Saving Discards

Running my brayer on a big drawing pad to clean off the paint brought a mumble from class members. I raised an eyebrow, “Question?”

“You shouldn’t be using good drawing paper to clean off the brayer,” said one person.

“That’s what a phone book is for,” said another, helpfully.

“Or a stack of newspaper,” added a third.

Background1They were all right, of course, except that a brayer is not just a tool for spreading paint. It’s the creator of accidental art—backgrounds, layers, textures.

When I’m applying paint on Gelli Plates, the extra color on the brayer needs to go someplace–but often, it creates a great background of its own. On a newspaper or phone book, it mixes with the cheaper soy inks and makes a pile of discard papers.

On the other hand, if I brayer off on a good piece of paper, it becomes a background, or a piece that can be torn up for a collage.

Here’s a nice accidentally textured background:


And this background became a good place for a stencil, making an instant page that can be used as is, for a card, or for a journal page:

background3Discards don’t have to be thrown out. They have something of their own to offer. Accidents can become fresh new starts. And that’s as true of art as in other parts of life. Don’t be so quick to bury your past, it brought you to where you are today.

–Quinn McDonald makes use of the layers of her life.