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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Sleeping in the Studio w/ Drying Oil Paintings. ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-05-01 00:00:05 ... Most recent comment 2018-05-02 19:25:23
    Oil Paint Health and Safety

    Dear Mitra :

    I was having a discussion with an artist who often sleeps in her studio. It's a small space, without good ventilation, so she paints solvent-free. She works on two or three paintings at a time and hangs them on the walls to dry. She's fairly sure that sleeping in the studio is fine. I wonder about that ( many of us have had to "work where we live" at some point in our lives ).  The only information I could find about solvent-free linseed-oil paint and aldehydes, etc., dealt with house paint. 

        Is sleeping in the studio - or for that matter, hanging wet paintings in the bedroom - really a safe practice, even if you don't use solvent?

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    While I'm not a physician, personally I can't see any risk if the paintings genuinely are solvent-free, vegetable oil-based.  Does she work very large-scale or spray-apply her paint? Or, are we talking about small, typical easel paintings?

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-05-01 16:54:39
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Accepting the above criteria as being absolutely true, the only risk that I can even fathom is that of the spontaneous ignition of rags soaked in oxidating vegetable oils. This is easily avoided by removing any cellulosic materials contaminated with drying oils, dousing them in water, and disposing them away from your residence.

    Brian Baade
    2018-05-01 23:13:59
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Thanks Matthew and Brian. Yes, she paints small-ish, between 11x14 and 24x36 inches, and thinly, no impasto, so only small amounts of paint are involved. No spraying either - incidentally, in the studies I mentioned the house paints were sprayed. In any case, she'll be happy to have it confirmed that there aren't safety issues about her sleeping in her work area, so long as solvents aren't used. 

       I'll ask her about how she disposes of her painting rags etc. 

       Thanks again, it's appreciated.  

    2018-05-02 00:07:09
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    As has been mentioned above, we are talking about sleeping in a room where pure (solvent free) drying oil paints are drying (eg linseed oil paints with no added solvent by either the manufacture or by the artist). Dispersion paints, even latex house paints offgas organic components for a while. I would want good air flow if sleeping in a tightly sealed room with large paintings covered in wet dispersion paints.

    Brian Baade
    2018-05-02 19:25:23

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