Creativity Workshop: Trash to Treasure

Painted Bandit (above; acrylic and mixed media on paper, 14×18) by Nancy M. Grigsby includes old bus tokens; an ad from an old newspaper; an old salt-cellar spoon; a face bead, which was a gift from a jewelrymaking friend of the artist; leftover pieces of watercolor paper; a stock photo from a store-bought picture frame with the edges singed; and old acrylic paint peeled from a palette.

As artists today, we have a vast array of materials available to us: paints in tubes, bottles or pans; numerous brushes and palette knives; papers, canvas, boards; sealers, mediums, gels, paint additives and extenders. The local artists’ supply shop is the equivalent of a candy store for artists who like to experiment.

Unfortunately, the cost of our adventures in candyland can be quite high. That is, unless we’re willing to look elsewhere for materials: in specific, our own trash cans.

NANCY M. GRIGSBY is an artist living in Birch Bay, Washington. Pick up your copy of the August issue of Watercolor Artist to read her step-by-step guide for transforming a simple beginning into a watermedia masterpiece by incorporating found objects.

Try This At Home
Choose some “repurposed” items and an appropriately sturdy foundation. Use a few of the techniques described in the August 2011 issue of Watercolor Artist to create your own masterpiece. Send a JPEG (with a resolution of 72 dpi) of your painting to us at with “Creativity Workshop” in the subject line and tell us about your process. The “editor’s choice” will receive a six-month subscription to online video workshops, plus $50 worth of North Light fine art books. The deadline for entry is August 15, 2011.



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