Water Conservation: A Colorful Legacy

Water. I am drawn to juicy, unflinching color with abundant brush strokes. I explore light in reality and am compelled to create odder worlds. I paint traditional surfaces, but my walls are full so I’m drawn to other options. I appreciate innovation and collaboration; I have a passion for environmental conservation and am concerned about my carbon footprint impact. On the front porch during a storm, thunder cracks so loudly that I feel it in my gut. I feel the urge to collect water. In 1988, I spent a summer in India, where water ran only one hour a day: Collect and conserve or go without. The colors in India are mind altering.

I planted trees and gather rain, but 5 gallon buckets are ugly so I paint

Linda Zolten Wood, founder of the Painted Rain Barrel Project

ed them. Why limit my work to flat surface of canvas on walls? I was lucky to get a free rain barrel from the city and painted it with a continuous design in the round. It was liberating to paint an untraditional surface, so I tackled my picnic table, bench, chaise lounge and dead tree to pure joy. In 1968, my Mom painted a boulder in our yard with ‘flower power’ daisies. Within the first summer, someone vandalized her work, dumping silver paint on it. She patiently fixed it. She took in neighborhood kids in the Summer for simple art projects: dippity-do flowers and macrame’ is all I can remember.

She died shortly after this and before I realized it, painting stuff in my yard, it dawned on me that I came by this reflex as legacy. It was so natural for me to paint with confidence that this was, in my bones, a genetic response to an odd blank surface. Our legacy has the same footprint.

Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects. – Dalai Lama

  • Start simple. Start at home. Turn off your faucet while brush your teeth, properly dispose of pet waste and avoid the use of plastic water bottles. These are just a few simple ways to protect and conserve northeast Ohio’s most precious natural resource.
  • Donate. Paint. Participate. Supporting the Painted Rainbarrel Project is one particularly beautiful way to start. All donations are tax deductible and have the added benefit of supporting local artists who paint the barrels. When artists are paid, they invest in local businesses and restaurants. One donation creates a ripple effect supporting the environment, arts & culture, and the local economy all at one time!
  • Join the clean up team. Another local organization, Drink Local. Drink Tap. is committed to sharing clean water around the world, educating about water stewardship, and keeping our beaches clean. To participate in local beach clean up efforts, see their calendar of upcoming events here.

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