After nearly 30 years of being a professional artist, I’ve discovered it is important to enjoy your creative side while taking steps to protect your health in the art studio.

cobra-ambassador-lori-mcnee

In an effort to be eco-friendly and to keep the air quality in my home-studio healthy, I have always painted with solvent-free, water-mixable oil paints (by Cobra) to create the majority of my artwork.

I’ve also educated myself on the health standards of my art materials. Nevertheless over recent years, I have also added encaustic wax and cold wax mediums to my artistic repertoire.

These mediums are fun and lovely to work with. I am able to achieve unique textures, depth and luster in my paintings when using them. However, encaustic and cold wax mediums are not solvent-free, so I have had to modify my studio and work habits.

A few years back, I created my little encaustic work station as seen in the picture below.

Make Art and Protect Your Health

A simple kitchen range hood is vented to the outside and creates a great little encaustic workstation. I also used an auto drip-pan to keep my table flame retardant.

Since then, I’ve been working on larger formats so I expanded my workstation and added a powerful VentAFume.com system. You can see the adjustable vent hood in the upper right hand corner in the picture below.

Make Art While Protecting Your Health

The Vent-a-Fume hood system creates a healthy encaustic painting workstation fin the studio of Lori McNee.

All of this venting works great for my encaustic painting. However, I still like to stand at my easel when oil painting. This is where I often add cold wax medium to my oils. The cold wax is made with odorless mineral spirits which has a relatively slow evaporation rate. However, I do not want to breathe this toxin.

My friends at TheAirPurifierStore.com helped me find the perfect solution to my dilemma. Their priority is to protect your health, and after a lengthy phone conversation, I decided to purchase the Allerair 5000 Exec Commercial Air Purifier!

Make Art while Protecting Your Health

My new Allerair 5000 keeps the air clean in my studio.

I chose the larger unit because I know it will be able to do the job. It is on wheels and I can roll it around to each of my workstations. You can see in the photo on the left, I keep it next to my easel while painting. I’m comforted knowing the Allerair 5000 is ridding my studio of hazardous fumes, chemicals and VOCS that paints, mediums and adhesives release.

Plus it will clear the studio of pastel dust, dry pigments, rock/wood dust, plaster and a whole host of other toxic materials. That said, I often wear a respirator for added protection when using these products.

Keep in mind, creating art with toxic materials can be a danger to your health. You may notice the short term ill effects that show up quickly from these toxins that you breathe and absorb through your skin while you are trying to enjoy what you love.

These hazards can cause nausea, eye irritation, skin irritation, throat irritation, and headaches. That is just the visible issues. The more concerning issues are the long-term effects of exposure to these hazards over time. They have been linked to respiratory diseases and issues, skin disorders, and even cancer.

While this all sounds like a dire situation, there is good news. You can mitigate these issues with high performance professional grade air purifiers and ventilation systems. That way you can do what you love doing without worrying about it impacting your health.

I hope this article inspires and gives you ideas to protect your health in the art studio. In my case, the investment in my own health was worth it!

Happy, healthy painting! ~Lori

Ps. You might enjoy this list of houseplants that will help purify the air in your studio and home!