Beware of Biohazard

This week I met up with a friend I haven’t seen since college—we went to a “drink and draw” event in Brooklyn.  This is a page from my sketchbook.  We were yapping away the whole time- probably annoying the other “drink and draw-ers” — but we had to fill each other in on the past few years of our lives.  It had been way too long since I had seen her. Besides, it was drink and draw- and we were in Brooklyn—laid back.

It felt nice to just make something and not worry about what it looked like for a change.   I tried these pure kneaded chunks of lead that my friend brought- super cool medium to use- until I freaked out.  Picture a soft lump of creamy lead with no protective wooden pencil around it.  Now imagine twirling and smearing it around in your bare hands when you suddenly remember how the people in Flint Michigan ingested lead.   Omigosh!  Must wash hands. Right. Now.  My friend said she used gloves with the stuff before. We both stopped using it. I finished this drawing with black marker.  It was fun.

I probably suffered from toxic chemical overdose considering I had spent the entire day in a makeshift studio I’m using to paint a large scale oil painting.  The room has no ventilation. I’ve been wearing a mask but I feel extra spaced out after a days work.   It’s more than just average spaciness from accessing my right brain. When I work in that particular space three days in a row I get a killer sore throat. Not so good. Luckily, the project’s almost finished.  I won’t be working in oil in a space like that again.  Lesson learned.  That’s the thing about making stuff- it’s easy to get so caught up in the process that you forget about the toxicity of the materials you’re using.  It’s a fine line.  I balanced the beer from drink and draw, lead poisoning, and turpentine inhalation with jogging on the river, yoga class and a green smoothie—It all works out in the end.  I feel good about it.

Have fun making stuff but don’t go crazy! Cheers!



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