Monday, August 16, 2010

Top 10 Safer Art Supplies, Works in Progress and Joyful Living

To get lots of texture I start with a white impasto layer and then rub on additional layers of color. Here are some works in progress. Gold over purple and pink.
Pink over gold

Gold foil applied with "Gorilla Glue" a non toxic, non perfumed glue that I can now handle, but may cause sensitivities for some. My goal is not a smooth surface, so I apply the glue more thickly than the usual watery size (glue for gold foil).
Alizarin Crimson pink over white

Betty Jo from Joy with Less was asking about painting mediums and sensitivities so here's an update as well as some info from earlier posts. While I've found what's working for me, every sensitive person will have a different story. It can be a roller coaster. Have compassion for yourself while you're going through the process of testing products :)

The link above is a post covering the first five options. There is even a link in that article for acrylic paints/mediums. I would like to add that the reason I chose oils instead of acrylic paints that claim to be safe for sensitive people is because of some common sense information I got from Denis and Darlene  two artist professionals and owners of the Art Shack
Acrylic is made of water and plastic or two elements that don't mix. Many chemicals are added to the paint so that the solution won't separate. Good oil paint is made from oil and pigment and doesn't require other chemicals for binding. It is simpler and more natural. Plus, as a personal preference I felt the colors offered in the "safe" acrylic line were dull and catered more to the craft market. If you're not ready to give up acrylics, then I suggest giving the Earth Safe Paints mentioned a try.

Oil Painting Without Solvents is a post showing what mediums you can use with oils.

6. Add Gorilla Glue as the 6th safer art supply. I found out about that in Karen Michel's book,  "Green Guide for Artists".

7. Oil of Spike Lavender is another oil medium you may be able to use. I talk more about it here.

8. Prang Tempura Paints may be another possibility.

9. Faber Castell Watercolor pencils worked for me at one point when other brands were causing problems.

10. Conte Crayons were also OK.

On a personal level, my tolerances are much better and my health in general is as well. While at the time it was a nightmare, now I'm happy my body was clear about what it needed. Working with the medical team at the Environmental Clinic in Nova Scotia plus the lifestyle changes- from decluttering to diet, meditation, spa treatments and more have made me not only healthier but happier.  If you're going through a rough time with MCS right now, know you can get better. 
I'm sending you warm wishes for your journey and hope that you  find or have found a vibrant, joyful lifestyle.


Juggling Jason said...

*drool* I love those textures!!!

Betty Jo said...

Shayla what a wonderful post! Thank you, thank you so much for all this information. I haven't had time to read everything yet, but just had to comment anyway. One question that comes to mind immediately is, is there a nontoxic cleaner for the oil brushes? That may be answered already in some of this info, so if it is, don't bother answering as I'll find it. Yes, I was once bedridden with MCS, but for the past thirty years I've been able to function without being totally housebound. I continue to have bad days, according to various factors, but most days are almost like those of a person without MCS. :)

Margaret Ryall said...

Great information all around Shayla. I'm always looking for ways to mke my practice/studio safer.

ArtPropelled said...

I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about sensitivities and glad you are so much better Shayla. Loving these textures.

Deborah Carr said...

I'd love to watch you create something someday.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Love the texture details and the great information!

MiKa Art said...

This is awesome! The textures are so interesting and the information is great!! Thank you for sharing, Shyala.

Shayla said...

Jace, I've got more from where those came from.

Betty Jo, you're welcome for the info. It's good to hear you got past the bedridden stage so long ago. Congratulations! Yes, the non toxic cleaner to use is either vegetable oil, or spike oil of lavender. With the oil of lavender being concentrated, it's easy to develop a sensitivity to it so use with caution. The post on oil painting without solvents has more info on that.

Margaret, thank you. That's great to hear.

Robyn, these textures are in all my paintings so far. It can be difficult to see unless I take close up shots like these.

Deborah, well consider yourself invited over. Email me sometime and we'll get together :)

Terry, thanks for your feedback.

Mika, thank you. I'll post more close ups of future paintings to show the textures better.

Tracy said...

*SWOON*...So in love with those textures, Shayla... gold, pink, purple... You paint what heaven must look like, I think. Thank you for a re-report on safe art supplies. While I haven't experienced sensitivities to paint, it is good to know what are the safe, and potentially more eco-friendly alternatives. I have to go back and look at that gold over the purple... ;o) Happy Days, my friend ((HUGS))

bridgette said...

great post shayla. Thanks for the info! I worry about safety issues too, but I love painting in encaustics more. But at least I try to be as safe as I can with that!

love the effect of gold foil.

Kesha Bruce: said...

Nice post. I've been thinking more about the chemicals in my art supplies lately. In the long run it pays for all of us to be more aware of how the products we use can afect our health if we don't use them properly or find better alternatives.

picciolo said...

I'm very glad your health is improving. And I really love that first picture, for both its colours and textures
: )