Best Studio Practice: D-Lead Wipes and Soap

31-+6ELKn+LAt the risk of sounding like your mother {stern finger pointed in your direction} I am going to insist that you wear latex gloves every time you paint in oil or any other toxic medium for that matter. Think of it as my own painterly initiative modeled after the “safe sex” campaigns of the 90s. Wear a rubber, every, single, time.

But you can take this Best Studio Practice one step further by using D-Lead hand wipes & hand soap. Originally created for fire arm enthusiasts, D-lead wipes & soap break the electromagnetic bond between skin and lead and other toxic heavy metals. I personally use the Hygenall Lead Off Wipes which is made under license from the Centers for Disease Control. In addition I use the D-lead soap. Both products are inexpensive and are an easy way to protect yourself from serious health risks due to our profession.

According to estimates made by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), more than 3 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to lead in the workplace. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. And Cadmium poisoning is possible due to its low permissible exposure limit, over-exposures may occur even in situations where trace quantities of cadmium are found. Cadmium is carcinogenic which is a scary word for cancer (as if that needs to be any scarier) and cadmium dust inhalation and cadmium fumes may cause flu like symptoms including chills, fever, and muscle ache sometimes referred to as “the cadmium blues.” More severe exposures can cause tracheo-bronchitis, pneumonitis, and pulmonary edema. Symptoms of inflammation may start hours after the exposure and include cough, dryness and irritation of the nose and throat, headache, dizziness, weakness, fever, chills, and chest pain. Clearly to avoid air-borne inhalation a good HEPA air ventilator is advised. I purchased mine through Jerry’s Artarama and even had my flexible health plan pay for it.

So make your Mama proud. Put on a rubber every single time & be sure to run your HEPA air ventilator when painting in your studio. Enough said, now go clean up your room!

Art Library


My Art Library page contains an assortment of books and DVD videos on the topics of art, art making & creativity that I am currently reading or have read (or watched) and highly recommend. These are books and videos that have changed my thinking and my process and I hope you too will grow from them.

Mastering Work Flow: Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

A while back I came across this amazing documentary of Master Sushi Chef Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant. I told anyone who would listen, especially artists, that they HAD to see this mind blowing film. You may be asking yourself now “what does a sushi master and an artist (or any other profession for that matter) have in common?” The answer is deceptively simple, mastery of one’s craft through a conscious and disciplined daily practice.

Right from start of the film, Jiro issues this edict: “Once you decide upon an occupation you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”

Jiro approaches his craft in the way of “Shokunin” (meaning artisan), the Shinto belief in executing everything perfectly, every single day, over an entire lifetime. Anything can be approached in the Shokunin way, no job is considered inferior or beneath oneself. The wisdom here is obvious and applicable to anyone’s life.

I kept having to stop the movie to take notes. Here is some more advice worth remembering:

“It really comes down to making an effort & repeating everyday”

“It has to be better than the last time. That is why I am always tasting during preparation”

“Each of our vendors are specialists in their field (i.e. surround yourself with excellence and use only the best materials)”

“All I want to do is make better sushi. I improve bit by bit, day after day and progress forward. But no one knows where the top is”

“In order to make delicious food you must eat delicious food (in other words, in order to make great paintings you must see great paintings)”

“Without good taste, you cannot make good food (educate your tastes)”

“If your taste is not better than your customers how will you impress them?”


Jiro Dreams of Sushi is available on DVD through Amazon and streaming via Netflix and ITunes.

Plein Air painting – why do it?

Excellent post Frank! I would also add that the benefit of working from life and Plein air is that you develop a calligraphic short hand to your mark making that you would not get if you were only working from photographs. It is this bravura mark that most artists, including myself aim to achieve.

Your work is beautiful and I look forward to your posts. Thank you for posting!



There has been a strong move back to painting on location in the last couple of years. Many painters do almost nothing else, so 90 percent of their work is done outside. Why would anybody want to subject themselves repeatedly to painting in the heat, cold, wind, surrounded by flies, passers-by with lots of questions and get sun stroke? Why not just take pictures and paint in the comfort of the studio?

The answer is obvious, but also more complex than it seems. Cameras record a place but don’t do it very accurately. Values are usually off but also the subtle color relationships within the subject matter are not captured well. Our senses are just so much more keen than a mechanical or digital ‘thing’.
Unless we do a completely value based painting, it’s important to pick up on all the subtle color nuances that the camera can’t see.It’s up…

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