I recycle canvases.
I go to garage sales and estate sales and I buy old canvases. They often already have a painting on them, and they are often framed.
I take these canvases home (that are monumentally cheaper than new canvases from a store) and I paint on them. Sometimes I gesso over the old painting to hide it, but sometimes I just go to town and the old painting informs my new one.
As you can see above in Disconnected, there are little flower-like dents coming through the paint. That’s because the original painting on this canvas was of some light blue flowers.
I chose this canvas largely because of the elegant frame, but also because I liked the original painting. Sometimes I like the original paintings so much that they end up peeking through my new painting.
In this case, the old paint can’t exactly be seen, but the memory of it is very clearly there.
I wanted a lot of texture in this painting. I wanted it to communicate that a lot of things can get in between you and someone else. Daily life, emotions, and personal problems can all cause you to become disconnected with the person you love.
The texture of the old painting left behind adds to the chaos that has arisen between the two figures I painted. They appear to be very near each other but unable to reach each other because of everything between them and hanging over their heads.
That’s the way life is sometimes. It can be super easy to connect or it can be impossible.
Taking an old painting and recycling it into something new is my way of helping the environment and communicating feelings. What’s yours?