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Old 08-22-2008, 03:20 AM
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jackiesimmonds jackiesimmonds is offline
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a word of warning

I recently had a vile bout of bronchitis which would not go away. In the end, the doc sent me for a chest Xray.

the result showed that I have really poor lung volumes; in fact they asked if I was a smoker, because my lungs looked like a smoker with bronchitis.

I have never smoked, so they then told me that in that case, I am showing a tendency to asthma.

On reflection, it concerns me that perhaps my lung function has been affected by pastel dust. I have always ignored all warnings, except to work in a large room with good ventilation, which I do.

However, I dont wear a mask, and must breathe in loads of the stuff.

Just a thought.
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:09 AM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: a word of warning

Jackie, the chance is big that if you start wearing a mask, your lungs will heal pretty well -- even a smoker who quits get nearly normal lungs after 5 years of non-smoking. (Healing is gradual, starting immediately, but taking a good while to be completed.)

Mine workers, quarrymen, textile workers, you name it, any place where there is lot of dust in the air, people working there get problems with their lungs, so it makes sense that pastellists have to be careful. We don't really know if we are in the more sensitive group or not.

Having had asthma since childhood, I always wear a mask in my studio. Not outdoors, though. Working on sanded paper like Wallis, Fischer etc helps keep the dust literally down, while the tiny fibers of the velour I tried worked as a springboard and shot it up in the air a handsbreadth or two with every stroke. I think it is the utterly fine dust that may be a problem -- that little cloud of dust that is visible (barely) when backlit, not the dust that falls off and can be collected, as that has rather large particles that for starters don't hover much, and are heavy enough to get caught in the mucous membranes of the nose.

Let us take Loving Tender Care of ourselves and be careful with the dust.

Charlie
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:29 AM
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Re: a word of warning

Sorry, Jackie to hear of your plight. Hopefully, if you start wearing a mask, things will improve quickly. While good ventilation is a must for oil painters and their fumes, it doesn't remove the dust from the air, it just blows it around. You might look into an air purifier, or air filter of some kind - something that filters the air to remove the dust. About 20 years ago I stopped using pastels almost completely because I couldn't handle the dust. Started using a mask about 5 years ago and haven't had any trouble since.

Air filters are expensive. Perhaps some folks who use them can chime in about their experience with them and whether they are effective or not. Here is a link to some of Dick Blick's models:

http://www.dickblick.com/zz528/33/

Madison Art shop sells this very expensive, but intriguing easel vacuum attachment:

http://www.madisonartshop.com/araireaairpu.html

Good luck to you,

Don
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:55 AM
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Re: a word of warning

Jackie- I have had exactly the same problem....BUT it was BEFORE I even started using pastels.....I had asthma as a child, grew out of it, and once when in London caught a really nasty flu that became bronchitis then worse...and have had asthma very badly every since....and it gets as bad as you say- they said I had the lung capacity of a 95 year old when I was 43!

It is much better at the moment though- and I have recently gone to a vegan diet, no junk food, and more exercise....but find that when I do have an attack it is almost always due to allergies to my pets....indoor dogs, cats, birds...oddly, the pastel dust does not seem to bother me at all....not to say that it can't....and we should all take precautions I am sure

sure hope you feel better soon.....
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:19 AM
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Re: a word of warning

Jackie, So sorry to hear of your bout with bronchitis. For the past 7 yrs, I've had a bougt nearly each winter. Usually it's brought on by a cold I've picked up somewhere. The first time I spent 7 days in the hospital. I didn't start painting with pastel until about 4 yrs ago so that didn't start it. I smoked when I was younger but haven't in 35 yrs.
I normally do not paint in the house and in the winter I usually go back to watercolor. I'm blessed to have a wonderful porch that makes a great studio in the spring, summer & fall. I don't know if the dust aggrivates it or not but I don't want to take a chance.
Well I hope you don't have to go thru that again but be careful and take care of yourself.
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Old 08-22-2008, 12:33 PM
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Re: a word of warning

HI Jackie,

I hope you are on your way to a quick recovery. THank you for bringing this topic up, as I think it is important, too.

I want to share a product that has worked wonders for my eyes and lungs, the www.artistsair.com. This product is quite expensive, but has saved me a few dollars on doctor's visits! So it has probably already paid for itself. I have attached this to my easel in the studio, and the dust has dropped significantly! The noise level on its lowest speed is very tolerable, and I use it on the medium speed with music, it turns into a kind of white noise. When I am going to scrub a whole passage off, I will turn it up to the highest setting and go to town with the bristle brush.

For those of you going to the IAPS convention, this product will probably be there for you to see.
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:04 PM
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Re: a word of warning

Hi Jackie,
Have you checked also if you are becoming allergic to your cat/s? Did you recently buy new carpeting? Did you recently get a studio where there are no open windows or was once a manufacturing building? Do you walk much around congested traffic areas? Sadly, there are so many microscopic airborne particles flying around our breathing air these days, both inside AND out, there just could be so many different reasons for this to have happened beyond pastel dust.
I remember quite a few extensive threads on air quality on this forum.....good to remind oneself to keep aware of the environment.
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:34 PM
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Re: a word of warning

thanks everyone for your comments and concern. Re the allergy idea, my husband has commented on that, I have ALWAYS had cats tho, but then again, given my years, I almost always have pastelled!

I will check out the allergy thing.

Reckon I am on the mend now, tho I rattle from the number of pills I am taking!

take care all.

J
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:47 PM
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Re: a word of warning

Years ago I took a workshop from Harley Brown. I bought my first sift pastels for that workshop. At the end of the first day of the workshop, I went back to the hotel, took a shower and then blew my nose. Oh my goodness, the Kleenex was all the colors of the rainbow. I could not believe how much dust I had inhaled. I stopped at the hardware store the next morning to pick up a mask. I have worn one ever since. I was the only one in the workshop who did wear one though.

The dust can settle on you and your hair while you work. Then you transfer it to your pillow. So, a good rinse off at the end of the day isn't a bad idea.
I have been looking at one of those easel vacuums.

Mary
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Old 08-22-2008, 02:32 PM
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Re: a word of warning

I just ordered and got a set of PanPastels, I haven't got into them yet, would the same apply to them? What about the Pastel pencils? I have COPD first stage. I stopped smoking two years ago and the only thing that makes it hard to breathe is dust and hot moist air(no more very hot showers for this kid ).

Jackie, I hope you are feeling much much better now and thank you for the heads up. I will get a hepa filter for my work space... Today... Azure
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:32 PM
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Re: a word of warning

Quote:
Originally Posted by atelier_m
Years ago I took a workshop from Harley Brown. I bought my first sift pastels for that workshop. At the end of the first day of the workshop, I went back to the hotel, took a shower and then blew my nose. Oh my goodness, the Kleenex was all the colors of the rainbow. I could not believe how much dust I had inhaled. I stopped at the hardware store the next morning to pick up a mask. I have worn one ever since. I was the only one in the workshop who did wear one though.

The dust can settle on you and your hair while you work. Then you transfer it to your pillow. So, a good rinse off at the end of the day isn't a bad idea.
I have been looking at one of those easel vacuums.

Mary

You took a workshop FROM HARLEY BROWN . Pardon me, while I pick myself up and begin whining. .
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:37 PM
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Re: a word of warning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonni
You took a workshop FROM HARLEY BROWN . Pardon me, while I pick myself up and begin whining. .

Yes, I did ... and it was the best workshop I ever took, bar none. On top of that, it was in Napa!

I've taken workshops from some great painters who were great teachers, some great painters who were so-so teachers, some good painters who were dogs as teachers and one who should have issued refund checks including our hotel and travel expenses. So, it runs the gamut.

But, Harley is in a class all by himself. His enthusiasm is infectious, his energy endless, his good humor boundless, his knowledge out of this world ... and his ability to impart it amazing. I came away from his workshop a different artist. He is the teacher I model my teaching on. If I can do that for my students, I will have done my job.

I have often said, that if he were still teaching workshops, I would cross the country on my knees to get there.

So, Sonni ... you're entitled to whine.

Mary

Last edited by atelier_m : 08-22-2008 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:31 PM
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Re: a word of warning

Quote:
Originally Posted by atelier_m


I have often said, that if he were still teaching workshops, I would cross the country on my knees to get there.

So, Sonni ... you're entitled to whine.

Mary

I'd get out the knee pads and join you! I have his book, Eternal Truths, and use it,...have "talked" to him on e-mail a couple times, and he even commented on a post I made over in Figure (he posts under "makinart")...said I had a "good attitude" . I'll be d*mned. Napa, huh? Wonder why he doesn't do workshops anymore--he's not that old. Well, my age, and that ain't old, is it?
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Old 08-23-2008, 09:03 AM
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Re: a word of warning

It's good to be aware of the dust. There have been times when I've been outside and found my face full of dust when I looked in the rear view mirror of the car. So even outdoors the wind can blow the dust right at us to breathe. BillF
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:46 AM
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Re: a word of warning

Hi Jackie

Hope you are feeling better.

Thank you for posting your message which has just come at a good time for me. As I am a beginner to pastels I have not been too concerned with the safety aspect and think to myself "Oh I will be alright, it won't happen to me," or "I don't do enough pastel painting for it to affect me." But this is the wrong attitude to take and as a result of your post I will be making sure that I wear a mask every single time (even if I am only using pastel pencils), wear protective gloves, and lay a dust sheet down etc.

I think it is important that beginners take notice of this as it becomes very easy to forget the basics in the excitement of producing our works of art!

Pam
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