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Writer's Block: It's not easy being green

What have you done in the past day, month, or year to protect the environment? How often do you think about sustainability issues?
Often. It comes into major and minor decisions all the time. Right -- duh! I save entire forests when I never print out anything unless I'm submitting it to a publisher that doesn't take e-submissions.

I'm excited about SpectraFix nontoxic environmentally safe workable fixative -- it mixes with alcohol as in Everclear or vodka, comes in or with a recyclable or reusable pump mister... it would eliminate the last product using propellant that I've got in my life. It's awesome and guess what, saves $ too.

For some reason the taglines that came up for this are "Cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery." I added "environment" and "living green." We have such a small energy footprint that we're out among the extremes, but it's also part of how Kitten maintains ludicrous levels of personal luxury and comfort without much money. Frugal living and green living almost come to the same thing, do either and the other will be a frequent side effect of the decision. Check out "The Tightwad Gazette" books from Amazon or the library for ideas.

I'm grateful for Kitten and Karl's physical energy and commitment to doing certain things by hand at home that I could not manage on my own. I would not be living as green if I had to sustain myself with my disabilities -- a lot of luxuries and conveniences make the difference between independent living or not for me and I lived on prepackaged food with all its waste and bad nutrition when I lived alone.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 21st, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
I save forest by choosing to do works on paper that take a long time rather than shuffling out works every day.

What you say about living frugally and being "green" makes a lot of sense. To keep costs down I simply don't drive much and when the hot water heater went I didn't replace it thereby having a cheaper electric bill. My kitchen, house, dishes and I am very clean by the way. I use two gallons to wash myself and hair. That's it. The dishes get done by boiling water and pouring it into a pot where they get washed the normal way and rinsed. I boil water while eating so the dishes get done right after the meal.

Except when in a rush to eat where I eat at Burger King when on the fly with a tight schedule, at home I eat basically a macrobiotic diet which is the most affordable way to eat. It's grains, beans (which can be very creatively used including tofu), and vegetables which includes a root vegetable each day. If you buy the foods in their natural state you avoid the packaged ones. They are healthier thereby needing less. I do eat at my parents' house where it is very meat and potatoes and Italian. It really throws me off of the healthy way so I am eating there less.

Being green is about nurturing the earth and part of that is caring for people who are handicapped and are very put upon if they have to adhere to the rituals involved in healthy eating. It takes a lot of organization and planning. You mention that you are tired often. What is really needed on tis planet is for people to care about others and not stay in their own little worlds.

People are as sacred as the trees and so in this green evolution that is going on in our culture that needs to be addressed or the righteousness that follows all of these "healthy" trends will destroy their value.

Edited at 2009-09-21 03:46 am (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
This is all good. I don't do everything you do. For one thing, I would not be willing to eat macrobiotic or for that matter ever subject myself to beans again, they make me sick and they taste lousy.

I do use up a lot of paper, but often buy recycled art papers for that reason and I keep all of the copious art that I do or rework it. I don't think of my sketchbooks as waste. What I've done is eliminate anything on paper that isn't actual art that I or someone else would value. There's no reason that budget lists need to be preserved as carefully as my sketch of Ari.

I think I've also saved reams by not printing out edit-drafts on big fat novels though. I think living green becomes a priority, one that's always there affecting every decision, something to consider when deciding whether to replace the hot water heater or whether to make a printout of the novel I just wrote.

Then weigh that against practicality and real needs. You found ways to get around the hot water issue that are practical for you and so you do it without a problem. I know from bitter personal experience that was one of several things that put bathing outside the range of things I could do -- and that I lived without it, just did without, for very long periods of time if I didn't have hot water. I couldn't boil enough to wash with and handle the pot, not strong enough, though I could boil it for soup or something instant.

I think green becomes a commitment, a priority and a filter -- and that's when it becomes sustainable for a person within the context of their own life. The same diet that you find healthy would make me sick within one meal. What I eat to be healthy, to be at my strongest and function best (to me it's a big range between my best and my worst when my worst is "can't get out of bed") is a diet that would make most people obese and sick, probably turn them diabetic and give them heart disease.

That I have green abled people cooking for me is wonderful both for the planet and my nutrition. If I were living alone I would have to go back to prepared foods and have a freezer. I'd be living on cans and frozen food most of the time because I don't have the strength to cook for myself.

So it varies with who you are, what your resources are and your goals. I know I do use up a lot of sketchbooks but I also get recycled ones sometimes and I don't throw them away -- it's not waste. In fact, one of my greener decisions regarding art paper is one you might consider given your style and habits.

If you're only using a few pieces of paper and doing very slow artworks on them, why not always buy 100% rag top of the line art paper? It occurred to me when I was getting an Arches watercolor block on sale that I was buying -- cotton. That the all-rag papers are as green as the hemp papers for the same reasons -- renewable, sustainable fiber source. So I started putting a little more of my spending money toward the higher end art papers and not buying the partial-rag papers as often.

I suppose I could take the next step and start getting books on a Kindle, pay $299 for a Kindle and do it -- but Amazon can and does delete books out of a Kindle and there's a kid suing because they deleted a Melville classic that they didn't have the rights to sell as soon as they found out, along with that kid's copyrighted homework on the classic. Which with him in AP shooting for scholarships cost him a lot in the long run. I'm not sure I'd trust that. I just don't throw books away though.
Sep. 22nd, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
I had forgotten about the 100% rag paper. Somewhere in time that term became acid free and I have often wondered exactly what I am buying. Many of my works are on Arches although for affordability sake I like Canson and when I want a really smooth surface I go Bristol.

What companies make hemp paper? Or is that what acid free is these days? I haven't shopped much in the last year for art if at all. The last time I bought art supplies was two Januaries ago with some gift money. I bought paper.

Sep. 24th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Aquabee has a nice hemp pad, I picked up a large one that came with a little 4" x 6" one as a freebie. It's part recycled and part hemp, all green, wonderful stuff. It's a little off white with tiny brown flecks in it and that's more interesting than a plain white paper for some styles. I like graphite on it.

Stonehenge is quite smooth and has a soft surface wonderful for graphite. It's 100% rag.

Acid free isn't the same thing. Acid free may mean it's buffered to reduce the acidity of the woodpulp element so that it lasts longer -- not a bad thing in itself really. But not as permanent and archival as papers made from textile fibers like cotton and linen. When a paper has rag content by percentage, like Canson Mi-Tientes has, I think, 40% that's using less wood pulp and more cotton. I think that the fibers in rag papers come from mill end cloth sometimes, or used clothing that's been bleached and torn apart and turned into paper pulp. At least that's how it used to be done.

Arches is all-rag and made by its historical process so you are actually painting on recycled old clothes when you buy that lovely top of the line Arches paper. It's heavily sized too. Arches hot press is wonderful smooth stuff.

It just sank in to me though that cotton and flax are renewable crops as much as hemp and no trees go into Arches at all. Or Stonehenge, which is sweet wonderful stuff for any kind of pencil.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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