Plastics and synthetic polymers are slowly invading every aspect of our lives, to the detriment of ourselves and the planet we live on. I'm sure that you have seen images and video of the massive amounts of plastics that end up buried in the earth and floating in the ocean.
Embarrassingly enough, it takes me a while to fully comprehend this fact in regards to various aspects of my life. Even my clothes are made of plastic and won't biodegrade?! Oh.....
"What about my art materials?"
I started using acrylic paints when I was in High School (in the 1980's), and it certainly did not cross my mind to question my art teachers or even consider that this was actually non-biodegrading plastic.
The fact is, every time someone pours water, filled with unused acrylic paint, down the drain or into the earth, it doesn't "go away". Although it is labeled "non-toxic", it does not return to a basic chemical that micro-organisms can consume to enrich soil. These tiny particles will enter our water supply, and we will drink it. Would you drink the water that you've cleaned your paint brush in? When you think of the fact that all house and commercial building paint, both interior and exterior, are made of acrylics and have been for well over a decade, you may already be drinking plastic particles.
"What did we do before plastic?"
It is a strange thing to have lived long enough to be able to answer this question, and even stranger still to go to the hardware or art supply store looking for the materials of your youth to see that it has been replaced by a synthetic polymer or is simply no longer being made.
I have noticed a disturbing trend in art supplies. Acrylic paint is now being re-marketed as watercolor, gouache and even oil paint. "Water based" oil paint is simply re-marketed acrylic paint! Oil and water never mix. Don't be fooled!
Yet, I have used acrylic paints for years and plastics are still a part of my life. Well, now I am going to try other ways to create my art. I will be sharing my experiments and experiences here.