Monday, October 24, 2016

Oil Painting is Non Toxic

Oil Painting Studio Set Up
As evidenced in my previous blog posts, I am searching for non toxic ways to create my art. Non toxic for me means not only non toxic to me and my studio process, but also for the environment.

Last month, I delved into this issue with these blog posts:

I discovered, much to my horror, that my beloved acrylic paints are petroleum based. Since I signed petitions to stop the North Dakota pipeline, the issue of our heavy reliance on the oil industry has peaked. As an artist interested in protecting the environment, I search for answers and alternatives to my practice of making art.

Sun Fire, 9 x 12 x 0.75 inches, Acrylic on Canvas.
Copyright 2008 Mary Gravelle.
This past week, I attended a lecture by Scott Gellatly, Technical Support Representative at Gamblin. His presentation was fantastic, assuring me that using Gamblin oil colors is safe for the artist and environmentally safe as well. You can read a great article on their website about studio safety.

Gamblin oil paints are made with linseed oil, which is derived from the flax plant. They also use safflower oil in the making of some of their colors. All paints are made from the same pigments. Oil paints use plant oils as the binder whereas acrylic paints, according to an email received from Gamblin Oil Colors, use "emulsions of plastics derived from petroleum." This is not okay with me.

Passage, Oil on Masonite, 16 x 20 inches.
Copyright 2006 Mary Gravelle.
Now the question arises, "How much petroleum does the art supply industry actually use in the production of acrylic paints and other media?" Should we as artists care? I think so, if we care about the environment. I have to believe that many do. With all the oil spills that have harmed and killed wildlife on the Gulf Coast, we had better care and become activists for the place we call home, Earth. If the North Dakota pipeline is successful, which I would have to think it will be with all the pressure from the oil industry, our country is in danger of much more harm being done from our dependence on petroleum.

As one artist, can I really make a difference? I don't know. But, I must try. I must be true to what I think is the right thing to do. I might not be totally ready to switch to oil paints but I'm close. There are more issues to discuss like oil painting mediums.

As I become more aware of this issue, I'll write more. Stay tuned...

What do you think about any of this?

About the Author

Braylee Rush (Mary Gravelle) is an artist, author, and creativity catalyst and consultant. She resides in Sedona, Arizona with her loving and efficient assistant, Sir Kitty. Her other websites and work are: Wisdom Painting for Self-Discovery, Igniting Your Intentions, Sedona Art Hikes.

Contact her today with painting commissions, requests for creative work, consultations, or one on one coaching sessions. She is happy to paint something just for you. Or she can help you delve into your creativity and come out with your own unique expression.


Inquiries about this en plein air acrylic landscape painting can be made through the contact page.

And, as always, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Sir Kitty

Until Next Week

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