A while ago I was asked to be a "testing artist" for Chroma Interactive Acrylics, a type of acrylic which can be re-activated with water as you work. Athough I never liked acrylics, this involved free art supplies, so what the heck? I found I did like them very much for studies, outdoor painting and underpainting, and will add them to my arsenal, although I will never give up oils. Chroma recently asked me to teach a class in how to use them at the Community College of Rhode Island, my alma mater, so last week I went to the Lincoln Campus to do a demo.
The demo went great, but I was shocked!, shocked! to hear from the teacher, Tom Morrissey, that CCRI no longer allows oil paint in the studio. Students must use acrylics, or other "non toxic" materials. When I went to CCRI (RIJC then) I found a great staff of art teachers. Although I had been painting in oils since high school, I made a lot of progress in the medium in two years of classes at the junior college. I think it's a shame that students at the college would miss two years of working in oils if that's the medium they ultimately want to use.
So I thought that CCRI was just being lazy, surely they could find a way to dispose of any hazardous material in a safe manner, but then I began to guiltily think of my own studio. I had long ago given up turpentine for Turpanoid Natural, which cleans brushes just as well and is in itself non-toxic, but "not knowing what to do" with my paint rags and the gunk that collects at the bottom of the Turpanoid jars, I had been throwing them in the trash.
So I've been looking into how to manage my studio waste in a responsible manner, and I'll post what I've come up with. I'm also starting a survey to ask how other artists deal with studio waste.
Meanwhile, here's the next phase of my big painting. I'm ready for some color now...