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Old 05-05-2012, 03:18 AM
Paintinglover Paintinglover is offline
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Studio Smell Problem!!!

Hi!

I work in acrylic but only with gels and additives, and on the side in some oil.

Recently, well last week, we moved into this new house and I have a big room here that I sleep in and have as my studio.

Now in every previous house I didn't have a dedicated space, I had a storage closet for the supplies, and my easel was folded in my room when not in use.

When I painted I would pull out the stuff, paint, pack everything away, move the painting downstairs, and then usually leave for errands.

This room is going to be a permanent studio, with everything out and convenient at all times. It's almost done (the room) so today I thought I would use it for the first time.

Unlike always, I could have ALL of my paints out on my big worktable, and start working the way I always wanted. So far so great.

The thing is EVERYTHING I use, has a slight odour to it. I am extremely sensitive to odour (get weak, a headache and unable to focus) I can't even cook with onions or use nail polish.

In the past, I just took out my supplies out of a box, in a room with no other supplies open in it; I painted a quick session, like less than an hour, and then sealed it all away.

Now I want to work in a studio, all day. And I thought because the very slight smell of my things, (and the odour really is slight as I can't even be around anything even a little strong) I wouldn't have a problem,

But I do.

I worked with the fan on high, and my window open today, since the second I stepped in here!

I finished working over 3 hours ago, and the smell is still here!


All the tubes are closed, the trash is closed, and my 2 small paintings are close to the window.


I feel awful right now, and today I haven't even been in here for over 90 minutes....

I don't use anything toxic, no mediums or solvents. Just some acrylic gels and some walnut oil paint, and today I used very tiny amounts on a very small piece.....

The window was open, fan was working. Sleeping in here is not the main issue (when I feel this weak I can sleep!) It's the fact that I want to be in here for a few hours each day, and I can't this way...

If anyone has any idea of how to get rid of the odours.......? which again are very slight when I started working this afternoon I didn't even notice anything, the longer I worked the more I noticed. But apparently working in here isn't the problem as I only worked for a little over an hour, and not continuously, and I stopped over 3 hours ago....

Or maybe if you know a good filtration system you can recommend from a reputable company, I would appreciate any help. I really don't want to have to stop painting when I finally got my dream studio.....



***Just a side note, my reaction to odours is something we can't fix, I've always had it, and we can't use alternate art products to fix it because 90 percent of things get to me. If not within 5 minutes, they do eventually, as I get sensitive from everything, even common house hold products.

I deal with the sensitivity daily, but I deal by standing by fresh air, aka, my fully open window.

This time the smells are stronger, and I have to work with them for long periods of time...........and the window is not helping........
that's the problem....

I know my problem is long and detailed, but I want to give you all the facts to get accurate answers...sorry for the length though!
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:40 AM
Paintinglover Paintinglover is offline
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

Update! I JUST removed the wet paintings from my room, the smell is SLOWLY starting to improve. Luckily I have another room in the house to store the wet paintings, so I solved the problem of having lots of wet paintings smelling the place up: the SECOND they're done I will take them to the other room.

Now I still don't know about what to do while I am actually working in here for hours with the wet paint.....and it's even worse then because then I have wet paintings mid stage, and open supplies, in here all at once, and the fan and window, with wind coming in and everything, don't help!

Well, at least I solved part of the problem by moving the wet paintings....
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:20 AM
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

Have you ever tried those ionic air purifiers? Apparently some de-ionize the air, removing the odors from the molecules.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:47 PM
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Ramie Leigh Ramie Leigh is offline
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

Speaking from what I've experienced personally? I'd ditch the oils. I can't handle the smell of oil paint. Not solvents - oil PAINT. It makes my head pound. This is, of course, traditional linseed-based oil-paint. Just very small amounts of it out on a palette while I'm working is enough to give me a headache - something about that smell! It smells on a palette, it smells on paintings while it's drying - and since it's oil, it takes more time to dry. You could simply work with acrylics only for a day and see if that's acceptable.

Or, even easier, trot off to whatever hardware store is handiest (Lowe's, Wal-mart, etc.) and buy an organic vapor mask and wear it. For $15-20 you can have a piece of equipment that will remove ANY odor from your air supply. I've used this type of mask to work with pure ammonia and acetone, and it cleans the air so effectively that I forgot to take a break until my eyes started to sting from the fumes! Yes, wearing the mask is a little annoying at first, but you soon forget about it. (Airbrush artists, pastel artists, wood and metals artists.. many artists have to - or should! - wear a respirator as they work.)

If wearing the big 'astronaut mask' is a total no-go for you, there are smaller ones.. here's a carbon respirator mask that looks like the small 'dust masks' you'd wear to mow the yard. Heck.. try a regular dust mask. They're meant for dust / particulate, not vapor, but when I'm wearing mine to airbrush, it noticeably reduces the smell.
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Old 05-05-2012, 04:04 PM
Paintinglover Paintinglover is offline
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

Thank you guys!

I will check out the links you attached right now! As for the oil paint, I was acrylic only, it's just that I work very thick, so I started using Liquitex super heavy gloss gel which reaks like house paint. I've been told all acrylic gels smell. I tried a few acrylic gels and mediums already, I will try some new ones, but most gels or acrylic mediums I have tried do smell. Both my gel, and my flow improver, smell stronger than the oil paint!

I could never stand the smell of linseed oil paint, but I tried walnut and out of the tube, like even sniffing the tube doesn't bother me at all. But having wet paint on the canvas in the room for long periods of time does. But so do the acrylic mediums just as much.

I can try working with the gels only in here again, but last time I did it stunk worse than anything....

I just checked out your links, it sounds great, but my family just reminded me that the problem is that the smell sticks around for hours even after I am done painting, and will stink up the house and they'll suffer.

So either way the solution would have to be to find a way to eliminate the smell.
Thank you so much though!

I am currently checking out filters....but the high cost worries me....
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:12 PM
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libby2 libby2 is offline
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

I have a bunch of allergies that will just knock me on my @ss, so my son gave me a Hamilton Beach True Air purifier last Christmas which has been a real life saver. It has a filter that one can "clean" by vacuuming, but that doesn't work too well. Replacement filters are expensive and are only available online, so what I've ended up doing is getting a top quality filter from Home Depot (Filtrete 1900, furnace filter dept), and cutting that to size. I just had to make sure I remembered to note which direction of air flow on it. For the price of a single mail order filter, I can get about 8 from a single Home Depot filter. It lasts about the same length of time as the True Air filter does before I begin to smell it. The difference is that the True Air filter is a HEPA filter and the Home Depot isn't.

When my filter pooped out, Hamilton Beach were out of them so they gave me the number of the only other place that sold filters that fit my machine. They were more expensive 2/$50 inc. shipping, had more pleats per inch than the HEPA filters, and each lasted ONE DAY before releasing all the toxins that it collected. Not too happy with that experience. Hence the Home Depot filters. The Home Depot filters last about 5 - 7 days and I'm not grumpy about tossing one.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:42 AM
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

There are water soluble oils. They do not take linseed oil, or turpentine.

I hate to say it but anyone painting in a house is going to have residual odors.

An option is always to work outdoors. Plein air painting is specialized in a way, but is a way to avoid fumes.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:17 PM
Paintinglover Paintinglover is offline
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

Hi, Thank you to everyone who posted!

Libby, your solution sounds very, very interesting! I was wondering if your solution completely REMOVES the odours and chemicals? As when I looked at the description online they don't really mention anything about removing VOC's from the air, and completely eliminating odour.

Does your filter eliminate the odour, or just make it barely noticeable enough to stand it?

Please let me know, I kinda really like your idea!!! Thanks so much for sharing! I really appreciate it!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:41 PM
Mary Maggio Mary Maggio is offline
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

I am curious as to whether you have forced hot air heat/air conditioning. I have found the solvents react with the furnace. I turn my off mostly when I work, & I open the door, and make sure I don't have the dryer on in the house. Somehow, that always makes it smellier.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:52 PM
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Horsa Horsa is offline
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

I have found that solvents and smells will readilly travel via airducts. I made the mistake of spray painting in the basement once, on a rainy summer day so the furnace was OFF! The paint fumes still rapidly filled the whole house. Just by drifting through the ducts.

You might need to look into a clean air in on one side of the room, dirty air out on the opposite side professional ventilation system for your studio. It probably won't be as cheap as you'ld like, but if fans and open windows aren't working.... I have found that a good incoming source of clean air makes a huge difference. Push clean air in, rather than drawing clean air in to replace stale air as it is exhausted.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:24 PM
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

Sorry, just found your response..
I haven't noticed any bad smells, and I have a pretty good sense of smell. But then I don't use terps, just Gamblin OMS which doesn't bother me. The True Air will remove the smell of mold though if that is of any help. I'm extremely sensitive to any molds & mildews and can detect just the tinest bit. What it will NOT do is remove something that is super small, a few microns in size, those particles pass right through.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:28 PM
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Re: Studio Smell Problem!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsa
I have found that solvents and smells will readilly travel via airducts. I made the mistake of spray painting in the basement once, on a rainy summer day so the furnace was OFF! The paint fumes still rapidly filled the whole house. Just by drifting through the ducts.

Oh yes! I'll be bleaching something in the wash in the basement, and smell it on the second floor. Air does travel through the ducts, and fast.
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