by Karen Michel

Green Guide for Artists

I recently came across this terrible story (with a very happy ending) about a extremely talented young illustrator, Roberto Parada, who thinks his art materials, more specifically the Benezene found in his paint thinner, caused him to develop Aplastic Anemia (bone marrow failure). I often forget how important it is to be aware of the safety of the materials you are using. This new book from Quarry focuses on how you can be “green” as an artist from instructions on creating non-toxic materials to ideas about using found and recycled objects in your art. The whole first part of the book teaches you how to make your own paints from creating pigments to mixing up binders. I was surprised to find a recipe for gouache, which is what I paint with all the time. It seems to be no more than honey, pigment, chalk and a water based binder. Good bye Windsor Newton $15.99 tubes! The second section of the book is project based with instructions on how to iron old plastic bags together to make to make a sturdy and quite beautiful material, stretch your own canvas and papier-mache cute little birds. The last part of the book profiles crafty artists who have a very green philosophy whether they make artwork from completely recycled materials or use only natural components. You can get a copy of this book here.


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