Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Recent events aligned to give me an epiphany. And who doesn't love those???

I'm into recycling all the time -- so, of course, this applies to making art, and buying art supplies at thrift stores. I use born-again frames, canvases, papers, and other odds and ends, and love to collage onto cereal boxes to create "window sill art" (a future post will appear on this).

I was puzzling about what art materials to take on my upcoming trip to St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. My bag of travel art tricks had to be portable, but not limiting, and of course I do HOPE to make some money with my art experiments so I can continue to buy art materials at thrift stores and keep my tiny studio at the Waterfront.

A friend who has also lived on the island suggested I sketch a lot on my trip, that I could sell the sketches right there. I found this encouraging, but did not see how to find buyers. I mean, would I approach someone on a beach and say, "Hey, sorry to interrupt your nap but do you want to buy my sketches?" 

The very next day I realized my business cards were out of date and I ordered new ones on Vista Print. This left a few hundred wasted cards to recycle. That same day I found a package of those scissors that cut wavy edges, like you see on vintage b/w photos. 

And then it hit me, the way those things called epiphanies do. I'll collage torn bits of papers onto the back of the old biz cards, and paint island scenes on them. I'll glue each one to a piece of rice paper (from a huge roll of it I found at Goodwill for $2.00) -- cut a bit larger than the card, which I would cut out with a wavy edge. Then glue all of that onto a 5" x 7" piece of nice black crescent board -- to fit a standard born-again frame. And way-lah -- but wait. I needed to write a mini bio for the back of the crescent board. And insert the works into a clear plastic sleeve (also on hand).

Here is a sample:
Our Lady of the Glacier, 2" x 3.5", Acrylic m.m. 5" x 7" overall

Here is the About the Artist paragraph for the back (alert: shameless self-promotion):

About the Artist
     Rae Ellen Lee’s art is inspired by the patterns and colors of Diebenkorn, and the whimsy of Andy Warhol. With a history of rescuing things – an old mining camp brothel, dogs and cats, broken furniture, an old goat or two – she applies recycled bits of color, messages and symbols as a first layer. She then adds and removes acrylic paint to amplify a subject’s gesture – and to reveal the stories behind the flora, fauna and land forms she loves. This original mini painting is designed as a keepsake or gift, and fits a standard  5” x 7” frame. For more about the award-winning artist and author visit:  www.raeellenlee.com
Images of St. John - collaged/painted old business cards mounted at 5" x 7"
And . . . since the FRIENDS OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK gift shop(s) already carry my two memoirs, If the Shoe Fits and My Next Husband Will Be Normal -- A St. John Adventure, I will offer my wares to them for sale in their two shops (one of which is in the visitor center, where everyone who visits the island goes). I sure hope they say "YES!!!"

FOLLOW UP NOTE:  They said "Yes!"