Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ralph Mayer's "The Artist's Handbook"

Uncle Steve gifted me with this book when I was 14 years old.  I never read it cover-to-cover until I was well out of art school and raising my daughter.  I was painting with casein paint, my daughter was 18 months old and got into my palette.  My painting abruptly stopped when she started making gagging sounds, turned around to find she had her tongue hanging out, covered in yellow casein.  She survived after much mouth washing, and was not poisoned, but...

This book taught me safe studio practices, the properties of dry pigments, what pigments are deadly (think cadmium, lead, heavy metals).  There are instructions for making slaked plaster, how to prepare a canvas, which paints should never be sanded, how to gild, where to get supplies.  20 years later, I purchased the up-dated guide.  If you are serious about your art and you are into experimenting with materials you have to use this book and learn how to be safe with your art materials.

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