Today's postings

  1. [Baren 36686] Re: linseed oil ("Terry Peart")
  2. [Baren 36687] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4492 (Aug 19, 2008) ("Amanda Miller")
  3. [Baren 36688] toxic materials (Lee Churchill)
  4. [Baren 36689] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4495 (Aug 21, 2008) (Marilynn Smith)
  5. [Baren 36690] toxic materials.. a windy commentary (ArtSpotiB #
  6. [Baren 36691] Re: toxic materials.. a windy commentary (Scholes Graham)
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Message 1
From: "Terry Peart"
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 13:37:40 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36686] Re: linseed oil
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Thank you, Maria!
Yes, that does help explain scrapping. I'll have to try that, and the
linseed oil.

West Seattle
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Message 2
From: "Amanda Miller"
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 13:57:48 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36687] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4492 (Aug 19, 2008)
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Hi all, In response to Louise's question about what is toxic in oil paint:

In school, we were taught the rule that for every 8 hours spent in the
studio, exposed to fumes, etc, you should spend 16 hours away. That
also means take a shower, change your clothes, so you're not breathing
anything that's stuck to your clothing or hair. If I remember correctly,
the paint tubes will usually list the pigment and binder (usually linseed
oil, I think) used.

When I was pregnant, I started being more careful and seriously looking into
what was in my materials, and I used two sources that were really helpful: (geared toward pregnant
painters, but contains information about pigments that could be useful for
anyone) and The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide by Monona Rossol,
which has detailed information on pigments used in paints, inks, and dyes,
as well as chapters on specific media, including printmaking.

The potential hazards with pigments are pretty scary because so many of them
have potential or known carcinogens, not to mention reproductive hazards,
but as long as you're not working with the pigment in powder form, you can
keep it out of your system if you're careful. Just don't eat it and be sure
to keep it off your skin so it doesn't get absorbed.

On this same topic, does anyone know how effective barrier creams are? Do
they actually prevent your skin from absorbing the ink and pigments, or are
they really just for easy clean up? I wear gloves when I'm inking, but I
take them off to handle the paper, and I inevitably get a little ink on my

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Message 3
From: Lee Churchill
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 14:33:48 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36688] toxic materials
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Hey All,

I can't be certain all the toxic contents of a paint but a few things I
know and have seen labelled are toxic pigments like lead and cadmium -
these are rarer these days but can still be found (for example, a
student in my third year painting class, in about 1997, was using lead
white as one of various shades of white in an abstract painting, he just
ordered it from a paint store in Toronto with the rest of our bulk
order.) The non/less -toxic alternatives are usually labelled "cadmium
hue" or some such. But there are also toxic mixes of pigments that
aren't so clearly labelled like traditional Naples yellow was a toxic
pigment and I'm not sure what it's been replaced with... there were also
several arsenic colours (usually yellows) though I can't think of their
names off the top of my head...some greens are/were copper-arsenic
colours as well. Eating any of those wouldn't be high on the list of
survival skills, and since many heavy metals will absorb through the
skin it was always recommended by my teachers that they should be used
with at least a barrier cream if not gloves. Not that most students
listened of course...

Sadly at seven months I'm succumbing to 'preggo brain' :-P and it's too
long a walk to the library to find the reference materials on those
pigments... if you happen to have a copy of "the Artist's Assistant"
series lying around the info would be in there. Or possibly in "Artist's
Beware". is a great
website to check out as well.

Many drying oils are skin irritants to those who are sensitive to eczema
or contact dermatitis...but shouldn't kill anyone.

There is usually a small amount of turps or mineral spirits mixed in as
well...if I recall correctly, those are dangerous if aspirated
(swallowed then get into the lungs)...

For the bottles of solvents I know that they usually have "central
nervous system effects" listed on the MSDS sheets for the fumes which
means that they scramble your brains, causing dizziness, faintness,
headaches, etc, and - like large amounts of alcohol - over time it can
sometimes (depending on the solvent and amount of exposure) become
permanently damaging, giving people symptoms like the shakes and poor
motor control (but we're talking copious long term exposure...)



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Message 4
From: Marilynn Smith
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 15:21:22 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36689] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4495 (Aug 21, 2008)
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This is not woodblock.
If I am correct, the oil based inks we use are not toxic. Oil paints
used to be lead based and that was toxic, I do not think they use lead
any more. it is the turps that are toxic. It is a personal choice to
either totally avoid these chemicals or find a very well ventilated
place. At the time i gave up oil paints my studio was a bedroom in
out hose and I felt it was not a safe enough space. I may pull out
the oils once this studio is done and work on my back porch, very
ventilated space. With printmaking it is so easy to find non toxic
alternatives that i see no reason to expose oneself to toxic stuff.

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Message 5
From: ArtSpotiB #
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 19:49:28 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36690] toxic materials.. a windy commentary
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Hello Friends.
I have some studio rules that tenants, participants in workshops and
especially apprentices are required to follow. It's nag nag nag if they don't. These
are all related to safety and are basic studio skills. Maybe it's because I
hail from generations of artists but it seems to me that most of the horror
stories that I hear are because of poor studio habits. There are wonderful changes
in cleanup solutions, such as the crisco and cooking oil tricks. If one is so
focused on making the art that one causes the inevitable, well, durn! As a
teacher, I warn apprentices that if they don't conform, they can't continue their
term. An occasional horror story helps motivation...

Most important: no beverages nor food in work area. Walk over to the couch or
kitchen area to consume. This eliminates accidental drinking of the dangerous
or fatal. Many an artist has had coffee, solvents and focus on work become a
very bad mix. It's amazingly foolish to forget that good studio habits are a
safety issue. Wash hands before consuming food that is directly touched.
Beverages near the work area are totally unreasonable, ever.

Next: wear appropriate clothes for the task. For example, I also run a glass
on metal as fine art enameling group. If someone comes in sandals, open toed
shoes or polyesters, etc. they must change clothes. The furnace (misnomered
"kiln") runs at 1500 degrees. The same applies to the stone litho group. If you
want to lose toes, do it elsewhere and with someone else's stones, sorry. That
includes gloves/face protection when dealing with solvents/acids that you may
become careless around. It only takes once. I also forgo working directly with
dangerous materials if I find myself "off". Instead I do studio cleanup or
other mundane tasks that I otherwise avoid as time takers.

As for ventilation, I've learned my lesson many years past. Long ago I used
to have a very sizeable, tall ceiling'd studio with doors at the ends.
Unfortunately, those doors did not directly lead to outside, fresh air by 12 feet. I
used synturp. in jars, always closing them when not in use, etc. With
printmaking I was careful to place all rags into a tight diaper pail before acquiring
metal cans. (Nobody uses a nontight diaper pail, I hope?) Simultaneously I had
a very difficult 6 year ongoing family tragedy. I didn't notice that my sense
of smell disappearing at all. However, with ventilation changes, my sense of
smell returned. Amusingly enough, at first EVERYTHING smelled like dog poop.
Car exhaust, perfume on people, sandwitches... I had lost a lot of weight and
this helped keep it off. Then citrus started to smell good. No matter how cold
it is (whimpy Californian here) I open the barn style door to augment the roof
spinner turbines & exit fans even though now in a 6500 sq ft warehouse. If
people whine, I point out the treadmill as a warm up machine. Besides, the acid
baths are outside as is the grinding station.

And that's enough wind from me today. I can't tell you how much I enjoy those
who post information that either is new or reminds me of exciting adventures
from the past or towards the future in printmaking. Thanks, Bareners!

ArtSpot Out
Benny Alba in studio

"It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and
occupation, which give happiness."
--Thomas Jefferson

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Message 6
From: Scholes Graham
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 20:16:27 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36691] Re: toxic materials.. a windy commentary
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Man.... am I glad I conduct moka hanga workshops... so environmentally
friendly. It became known as Bootcamp ever since the first session,
but I think after reading this epistle the name may belong to another
camp..... !!!!

I am wondering if you use a BIG BLACK WHIP during the lessons..