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Old 12-29-2008, 09:44 PM
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Shoutout33 Shoutout33 is offline
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Non-toxic oil painting...

Hello. Normally, I post in the oil pastel forums, becasue I feel that I prefer getting back into oils by drawing. Plus the factor of the money I'd need for brushes, paints, canvas. etc. However, I keep noticing, and I haven't found away around it yet, that I'd really want to do bigger work. Now mind you, I stay in a one room apt. with my wife, that has allergies like myself. I've heard that there's a way to use traditional oil paints, without all of the terps and whatnot. Could you please give some direction on what one can do, to have a full oil painting setup and be non toxic? Thanks.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:20 PM
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l_piri l_piri is offline
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

I can't use turps in winter, because it is too cold to open up the windows, so I just use cold pressed linseed oil (only very very tiny amount, but i work thinly..) and to speed up the time i try to use colours that dry fast. Like flake white/underpainting white and earth colours. (If you're interested, there is a list here of paints and their drying times: http://www.wetcanvas.com/ArtSchool/O...mes/index.html)
I don't think you can avoid the toxins in the actual paints themselves, but i think it is easy to avoid turps and the like.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:48 PM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoutout33
I keep noticing, and I haven't found away around it yet, that I'd really want to do bigger work. Now mind you, I stay in a one room apt. with my wife, that has allergies

are you open to a divorce? I say take a walk on the wild side... use the toxic stuff. I did most of my early paintings in a two bedroom condo with horrible light.

its not all bad because it motivated me to move into a proper painting environment.

but if you're not willing to give up the wife and the apartment you may be in trouble. how bad do you really want to paint?
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:57 PM
Aires Aires is offline
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

There are so many products out now that one can use oil paints without using turps or even the linseed oil products. Traditionalists frown on the use of resins but there are a number one can choose from to avoid allergies. Some artists who post on this forum no longer use thinner, using oil instead to clean brushes, etc. I severely limit my use of thinner and use one of the resins to mix with my paints for smooth workability. I choose to use Turpenoid Natural (Orange Oil) to clean my brushes as it is non-flammable. However, I do NOT recommend it as a paint additive.

Really, you can start out with two or three basic brushes, basic primary paint colors plus a large tube of titanium white and there are table easels that clamp onto the edge of a table, will hold quite large canvas or boards, and can be adjusted to any angle and then put away very easily. A palette can be an old plate, a large glazed tile or piece of glass from a picture frame. There are resins like Galkyd Meduim, Liquin, many others that can be used to make your paint mixures spread well, thickly or thinly and still have little odor. You can cut costs by buying luan or hardboard and having it cut to the size you want, much cheaper than canvas as you get numerous painting sizes out of a sheet of either of those hardware store products. There are instructions on this forum on preparation of masonite, hardboard or luan for painting substrates. Hope this helps get you started. It IS possible to paint in a non-toxic way.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:00 PM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

There are heat set oils that are non toxic and odor free. The oils will not dry until heat is applied, so they can stay on your palette for weeks and still be usable. Clean up is with soap & water, but they have all the tendancies of traditional oils when applied to canvas. More info here. http://www.genesisoilpaints.com.au/
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:12 PM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aires
Some artists who post on this forum no longer use thinner, using oil instead to clean brushes, etc. I severely limit my use of thinner and use one of the resins to mix with my paints for smooth workability.

I've been using mineral spirits mixed with oil to thin my paint.. is there anything wrong with this?
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:02 AM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Thanks for all the replies. I guess I should be a bit more specific. When I mean non-toxic, that INCLUDES the oil paints as well. I mean, I want the entire operation to be non-toxic. I've looked at water miscible oils, Ghrams (sp) walnut oils, and others. But mostly, I've heard that you can use traditional oil paints (i.e. Bloxx, Holbien, Windsor Newton, etc.) but leave out the cadiums and other toxic paints as well as any mineral spirits or turps. This is what I'm after.
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:21 AM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

I would think that you cannot use traditional oils minus the ones with toxic properties without either mineral spirits or turps as thinners/cleaning agent or as part of a medium.

And aren't all pigments' compound in all paint types the same for the different binders (i.e. cadmium yellow for either watercolor or oil from Old Holland is the same pigment)?

Different companies will have less toxic alternatives but I think it would be difficult to find something that is truly 100% non-toxic for the process of painting.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:11 AM
sidbledsoe sidbledsoe is offline
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Welcome and enjoy using the messiest and most fun medium there is and stay married.
The first thing you want to do is select the most non toxic paint/pigments.
These can be identified by the ACMI label if the paint company has had them test their paints, not all companies do. An AP label designates non toxic and a CL label designates toxic. You can select adequate colors from the AP listed ones. You can paint without solvents and use an oil for thinning. You can clean brushes with oil and soap. Water soluble oils can be thinned with water and will be easier to clean. Read the info and frequently asked questions here: http://www.acminet.org/index.htm
Even more important than selecting non toxic solvents is the proper handling of them. Paint brands vary in thickness. Selecting a brand that is "oily" to begin with facilitates what you want to do. One that I use for solvent free painting is Grumbacher. I would mention another but there is a wicked backlash here against using any student oil brands.
There are previous threads here describing painting without solvents, a search may turn them up for you. Painting without solvents has been done for hundreds of years. There is no difference regarding toxicity between the use of walnut oil versus linseed oil based paints no matter what certain companies try to claim, they have profits at stake.
Here are a couple more links:
http://www.artspectrum.com.au/oils_without_solvents.pdf
http://www.baughnormanoils.com/solve...l_painting.htm
Here is a painting I did in my bedroom in the evening without solvents:

James001 there is nothing wrong with using mineral spirits/oil mixture.

Last edited by sidbledsoe : 12-30-2008 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:30 AM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Walnut oil and paints ground in walnut oil (made by M.Graham) might work well for you. I've heard people clean their brushes in walnut oil as well. However, Gamsol odorless cleaner might work well.

Walnut oil is a relatively slow dryer. If your Technique is painting wet into wet, it should work well.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:33 AM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Hi

I'm not sure what sort of allergies you have - is it the actual odor of paint? I mean, that would be limiting whether it's a toxic paint or not - even the non-toxics have smells that can bother someone who's sensitive. I personally get frequent migraines that can be triggered by the smell of oranges (among about a 100 other things) but the smell of turpentine doesn't bother me at all...

That said, I personally use a small (4x6 foot) area of our office as my studio. It's centrally located in my home which I share with my husband, my 2 dogs, and my 2 children, ages 6 and 8. I keep a small container full of low-odor mineral spirits for washing my brushes and small pallette cups for stand oil and turpentine. My pallette stays in a wooden paint box with most of my paints. I've also got boxes of oil pastels here and there and a big container of brushes (all of this on one very crowded table). My easel's set up next to the table with a drop cloth underneath it. There's a big window next to my table for fresh air. I share the room with a dog crate, a vacuum cleaner, and a big corner desk piled with coloring books, crayons and 2 computers. I also share my space with my kids' art boxes, acrylics, brushes, and canvas boards.

My kids have grown up with my art supplies and have a deep respect for them. I'm very careful with my solvents, I keep everything covered and sealed, and I only use a very small amount of turpentine, if any, in my paintings. I don't use any mediums - I like to work wet into wet and I usually use paints right out of the tube. I also like to paint outside.

I personally believe that the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to painting with oils. Some might argue with me and say I'm subjecting myself and my family to too much risk...I started out with oil pastels too, for this very reason, particularly when I had babies in the house. I just try to be very careful and conscientious.

Not sure if this helps! Take care,
Becky
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Last edited by Becky Foster : 12-30-2008 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:59 AM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

You can use water mixable oils, which you thin with water, or you can use walnut oil to thin your paints and clean the brushes.

If you want to use turp just make sure you have plenty of ventilation. If you're really sensitive you could probably have a drying box that's airtight but has a pipe that's linked up to a window, so after you paint you put it in the box to dry. Much like the system of duct work your dryer uses. Most of the smell is from the painting drying over the first day or 2 as the turp evaporates out.

Another consideration is to only use oil paints towards the end of a painting, and underpaint with acrylics or tempera. Mix some gesso into your acrylics so you don't lose the tooth you need to paint over them in oils.
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:37 AM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Our skin is one of the major ways we absorb toxins, so add gloves to all the other ideas. Google "medical exam gloves" to see many sources (i.e. http://www.dontheglove.com/nitrilegloves/). The nitrile gloves hold up really well if you can get over having bright blue hands and being scorned by "holier-than-thou" bare-handed painting friends. I buy a box of 100 and use each glove until it tears. You need lots of them because if you pull them off to take a break you have to leave them inside out to dry before you can put them back on. Just blow them back right side out the next day. One slight challenge, you may have to go try several different brands before finding one that is comfortable enough that you don't even notice you have them on.

Sarah
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:37 PM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

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Originally Posted by oldgarden
You need lots of them because if you pull them off to take a break you have to leave them inside out to dry before you can put them back on. Just blow them back right side out the next day.
Sarah

I have hundreds of gloves piled up... just waiting for that second chance.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:21 AM
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Re: Non-toxic oil painting...

Ok. What are your opinions on the following paints:

Sennelier; LeFranc & Bourgeois; Maimeri Classsico/Puro (other than the size of the tubes, what's the difference?); and MIR.

The reason I'm asking about these particular paints, is becasue I noticed that the entire set of each, are non-toxic or AP non-toxic (based on looking at Dick Blicks catalog...) and the prices, to me, don't seem expensive. I mean, this may be the wrong way to go, but I am very serious about being non-toxic when I paint. I've also found some websites that explain how to it correctly as well.

I've found Weber's Natural Turpenoid, that completely organic and non-toxic. It'll either be this or M. Grahams walnut oil, to thin and mix paints. Not sure yet. I plan to buy canvas already gessoed (man I love Dick Blick...) so I don't have to buy any primer. I also plan to stretch my own canvas as well. Looking into brushes, knives and easel now.
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