Sick of finding trash on your public lands? Paint it.


Mariah Reading makes trash into art. While there's nothing new about reusing or upcycling discarded items to make art or crafts, Reading's paintings offer a unique twist. On items from hubcaps to plastic bottles, she paints the very landscapes where she found the trash.

Brooke Warren of High Country News recently wrote up Reading's work. An excerpt follows:

In 2016, Reading took a cross-country road trip from Maine to California to start a new job. On her way she visited as many national parks as she could and started picking up discarded water bottles, cans, plastic bags and even shoes. She painted the objects that people left behind and turned them into colorful scenes that blended in with the landscape where they were found.

'Her project, called “Recycled Landscapes,” carries a few lessons. At face value, it raises awareness about Leave No Trace practices, and just how much refuse is left in parks. But Reading hopes it also inspires people to make art, stifled by the notion that you have to have the “right” materials. She sees discarded objects as multi-functional. “I’m making art accessible to all,” she says. “And I take things that pollute landscapes and turn them into meaningful objects.”

Read the HCN article

Visit the artist's website



What's This Blog All About?

Arts, writing, and nature. Wellness for kids and adults—being aware of how technology affects us, and how time spent outdoors can make us stronger and wiser. Love for the environment. Engaging with trees, forests, and communities. Contemplative, spiritual, and reflective practices in art and nature.

Based in Central Oregon, the New Oregon Arts & Letters blog takes on these subjects and more. If you're interested in blogging here, send a sample post to the editor at Thanks!