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Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Pablo Picasso at DailyLearners.com

Ten Creative Ways to Use Old Unwanted Watercolor Paintings

Every piece of artwork you paint is not going to be a masterpiece. Sometimes our paintings don’t work for whatever reason. You may be like me and have a stack of old paintings that you just don’t like. You have some options for these paintings.

Here are ten creative ways to use old unwanted watercolor paintings:

1. Use the back of the paper for another painting.

2. Paint over the painting with gesso, give it some texture and when dry paint with watercolors again. The surface will handle the watercolor differently. It will be slick.  Paint can be lifted.  You can also paint over the gesso with acrylics.

3.  Tear paper up into small pieces. Use the pieces in a collage.

4. Glue textured rice paper to the surface and paint again using watercolors or acrylics.

5. Cut the painting up into 1/2 to 2 inch strips. Make a weaving with the paper strips. There will be a more in depth article about this technique coming soon!  I call it woven watercolor.

6. File the painting away to be looked at another day.  You might change your mind.

7. Try to fix the painting. First you have to decide what to do, so set the painting out somewhere you will pass by many times a day. When you walk by, take a look, but move on. Turn the painting upside down or on its side. You might see a beautiful painting from a different angle. Eventually, your subconscious may discover a way to save the painting

8. Soak the painting in the bathtub overnight to try to lift the paint from the paper. After the soak, scrub with a sponge or washrag. Some watercolor paint is staining, so depending on the colors you used this may or may not work. Do not soak illustration board! You will end up with a huge pile of mush in the tub. This is experience talking.

9. Cut the painting, curl the paper, glue, piece together and make a paper sculpture.

10. Use the painting to start a campfire.

I don’t throw my work away because of something that happened to my grandmother. At times Grandma threw some of her paintings away in the trash cans behind her house. Her neighbors knew she was an artist and that she sometimes threw her work away. These neighbors went through her trash and picked out her discarded paintings. They pulled out the ones they liked and framed them. Grandma would visit her neighbors and see her old painting on their wall. This was upsetting to her, but she never said a word. Grandma was too nice.

What do you do with your old unwanted watercolors? I would love to hear from my readers!  Happy Painting!

2 comments to Ten Creative Ways to Use Old Unwanted Watercolor Paintings

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