Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oil Painting Without Solvents


Art (well named, isn't he?) at M. Graham and Denis at the Art Shack shared with me how to use oil paints without solvents. Above are baby food jars that I fill with cooking oil to rinse out my brushes. Swirl your brush around and then press it against the rim to let it drip. You may also want to put a bit of plastic mesh in the bottom of the jar to rub your brush against. This helps even more in cleaning out the paint. To avoid cross contamination of colors, use a different bottle for each color. When my jar is full, I empty it into a container suitable for hazardous waste (like an empty house paint can). From what I understand, it's best that pigments of any kind don't go down the drain and get into our water.

Depending on how thick I want the paint, I can apply it straight out of the tube or thin it. Linseed or walnut oil can be used depending on your preference. Walnut oil does take a bit longer to dry, but is less yellowing. That's nice for the lighter colors, especially. M. Graham also has Walnut/Alkyd Medium that speeds the drying time. If you're thinking of trying it out, here's an info page on their stuff. It will take about five days for your layer to dry, but this can have its advantages results wise.

The Art Tree House , a site that offers safer art supplies, has another alternative. Spike oil of Lavender is a type of solvent that is less toxic than some of the more common solvents. Do you like the smell of lavender? Well, imagine that scent throughout your studio. Sounds nicer than turpes, doesn't it? Personally, I'm sensitive to lavender so I know I can't use it, but it may be useful to you. Only a drop or two is needed. Solvents are always stronger than the oil method, so if you're sensitive, I'd recommend the oil method.

I've found that I react to some colors and not others so that would be a problem with the pigments, perhaps certain metals. I may end up doing chelation to get rid of heavy metal toxicity and since that's related to the paint sensitivity, will let you know if it works out.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments or by my email address (listed on my profile page).

P.S. Congrats also go out to Dennis Austin Reid mentioned above for having a painting purchased by the Canadian Art Bank this year.

14 comments:

Jeane said...

Shayla, I am so grateful for these posts as you find your way on this journey - they are helping me make better choices in my own art practice - thank you...

picciolo said...

I bet the jars with oil and different coloured paints end up looking very pretty in your studio as well as being useful!
: )

Anil P said...

I do not paint but this post was very useful in understanding how painters go about it.

bridgette said...

Thank you for this post shayla!

bridgette said...

I belong to an eco forum- can i post a link to this blog post? Let me know if that's ok. thanks!

Shayla said...

Jeane, that's great :) I'm enjoying this journey through a new medium with you and love seeing what you're doing with the oils.

Jane, They do look pretty!

Anil, thanks for stopping by.

Bridgette, hello :) Yes of course you can post a link to this. Thank you.

Mira said...

what a great idea! so green!thx

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Very interesting and useful info! I need to try this!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

THANKS! :-D

Tracy said...

Though it has been a long time since I've painted, I am enjoying following your journey so much, Shayla...and learning so much--thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Happy Day :o) ((HUGS))

david mcmahon said...

Thank you, Shayla. One day, when I have more time and I no longer write novels, I will paint oils.

bindu said...

It's amazing how you patiently navigate through this process of painting without toxic elements. I wish this was the only way people painted. I should try to do this too.

Shayla said...

Mira, so nice to meet you.

Mary, best of success with it.

Tracy, you may not paint right now, but your days are well filled with creative adventures. I especially enjoy your literary ones :)

Hello David, pleased to meet you. I checked out your book and it sounds like a great read. Here's hoping it comes to Canada.

Bindu, sure, give it a try! I've found there's nothing that compares to the richness and silkyness of oils so I'm glad it's possible to use them safely.

Toby said...

Cool!