I’ve always loved art and have been creating by own book covers and greeting cards since I was fifteen years old. I began to paint in earnest after a conversation with my spiritual mentor, Louise Silver, in 1991. She taught me a few basic things about shapes and perspective. I took several courses then off I went. Acrylics is my medium of choice although I’ve dabbled in many others—oil, alcohol ink, watercolour, pastels, and so on. I’ve painted hundreds of pictures over the years.
In my studio (read extra bedroom), several personal policies have been instituted to ensure that no harm is done to the earth or the populations thereon. I tend to shop Canadian for everything and most importantly for my art supplies. I knew I was in (financial) trouble when Opus Art Supplies moved in only a few blocks away from me. 😊 I bought so much stuff I ended up giving away two whole paint kits—everything you could possibly want—to do art with. As I run out of what I need I will now turn to greener products because they’re available.
I cover my table with waxed paper. Any spills just peel right off when dried. If I’m pouring the paint, I can reuse those ‘skins’ left on the waxed paper to create more art like jewellery or beautiful collages.
Paper towelling creates a lot of trash. I’ve used a bar towel (ridged and white) for wiping hands and other things for the last thirteen years. When dry, this can be washed in the laundry. Nothing transfers onto my clothing. I use a cloth apron that goes to my knees to protect my clothing. It can be laundered, too.
As the water evaporates out of my jar the few bits of paint on the bottom can be discarded rather than poured down the sink.
A palette knife for mixing paints works well; then wipe it off on the bar towel. Instead of using plastic jiggers, glass can be used. These can be wiped out and the paint chipped off to be clean for next time. My glass jars are saved for use in the studio. Large pickle jars make great brush or palette knife holders.
Sometimes a painting doesn’t really appeal to me. So, reusing the canvas is totally cool. I use Gesso to cover the offending artwork then a week later I can create something else on the canvas.
The first photo shows the alcohol ink necklace and the second shows several paint-skin necklaces.
Upcycle, too. I was just about to toss a candy wrapper into the trash when I wondered if I could use it in the art room. That inspired me. I slightly crumpled it and then smoothed it out. I dropped a few colours of alcohol ink on the top and let it go where and how it would and then when it dried, I cut an inch (2.54 cm) out of the whole and fit it into a tray and under a cabochon. It is a beautiful necklace now.
When I find that I’m feeling bogged down or blah about life, I know it’s time to give—and GIVE hard. To that end, during my last art show I gave away fifty-nine pieces of my art to my community. I find that this practice keeps me sweet. I never charge for my art. If I can let the piece go, I give it away to whoever says they love it. This has been my practice for a number of years now. Alas, sometimes I’m just not ready to let a piece go. Many of my pieces have been gifted for birthdays and Christmas.
There are many ways that we can reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle. These are a few of mine. I look forward to hearing about some of yours.