Upcycling

It’s a worthy trend.  Here’s the definition according to Wikipedia:

“Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value.”

What a brilliant idea!  We don’t have to go out and buy something new all the time…we can UPCYCLE.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to what it means to be a consumer.  Born into a consumer culture, I rarely stand back to see myself in action.  Presently, I am looking at how I can return something for all that I get or receive.  At least, I can review what I presently have and consider how I could upcycle.  

A fellow artist had painted a beautiful painting of a meditating Buddha.  It could not be improved upon in my mind.  It showed mastery.  When she told me that she was going to paint over it, I was stunned.  Was it because she couldn’t afford to go out and buy another canvas?  Because it didn’t meet her expectations?  Was she that unattached to her creation?

These days, I have a lot of paintings at various degrees of completion.  I find myself choosing an old painting and making it new.  I preserve what I like of the original piece and what fits with what it wants to become.  Sometimes, I gesso over the entire canvas and begin anew.  I no longer find this sacrilegious.

I’ve done this with furniture for years…painting and decorating an old chair, for instance or an entire set of bedroom furniture.  I have many very creative friends who upcycle clothing, stitching a ruffle on a skirt or mixing and matching the sleeves or adding a colorful placket on a sweater to create new apparel.  Another friend gathers old wool sweaters, felts them and makes dog sweaters or cat toys.

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RiverGoddess.2020

This was an abstract painting of a river before I upcycled it to paint The River Goddess.