Ephemeral Art

Greetings Friends!

Although I often paint with bright colors, I’ve been enjoying the quiet hues of natural dyes lately. I love the charcoal grays, rust browns, golds and sage greens that I get using plant dyes. The only problem is that these pieces could fade over time. I’m not sure.

The piece below was created using Wild Cherry bark and rusty metal objects. I bind the metal pieces inside of raw canvas and boil it in a dye bath made from plants — usually two or three layers before I get a design that I like. For now this piece hangs in my dining room, and we’ll see how it holds up.

Cassandra Tondro, "Exploring Grays," natural dye art

“Exploring Grays,” 24 x 30 inches, natural dye and iron oxide on canvas

Cassandra Tondro, "Exploring Grays," natural dye art

The concept of ephemeral art raises some interesting questions. Everything else ages, so why shouldn’t art change over time as well? How long is art expected to last? Is it reasonable to think that it will stay the same forever?

I also have a new painting in my “Gaia” series to share with you. This piece is explosive with deep reds, scarlet, blues, purple and orange. Click on the image below for more information.

Cassandra Tondro, "Big Bang," abstract painting

“Big Bang,” diptych, 24 x 48 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

What are your feelings about impermanent art? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us is the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. I really love this Epheneral Art,as you say everything ages.As an art investment,well ,we got to see.Maybe there is a process that would protect them more.
    That’s where the bio chemist would come in.

    1. Yes, I can see that people may not want to invest in art that changes over time, especially not knowing exactly how it will change. I would be hestitant as well. I’m trying out a UV varnish, and we’ll see if that makes any difference.

  2. Cassandra, I love your art! I have been painting for several years and I’ve stalled on the selling side. Have sold over a dozen but nothing lately. Thanks for the inspiration of using natural plants for making washes. I might give it a try. You’re inspirational.

  3. Hi Deborah. Yes, I love working with plant dyes, but there is that potential problem of fading. Maybe it doesn’t matter, especially if these pieces are just for me. I can always take them off of the stretcher bars and re-dye them! Maybe they’ll get more interesting over time.

  4. Hi Cassandra
    The word ephemeral comes from the Greek word εφήμερο ( one day) meaning something that cannot exist for long time. We use it for temporary things, relations etc.
    Best wishes for the new year from Greece

Leave a Reply to Cassandra TondroCancel reply