Leftover Art

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know how much I love cooking. You know, too, how my love of cooking carries over to my “arting” — I often speak of “recipes” for painting, talk about the art process in culinary terms, and come up with other cooking comparisons.

For a long time it seemed quite appropriate since I did my drawing and painting in our kitchen. Now, though, we’ve moved to a new home, I have my own studio, but I still love cooking analogies all the same.

Let’s add one more to the list today, shall we?


When I plan our menu each week, I have to plan for a few leftovers now and then. There’s only two of us, so even when I cut back on casseroles or cook a small roast, there’s always enough left for a second day. That’s fine, because a lot of meals are probably even tastier the second day. That’s neither here nor there.

So, precisely how do “leftovers” happen in art?

I’m so glad you asked, because I’ve discovered quite a few leftovers lurking in my art studio. It’s all about having extras you see. I’m sure you’ve had leftovers, too. You finish your day’s work on an oil painting, but yet there’s still paint leftover. Or you play around with watercolors and while one painting is drying… well, you do still have more paint leftover. Or maybe you’re drawing and find yourself with a little time leftover.

These are all great times to just have fun, use up extra paint, or just enjoy drawing a little longer. In the past, I’ve written about accidental masterpieces, an idea that comes from Awakening Your Creative Soul. While I haven’t made any masterpieces, I have created a few abstracts, and I’ve had fun playing around with leftover paint.

Mixed media art has taught me about another sort of leftover art. Much mixed media art is made with bits and pieces of this and that, scraps of art paper, fabric, lace, or whatever happens to be leftover from other projects. So I now have a little leftover bin in the corner of my studio. All sorts of scraps of paper go into it. As I tear off the pages each day from the Bob Ross desk calendar my daughter gave me, those pages go into the scrap bin. I’ve used a few already for collage projects.

And I discovered yet another sort of leftover art recently. I was playing with my watercolors, and when I’ve finished… well, I liked part of the painting. So I cut the sheet into two pieces, keeping what I liked and setting aside the other piece. Later, I looked at the other piece and realized that I liked it, too. I just hadn’t liked it as part of the larger painting, so now I have two separate paintings.

Here’s the leftover piece that became a painting of its own:

Leftover Art

I’m not quite sure what it is, but whatever it is, I sort of like it. It came from playing around putting different colors together and just having fun.

And one day I was cutting squares for my Zen-doodles, and I took an old watercolor painting that I didn’t care for. I cut a 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch square out of it and set it aside to use as an easy measuring guide when I cut additional squares. I then looked at a couple of the leftover pieces from the painting. I liked them, too. Again, nothing fancy. But comfortable, familiar little leftover bits and pieces of art.

This might not be much, but I like looking at the colors.
Part of a little watercolor seascape once upon a time.

Maybe it’s silly. But… maybe it’s all right to enjoy art a second time around, cut up, carved out, served up in a different way. Nobody wants a steady diet of leftovers, I’ll agree, but there’s something a bit special about re-creating art a second time.

I like having these little leftovers in my studio, brightening up my day. They’re comfortable, they’re familiar, and they’re fun.


    1. I think I’m sometimes going to extremes now LOL… every scrap of paper has to be “evaluated”. Can I do something with this? Should I save it? I have to remember that sometimes trash is… trash! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love this! I will be working on a project and think about how I can re-use the material in the future. I am working on a political collage now, and have wordy text magazines sorted for future information.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good luck with your project. Earlier this fall I did a political collage all made from political cartoons. I wanted to create a “current events” theme for my art journal. It’s one of my favorite pages.

      Liked by 1 person

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