Saturday, May 12, 2007

the painting advisory board

That would be me. :-)

Had to laugh when I saw that on SK's blog. I wonder if that supercedes the SKSC -- which is, of course, the Steve Kilbey Steering Committee. I made up that one though, and it started out with more people than just me. He seemed to get a big kick out of it when I would tell him the SKSC thought he should do one thing or another.

Also got quite a laugh out of the "the advisory board is organizing me some HEPA equipment" line. A little while before he went to Europe we chatted a bit in Antenna and he had been talking to some sidewalk (or footpath, depending on where you're from) chalk artists (I think that's what he said) who told him that pastels were highly toxic. So he Googled pastels and toxicity and found some very scary opinions on the subject. I told him I'd check into it for him and let him know what I found out.

I did a bit of research and found the big problem with pastels was the dust. If you control the dust, there are very few problems with them. Using a good quality HEPA filtration air purifier was mentioned by many pastel artists as a huge help. So I checked out what was available in Australia and when I found a couple I thought would work well for Steve's situation I sent him an email about the two brands and three models I liked the best. I mentioned getting HEPA filtration vacuum as kind of an aside since in a quick check inexpensive ones aren't too hard to find. I figured he'd just use it for his work room, so it wouldn't need to be great. He replied and seemed very relieved. Said he would pick those things when he got back from the tour.

Fast forward to earlier this week. We had made arrangements to have a phone conversation about a possible art exhibit (looking more likely than just possible. Yay!!). After the initial "how are you?" bits, the very first thing he said was "about this pastel thing...what do you really think?" He's really quite wigged out about it. Anyway I told him I did think that a HEPA air purifier and vacuum would take care of the vast majority of his pastel problem. Then he said "so...what store would I buy these at?" and when I paused (because I'm thinking "how the hell would I know what store?") he said (mighty pitifully I might add) "wouldn't it be better if you bought them and just had them shipped to me?" Well of course it would be better for you! I managed to stifle that comment and most of my laugh, and said "yeah, I can do that."

Then he said he'd like a fairly nice vacuum that would last and could be used on the whole place since A has asthma and that might help her too. So I ordered the air purifier right off and started on vacuum research. You know, there are quite a few cheap vacuums with a HEPA filter and quite a few very expensive ones with it also. But finding a mid-priced one with a HEPA filter was not as easy as I expected. I had such a headache sorting through all the different brands and models. I did finally find what I hope will be a good one for them though -- designed for people with allergies or asthma and what seems to be a reliable brand.

He emailed yesterday to say the air purifier had arrived and was "quiet and smooth." Whew. That's a relief. I hope the vacuum goes over well also.

And he's back to working on his art which had come to a screeching halt when he was all wigged out about the pastels. :-)


Blogger veleska1970 said...

yeah, pastel dust is one helluva bad thing to be around. i have asthma, and when i was in college i used pastels on some of my art, and i had a lot of trouble breathing. so i switched to prismacolor pencils. it didn't quite give the same artistic effect i wanted, but it saved my health just a little. but then i began spending more time in a darkroom working on my prints, sometimes hours at a time. so THAT didn't help, either. :(

glad to hear that the system is working for him. i would hate to see him stop doing his art just because of a little "occupational hazard", heh heh heh.

12:08 PM  

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