Trash to Treasures by Nancy L. Smith

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies


Last summer, I began painting with an artist group at a friend’s studio. The tables we used were covered with white paper for protection of the surfaces, but by the end of two months the papers collected quite a mess of paint and marks. I didn’t see the beauty in those papers until I participated in an artist challenge to create a painting using extreme cropping. As I slid an adjustable 2 x 3 inch mat over my table’s paper, I noticed that many beautiful images started to appear. As the Crow Flies is a perfect example!


Monet's Garden #2

Monet’s Garden #2

I felt I was suddenly a very skilled landscape artist. I couldn’t have created the delicacy or spontaneity in Monet’s Garden #2 even if I had tried. I photographed the tiny image and enlarged it for printing. I then encased the print in beeswax to create a collage. If only I could paint a landscape like this intentionally.

Early Spring Cardinal

Early Spring Cardinal

Some of the images begged to be under-paintings for my figurative work.    In Early Spring Cardinal, I initially saw a cat in the tiny image but it didn’t translate well when printed.  After several months of gazing at the piece in my studio, I used beeswax to collage a cardinal image onto the surface. It began to take shape as I added more collage elements to the piece. Despite all the additions, the focal point ended up being in the area where the under-painting was most prominent.

I look for treasures in my trash now, collecting scraps of paper, tissue, and paper towels I’ve used in creating art. It may take several years but I always find the perfect use for them. Many times the trash becomes the treasure.

See more of Nancy’s work at her website.

Posted by: Trudy Thomson at 2:52 pm 12 Comments

The Ongoing Sketchbooks by Steven Silverleaf

I work in a variety of sketchbooks of varying sizes in my art making. A few years ago I realized that hundreds of books were headed for the landfill, so I began reclaiming some of them as sketchbooks to work in. In the first photo I have arranged a number of them on a table […]

Posted by: Trudy Thomson at 10:50 am 1 Comment