Saturday, 15 June 2019

Re-purposing Supports

Sailing to Nakusp,  11x14, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Recycling and repurposing are increasingly important in our polluted world. Art studios are no exception. Here are a few ideas on how to give a second life to the used and abused painting supports.

The reusable supports that I utilize are mostly wooden stretchers, plywood boards, cradle panels, and loose gessoed canvas.

When I end up with a painting on canvas that just doesn't work and can't be saved, I remove the staples and discard the ruined canvas. If the stretcher bars still look sturdy, I re-stretch a fresh piece of gessoed canvas that I buy per yard in the art store. I used to buy raw canvas and apply gesso myself but I have abandoned this since it takes a huge amount of time and it's very messy.

Another great thing about this is that canvas remnants can be used too. I tape them onto a board like you would do with the watercolor paper. When I finish the painting, I remove the tape and at that point, there are several options for its finishing and presentation.

You can glue it (using acrylic medium) onto a plywood board that you can buy in a hardware store and have it cut in various sizes. These home-made panels are very easy to frame.

Another option is to glue them onto a cradled panel and in that case, they don't even need a frame. I noticed that the small square cradle panel paintings have become very popular in the last few years. They also look great in floating frames.

One more option is to glue small pieces of canvas on cardboard or some kind of sturdy paper, mat them and present them the way you would do with watercolour paintings.

If you perfect this craft of repurposing, you may end up with excellent supports, more versatile than those available in art stores. It takes some practice, care, good tools, and elbow grease, but it's so good to see a pile of refuse turn into a stack of good quality supports ready for new creations.

I hope you try this and come up with even more ideas for avoiding waste of materials and money in your own studio. If you do, please let me know!