My starving artist alternative to expensive canvas

 Firefly Galaxies * Gloomy * Ghost White
5 x 7
mixed media on wood plaque and panel

I was a starving artist throughout school, working 2 to 3 jobs to afford school, supplies, and my apartment.  When I finished school and started painting for myself all I could afford to buy was a sketchbook and some cheap hobby acrylics. I needed a cheaper alternative to canvas, so I worked on paper a lot.  I asked for art supplies for every occasion. Birthday? Please buy me some new brushes! Christmas?  I’d love some canvas!

The rest of the year I was still a starving artist, so I used my Michael’s 40% off coupons to buy my supplies.  Canvas was lovely, but expensive.  I never had more that $20.00 to spend so I bought small wood panels for $1.00 and plaques for $5.00 to paint on.   They were excellent to practice collage, mixed media layers, and acrylic painting techniques.  I built up many many layers with tissue paper because I really liked the texture it gave the background of my pieces.

Walnut Hollow has a lot of the super cheap craft plaques for $0.99 on Dick Blick.  They measure around 5×7 so they fit in my tiny scanner, which also makes it easy to share my work online.  And because they are less than a dollar you don’t have to worry about ruining a precious canvas with experiments!  I also started using old book pages, coating them with gesso, and using those as a surface to paint on.

Other  ideas for starving artist supplies:

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