Trick, treat or studio on fire?

Sunburn, mixed media on Claybord, 3"x3", 2013.

I do not offer tips, tricks or instruction on any of the art materials I use. I also do not produce videos on any one technique. I strongly feel it is the responsibility of every artist to do their own work experimenting with materials suitable for their own artistic voice and visual language. Me handing out treats doesn't benefit any artist long term because no work was done first hand, no experience points earned. However, I do feel a sense of responsibility to younger artists, especially women, and will post things I think would be beneficial on a grander scale. Social media is a great resource today that did not exist for me as a young art student. I always had to do the research and testing myself, still do. I even make my own paint when I have to.

Painting is largely chemistry. If you don't educate yourself on the materials you are using and take the safely precautions needed, your work may or may not last and you are more susceptible to becoming sick or likely to get injured. Someone asked me for tips using a heat gun with alcohol inks a few days ago. While this may not seem obvious to a young artist who is willing to try anything, it would be a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby. Also, applying heat or burning whatever type of dye, pigments, shellac or alcohol medium you are using can create toxic gases. Your substrate may melt or burst into flames. You can get some nasty burns if you're not super careful. Work with good ventilation, wear a respirator and make sure your work area is inaccessible to children and pets. Wear gloves so that dyes and pigments don't get ingested through your skin. If you are in an apartment or shared art studio, you also have a responsibility to your neighbors' health and well-being. Think about your community and your environment. Someone else asked me if it was ok to use alcohol inks around their pregnant wife. The answer is no, and especially not if you are the one that's pregnant. It's all common sense, but in our rush to try new things, excitement can get the best of us. 

What you are trying to say and what you need should determine the materials you use, not vice versa. I focus more on sharing what an artist's discipline looks like, my work ethic and philosophical ideas, not how to draw or paint. I do not benefit spiritually or emotionally from that and it does not help me develop as an artist to share techniques. I am extremely grateful and blessed to have as much support as I am shown, so I would like to give back something of value to other artists and students, without giving it all away. I understand the responsibility and I care very much. 

Thanks for reading, enjoy your time in the studio today and let's keep it safe for everyone.