Art supplies generally are not very eco friendly, paper bleaching and processing, solvents, glues, fixative sprays, varnish, plastic pens, acrylic paint the list goes on…
In my previous blog I discussed making your own paint, what else can we do as artists or as people wanting to paint for fun at home to reduce our environmental impact?
Here’s a list of ideas, not exhaustive and even if you just change one thing its a start and will help. The more of us who start demanding that art suppliers provide greener alternatives, the more will start doing so. The power is with the consumer.
Wipe excess acrylic paint onto a cloth to remove as much as possible before rinsing in water. Or even better, have another surface ready to paint on just using left over paint.
Only use a small amount of water to rinse brushes, pour used water with acrylics into cat litter rather than down the sink. This reduces the amount of plastic particles that enter the water system. Cat litter can be used to make a modelling clay, so you could even make something else with it once its unable to take anymore water.
Buy recycled paper sketchbooks/painting paper.
Reuse cardboard packaging as a canvas, may be primed with a gesso or painted on directly.
Buy canvas paintings, or photo canvases in charity shops and re prime to paint over rather than buying new.
Buy your own paint pigments as loose powders to mix yourself instead of buying new paint in tubes each time.
Try out painting on different surfaces, such as glass, slate, wood, stones, old cds, tiles, pots, the possibilities are endless.
Try to limit your use of sprays, solvents etc, or buy eco friendly ones. If possible don’t use them at all.
Avoid buying plastic acrylic paint pens, and plastic pens in general unless they are recycled.
Try old fashioned quill and ink pens, either homemade using a feather and natural inks such as walnut or oak gall. Or buy old fashioned refillable fountain pens, or steel nibs for ink pens.
Instead of buying new frames for your work, try searching the charity shops for frames. I’ve had some fantastic finds in charity shops for both frames with mounts and just mounts.
Reuse plastic trays from food as paint palettes or to store bits and bobs you collect for art in.
Use a print on demand service rather than printing in bulk without having orders. This is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint as instead or ordering lots of items that are then posted out to you for you to then post out to your customer (if the stock gets bought). You just have a digital file of the item in your web store, if a customer buys the item is then printed and sent directly to them.
Re use old eyeshadows as paint. Make up is pigment, already mixed with chalks, waxes etc so actually can make a great paint. Just scoop it out and mix with your choice of binder – walnut or linseed oil for an oil paint, or honey and water for a watercolour, or gum arabic and veg glycerine for a better watercolour.
Some great tips here, let me know if you try any 😊
Artwork by Diana Green