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Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Are you wondering what to do with the many empty wine bottles or jars you wanted to drop off at the recycling point? Stop right there! Don’t go any further! Let me give you an idea.

How about you up-cycle and paint on the bottles and gift them to your friends – Yes it is possible!

First, you need to prepare the canvas/bottle. I decided to work with mixed media materials like gesso, textured paint, permanent markers, acrylic paints and 3d paint. I felt like a sculptor as I held the bottle in my hand and added vertical striated surfaces of textured paste with a palette knife. It was creamy, easy to mold and gave surprising results. I loved the fluidity as well as the plasticity of the paste.

I found this sustainable art exercise quite fulfilling and engaging. In Covid times art gave me the freedom that I craved. The background was ready; with stripes of blues, orange, red and yellows, it looked pretty but empty and bland. Next, I decided to populate it and sketched my favorite Singapore shop-houses on it. The sketch merged in the relatively dark background. To work around this problem I painted the shop-houses in gold, it changed the look only marginally. In the final layer I used bright colors to compliment and contrast with the background.

The mixed media in this project gave surprising resists and twists to the paint effects. Some layers were covered and others were magically revealed. To add ‘bling’ to the project I added gold leaf at intervals, emphasizing the vertical nature of the striations.

Although they say, ‘there is no right or wrong in art’ but for a novice self-taught artist like me there is much adventure, surprise and experimentation invoked in this piece. Abstract art always excites me and gives me the freedom to explore. When I paint I momentarily forget where I am and am immersed in the process. I am completely lost on the path of finding meaning and authenticity in my end result. With this project I begin to take tiny steps on the journey to discover the art of turning ‘trash to treasure’.

I wanted to give this unique gift to a friend but my family loved the organic look, so we gave it ‘the pride of place’ in our living room. If you are bored of working on a flat canvas do try this up-cycled project and you will discover that the options are endless.

I am enamored by the Singapore skyline.

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