Art can be a way to honor our gods, tell pagan stories, or simply make our home pretty. Original artwork is expensive for a reason. An amateur oil painter once told me $300 for a painting didn’t cover her materials. Even a print mounted in a good quality frame can get pricey.
Have no fear. There are plenty of ways to support pagan and pagan adjacent artists so they can make the art we swoon over without getting a second mortgage.
Look at Their Other Merchandise
Most artists have branched out from just selling prints. They too realize they have fans who want what they make and not just as a print to hang on the wall. Print on demand for merchandise services have also helped make this affordable. Look at what else they sell—stickers, magnets, cards, mugs, and even notebooks.
The adult coloring book boom has lead to many fabulous images to color. Many artists sell their own coloring books, or digital pages to color that you can download. If you aren’t too picky, you can even browse through the dollar store coloring books. Coloring books marketed for adults are priced higher than those marketed to kids, so be willing to entertain your playful side and check out what is aimed for kids.
If you want something for your altar, make a few copies of the pages to practice. (As long as you bought the original book/ download and aren’t selling them this won’t be a problem.) Different types of coloring looks different—there are colored pencils, watercolor, crayons, and colored ink to name a few. You can usually pick up a basic set for a low price if you watch out for sales. I personally prefer colored pencils. Practicing will also tell you if the media will work on the type of paper.
Changing the color palette of a picture can also changes the tone. Try out different styles and colors and see what effect that has on you. You can also have a few different images you change up based on time of year and mood.
I admit whether the deck looks pretty is a large (my main) factor in whether or not I will purchase a deck. A good meditation exercise to get to know any card is to put a card on your altar each day and set aside a few minutes to study and meditate upon it. You can also use your cards as decoration on your altar. If you have a deck that is scarred (missing one card) and can’t be used for readings, you can make a collage or some sort of permanent art out of the old cards.
A lot of artists will do crowdfunding for big projects, and backers get goodies for a pledge that is often less than the full price. There is also patreon, which allows fans to make a monthly pledge in exchange for discounts, sneak peeks, and other goodies.
If you don’t want to commit to a monthly donation, there are websites that allow one to make a micro payment, like buy your favorite artist a cup of coffee.
Printing From the Internet
My first book of shadows is covered with pics and quotes printed from the 90’s witch web. Nowadays, you can print out pictures of sacred sites and animals. There is an explosion of devotional images online.
However, if you are using anything that isn’t generic or freely available, please send a some money to the artist using some or the methods listed above when you can.
Make it Yourself– Collage
You don’t have to have artistic ability to collage. You can either get the official art supplies or just get a large piece of strong cardboard and paint it a solid color. Go to the library sale—they usually have stacks of old magazines for $1. Or print out pictures from the internet, go through old magazines on the shelf, or newspapers.
Use a glue stick, or if you want to be more artistic, glue paint. Before you glue anything down, play around with placing the pictures how you want. After you have glued your pictures down, you can add effects using paint.
Make it Yourself– Draw
Yes, this may not be award winning (unless you are an artist). But you can do a stick figure and fancy lettering (especially in the language of the god’s original culture.) Like runes for Odin, ogham for the Dagda, calligraphy, or look up older spellings that resonate with you. Learn things like the god’s favorite color and what animals or objects are associated with them, and either draw them or use stickers. To use Odin as an example, maybe write his name in black or grey runes (one of his names is grey cloak…) and have images of ravens, a spear, a wolf, Sleipnir the eight legged horse, or a horn of mead. Or even a simple fancy lettering of the word you want to meditate on, and stickers that remind you of it. For example, think of each of the elements. Take dark blue crayon and make a big letter “water”. Then collect stickers that make you think of water, or draw a waterfall.
Shoe Box Altar
Take a shoe box, glue a picture to the back. You now have a portable altar. You flip it so the back is on top, lay it on the floor and put your items on top. Or put your shoebox on top of a table and lay your items in front. Or glue a picture to the back of the lid, prop it up, and store items in the box when done.
Art is a part of what makes us human. Honoring our gods using art to put us in the right frame of mind for pagan practice makes sense. A lot of art is what speaks to you, not the cost of the painting. Having a hand in making it like with a coloring page will help shape art to be exactly what you need.