LEARNING TO PAINT & PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT - ARE YOU?

This is an important subject. Well, it is to me and I value feedback from people who are artists, people who are playing in paint and people who simply care about the environment. Thank you in advance for reading. – Barbara Simpson (as posted on LinkedIN 5/3/19)


The world is known to have a myriad of artists in varying degrees. I’m going to go with ‘painters’ for now because I am one, mostly an acrylic painter (occasional oils). It is so beautiful to see our world decorated with pretty paintings.

In painting, not only do we paint, each of us is equally responsible for protecting ourselves, the people around us, the environment. I think it is terrific that people are learning to paint and expressing their creativity. However, in recent discussions with various creative-like-minded people and through my own exploration around the subject in an art market saturated with paint parties and paint-pouring activities, I recently learned that a great deal of paint-party goers and paint-pourers are simply pouring paint-water et al down the drain! YIKES!!

Once again, I repeat, I think it is great for all of these creative opportunities, but excuse me while I ask  --> Why aren’t all artists, paint-pourers et al and hosts/hostesses of paint parties, discussing--> the importance of protecting the environment and, more importantly, doing it?? 

Have you partaken in such an event? I would like to know if this important subject of ‘protecting the environment’ through your activity has or has not been discussed. As with any job, and in view of becoming / being an artist, even for fun, there are Health & Safety regulations with everyone being in compliance; health of ourselves and those around us and safety of ourselves, those around us AND our environment.

Sadly, I don’t think everyone is aware of the potential health hazards some paints on the skin have, nor are they aware of the implications of 'paint down the drain' has on drainage systems, nor the plethora (great deal, abundant!!) of plastic cups and other mixed media and materials going down the drain and/or into landfills - all harming the environment.

Without proper filtering systems it can be devastating. Filtering systems are a huge topic in this day and age, going hand and hand with everyone doing their part to protect the environment. In particular, thinking back to art school, I was not taught about this – the conversation never came up – about the proper cleaning and disposal of paint brushes and paint water et al. All the paint on my brushes and otherwise on my hands, as well as, other students' brushes and hands, all of us who cleaned our paint brushes and buckets in the sink in the classrooms, dumping our paint-water down the drain, I cannot say for sure if proper water-filtering systems were installed.

It has only been through continual learning, staying on top of everything required of being an artist, health and safety included, that I, personally, can do my part. In my opinion, every artist, new or for years, is responsible for the same.

In conclusion, if you are considering a joy or job in painting (it’s still a joy to me even though it’s my job), I encourage you to reach out to your teachers to learn and understand what the health & safety compliance details are around your classes / workshops. Ideally, each teacher for such classes/workshops should inform of the health and safety prerequisites, aiding in protecting our environment (people, pets, nature, all thee included) or at least have them posted so students can read. Do you agree?

Nowadays, although every paint product should already have safety/disposal details noted on the maker's website, check for that. Being an artist (a painter) be it full-time, part-time, or merely for playtime, it is more than just painting. Some people may not care about health and safety (of themselves, the people around them, or the environment). I am not one of those people. However, together, we can make our world a cleaner and safer place while we are learning or living our life (in painting).

Check out the information provided in the links below. I picked out a few I think you will find amazing, possibly even unbelievable on the downside. Sorry, but I am not going to sugar-coat anything. It’s not my style. This is a growing concern. In the same breath, the information is also useful, helpful, for putting your own system in place and sharing, spreading the word about ‘protecting the environment’ while having fun (aka painting).

Again, I pose the question: Have you partaken in any such event --> paint-party or paint-pouring? I would like to know if this important subject of ‘protecting the environment’ through your activity has or.. has not been discussed. Every day is a good day to learn something new.

Thank you.

With inspiration always and creatively yours,

-  Barbara


Helpful / Useful Links

I’m a #Liquitex girl. I have been since 1998 and the company provides excellent information on the said subject (and more!)  https://www.liquitex.com/row/knowledge/safety-disposal/

Amazing artist and very smart girl, Olga, I love her enthusiasm and her site offering much helpful information. https://smartartmaterials.com/minimize-the-waste-involved-…/

Last, but not least, Government of Canada offers helpful information as well https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/…/oca-…/eng/ca03015.html





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Barbara Simpson is a member of CARFAC, the VOICE for professional artists, since 1998.