Alternative Resources – The “Other” Art Supplies

by Liz

Let’s face it: Art supplies are darn expensive. Good pastels can be $40 a tin and my favorite yellow bristle brushes run about $30 for a set of four. Granted, these things can last quite a while, but my art supplies have reached that while and surpassed it. After a jaunt to the local Hobby Lobby to procure the exhaustively specific (nit-picky) list of drawing supplies for my life drawing class, I bemoaned the $80 I drained away on compressed burned tree remains and dead sea critters (charcoal and chalk). They’re not my favorite mediums, and as I played tug-of-war with the clerk for my debit card, I wondered if there was another way. That’s when I noticed the clerk’s copious amounts of mealy face powder, pink-glitter eyeshadow, and crumbly black eyeliner. If make-up can paint a human, why can’t it paint paper?

So, new make-up isn’t much cheaper than regular art supplies, if at all, but I have lots of old make-up moldering in my bathroom cabinet, including a wonderful set of shocking rainbow eye paints my best friend gave me for my 16th birthday. Relatively untouched, the bright colors had clouded over and faded on top, but with the help of an elderly yellow-bristle paintbrush, I burrowed down to discover fine shades of acidic lemon, torrid orange, writhing red, brash blue, and garish green. It just so happened that, to rebel against the shady-shady realism of life drawing class, I had inked a lovely, languid lady in my sketchbook only minutes before. She was a bit pale and could do with a little blush, so I dusted some on, then some rouge, and finally powdered her hair with saffron highlights. It isn’t strong color, but it’s kind of like watercolor/pastel. I painted it on like watercolor and like watercolor, the color isn’t strong, but it is very pure. The image below doesn’t show the nice color effects very well, thanks to a moody camera and equally moody lighting, but all in all, I’d give the made-up method a thumbs-up for entertainment and surprising success!

Made-up Maiden
Eyeshadow powder and ink on paper
2011

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