Saturday, January 17, 2015

Part One ... "The Background Check!"

Up until about a year and a half ago, I had never heard about Mail Art... now, I can't even imagine not having it as a part of my creative life! I'm very grateful to the website ATC's for All for introducing me to this wonderful form of expression and communication! I spent several months on the site watching and lurking around various swap threads, all the while my interest grew to the point that I wanted to join in! Finally, I mustered up enough courage to ask if I could join a monthly mail art swap called Envie Addicts Unite! Lucky for me, they graciously welcomed me into the fold! Each month, I am partnered with another artist to exchange a piece of art in the form of an envelope or postcard. Right from the beginning I was hooked! There's nothing more exciting than opening up my mailbox to find a colorful and unique work of art that was created just for me. I have also increased my loathing of those plain white envelopes that scream out  "Junk Mail" in their boring & obnoxious way!!! I love going to the post office to mail my creations, customers in the line as well as the workers behind the counter, are very curious and full of questions... it has become my quest to brighten up my little corner of this world, one piece of mail at a time!!!

Today's Show & Tell is about creating backgrounds for Mail Art Postcards! In past posts, I have shown my use of Jacquard Dyes or watercolors in creating backgrounds for my work. The translucent quality that they provide is very compatible with using a metal tipped rapidiograph for the very fine detail work that I use to finish my pieces. Today we are going to use acrylic paints which have a more opaque quality, making it necessary to use a bit larger pen tip for your finish details to avoid clogging or wearing out your pen.

When creating a background sheet, I like to just jump in with no preconceived plan... I'm a play it by ear kinda gal!! ( Which has had mixed reviews throughout my life?!) So, here's how I start... I usually grab a piece of  9X12 in. , 140lb. watercolor paper. This is a great size for cutting out 4 separate 4X6 in. postcards when finished.  Next, choose assorted bottles of an inexpensive craft style acrylic paint in the colors of your choice and an old outdated plastic credit or gift card.  That's right, no brushes... the credit card is used to spread the paint across the paper to create free form patterns!! The colors become layered in places as they are swept along the paper, this creates added effects to your design.  

Below: This photo may seem out of sequence but I wanted to use it 
first to show you the supplies stated above! 
Also, shows those effects that color layering adds to your design!

Let's get started...  
Squeeze the paint directly on the page forming different sized color dots. Using the edge of the credit card, swipe & spread the dots along the paper. In doing this, patterns are formed. Experiment by moving your hand in different directions to come up with your desired results! (*Note that the green area in the photo shown above was created from the green dots in the photo below!)

Below is the finished sheet. As you can see, I used several colors 
and patterns to fill the entire page!

 Below is the finished sheet cut into 4 separate sections to create your Postcards!
These background cards are now ready for their "finishing" designs. 

Stop by for part 2 of this post for further steps toward completion!!
Until then... Ciao!!


  1. I Love this technique. It's a great way to stop artist block! :) Can't wait to see part two!

  2. Brilliant instructions! I love mail art and agree with your sentiments xactly.
    Look forward to the next stage.

  3. I feel the same about the forum and the thred. I can't imagine not to take part each month and to chitchat to all of you! You did great backgraunds!