No need today to point out that solvents are not good for you. Particularly if you expose yourself to them several hours on a daily basis. It was probably 25 years ago that I had an interesting conversation with a Winsor & Newton rep. about solvents. He was himself a painter and lost fellow painters to lung cancer. It was actually before this time that I had stopped painting oils for health reasons. But everytime my health improved I would do some oil painting. And always I searched for a long term solution. I never found one that was satisfactory. Nothing for me replaced oil and turpentine. So, a couple of years ago I stopped painting. Again for health reasons. And, ultimately, the solution was simple. Stop using solvents. I told myself that I would give it one year. I began painting with oil straight from the tube with only linseed or safflower oil used to moisten and clean the brush. I’m heading into my ninth month and am begining to feel pretty good about the results. I have a personal exhibit in August and want to show fresh work. So, wish me luck. Soon, I’ll take some photos and start posting them.
Published in french as Peinture à l’huile et santé