they are easy to adhere to different surfaces that you might not otherwise consider as a suitable location for your art.  I have abandoned magnets on door frames, utility boxes (those big ones in public places that house city electrical connections or water shutoffs, etc.), playground equipment, the doors in public restroom stalls (inside, of course).  I try to make it a challenge for myself to find really out-of-the-way places to abandon magnet art.  It is SO fun to think how long it might be before someone discovers it and if only to be a "fly on the wall" to see the wonder on their faces when they find it.

I STILL love art by stealth!!




No, this is not an April Fool's Day joke, you can win a copy of my Vintage Christmas Images CD Collection with just a couple clicks of your mouse.  Here's how.

To the immediate right of this blog post, look for "Networked Blogs" and click on "Follow This Blog."  That's all you have to do and you'll be in the draw on April 3 to win one of five of these CDs.  

If you'd like a second chance to win, just share this message on Facebook and let me know you've shared it and you'll double your chances of winning.

It's never too early to start your Christmas crafting and art projects and this beautiful collection will inspire you!  There are over 1,200 vintage Victorian and Edwardian images in simple JPG format on this CD.  You can use them just as they are or manipulate them in PhotoShop or other editing software.  Check out the small sampling that follows for the kinds of images you'll get in this collection.

These are public domain images that you can use for all your personal artful projects, even those you intend to sell.  The only restriction on the images is that the collection cannot be reproduced in whole or in part for resale, either in print or digitally, because the collection as a whole is copyrighted.  Otherwise, you are free to do what you want with the images.

Thanks for all your support in visiting my blog and good luck in the draw.