Outdoors: Art and trees

Sep 9, 2020

We all know that trees are essential for the environment, but trees are actually quite important to visual artists as well.

While the finest papers are still made from rags, these days, most paper comes from wood pulp.

Paper also is processed and sized with various gums derived from trees.

Rosins, usually from pine trees, are used as surface coatings for many papers.

Many historical works of art - especially Italian paintings - were created by dissolving pigments in walnut oil.

Gums from trees act as binders for watercolors.

Pencils are made from wood - predominantly cedar.

Most quality crayons contain carnauba wax from Brazilian palm trees.

Wood, often linden or willow, is used to make artists' charcoal.

For cleaning wood-handled brushes, artists use turpentine, a pine product. Charcoal and pencil mistakes are removed with erasers made using natural latex from rubber trees.

Photographic film is cellulose acetate, a forest product.

Even digital images are printed on wood-based papers.

When you think about it, every trip to an art gallery is actually a walk in the woods.