Second Hand Rose

They call me Second-hand Rose….

Swain painting

Using up the Leftover Paint
acrylic on calico
Sally Swain

I never get a single thing that’s new.

Even Jake the plumber, he’s the man I adore

He had the nerve to tell me he’s been married before

Everyone knows that I’m just

Second-hand Rose

From Second Avenue.

{Lalala deedoodeedoo}

Where did that song-burst come from? 

Some quirky corner of my brain stores lyrics from 1920s and 30s songs and pops them out at appropriate or inappropriate moments. Gosh. Maybe I’m more like my clients with dementia than I realised.

There is a reason.

There is a reason the Second-hand Rose fragment emerged holus-bolus.

It’s because

I wish to share with you my experience of the little-known creative practice of Using Up Other People’s Paint. I have come to love using up other people’s leftover paint.

I guess I mean acrylic paint squeezed out onto a palette by an individual or group client and then left behind; left over.

leftover paint Swain

Someone Else’s Palette
gives rise to fresh approaches

I wondered whether to associate this activity with a selfless, martyr mother role. You know the one…

‘Don’t worry about me. I’ll sit in the dark and eat the burnt chop.’

Was that a Monty Python skit?

Oddly, I like occasionally sitting in the dark and I like burnt lamb chops. Maybe this explains a lot about my eccentricity and (oops) I’ve over-shared here.

Using Up Other People’s Leftover Paint
surrounded by devil-may-care free squiggles
Swain art play

Anyway, I wondered if using up leftover paint put me in a low-status category. She who is too poor to afford her own. She who doesn’t feel she deserves fresh paint. Or is this a sign of austerity and not liking things to go to waste?

Oh the complexity of a seemingly simple act of blobbing someone else’s discarded paint onto paper or fabric!

leftover paint paper towel acrylic

Wild Second-Hand Paint on Paper Towel

So there might be an element of frugality, an element of not-deserving, an element of environmental consciousness, but I realise now there’s also a surge of creativity that arises. There is JOY!

It’s someone else’s choice of palette. It’s a quantity and combo of colours that you wouldn’t normally choose yourself.

You’re improvising.

It’s bricolage.

You are making something fresh out of the materials at hand.

There’s nothing to lose.

You haven’t planned, invested time, thought or ego into your artwork.

It’s spontaneous.

You follow the brush.

You play.

It’s joy!

Swain painting

Using up the Leftover Paint
acrylic on calico
Sally Swain

I recommend it to anyone.

Find someone else’s leftover paint

and go for it!


9 thoughts on “Second Hand Rose

  1. This made me smile – do your own thing, whether you are deemed frugal or eccentric. It’s fun to march to the beat of a different drum – I know i do it all the time. Loved the references to pop culture and ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ll sit in the dark and eat the burnt chop.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely quirky and inviting, since I started using throwaway palates I do waste paint. As for the chop lovely touch re 1950’s womens’ martyrdom my Mum would have said yep that was me ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Janey. And yet…sitting in the dark can be so soothing. Just every now and then. And the burnt chop. Well. I confess a long-term enjoyment of chargrilled lamb. From age 2.


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