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What Do You Do With Them?

What do you do with your failed paintings? I don’t know about you but even though I happily tear them up, sometimes it irks me that good cotton paper is going in the trash even though it’s the recycling bin
To that end I have come up with some great ways to reuse my discarded watercolours..
Here are a few of them with accompanying photos

  • The first is to gesso them over and paint with acrylics on top of the watercolour
  • Collage is great too, though I don’t create them as often..
  • Make them into pastel paper
  • Lastly I use the paintings to cover lampshades and things like that by cutting out the areas of the work I like best

My favourite thing is to make something completely different…new paper and paper bowls…
I make new paper which I use for new paintings, stationary, cover boxes, create notebooks, etc..during the paper making process, I add faded pot pourri (the water brings the scent right back), dried leaves, pressed flowers (another craft I do), even herbs, spices like cinnamon and cloves, and fresh leaves…
I sometimes colour the water with spices like turmeric and food colouring

Another favourite way is to make bowls of all shapes and sizes, not only in the usual way with strips of paper, but by first turning the paintings back into pulp in the same way as I would do to create the sheets of paper, then add colour and shape them…I love their organic unfinished edges and make them in all shapes and sizes to use as decorative pieces, or to hold items on my desk or studio table

Below are some photos of the creations I made from old watercolour as shown in House and Home Magazine

An article in Canadian House and Home, an Interior Design magazine, featuring some of my creations in handmade paper

A selection of my hand made stationary and other items…embedded leaves, herbs, spices and potpourri

A selection of paper bowls and a lampshade covered with an Iris watercolour, in the studio

More bowls sitting on a shelf above the sink in the studio..

What do you do with your discarded paintings?


  • Susan Werby
    Susan Werby4 months ago

    Wow, Janis… Makes me wish I painted so I could ruin paper and make it fresh and new again!!! The bowls are wonderful!!! You also could photograph the collages to create photographic textures for use on art with photographs!! Quite a long sentence but you know what I mean!!! Thanks for great ideas!!!

  • I’m happy you like them….thanks so much…You should ask your painting friends to give you their discarded paintings Susan…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Beatrice Cloake
    Beatrice Cloake4 months ago

    Janis, you are a very busy bee!!!
    I would love to explore your studio… Wow!

  • It would take you two minutes Beatrice…it is tiny…my cover photo shows it all..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Linda Lees
    Linda Lees4 months ago

    Great ideas for recycling Janis! I love your lampshade, is there any treatment that’s needed to prevent it catching fire from the heat of the light bulb?

  • Thanks so much Linda…I used a regular lampshade and covered it with a part of a discarded watercolour, so as long as you use the correct wattage for the lamp, you don’t need to do anything more..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Ann Warrenton
    Ann Warrenton4 months ago

    I would say you have answered your own question. :)))))))
    You are a total art manufacturing machine, and there is no stopping you. LOL, your fantastic Janis!!! :)))))

  • Thanks so much Ann..I like to keep busy… :))

    – © Janis Zroback

  • mobii
    mobii4 months ago

    I guess I am part pack rat, because I tend to keep everything.

  • Oh boy…are you a candidate for the American show about hoarders or not quite as bad as that?

    – © Janis Zroback