Re-Conserved / “Abstract” Paintings

Paint "mountain" on palette in Paquette studio.
Unused paint scrapings building up.

The story of these paintings comes from the fact that though I am at heart an environmentalist, one who also goes through large quantities of paint, some of which inevitably ends up as waste.
     At the end of a painting session, the sometimes-prodigious amount of leftover paint is normally covered for possible use in the next day’s work. But there comes a point when there is no apparent use for it in my characteristic landscape paintings, where colors are carefully calibrated.
     Wanting to minimize trash in landfills, especially that with rare earth metals, I sought a better solution. In the meantime, I started creating mountains of the scraps right on my palette table as I waited for that better solution to emerge. (You can see an example of such a mountain on my palette table in the photo here.)
     Building these mountains was statistically intriguing (how much paint doesn’t make it to the canvas in a year?), and though these heavy piles make great door stops, that wasn’t enough “reuse” for me.

After a few mountains grew to size, I decided to make a non-objective or abstract painting on a small board that would support the great slabs of paint when a sufficient quantity of particularly scrumptious leftover colors accumulated on my palette. The randomness of the colors defied usual painting methods: I did not “choose” the colors or their quantities (I could only work with whatever happened to be on my palette at the end of the day) and within that limitation, I was challenged to make something worth looking at.
      Re-conserved, upcycled or reused – whatever you might want to call it, I was happy to finally have a gratifying use for the sometimes alarming quantities of “useless” paint I generate.
A number of these works became interesting enough to me to frame, and so I let several of them go to an exhibition otherwise comprised of my Mississippi River series paintings at Principia College in 2020, around the moment of the pandemic lockdown. An Erie Art Museum group show four years later is only the second time I offered to show any outside my studio.

The mountains still grow but at least some paint now makes its way to a more satisfying end. Examples below.

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