Monday, August 12, 2013

The Sustainable Studio: Eco Friendly Art

Green Tips for Painters
by Stefanie Hindmarch, guest blogger

For many artists, being environmentally friendly can be a challenge. Many common art supplies are not good for the environment and it can be difficult to find alternatives. Fortunately, by changing the way you dispose of your waste and by making some easy material switches, you can be a lot friendlier to the  Earth.

Strathmore Recyled Sketchbook
 (Available at Staples)
Using sketchbooks made from post-consumer recycled paper is a good place to start. For preliminary sketches at least, there is usually no need to use new paper. If you have old papers lying around, use the backs of them for your sketches to avoid accumulating waste.

Re-using Palettes
If using acrylic paint, paint white over your palette at the end of your session. This will keep you from washing unused paint down the drain, while letting you use the same palette multiple times.
Using freezer paper as a palette also works well. When the paint dries, it is usually easy to peel it off so you can use the same paper again.

(Photo by
If you are using acrylic paint, dumping the dirty water down the drain can really hurt the environment. For this type of paint, disposing it as a solid instead of a liquid keeps it out of our waterways. If you dump your waste water into a large open container and allow the water to evaporate, you can peel the
dried paint out.

Oil paints, though technically not as bad for the environment, require paint thinner, which can be very toxic. In addition, the pigments in the paint might be toxic depending on the color. Avoid washing oil paint down the drain, and instead try to use it up or dispose of it as a solid.

Water-mixable oil paints are one alternative to both acrylic and traditional oil paints. They behave the same way as oil paints in every way except for clean up, where they wash away with water instead of dangerous paint thinner.

Natural paints from GLOB
If you want to go completely all-natural, there is a company called GLOB that makes non-toxic and chemical-free paint in six colors. It is safe for children, and comes in a powder form, which saves money and energy in shipping.

tree art in mixed media by schulmanart
Mixed media piece by SchulmanArt featuring recycled  piano music

What will you create with this tips?

Stefanie Hindmarch is an intern at SchulmanArt and is currently studying Management at the University of St Andrews.

Looking for Eco-Friendly art? Discover these items on etsy!

Mentioned in this post: @staples @globiton