It happens to all of us- a painting just doesn’t work, or you don’t like it or it isn’t what you envisioned. One solution is to flip it over and use the back of the paper. Or, you can recycle/repurpose it into smaller paintings and collage fodder. This landscape was an experiment and I just didn’t like it. So my first step was to use 2 smaller sized mats as viewfinders to isolate parts of the piece that worked. Once I cut those 2 smaller compositions, I had enough left to create 2 Artist Trading Cards (2.5″ x 3.5″) that I can use in collages, greeting cards or gift tags. With the tiny scraps left from the ATCs, I made a great little piece of faux postage. Hardly any of the painting was wasted and I have some great little pieces of art! A recycled painting stretches your creativity in new ways. Using this technique encourages experimentation and takes away the fear of making mistakes.

This is the original painting- Ok but not great. A great candidate for a recycled painting.

Here are 2 mats laid over the painting. I moved them around until I found portions that were interesting and made a good composition.

Here are the two new smaller paintings- each more interesting than the original and with much stronger compositions. Then there are two Artist Trading Cards at 2.5″ x 3.5″ each. The final scraps were used in the triangular faux postage. The faux postage blanks are available from

Success! A recycled painting finds new life. Sometimes smaller is better!