Sunday, January 31, 2016

Winter Barn and Painting Without Solvents

Winter Barn                        9" x 12"                 oil on linen

This is a barn in the area of Grangeville, Idaho and it's from a photo taken a couple years ago. My real intent though was to paint solvent-free. I have notice more and more frequently over the past year that after a day in the studio (which does have good ventilation) that I have a dry cough, flushed face and squeaky voice! It's kind of like I'd just downed a shot of whiskey but without the high! I've periodically tried to paint without Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits) but I always get frustrated and go back to it for a first wash and brush cleaning. 

My first foray into trying something different was to purchase a line of Artisan water miscible oils. I like the feel and could get used to them but found out you cannot varnish for a minimum of 6 months to a year! I don't want to sell unvarnished paintings and this is a completely unworkable length of time for me to market and sell work online.

In this painting I used walnut alkyd medium and cleaned brushes using walnut oil. I worked the brush into a container of the oil to clean and then squeezed it out with paper towels. The feel is more oily than I like, but I'll work with it and hopefully  maintain my cleaner air quality.... we'll see

Meanwhile, I'm hoping someone  comes up with a water soluable replacement for mineral spirits.


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Jane Albin said...

I also have trouble with solvents. I think the Gamsol has a worse odor than Turpenoid.
I use Walnut oil and Water-miscible oils also.

Have you tried the Gamblin Solvent -Free Gel? It comes in a tube and has no odor that I noticed.
I like it for plein air painting because it doesn't spill.

For cleaning: After wiping them off, I work a dab of it into my brushes. This loosens the paint and then I wash them with warm soap and water.

Just a thought,

Helen Moreda said...

Love the wintery feel and the beautiful strokes. So sorry about your allergy. I am fortunate to not have a reaction. You will persevere!

Marcela Strasdas said...

Have you heard of "zest it"? It's a brush cleaner and paint dilutant recommended by Dreama Tolle Perry. I use that formula and rarely use OMS anymore. You mix the Zest it with walnut oil in equal parts and that is your medium for painting. I still use the OMS for cleaning my brushes because it doesn't bother me (noticeably) and it is easier for me to buy than the zest it. Take a look