Monday, September 26, 2016

On Becoming a Green Artist

Digital image created by me. The Journey.

On Becoming a Green Artist 

For the last two weeks, I have been investigating the environmental impact that I might be making upon our glorious earth through my art making process. It’s a gigantic topic! Phew.


Recap


Integrity Rabbit Hole


During the first post, I was interested in the idea of Integrity and the artist. How far down the Integrity Rabbit Hole must the artist travel in order to protect our environment? My answer is that we must travel as far down as we can until it no longer makes sense. If there is a curiosity, we must follow it. As artists, we are the forerunners of bringing awareness to social consciousness.

Digital image by me. The Great Beyond is Calling.

For me personally, this has been an evolutionary process that began with the food I eat, becoming more cognizant of where that food comes from and how it gets to my table. I love animals and can no longer bear the fact that animals are being treated cruelly and then violently killed to put food on my table. 

And, then, there are the people that work in the meat industry. What an awful job that must be, one that surely instills, breeds, and justifies violence in the name of nurturing our bodies. That scenario no longer makes sense to me. I have switched to a vegan diet except for one item, honey. I have not given that up yet. This has been a progression of eliminating certain foods to come more in alignment with my values and integrity. 

Unlimited Potential, The Fool. Digital image by me.
Once we become aware of an issue, it is our responsibility to do the right thing as we see it. We also need to allow our values and truths to change over time because they do. We must bring our actions in alignment with our values. Read that article here.


Once we become aware of an issue, it is our responsibility to do the right thing as we see it.


Acrylic Paint: Is it Environmentally Friendly

The second article was looking at the question of whether my medium of choice, acrylic paint, is environmentally friendly. My answer to this second issue of acrylic paint being environmentally friendly is that it is not. Read more here.

My Research Continues on Becoming A Green Artist 

There is so much wrapped up around this issue that it will take me some time to continue my research on becoming a green artist. I hope this topic is of interest to you either as an art collector or a fellow artist. I will be reporting back here with more information as I gather it.

Energy Motion Infinity. Digital image by me. 

Questions to Discover


What interests me is the process of making art, not about creating images that convey messages about the impact mankind is making upon the natural world. It starts with the artist. 
  • What materials can the artist use to lessen the footprint upon our environment? 
  • How are we creating our art: i.e., are we creating with toxic materials, in a toxic environment, in toxic ways? 
  • Are we protecting ourselves from the toxicity of the materials we are using? 
  • If we are using toxic materials, how are we lessening the impact not only to ourselves, but to the environment?
  • What are the alternatives?

Next Week:


Stay tuned for next’s article where I will explore this topic a little deeper. My first area of concern is how I can lessen my impact while using acrylic paints. If I cannot, then what are the alternative media that I need to think about switching to.

About the Author

Braylee Rush

Braylee Rush (Mary Gravelle) is an artist, author, and creativity catalyst and consultant. She resides in Sedona, Arizona with her loving and efficient assistant, Sir Kitty. Her other websites and work are: Wisdom Painting for Self-Discovery, Igniting Your Intentions, Sedona Art Hikes.

Contact her today with commissions or requests for creative work, consultations, or one on one coaching sessions. She can help you delve into your creativity and come out with your own unique expression.

Inquiries

Inquiries about this en plein air acrylic landscape painting can be made through the contact page.

And, as always, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Sir Kitty

Until Next Week

  • Appreciate art
  • Buy art
  • Create art

Monday, September 19, 2016

Is Acrylic Paint Environmentally Friendly?

I Love My Acrylic Paints, studio set up in Tucson, AZ, 2013.
In last week's article, I said that I would research acrylic paints and report back with their impact upon the environment. I found so much other information about how artists can go green in their studio, including information about acrylic paints. So, I'll stick with the original idea for now. I'll report in future blog posts what this research is bringing to my awareness. I wonder what impact my art making activities are making upon the environment. How can we artists ensure that we are making eco-friendly choices in our art making process?

To Use Acrylic Paints or Not to Use Acrylic Paints?

To answer the question in the title of this post, no, acrylic paints are not friendly to the environment. This is my opinion now after reading an article on ConsumerAction.org. It says,
"acrylic paint is a petroleum-derived polymer, i.e. plastic... just buying them contributes to our reliance on petroleum.”
Mixing palette with acrylic paints, 2016. Braylee Rush.
Yikes! I certainly do not want to contribute to our reliance on petroleum and all that it entails. So... as an avid acrylic painter, I might be making a switch.

It seems like the choices so far, as I gather my research are water-soluble oil paints, making my own paints, or oil paints–but avoiding turpentine and certain toxic colors.

The research continues...

Do you have any information to share about the impact upon the environment and acrylic paints? Do you have any information on being an eco-friendly artist? Please share! :-)

Source of Research and Articles of Interest:

Artists Paints–Is Oil or Acrylic Friendlier to the Environment?

Tips for the Eco Friendly Artist

Making Artist Paints

About the Author

Braylee Rush

Braylee Rush (Mary Gravelle) is an artist, author, and creativity catalyst and consultant. She resides in Sedona, Arizona with her loving and efficient assistant, Sir Kitty. Her other websites and work are: Wisdom Painting for Self-Discovery, Igniting Your Intentions, Sedona Art Hikes.

Contact her today with commissions or requests for creative work, consultations, or one on one coaching sessions. She can help you delve into your creativity and come out with your own unique expression.

Inquiries

Inquiries about this en plein air acrylic landscape painting can be made through the contact page.

And, as always, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Sir Kitty

Until Next Week

  • Appreciate art
  • Buy art
  • Create art

Monday, September 12, 2016

How Far Down the Integrity Rabbit Hole Should the Artist Go?

Eden, Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona, 9 x 12 inches, Acrylic on Wood.
Copyright 2016 Mary Gravelle aka Braylee Rush
Lately, as I become more aware of the environmental footprint of the oil industry, the injustices to our fellow man, and abuses to the animals of this world, this question arises. How far down the rabbit hole must I journey to do what is within the highest integrity in respect to everything around me, including all of life?

In particular, what is my part as an artist in all this? What is the role and responsibility of the artist to the whole of life as they create their art?

Environmental Footprint and Impact

This has been prompted in part by an email I received last week from Gamblin Artists Colors. It said:

"We know many painters are interested in knowing where their materials are from and in making the right choices for their work, their own well-being and the environment. ...We craft our paints from raw pigments and vegetable oil. The linseed oil we use comes from a field, not an oil refinery. By contrast, acrylics are generally emulsions of plastics derived from petroleum, water, pigment, ammonia and other agents."

Yikes, this weighs heavy on my heart. I recently signed a petition and shared it on Facebook to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. I want to lessen our reliance on oil. My preferred medium is acrylic. I have been experimenting heavily with acrylic gel mediums. I have not done enough research yet on my own to ascertain the impacts of using acrylic paints and mediums upon the environment. I will.

Sir Kitty at Home, 36 x 60 x 1.5 inches, Acrylic on Canvas.
Copyright 2010 Mary Gravelle aka Braylee Rush.
No animal was abused while painting this painting. Sir Kitty is well cared
for, respected, fed well, and loved very much. But, still, he is not a
total free being. I suppose he could run away if he was not happy.
How far do we journey down the rabbit hole of integrity?

Animal Rights

Another incident happened at an art walk event here in Sedona. The Rowe Gallery had an artist sculpting a clay wolf head. Two wolves were on scene for him to use as his models. One was in a cage in the back of a pickup truck. I walked away, wondering about the health and safety of these wolves. Were they being exploited for our entertainment as we "oohed and ahed" at his skills to sculpt the head quickly and accurately? I felt a wave of deep sadness wash over me. I wasn't sure what that was about. I think I know now.

Today I learned that the Jordan World Circus is coming to Cottonwood, a neighboring town. They proudly advertise the use of animals, tigers and elephants as "affordable family fun." Here is information on this circus since I wondered how they treat their animals. Again, a deep sadness washed over me this morning. Here is the link to the article quoted below.

"8. Jordan World Circus
Not only does this circus confine tigers for long periods of time in small spaces, it also withheld veterinary care from a sick tiger for a month and forced the tiger to keep performing. The Jordan World Circus is also one of the last circuses in the U.S. to continue to force bears to perform.
Facebook/The Jordan World Circus"

Summary

So, all of this is coming together to formulate the original question, just how far down this rabbit hole must we artists travel in order to remain in alignment and integrity with life? Do we, as artists, have a more responsible role than other professionals since art is a means to communicate life, prompt questions, raise current issues, and address the higher aspects of it?

What are your thoughts?

Next week, I will do more research on acrylic paints and mediums and write about it here. Stay tuned.