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Ventilation Suggestions

Hi, Lorie here. It will soon be winter where I live. I am concerned about odors affecting the other bedrooms on the floor where I have set up my studio. I have been using a window fan to draw out air from my studio and a portable table air cleaner that I run overnight with the door closed. Does anyone have a comment about this set up or ideas to make it better. Thanks.


  • Lorie

    Aside from applied paint (which shouldn't be a problem) seal all mixed values and stock color in airtight (disposable or glass 1oz cups with good lid seal) containers. Ziplock the palette. Immerse the palette in a shallow tray of water. Enclose palette in a Tupperware box with cotton wool soaked in clove oil.

    Eliminate solvents as much as possible - use minimum amount to create slow dry medium (SDM). Use oil, paper towel and wet wipes for brush storage and cleaning.

    Make a safflower oil immersion container for long term brush use without cleaning.

    Any solvent use should be outside (ie toning a canvas). I prefer acrylic toning to avoid solvent.

    Try water mixable oils (with and without water). These were made for situations like yours (enclosed spaces bedrooms, classrooms etc) . You can use water mixable mediums to thin and wash brushes in water.

    You could try normal oil paint and citrus for dilution and as a medium. I don't know how this would work as a component of SDM

    Establish and improve flow through ventilation (doors, windows, A/C).
    Install a quiet exhaust fan in ceiling or window. Arrange the house air flow so that the only outlet is through the studio space, close doors and windows as necessary and pump fresh air into the other end of the house

    For the experimental trials of oils use Yupo paper (indestructible plastic) or canvas paper clipped to a drawing board. Uses less space, less expensive, easily stored, no crisis if you decide on disposal.

    This effort is important as the long term exposure to solvents is harmful.

    Use the search box at top right of this page for "solvent" and "ventilation" for lots of tips and techniques.


  • air turnover rates, are measured by the cubic feet of the space. i use 4" diameter hose to extract dust in my workshop, woodworking, and a double filter system to catch particulates. some woods are toxic. for painting booths are used. artists have only evaporative solvents to address and maybe lead. using purified flax oil and oms reduces toxic fumes and a covered palette saves paint and further emissions. a simple hood, vented to the outside such as a fitted panel at the top of a double hung window with a dryer vent flapper door will function well if placed over the work area. a timer to remove air when not working. the blower must be rated for non spark for safety. all waste rags, paper towels etc. must be in a metal lid container. hydro carbon removal is not done via hepa filters. it takes charcoal and chem grade is expensive, like gas mask canisters. you can build a simple system for cheap. hazmat detectors are available to measure the levels of fumes but super expensive. i toyed with lavender oil as my canary; too much, turn on exhaust. it's a well discussed subject and common sense safety is what i mentioned. i am certified hazmat and fema registered, trained by EPA. common sense housekeeping will provide safety and fire prevention. As a side note, oil of spike and lavender oil are not cheap but worth the smell test. odorless solvents still can be dangerous. like carbon monoxide. natural gas stinks because stink is added to detect leaks. good luck, it's an easy fix; air exchange.
  • Unless your aerosolizing solvent our solvent based paint the small amount of OMS in sdm won't be an explosion hazard to a vent fan our window mounted air exchanger.
  • Thanks to all of you. I will adjust my working method to use your great ideas.
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