What's the bottom line, does anyone know?
I know a major perceived disadvantage of oils is the thinners situation.
But how about disposal? I've been cleaning up at the sink and right down the drain and read somewhere recently that's a bad practice environmentally. So is it like false security?
If acrylics are genuinely a better for the environment choice over oils, maybe that alone will gain respect of the medium?
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Robin, excellent question!
The town dump where I live has suggested that when we have left over latex house paint that we set it outside to dry until it's hardened, and then we can dispose of it in the trash. Maybe wash brushes, but let the left over stuff harden and then throw it away. I'm not an expert on this, so if anyone knows better, please let us know.
When compared to oils, acrylics are more environmentally friendly to me! I don't have to worry about breathing in solvent or my paper towels spontaneously combusting. For some reason, oil seems to stick to everything - like it jumps off my palette and brushes onto my clothes, but acrylic seems to stay put.
I clean my oil brushes with soap at the sink, so I can't say which type of paint is better while going down the drain. What I really have difficulty with... when using oils is the jars of sludge that accummulate. At least with acrylic, I can let it harden and then throw it in the trash.
I agree absolutely with Lori - having worked with both now, acrylics are far less smelly and messy. Seems reasonable that the same would be true for disposal issues as is true of latex house paint.
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Except that it's going down the drain...
Yes, this is an excellent question, Robin.
I work with acrylics & water for the most part, in those welled pallettes. When I'm done, I let them dry till they form a plastic skin, & then soak them so they peel off. Easy enough then to throw the dried skins out, or save in a latex paint can that's destined for the hazardous waste day at the dump.
But yeah, I'm sure the manufacturing of the acrylic paints are not really environmentally friendly. And it's difficult to avoid solvents with oils, although I typically reuse my mineral spirits, letting the oil sludge sink to the bottom & pouring off the top to use again.
I guess the only really environmental paint is egg tempera. At least we know that it's a very permanent medium, & is more or less completely natural. (I want to get there at some point, but one thing at a time. Oils still have to be mastered!)
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Thanks Judy for the info. I've only used disposable stuff for acrylics, and I guess you can't avoid some washing out though.
I'm just glad my tiny borough has decided to really recycle this year. Before this we had to drive our recyclables, which seemed to kind of defeat the purpose, you know?
Is your avatar acylic or oil? It's gorgeous.
Thanks Robin. :) My neighbour up the road had 3 morgan foals this past summer & I took over a thousand shots. (!) I didn't realize just how many photos I took until I started tagging them... not that they were all great photos, mind you. Foals move a lot! I've come to love digital... there's a freedom there that you really need when you try to shoot animals.
Anyway, this is a miniature that I did of the colt. Yep, it's acrylic.
And thank you for being so conscientious about the environment!