Here is my latest in the About Face Art Quest. As you know, I am taking a lot of classes from several different on-line sources. Some are free tutorials, some are classes I am paying for. The point is I am taking classes which require materials. My main problem is the canvases. I have absolutely no room to store these finished paintings. Here is my solution to the problem:
I have been taking pictures of all my assignments. I store them in a file on the computer. Then I gesso over the painting and reuse the canvas. This painting is on canvas board I had already painted three other times before. While there are some pieces I would like to keep, for the most part they are simply done to focus on a technique or element of design.
When you are struggling somewhere in your art practice do what you can to find solutions that work for you. They may not be the solution for everyone, but if they work for you that’s what matters. My struggles are cost of materials and storage/space. Here are a couple of my tips to deal with those issues:
I use student grade paints for the work I do in the classes I’m taking. I use pro paints for my own art work which I intend to sell. I reuse canvases, paint on non-traditional things like cardboard and manila file folders, make my own sketch books and journals from inexpensive copy paper or lined filler paper, make as many of my own supplies as possible, purchase stuff from second-hand stores like frames, easels, and paper, use the less expensive children’s art materials, purchase only the items I absolutely need and then only on sale.
One of the best money saving tips I have is do not become interested in another medium.
Think about this for a second: I was very interested in a die cutting machine. The cost of the machine is around 80-90 bucks. Then you need the accessory bits to go with it, like plates and dies. By the time it’s all said and done to get the stuff I needed to make the things I wanted to make it would cost around 500 bucks.
I can cut a lot of stuff out by hand to save 500 bucks. Or I could purchase die cuts from the store. $500.00 can buy an awful lot of pre-made die cuts. And then there is the issue of storage for the machine and the dies.
It was not in my best interest to purchase a die cutting machine at this time. Nor is it in my best interest to become interested in stamping. Another place you can fall down the money pit rabbit hole. Yes, there are many wonderful, adorable stamps out there and they would look fantastic on an art journal page. But I can also sketch the image I want and paint it, color it, collage it, use chalks on it, the possibilities are endless-and it only cost me the time it took to sketch it. Even easier: print copy-right free images off the computer. No sketching involved.
Storage solutions are also something I find challenging. First, go through everything you have and weed out what you don’t want or need. This will clear up a lot of space. I have found bookcases and rolling storage carts at Goodwill for a song. I make my own storage boxes from cardboard boxes. I use shoe boxes as storage totes. Plastic jars hold my plastic bags from stores-which I use in my trash cans beneath my work desk, clear plastic which I melt into beads, lace, buttons and strips of fabric for my flowers. Plastic ketchup and mustard bottles hold my home-made gesso. Empty Pringles cans hold my paint brushes. Stack them together in a pyramid shape, wrap with cheap patterned duct tape from the dollar store and it’s great for marker or colored pencil storage. An empty tissue box filled with toilet paper tubes holds my most used pens, water brushes, palette knives, watercolor pencils, foam brushes, and daubers. Dollar Tree foam core made into storage boxes holds my acrylic mediums, varnishes, and most used adhesives. Plastic crates hold my extra art supplies, magazines and work in progress art journals. Second-hand fishing tackle boxes work great for holding everything for a beading project. Plastic accordion folders from the Dollar Tree are perfect for holding individual paper projects. Empty wooden crates work as shelves when attached to walls or stacked in a corner. Larger plastic garbage cans are great to corral rolls of artist paper, wrapping paper, dowels, long flower stems or branches, Mahl sticks and extension poles for paint rollers. Plastic empty baby wipe containers hold everything from ATC’s to cut up gift cards for watercolor painting and art journaling to washi tape. You can even make furniture from cardboard and glue.
The point of this is to keep creating no matter your situation. Really, the best part about being a creative person is finding unique and unusual solutions to life’s challenges. Finances should not prevent you from being creative. There are people who make amazing things with a #2 pencil and piece of scrap paper, paint with coffee and make art from found objects.
We all need a bit of encouragement every now and then and this is mine for you today. Don’t become discouraged when faced with challenges, just dig deep into your own creativity and discover solutions which will amaze you. In whatever you are facing today, I wish you joy and peace in your journey.