Paint... it is empowering, mesmerizing and freeing. It is my artistic medium, it's my means of making a living and it is also my obsession. Sometimes it's oil paint, sometimes it's alkyd paint, sometimes it's acrylic paint but most often it's a mix of the three. I'm not going to debate about mixing oils with acrylics. My paint is complicated. It's always changing, improving along the way. Kind of like me...
REASONING WITH VOCs, BANISHMENT OR COMPROMISE?
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ADVENTURES IN PAINT MAKING.
  In the beginning if I wanted to thin my paints I simply added some turpentine. Turpentine was also used to clean my brushes. Everything reeked of turpentine, myself  included. This is not good I thought to myself, maybe I could use something else...
  And so it started, my journey into the maze...the maze of artist's paints and concoctions. It is a vague realm of psuedo-science mixed with mysticism and stubborn die-hard beliefs. What is written by the Old Masters is often the only truth and it is sacrilege to disobey their principles. The problem was that the Old Masters were likely intoxicated and even poisoned from their concoctions. Lead, mercury and oil of lavender were regularly used. These materials were worked with intimately by hand labour in the making of paints. Dust and fumes would have been part of the process. Imagine this...a pot of hot linseed oil boiling over an open fire and in that oil is lead with its fumes wafting over everything. Yikes! I think they had a very hard time back then.
  So back to the problem of oil paint that is too thick. Turpentine is out! Banished...I don't miss it. How about a paint thinner that is odourless? Seems like a good compromise, yes, let's use some of that. It still contains just as much of the volatile organic compounds but what you can't smell can't hurt you, right?
  Sniffle, sniffle... must be getting a cold...where's that box of tissues...aa-chooo...sneezing a lot these days too. I wonder if I'm developing allergies? Naw...allergies are only for rich kids my Dad used to tell us.

                                                    To be continued....