Right after I decided to try painting with acrylics, I was perusing the craft store (dangerous), and I passed a rack with massively marked down painting supplies. I ended up purchasing some bulk paint brushes for Emma to use, and a couple of plastic paint palettes, both for dirt cheap. Beside that stuff, was this cute lil bucket of oil paints marked down to almost nothing…..seriously, as in, it was less than $3. I thought to myself, I know nothing about oil painting, and don’t really intend to paint with oils any time soon, so…….just move along, Kel. But then…….that little craft supply hoarder in my head said….but what if you DO decide you want to try it? You will NEVER find them this cheap, and what a great starter kit…small tubes of lots of colors. Really, I mean, it’s LESS than a cup of coffee. So I talked myself into it. I’m not positive, but I THINK, that I’m supposed to be talking myself OUT of buying things….not INTO buying them. Might need to take a second look at that theory..…some other time. :)
That lil bucket of paints has been sitting on my craft table staring at me ever since. This weekend I caved and decided to play with them. I filled up my palette with colors, grabbed a couple of my favorite paint brushes, and a couple not so good ones (you know, incase this turned out to be a disaster, I didn’t want to ruin ALL my brushes). I had already purchased some artist tablets of thinner canvas paper to “practice” on, or just goof around with, cuz they are a lot cheaper than actual canvas. (Note: remember that, it’s an example of me actually USING my brain). I did give a quick thought to clean-up, but quickly remembered I had purchased a bottle of Pink Soap, which is a brush cleaner, so I’m good. Ok to proceed with making a masterpiece (HAHA).
I started out just doing some squiggles to get a feel for the paint. It’s a lot thicker than acrylic. Me and my love for colors…..I wanted to see how all the colors looked, and tried a couple different things on this picture. Like I said, just playin around. I thought it was pretty just to see all the colors together….I’m a sucker for a rainbow.
Then I decided to try a flower. I love drawing and doodling flowers, so doing one with oils was fun too! Here’s what it ended up looking like. Kind of strange, but kind of whimsical (in my mind anyway haha)…..
There. I had satisfied my oil painting itch for one evening with those two. Time to wrap it up and maybe go blog about something. I gathered all the brushes and the palette and the Pink Soap, and went into the bathroom to wash everything. (The pic below is only a FEW of the brushes I used……)
I start with brushes first. Turned the hot water on, dab a dollop of Pink Soap on the brushes, and……..voila! Wait…..nothing is happening. The water is just beading up and running off. I rub a little more…..MISTAKE. Did you know, that oil paint SMEARS really well when you add water? Now…..write this down…..PINK SOAP (which by the way, specifically says it cleans OILS, acrylics, and watercolors right on the bottle) DOES NOTHING TO OIL PAINT. Did you write it down? Good. I went from having messy oil paint brushes, to having messy oily paint brushes and BLUE oil covered hands. Really oily hands. Well CRAP. So I laid the brushes down, and reach for my trusty Bath and Body Works antibacterial hand soap (WITH scrubbies in it), pumped a couple of pumps into my hands and start rubbing them together. All this was doing was smearing the blue oil paint MORE. I tried a few more pumps of soap…….then, I think I heard the soap actually laugh at me as it squirted out of the bottle. It was just making MORE of a mess. So, with my elbow, I turn off the water, because, remember, I now have blue oil paint ALL over my hands. I’m standing in the bathroom staring at the paint brushes in the sink. Clearly, there is actual OIL in these oil paints! Who knew?? Then, my brain turns to chemicals. What can I use that I have in the house? Windex…..no, that doesn’t cut grease. I go to the closet, there is fabreez…..no that won’t work……furniture polish….no….Clorox….no. I see NOTHING on hand that cut’s grease (in my mild state of alarm, I overlook the obvious….dishwashing soap, which now seems like it would have been a great idea)! Ugh. Really? Then, AH-HA! There’s WD-40! Perfect! I grab the can with two of the tippy top of my finger tips to avoid creating an oil slick on the can, and carry it to the bathroom. It’s a new type of can, with a weird nozzle, not like the old one where you just stick the red straw in and push the button on top or pull the trigger. This one has the straw already in it, and has like some weird double ended swivel trigger thing, with another hole in the other end, and you somehow are supposed to pull that into the “up” position. WTF? Which hole is the straw supposed to go in? And if I put the trigger in the “up” position, it is no longer a “trigger”, so how am I supposed to get the liquid out?? Ugh. Why do they change something when it ALREADY WORKS well the way it was? So I am fiddling with this stupid can, and have now grasped the entire thing with BOTH of my slippery greasy blue hands, so I can barely hold on to the can any longer. I give up, I have NO idea how to get the WD-40 out of the can. I set it down and go back to the closet.
Now I am starting to worry a little bit about safety…….I now have automotive things on the brain with all this oil. I get to thinking; maybe I should just throw these brushes away….and uh-oh….I rinsed some of the oil down the drain in the bathroom while I was attempting to wash….and I know that oil has to be disposed of as hazardous waste in auto body shops, right? And oily rags, they can catch on fire right? So am I going to blow up the entire West Pasco sewer system because I just put “oil” down the bathroom drain? I had visions in my head of the oil contacting the sewer vapors (methane?) that are down the drain, and BOOM. Good grief. And no, I can’t throw the brushes away, they will start a fire in the garbage can (oily rag scenario flashes….)! What do artists do?? How do they paint with all these toxic hazardous chemicals all over the place? How do they dispose of anything?
I thought I better pull the reigns a bit on my worrying, and decided to just focus on the current issue. I needed to get my hands clean enough to drive to the stinkin craft store before it closes to find something to clean up oil paints! And I needed to do it before the West Pasco sewer system ignites from my oil mess. Then, like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds, I spot a bottle of GOO GONE. HALLELUJAH! I ran back to the bathroom and sprayed away. I have never been so happy to see a bottle of Goo Gone in my life. I got most of the paint off my hands. I didn’t want to use any towels, because, number one, I didn’t want to ruin them, and number two, I still had that oily rag scenario dancing around in my head (is that even real?). Luckily, since my daughter was born, I have kept baby wipes around. She is six now, and clearly I don’t need them for diaper duty anymore, but during the time that I did, omigosh did I discover a thousand and one uses for them! Cleaning the car, wiping counters, wiping sticky hands and mouths, I NEVER go camping without them either! So, I have a package of baby wipes on the counter, and I grab a couple to somewhat wash the Goo Gone “ick” off my hands….and to my surprise, MORE of the blue stuff comes off my hands……with the baby wipe! Woohoo! I start wiping down my hands, fingernails, and paint brushes handles (didn’t do much with the bristles as there was a TON of oil on them) with the baby wipes……and it’s working almost better than the Goo Gone did! Wow! I was amazed, and felt like an idiot for not trying those first. DUH.
I got my hands clean enough to actually touch things, and more importantly, to drive my car. The craft store closes in 40 minutes. I should make it. I hop in the car and drive over there. When I pull in to the parking lot (sorry, this is totally off subject…) there happens to be a carnival in the parking lot! I was so excited! I LOVE CARNIVALS! But then I remembered, Emma (the 6yr old that I use as my excuse to do fun things like go to the carnival, etc) is with her dad this weekend. DOH! Actually, it’s a good thing, cuz I probably would’ve never made it inside the store, and West Pasco would be smoldering in the aftermath I’m sure. I settled for just taking pictures. Here are a few of them…..
Anyway, so I made it before they closed and went directly to the painting section. I asked that girl working back there, how to clean up oil paints. She pointed me in the directions of the bottles……of TURPENTINE. WHAT? Really? Like, that’s my only option? Clean up one hazardous chemical with another hazardous chemical?
(As I’m typing this, it’s crossing my mind that perhaps my place of employment has instilled some deep-rooted chemical “hazard” awareness in me that I never knew existed, until now, oh, and during safety audits of course ;)).
So I’m looking at the bottles, reading the back labels…..don’t smell it, don’t ingest it, don’t let it touch your skin (good thing I didn’t already have some on hand, I would have most likely used it to clean my hands too!), don’t inhale it, blah blah blah….OMG. All I want to do is clean some freaking paint brushes, and my sink! I closely look at all the bottles on the shelf….hoping there is something else…..and oh! Hey look! There’s Pink Soap! Right next to the turpentine bottles. I resisted the urge to grab every little bottle of that worthless pink crap and chuck them down the aisle because they do NOTHING on oil paints and should be nowhere NEAR them in the store. Some poor bastard is going to buy it thinking he can clean something with it.
Anyway, it’s looking like I’m going to have to buy this toxic chemical to clean up with. Now, do I want odorless, or not? Well, considering the vapors from it can damage your lungs, central nervous system and respiratory system when inhaled, and can cause renal failure when ingested, among other things, I’m thinking it’s a pretty good idea to be able to SMELL if I am inhaling it or not, you know, BEFORE it kills me. I got the regular stuff. Oh, and did I mention it’s also combustible? I’m beginning to think a hazmat certification might be needed prior to taking up oil painting.
I get home with my toxic chemical, and head to the bathroom. Should I do this in the bathroom? There’s a fan in there. Nope, better do it OUTSIDE. I’m not taking any chances! Then, I wonder….hmmmm….what am I going to put this stuff in to clean the brushes? And how am I going to dispose of it after I do? It’s a toxic combustible chemical, so I can’t pour it down the drain (sewer explosion scenario flashes through my mind again). Won’t it eat through plastic? Soooo many questions…… Then, I spot a mason jar. Perfect, I’ll use that! I open the garage door and go outside to do the cleaning. Wow does that work well. Cleaned those brushes right up – with just a small amount. When I was done, I didn’t know what else to do with it, so I poured it out in a patch of gravel beside the driveway. I am sure I have just violated some hazardous waste law, and have killed any living organism or microorganism in the soil, but hey, I’ve also ensured that absolutely NO weeds will pop up through that spot in the gravel this summer, so that’s a bonus.
I left my cleaned brushes, mason jar, and hazardous bottle of combustible chemical outside for the night. Don’t want that stuff wafting around the house killing my central nervous and respiratory systems when I’m not looking.
I think I will do a little reading on painting with oils (which, I probably should have done a little earlier), before I continue to dabble in it further. I know it won’t be the last time I use them. But I MIGHT want to be a bit more prepared…..Lol…..