For a long time, I put aside oil painting because I don’t have a studio and I didn’t want to fill my small NYC apartment with toxic fumes. It’s one thing, to be in a studio for a few hours inhaling the stuff; it’s another thing, to live and sleep with it every day. Long-term effects of inhaling turpentine and mineral spirits include permanent brain damage, dementia, and psychosis.
Throughout my training, I was taught that solvents were necessary to prime surfaces, thin oil colors, wash brushes between colors, and varnish the finished painting. Basically needed for every aspect of oil painting. I used to think solvents were an occupational hazard oil painters had to accept. Continue reading →