Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cold Spring Morning Hudson River Painting & Going Green in the Studio

Copyright Jan Blencowe 2009

About This Painting: Layers of horizontal elements create a calming, restful view of the Hudson River in Cold Spring, NY. This one is scheduled to be part of the Landscapes by the Hudson Valley Daily Painters Show opening soon. Check out the event page for the show to get details.

Style: Contemporary Tonalism/Impressionism
Media: acrylic on linen
Size: 24 in X 20 in (61 cm X 50.8 cm)

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Going Green in the Studio

I recently came across an article at Utrecht's Learn Center on going green in the studio. As one who loves nature I am always concerned that we use the earth as gently as possible. The following list of ideas was included in the article and I thought I'd share them along with some commentary.

1.)Use washable rags instead of paper towels. I'm not so sure about this one. Rags soaked with turpentine and oil paint can be a fire hazard and rags covered in acrylic paint will never wash clean, they'll remain a stiff mess. But if you use watercolor, pastel, egg tempera, casein, inks etc. then reusable rags make sense. Paper towels made of recycled paper also make sense.

2.)Choose papers that are made from recycled materials. Great for sketching and practice but for finished works of art make sure your papers are archival, preferable 100% cotton rag.

3.) Seek out materials that are made using sustainable practices. Dick Blick now has a line of frames made from bamboo. Eco-friendly and good looking.

4.)Avoid toxic pigments & harsh chemical processes. Personally, I've eliminated all heavy metal pigments (cadmiums, cobalt etc.) from my palette. I paint with Chroma Interactive Acrylics and Holbein water soluable oils.

5.)Responsibly dispose of any harmful products you do use (turpentine, mediums, etc). Great link to info about disposing of many art materials safely/legally.

6.)Look at alternatives, like egg tempera, beeswax mediums and waterbased paints. I love encaustic paint (bees wax) and I'm giving water soluable oils another go. Casein and gouache are also beautiful waterbased mediums.

7.)If you work with materials that produce vapors or dust make sure to use an air purifier to limit what gets released into the atmosphere. This is extremely important for you, your family and pets!


Rose Welty said...

Jan, just had to say thanks for mentioning #4. When I started painting I decided to not use cads...but one doesn't read about many artists who do eliminate them. Thanks for sharing that it is possible!

Jan Blencowe said...

Hi Rose,

I know several artists who use alternative reds and actually prefer them as I do.

Cadmiums are through of as a "traditional" color but personally I find napthol reds and pyrrole reds especially, actually outperform cads particularly for clarity and mixing purples.

The added bonus of non heavy metal pigments makes them even more appealing.

Thanks fo taking a moment to visit and comment.

Nancy Laliberte said...

Hi Jan,
I love your web site and your blog--thank you for providing so much educational info! I just recently started using pyrrole red and napthol red (acrylics) to get away from the cad reds; what alternatives do you recommend for cad orange and the cad yellows? Thanks so much!