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Old 11-11-2005, 01:32 PM   #1
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Rolling Artists? Special Plumbing for oil paint?

(sorry if this is in the wrong forum... point me in the right spot and I'll repost... supernewbie here)

I am just starting to shop for an Airstream to use as a mobile art studio for 1-2 months on the road. Husband is photographer, and I am an oil painter. I am very interested to see if there are other rolling artists out there, and what kind of modifications you have made to your trailers. Are there any pix or threads on the topic?

I use oil paints, some of which have the skull and crossbones on the back, so I think I'll need a seperate sink with holding tank. Initially considering putting a wet canvas carrier in the back of the tow vehicle, so we are not sleeping with fumes. Interested in the 19 or 25 foot CCD, but would go for an older 'stream if that made sense for sinks, etc.

I saw a few shots of an installation artist in the "Airstream Living" book, but it was skimpy on specifics of how the studio fits together.

Thanks... have really enjoyed reading these forums.
-Robin
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Old 11-11-2005, 03:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.
Probably the easiest way to do this, is to disconnect the sink from the grey water system, and have that one sink drain directly into a portable plastic container suitable for flammable liquids (like a 2.5 gallon gas can). It would not be difficult to do, and the can could be sealed so you don't have fumes all over the trailer.
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Old 11-11-2005, 03:33 PM   #3
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Robin.

A couple of suggestions: I would not use oils confined in ANY trailer or even a regular room with out adequet ventalation. Fumes from turps are totally toxic. I use this stuff called Turpenoid(?). They say it's less toxic than regular turps.

I miss the smell of real turpentine, whatever that smell is, that's what diminishes your life span.

Also it could get kinda messy in the AS with all the paints. You're in Berzerkly, maybe paint outside if weather permits. How about a small camping tent to place works in progress/drying? This way it is out of the Airstream (AS). I guess another option is to paint with acrylics, I'm not fond of those though.

I don't think it would be a great idea to pour solvents down a RV drain as well. Eventually those make their way to the dump station, and from what I understand, it might be frowned upon to dump such stuff.

I work with oil pastels most of the time when on the road: Some of my....stuff....

http://www.levinphotography.com/pages/art.html

Hope this helps a little.

Best.

Jonathan
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Old 11-11-2005, 04:44 PM   #4
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Rolling Plein Air artists - turp-be-gone

Thanks for the thoughts & suggestions.

A seperate sink or the drain into the sep container makes sense to me...

I know all about the fumes, and general messiness from current studio setup in 100 ft sq space. This is one reasons why I was curious how other artists outfit their AS to be non-toxic and functional.

Planning to paint outside. Have a decent portable setup with easel, sealed palette, and with watertight turp-alike (Gamsol... less evil) container.

The drying tent is not a bad idea. Canvases take a week or so to dry to the touch, and are still fragile, so I will probably still need to put a vertical dry rack somewhere, like in the flatbed of a tow vehicle.

Jonathon, do you only use your AS for location photography, or do you camp in it as well?

tanks again,
-Robin
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Old 11-11-2005, 05:11 PM   #5
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why not get an inexpensive parts washer from an auto parts store or harbor frieght?

they make 3 gallon table top models that have an electric pump. instead of filling it with kerosene you could use turpintine...

when you are done with cleaning your brushes and tools it could go in the back of the tow vehicle. no need to replumb the trailer and the smell is kept elsewhere.

john
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Old 11-11-2005, 06:22 PM   #6
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I use gamsol and clean my brushes with olive oil - just work the oil through the brush and wipe it off - then swish the brush in the gamsol before you start painting again. You don't really need to wash the brush with solvent in the traditional sense at all.

I am retrofitting my 22' trailer to be a studio/live space. I have a fantastic fan on the rear of my trailer that seems like it will suck air through the trailer better than most "real" studio systems.

Carlos Ferguson
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Old 11-14-2005, 12:16 AM   #7
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thanks for all the suggestions

(back to lurking and airstream-dreaming)

-robin
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Old 11-14-2005, 02:01 AM   #8
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Artist, but not oils

I use pastels and water color inside our Airstream. It creates some dust, but I'm careful not to blow the pastels off the painting. Oils create a different challenge. I would think that placing your turpentine (turpenoid) in some gallon cans, then disposing them at the end of your trip in a safe location (not down the toilet into the septic system) would be the best solution. Some cities have a hazardous waste disposal area.
If worse comes to worse......you could always switch to pastels!

Here are some pics of my "studio on the road"!
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:55 AM   #9
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Hi Robin. I switched from oils to acrylics a few years ago. Got tired of wiping paintings off on my jeans while carrying them (plenaire painting in Mexico). Now, I only paint with acrylics. Love the water base, quick drying (if I choose) and the vivid colors. Much easier while travelingin my airstream. I fell in love with airstreams when I saw a remodeled one at the Magazine in your neighborhood...still have a home in san francisco...try acrylics if travelling and living with the oils, thinners, cleaners and drying time becomes a pain. Joe
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Old 11-19-2005, 03:41 AM   #10
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I suspected there would be some suggestions for a medium change

I like the slow-drying quality of oils... but am also new to plein air (currently a studio-worker) so am open to try different media to find something road-friendly.

Thanks so much for posting your air-studio pix Cheryl! Very exciting.

Joe, I drove by Magazine store the other day to see if the Airstream was hanging out in their lot, but no luck.

Thanks again. -R
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Old 11-19-2005, 10:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitpie1
Thanks so much for posting your air-studio pix Cheryl! Very exciting.
Contrary to most artists today......I'm the painter and Cheryl's the quilter!
This photo was taken after attending an art workshop in LaConner, WA where I was the only male amongst 15 artists attending!
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Old 11-19-2005, 12:37 PM   #12
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Photography

Didnt know there were so many painters, anyway I do alot of photography on the road. Mainly I shoot medium and large format black and white. I have often wanted to be able to develop my film in the field to make sure I have the images I want but doing so has not really been feasiable. Now that I have the airstream I am planing on setting it up for film development and contact printing. I am making some black out curtians for the bathroom and will use trays for processing. I think the vent should be sufficent for ventilating the space. My only reservations are water quality and drying negatives without dust. So in theory this ought to work out ok, but I do have some concerns that reality might intervene. If there is any interest in this project I will update everyone after I have used the set up once or twice.
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Old 11-19-2005, 06:27 PM   #13
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R...glad your were not aggravated by my suggeston to try acrylics...I would never try to push my method or tools on an artist...just wanted to pass along the point that I switched to a different type paint and survived...some additives stop the quick drying problems of acrylics...I love artists, so few of them (probablly a money thing)...the pics of the Magazine Airstream can be seen on a recent post with a title like "wow a $200,000 Airstream"...good luck finding your Airstream...Joe...
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Old 11-19-2005, 06:57 PM   #14
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Rodney.

I admire your enthusiasim about set-up of a darkroom in the AS. Having been a darkroom B&W person myself for many years, digital came along and I was sold.

Being able to sit on my butt and produce beautiful B&W as well as color inkjet prints has been a near miracle, and natural progession in the evolution of the photographic medium. There are just to many advantages of dig over silver halide, I could go on for quite sometime.

An inexpensive epson printer and a laptop computer, and you have what amounts to thousands of dollars in what you would have to invest in a regular film/paper darkroom. The argument over whether digital is as good as film is a dead issue.

And no toxic chemicals to deal with after you are done. Learning curve? Sure. But in no time at all, you will be making prints that would far excede the quality of film any day.

Archival is also a non issue, as most of the inks/pigments will outlast a C-print, and possibly a well washed, selenium toned B&W.

PM me if you want to chat more. Most importantly, keep shooting no matter what type of capture you prefer. No go pour yourself a stiff Foto-flo....

Best.

Jonathan
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