What a Waste! Testing New Products in the Studio

Pigments? Adhesives? Surfaces? Tools? 

There’s nothing more exciting than discovering new materials, tools, or colors to test in the studio. Exploring new materials and techniques is one of my favorite ways to spend downtime between creating art. So much so, that sometimes when I go to reorder studio standards I’m running low on, I’ll end up with more than I intended because I’ve found new colors or materials that look interesting and fun to try. It’s the fault of beautiful art books and YouTube videos!  

It's a bummer when experiments fail  

The downside comes when new materials don’t work out the way I imagined. I know from talking with other artists, that I’m not alone in this. And since art supplies aren’t cheap, I (like most artists) won’t throw them away. Being a sustainable artist, I’m loathe to waste any of my supplies. 

Ah, but artists are masters at recycling. Usually, if a material or tool is sitting around the studio long enough, I’ll find a way to use it. Often not in the way I initially thought, sometimes based on something another artist said, something I read, or a YouTube video I found. Inspiration can come from anywhere. 

What’s the Solution? Buy Small! 

I’ve learned that the best way to test out new materials is to buy the smallest amount possible. Even though I might be sure I’m going to use more, if it’s new – I go small. Testing the material to confirm it’s what I want, it exceeds my expectations, and that I’ll definitely use it before blowing my budget buying more significant quantities. And since many artist materials can’t be disposed of in traditional landfills, there’s less pressure to find a way to use a small amount of a material. 

Photo credit: Peter F. via Unsplash