Recycling paintings

recycled watercolor painting collage

Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars of light. . .

(to live in this world you must be able to do three things:)  to love what is mortal:   to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and , when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

excerpts from a poem by Mary Oliver

This weekend the Muses groups played with recycling old paintings and realized they had far more to give in collage than in sitting in a drawer neglected for years.  To do the above piece I cut up an old plein aire watercolor done years ago in the Sierras.  I turned it over and drew shapes on the back, then cut them out and arranged them on a fresh sheet of paper, creating a new imaginary landscape.

I wish I had all the Muses’ pieces to share with you, but I did get pictures of the Saturday group’s and a couple of the free writes that seemed to speak to all of us about this creative process we share.

by Muse Shawna


That’s what you need when surrounded

by foreign territory, foreign language.

Take those old pictures you made,

those worn-out ideas and cut them down to size.


Get out your paint brush, your glue.

Make them into art—something lovely

from the chaos. Then stand back

and look with new eyes.


Notice shape, color, placement.

Find fresh meaning in everything.

Revel in how you took something old

and made it brand new.


by Shawna Swetech


by Muse Paula


Like a comet it comes
Spinning, swirling, streaking
Through the dark void
Blazing, burning, barreling
Towards us at warp speed.
Or, is it sneaking up behind us
A surprise to explore
In the universe of our minds
As we work at building or creating.
The Muse comes in
And suddenly, like a shock of lightning
We know exactly, or mostly
What we will create.
Something new, never before, nicely done
Or…is it?
Is it mine, really?
Or, is it hers, that sneaky muse!
Is that she, giggling somewhere out there
In the dark void?
Come back, oh Muse of Delight!

by Paula L. Peterson

by Muse Marilyn

by Muse Adrianne

Don’t these just make you want to get out the scissors and start cutting up all those paintings languishing in drawers?



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