Artists Tips & Links
Note About Unframed Paintings
Unframed works have been successfully submitted by our members for many years. Although not a great believer of this practice, especially when applied to traditional paintings, it does allow for a more economical approach, particularly when the painting is of a very large size.
Today’s costs of framing can be a real put-off. But I do agree that a minimalist approach to art is often complimented by an unrestricted edge which allows the painting to spill into the room and not be constrained by sometimes flamboyant frames that totally dictate to the work and deny it room to breath.
One issue however has come to the attention of the selection committee when needing to decide whether or not the works qualify for inclusion when unframed. That is the unpainted and sometimes visible stapling on the edge of the painting, which tends to leave a rather unfinished appearance, not to mention an unprofessional finish of the completed works.
The VAS selection committee gives notice that unframed works require the edges of a painting to be included in the works and should show a continuation of the painted surface.
A guide to solvents
Contributed by: Nell Frysteen
Over the years I have been involved with painting, I have heard many opinions concerning the use of solvents or turpentines for either diluting the medium used or for cleaning brushes.
As I am now becoming increasingly aware of health issues concerning what was once considered “safe” products I decided to do some research.
I referred to “The Artist’s Complete Health And Safety Guide” by Monona Rossol. As this was written to comply with Canadian and USA right to know laws, I felt that the research would have been rigorous and thoroughly tested.
It was actually REALLY shocking to learn some of the dangerous effects that some art materials can have on the artist’s health, with reproductive systems causing birth defects, destruction of brain cells… let alone the explosive or flammable properties that can cause serious accidents.
The section on solvent use had these rules which I have paraphrased:
- Try to find replacements such as water based products if possible
- Use the least toxic product possible
- Collect Material Safety Data sheets and display them where all users can refer to them.
- Avoid breathing vapors. Work in a well ventilated space and have SEALED containers for rags and cleaning materials.
- Avoid skin contact. If you need to touch any solvents use protective gloves or barrier creams.
- Protect eyes from solvents if there is a chance of splashing or spillage. Protective goggles and eye wash products should be on hand.
- Protect against fire or explosion. No naked flames or sparks, fire extinguishers suitable for the solvents in use to be at hand.
- Dispose of solvents with regard to environmental issues and other health concerns. They are DEFINITELY not to be put down the sink or into water drains.
From the listings of all the solvents that would be appropriate for oil painting, 2 are the least dangerous/toxic. This opinion is based on effects of odour, the evaporative rate, the flash point and any specific toxic effects.
Citrus oil or citrus turpentine is recommended as it has a very slow evaporative rate. It is toxic to rats but is safer than turpentine. Turpentine can cause allergies eg. Dermatitis, asthma, kidney and bladder damage.
The other substitute for turpentine is odourless solvent.
Both of these products are much more expensive than turps. My solution is to decant the used solvent into sealed containers and allow the solid pigments to settle to the bottom. Once the clear solvent is settled I then pour the usable solvent into new containers. Note that there can be some staining of the solvent due to some pigments which are dye based but this seems to have little effect on cleaning brushes.