Reducing Waste and Saving Money, Artist Edition

If you have followed my instagram lately, you know I’m playing with acrylic paint again. After trying more traditional painting, I’m now experimenting with pouring and liquid painting. This usually involves additional material like small containers for mixing liquid paint, stirring sticks, some kind of cover to protect the working surface, … which can add up to quite a lot of plastic and paper, unless you have space to keep an extra box of glass containers and all that jazz, and are very dedicated to thoroughly cleaning all materials right after a painting session.

As I’m not living zero-waste, there is enough single-use material at home that can be repurposed for painting and be used at least a few times before finally throwing it out. This way I don’t have to buy a lot of additional material for my creative hobby, while all this future waste is used as much as possible before trashing/recycling it.

A few items are

  • Plastic cups from yoghurts and desserts are stackable, can be cut to the needed height, and are washable. I use these for mixing paint for pouring and sometimes for making circles on paintings. (Before getting this idea, I started using up some old disposable cups lingering in a cupboard. They are wobbly and tend to break.)
  • Cheap chopsticks or small forks that come with convenience food or takeout are good for stirring, dipping, making lines, splashing …
  • Canvases often come wrapped in thin plastic sheets, which can be used to cover cups containing rests of paint (instead of clingfilm), be scrunched up and dabbed on paint to create effects, or serve as surface protection under smaller paintings.
  • I usually avoid plastic bags, but sometimes I buy too much or too big stuff to fit into my usual shopping bags, so a few manage to sneak in. They make great surface protection for small and medium artworks, still being small enough to be moved around together with the paining (I work on the floor most of the time, so I just drag them aside to let art dry out of the way); they are quite sturdy and can be reused and even cleaned it you want to – I just pull off the biggest blobs of paint after drying and call it a day.
  • Big plastic covers are good for big paintings or wild paint splashing. For some reason I had kept the thick plastic wrap a mattress came in and got it out for my first clumsy attempts with thinned paint.
  • Receipts for art supply orders are just paper and I don’t keep most of them (because I don’t do art for a living), so I sometimes use them to wipe my brushes/fingers or mix tiny bits of paint.
  • Old newspapers are good for covering bigger areas. I don’t buy a lot of newspapers, but sometimes they are used as wadding in packets (there is a constant influx of second-hand technology and the like in this apartment), so there’s usually a handful around.
  • Squeeze and spray bottles from cosmetics like shampoo samples or eco-friendly deodorant (which comes in fancy glass spray bottles here) are useful for dosing liquids. I have a spray bottle of water for art (and air plants) and I plan to put some floetrol into a small squeeze bottle later today because the original canister is really unwieldy for getting small amounts out of it.
  • (Old fabric from torn clothes/sheets can be cut into pieces and be used instead of paper towels, though they have to be replaced quite frequently when used to wipe away acrylics and aren’t washed immediately, so I prefer using them for cleaning the kitchen unless I have a lot of these rags at a given moment.)

The only plastic I bought specifically for my art is my palette (which I’ve had for quite a while and will last until I break it somehow), a pack of plastic shot glasses for really small amounts of paint, and some small stuff like eyedroppers and tiny bottles with fine openings.



Meet Me

My world is not your world
But I want you to meet me
In fields where I can breathe
On mountains where I am free

My paths are not your vision
But won’t you walk with me for just one day
Below trees whispering of old dreams
On silent dust, through drumming rain

My feet cross lands you’ll never know
But just once, follow the threads I lay
Across stones marking secret smiles
Back to hazy borderlands

Meet me there, in places you haven’t learned to realize
Two levels down, up the broken stairs, brush off the faded varnish

Unsee the walls, slip through the cracks, meet me some day.

Find Me

Still the stars are spinning
Meet me below their trails,
find me on the hill

Still our star is burning
Find me in a fire-lit cave,
meet me when the cold has won for the night

Still we are travelling on silent orbit
Keep watch with me when the turnings seems to hasten
Tell the wordless stories, sing familiar songs on repeat

Remind me the sky still is there
When you find me

Alchemist and Alien (Twitter Microfiction)

I just started a small series of story snippets on twitter. Just look for #AlchemistAndAlien if you’re interested to hear about a random encounter between … well, an alchemist and an alien, obviously.

When I started reading chapter 4 (“Aliens”) of “The Demon-Haunted World” by Carl Sagan today, my head decided on randomly combining it with some other project ideas and I thought it might be fun to explore this concept a bit.

It might not be microfiction in the truest sense as I don’t know how long the story will be, but I’ll try to make most snippets work as stand-alones.




Interstellar Butterflies

Surrender to the universe, Earth is just the start

Fall into the directionless, Earth is just one of many worlds

Touch the veil of tomorrow, Earth is just one dot of the line

Ride on the back of meteors, Earth is just as small as you now feel

Butterfly wings of nebula to straddle void and vertigo, Earth is just your home.


(Trying to continue reading “Earth in Human Hands” while listening to Hans Zimmer soundtracks and failing because my brain got distracted by pretty associations.)



SciFi/Space Soundscape (Creating an Atmosphere with myNoise)

What is better than reading or writing about space? Immersing yourself in a matching atmosphere while doing so. Put on lights that reflect the mood of your literary adventure (or academic endeavour) and turn on sounds that carry you across the cosmos. Listening to music can be distracting, especially if it contains lyrics, but how about a gently rumbling Warp Drive or electric winds humming in tune with the fish tank on your space station?

I bet most of you have heard (of) noise generators online by now. My favourite one is myNoise*, which has a lot of really cool features. If you donate a small amount, you get some more, like stacking several sound generators in a convenient mega generator. But even with the free version you can listen to more than one generator at the same time, you just have to wait a bit in between starting them.

If you love Star Trek and science fiction or space in general, there are some generators you might enjoy in particular:

I like to pair one of these with Distant Thunder (Thunder and Rain), Church (Beatae Memoriae/All Souls’ Day; I disable the sliders that have voices), and occasionally Cat Purr*** (Furry Friend).

There is also a huge amount of technical noises if you enjoy this kind of environmental sound. I’m more a fan of combining space-travelling ambience with natural sounds, like the aforementioned thunder and rain, or a Japanese garden, water flowing in a cave … it gives me a sense of calm anticipation, like exploring the vastness of space and a serene/solitary planet side at once – or sitting in the arboretum/experimental garden of a spaceship, reading, dreaming of rainy days. The feelings I get from these combined atmospheres can range from carefree relaxed curiosity (great for studying) to sweet aching loneliness in the face of a cold, dark stretch of empty space and feeling like none of my friends understands the way space touches me.

Three other reasons why I love myNoise:

  1.  All the generators have nice descriptions, e.g., about the recording process, the intended atmosphere, … and warnings about negative effects on some (if you are sensitive, check the descriptions first on generators from the “Brainwaves” section!
  2. When a user comments on a particular generator, their current settings are saved as well and you can click on the blue heart next to a comment to listen in.
  3. The “animate” feature, which somehow randomizes around your current settings so you can listen longer without tiring.

When you want to return or look back to your home planet, you could check out the generator called Planet Earth, which “relies on a subset of the Golden Record tracks” (and sounds quite chaotic when all sliders are turned on).

What is your favourite generator? Do you use music or soundscapes for creative writing or painting? I’d love to see your art!

Safe journey.

* This is NOT a sponsored post (though I would definitely accept sponsorship from this cool page …), I just really enjoy the generators on that page because they help me focus at work and stay relaxed in the office cacophony.

** Names in brackets are the ones you’ll see on top of the generator itself after clicking on the respective link, sometimes they are different from the link labels in the overview page.

*** Leave a comment if you get the reference ;)