The last few days have been spent painting and printing with different media. Yesterday I played with my oil based Shiva sticks. Beautiful colours, wonderful effects and good results. However, when I came to clean up that was another matter altogether. I had forgotten how to remove the excess from my stencil edges and brushes so I referred back to the packet they came in. It said ‘Easy clean-up with Signa-Turp or Rectified Turpentine’. What on earth is ‘Signa’ or ‘Rectified’?
I grabbed what I had – Mineral Turpentine. The paragraph of uses seemed to incorporate what I wanted and I started to scrub my stencil using a plastic nail brush. Wow, it worked well but after a minute or so my nail brush cracked and disintegrated into small pieces. Must have been faulty I thought. So I went and found another one.
After more printing I scrubbed again and turned away to dry my stencil. On turning back to the sink I saw my second nail brush in an even worse state than the first one. Pretty much all that was left were a few bristle spines, with brown rotted marks where they entered the plastic, and a bit of handle. The rest was in tiny pieces looking like crystal shards.
The moral of the story. Use a wooden brush to clean up and be careful what you breathe in. Was it the turps? Or was it the mixture of the Shiva stick chemicals and the turps? Not sure. Either way it has reminded me that I’m working with toxic substances and to be more aware of what I’m doing.