Sunday, May 24, 2009
Sad Woman was drawn from life in 2008. It's on paper, about 15"x22."
I spent today at a workshop taught by Steven Saitzyk at Art Center College of Design. The topic was "Mastering Oil Painting," basically a tour through the materials and techniques oil painters use, with thoughtful and informed explanations for why things are done the way they are--and with recommendations for best and safest practices. This was enlightening in many respects and money well spent on my part because it provides a framework for analysis of future painting issues, as well as answering specific, immediate questions about safety, solvents, oils, paints, media, varnishes, and supports.
One question the workshop answered was whether it makes any significant difference to our environment to give up using pigments made from toxic metals. The short answer, I believe at this point, is no, if the paints are used responsibly. Additionally, because of the relatively short history of modern paints that do not use these toxic metals, while there may not be known problems with some of them, this does not mean they are not harmful. The bottom line, I think, is to use what works best for the particular application, but use it as carefully and responsibly as I can.