I’m a college student and I think every college student can relate to that money struggle.
We’ve all seen the memes of college students making it work with what little they have: gourmet meals out of ramen, tortilla plates, dryer sheet freshener. We know all the college life hacks, we know how to make cheap satisfy our basic needs. My basic needs are a little different. Some people gotta eat, some people gotta drink… I gotta paint.
I try to paint every day because practice makes perfect and it’s something I love to do anyway that brings me genuine comfort. But that practice can get pretty expensive. I know I can draw with pen and pencil in my notebook and on scraps of paper any time but I have such an affinity with acrylics and the way the colors layer and blend together with the help of a practiced hand. I can’t afford to buy canvases daily though so I knew I needed to come up with another solution. And I realized…well… skin is free. I have skin. I have lots of skin.
So whenever I find myself bored and inspired, I just grab my plastic bag of paints, my brushes, sit myself down somewhere and go to town on whatever body part suits me that day. I treat my skin the same way I would treat canvas.
For galaxies, I start with the darker blues and purples and pinks as base foundation. Once that dries, I use my fingers to tap in some black paint in order to give it some depth and dimension. Then I take my brighter colors like turquoise and lavender and layer those on top of the darker. I use my fingers to blend because using a brush is sometimes too harsh and can take off the layers of paint. Finally, I tap on a little bit of white in the areas containing the brighter colors in order to achieve that starlight, glowing affect in galaxies. The last step is the stars. I have a special method to get those little flecks. I stick an old toothbrush between my knees and use my right hand to pull the bristles back and quickly fling it forward multiple times. The result is more delicate splatter paint. An old toothbrush is preferred over a newer one because the bristles bend easier and distribute the paint more evenly. As a final optional touch, I like to take my thin pointed brush and add specific dots and stars to form constellations.
And there you have your finished transportable galaxy! It may be temporary but the result is still stunning and it’s a way for me to express myself whenever I want to without breaking my bank. It’s convenient and honestly a lot of fun to turn yourself into a work of art for a little while.