Going Green


Well-known member
I've just started oil painting after many years of painting only with acrylics. But I'm wondering in terms of harm to the environment - which is worse - oil painting, or acrylic painting. At first glance I would think oil painting - but when you consider long term damage, damage from manufacturing, etc.
I don't know enough to know.
I never know the answer to that either. I hate making a footprint making any painting: the canvas especially because of the space it takes up. I don't know about oils. I keep them so isolated I don't see how they are such a big deal like people think. In fact, I hurt the environment more with acrylic clean up because I can't really rinse them into my sink. I live on a septic. I am really careful to water them down in a glass or two, then I actually wait for it to disintegrate as much as possible before spilling the remainder into the sand outside! It's a very little bit and I bury it, but I feel terrible about it, even with that tiny bit. It's literally a few ounces.

With oils, it's all inside a Silicoil jar. I have been using the same one for two years now. I take them to the recycling center every year or two+ for disposal and the liquid that's inside the jar is far less than the water in the glass I spill into the sand regularly.

I give a thorough cleaning of my oil brushes about once a year, but haven't yet since I've lived here (almost two years). The Silicoil jar is filled with Turpenoid Natural and isn't like a regular turp. A small coat of that on the brush from rinsing them in the jar is fine to leave them flat for a long, long time.

As for the disposable palettes, it's equal as to what goes into the trash can (oil to acrylic).

That's my two cents on it.
I've got some brush dip coming. It's safflower oil with a bit of clove oil. Wipe the paint off the brush, dip it in brush dip, then set it aside for the next painting session. No need to clean your brushes -- ever. Reports of people going year+ without cleaning them. The oil keeps any remaining paint in the brush moist - the safflower oil seals the brush and does not dry out.
That's basically what I'm saying. I don't have to clean them, but I do once in a blue moon to condition them.