In the current unprecedented times of quarantine and isolation, artists all over the world are practicing art voraciously. People who would have never imagined putting a brush to paper have also taken advantage of lockdown and resorted to artistic endeavors in order to lift their spirits. Art is proving to be the silver lining to the dark, gloomy corona virus cloud.
But what do you do when you are running out of canvas and paper during the lockdown? How do you replenish them when all but essential shopping has been forbidden? Many of us may be finding ourselves skimming through our dwindling art supplies, frantically hunting for ways and means to keep our art practice going, but little do we realize that what we need to engage with our creativity is probably tucked away somewhere in our home itself.
I’m sure many of us are sailing in the same boat so here’s a quick guide that can perhaps help replace that rapidly depleting stock of art supplies and keep the creative process going. I have compiled some tips and tricks, mostly conceived by fellow artists who deserve a special mention in this post. Thank you all for your innovative inspirations! So go ahead, browse through, pick your favorite options and innovate!!
- Paints – If you think you are the only ones running out of oil or watercolor paints, join the gang! Don’t sweat….your regular house paints can serve as a good option. But don’t forget to check whether they’re oil or water based before using them.
- Drawing material – Take stock of all your pencils, pens, markers, pastels, color pencils and other dry mediums that may be lying around in a state of neglect in your house. Every small bit of charcoal and chalk counts.
- Paper and Canvas – If you are anticipating a shortage of drawing and painting surfaces, make do with whatever is available at that time. It doesn’t matter if it’s small pieces of paper, a tiny sketch book or discarded canvases. Expressing your creative instincts is of prime importance.
Here are some options that some of my fellow artists have come up with to nourish and nurture their creative faculties:
- Unsold or discarded paintings that are nothing but dead stock can be gessoed over and reused to create brand new artworks.
- Different types of ornately printed paper, gift wrapping paper or even wall paper have great potential for collage and mixed media effects.
- Newspaper and magazine pages are an awesome replacement for plain old boring paper. The fine print can add an extra element of interest to the subject sketched or painted on top if it complements the theme of the artwork. Picasso used to add his own characters on magazine photos.
- Don’t get rid of all those grocery bills, corrugated packing sheets, brown paper, crinkled craft sheets, etc. They can prove to be valuable drawing and painting surfaces.
- Leftover pieces and planks of wood from your carpentry projects for home improvement can serve as a good replacement for canvas.
- Dried leaves when painted on with acrylic paints can be transformed into beautiful works of art.
Stones and pebbles can be used as miniature canvases and painted over with acrylic paints or markers.
A word of caution…sometimes the materials you choose may not live up to your expectations and you may not achieve the desired results. Don’t fret too much at this point. It’s all about trial and error. After all, art is an enriching and learning experience and every mistake can become a precursor to a great masterpiece. All you need to do is work your way around it and try something else. Another upside to using leftover material is that it can help open up new channels of creativity.
The key to innovative progress right now is to carefully consider what you have at the present moment and how it can be put to good use. Now’s the time to tests the limits of your creativity. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come up with something stunning with all those scraps of paper lying around in your house!
Acknowledgements and Credits –
As I had mentioned earlier, several of these ideas are the creative genius of my fellow artists. All the images featured in this post belong to these immensely talented “innovators” and I do not claim any of them as mine in any way. They deserve to be applauded for their resourcefulness and brilliance. I hereby acknowledge their skills and give them full credit for their contributions towards the enrichment of art. Thanks a ton Sheetal, Anannya, Swati and Aditi for your innovative improvisations. Cheers to your ingenuity!