No, I'm not talking about painting all my artwork with green. I'm talking about being cheap . . . I mean, environmentally friendly. You see, I've recently read in my October issue of Watercolor Artist magazine an article explaining ways that an artist can be more environmentally responsible. It seems that I've been environmentally responsible all along and didn't know it. Because of my frugal ways, I've been actually helping the environment.
I've been using a washable chamois to wipe my watercolor brushes on. In the long run, it is cheaper than paper towels. I seem to use a lot of paper towels when I paint. The chamois is very absorbent and can be thrown in the wash. It is also easier to carry to workshops than a roll of towels. If you would like to try one, I have some in my Art Store.
I use every scrap of watercolor paper. I have a drawer full of scraps that I use to test color, techniques, brushstrokes, etc. I paint on the front of the paper, on the back of the paper, and if it had sides, I would paint on the sides. When all the sides are used, I will either cut them up for collage, or gesso over them and use them as a support for my acrylic paintings. I can't recall ever throwing away my watercolor paper. Have you priced paper recently?
I use my old toothbrushes for scrubbing out mistakes on my watercolor paintings. Yes, I recycle my toothbrushes. They are great for spattering paint on the surface of my backgrounds. Although my painting friends have asked to borrow some of my brushes at workshops, they have never asked to borrow my toothbrush. Hmmm.
I've never thrown out any of my watercolor or acrylic brushes. I have brushes with just a few hairs left on them. I use them for small details. My acrylic brushes that have dried paint in them, I cut the hair down to 1/4 inch and use them for scrubbing out painted areas in my watercolor paintings. I find that they are just the right size for scrubbing out small areas.
After I've squeezed out all the paint I can from my tubes, I will cut them open and swipe out the inside with my brush to get the very last drop of paint. I can't leave paint in the tube. With watercolor paint, I don't have to worry about the paint drying before I can use it all. I just re-wet it later.
If you think these ideas are good, you should see how I recycle my kids old cloth diapers. All along I thought I was cheap. I've just learned that I am environmentally friendly. :o)