Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Permanence - Protecting Finished Work - Toxicity of Solvents - Toxicity of Pigments - Safety with Pigments - Preservatives and Mold Preventives - Fixatives

From: Kay, Reed. The Painter's Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.

In The Studio - Ventilation, Utilities,
Furnishings, Storage of Work

Health & Safety in the Arts -- Toxic Materials Gopher - "If you're wondering what's hazardous to work with and what's not, you'll find the answers here."

Although ordinary window ventilation is adequate for most painting methods, painters using solvents or sprays that may be unhealthy should have the studio equipped with fans and fresh air inlets by an installer who is experienced in designing ventilation systems for industrial use.

Rooms in older buildings frequently lack sufficient electrical outlets for fans, power tools, lights, and other electrical appliances. To avoid fire hazards, an electrical contractor should be hired to install dependable wiring to safely accommodate the painter's needs. Plans for new studio construction should specify a generous number of outlets to allow tools and lights to be used effectively in any part of the room.

A sink with running water is a great convenience in the studio for work with water-thinned paints as well as for the cleanup of tools and brushes. The studio sink should have a trap that can be easily opened and cleaned. When possible, equip the sink with a mixing faucet that can mix cold and hot water to a medium temperature suitable for brush washing.

Studio plans often underestimate the amount of space needed for storage of materials and finished work. Cabinets built with drawers and shelves, such as those for kitchen use, make good storage bins for painting materials such as paints, brushes, bottles of medium, and small tools. Flat cabinets for paper and drawings and racks for unused canvases, stretcher strips, frames, and finished paintings need considerable space. If they can be housed in a separate room next to the studio, more work space in the painting room will be available.

Drawings and paintings on paper are usually kept in portfolios. Architects' cabinets for filing plans and blueprints provide excellent storage space for paper, water-colors, pastels, and drawings. Made of wood or metal, they are sold in various sizes. They are expensive, but they are more durable, protective, and convenient than the common portfolios.

Storage racks for canvases should be built so that their bases are supported above the floor by kick plates that are 2 or 3 inches high. This will protect the pictures against dirt and possible water damage. The rack should have vertical partitions at approximately 24-inch intervals to help keep the pictures vertical. Put a sheet of clean corrugated cardboard between each picture and its neighbor so that no frame or picture corner leans into another canvas.

Many painters prefer a neutral tone, either light or middle value, for the studio walls, since brighter color may be distracting and very light walls may sometimes reflect so much light that they contrast too heavily with the subject. However, this, like so many choices in the studio, must be decided thoughtfully on the basis of each painter's working goals. [p. 266]

[Kay, Reed. The Painters Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]



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