making my art earth friendly

It’s now September, how did that happen so fast?! Anyway so let me begin part one of making my art earth friendly.

If you know anything about me you will certainly know that I am very aware of the impacts us humans are having on our beautiful planet and want to do as much as possible to preserve it!

Over the last four years I have gradually transitioned from eating meat a few times a week to a vegetarian 2 years ago and I am now mainly on a plant based diet. The last part has been the hardest but I have found some great resources and meal ideas on VIVA.org.uk there’s lots to read if you are interested.

I’m also trying to find out how I can make my household more eco friendly, heat pumps and solar panels and a generator etc which seems really hard to do unless of have a lot of spare cash or a money tree!

Also my aim is to have nothing to go to landfill, so to reuse as much as possible, recycle everything else! So naturally I had to start looking at the fact that my practice is not the best for the environment and that it all had to change!

I had previously planned to transition the materials I use to create my artworks to environmentally friendly a little earlier in the year. It’s the beginning of an exciting journey for me once again experimenting and researching a lot to find paints and materials to create the textures and colours I love to use in my work.

The first stage was to simply search for any plastic free and eco friendly paints. I was really happy to find a British company Edward Bulmer Natural Paint and a German company called Auro Paint who have created wood and interior decorating paints that are plastic free, carbon neutral, non toxic and some are even compostable! You can also recycle the tins they are stored in!

So I ordered a few colours and when they arrived the paints were great but a lot thinner in consistency than the heavy bodied acrylics I have been using over the last three years. I also realised some shades were way too soft for my work and not exactly the colours I wanted. I find it an important part of my process nowadays to mix my own colours so what was the solution?

Natural non toxic pigments on this website Earth Born Pigments were the brand I chose and of course you know I went for the brightest red, blue and yellow I could find which were obviously the most expensive!

I was really taking a gamble buying all these new and exciting materials but I had done my research so I was confident I was choosing wisely, fingers crossed everyone!

I have never mixed my own paints before but I found this really great guide to mix all sorts of paints and even pastels really helpful it also gave me ideas on what natural products could be used as a substitute for polymers that are used to make acrylic paints.

I was sure I wanted to go plastic free whilst trying to find a natural alternative that give me the feel, effects and textures I achieve using acrylic paints so research began into natural thickeners to get the body to achieve those peaks!

I am still experimenting with many natural materials, I will be posting my results weekly from this week to document findings for myself as my memory is not the best and share with you all.

Hope this helps other artists wanting to find eco friendly alternatives, part two next week!

Take Care and happy experimenting!

Emily Duchscherer Kirk.

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Emily Duchscherer Kirk