Pardon my absence from blogging these last few weeks, but I've had a bit of a tough road, health-wise this winter, and am only just coming out of it (I hope). For the last six months or so I have spent a good portion of my time chasing down the root cause of my aliments. In a nutshell it turns out that I have become allergic to many things. Suddenly, out of nowhere, my body developed rather alarming allergic reactions to common household products, metals, and even most of my clothing. Uncovering the culprits has been a bit like peeling an onion.
I have spent several weeks sorting through it all and purging what I could. It's costing us a small fortune and a lot of trial and error to replace these things in our home with ones that won't make me sick, but there is really no other way forward.
It's hard to pinpoint the how or why of it all. Could it be related to my occupation? Possibly. But just as easily it could have been set off by cleaning products, beauty products, or something in the water. Who knows? The only thing more I really want to say about it is that if you are an artist, protect yourself. I have been wearing latex free nitrile gloves for a number of years now, and consistently painting solvent-free en plein air and in the studio for the last 8 months or so. But there were many years before that when I was not so cautious and had my hands in solvents, likely breathed in volatile organic compounds on a regular basis, and allowed my materials too much direct contact with my skin. Bottom line, you have to treat your materials with a healthy dose of respect or else risk paying the price with your health.
Yes, I am still painting. I am trying to be less of a slob about it, and protecting myself as much as I can. Things are calming down with the allergies from my efforts, but it has been a long, tough road. This week though, I got back outside to paint, and it felt so good! Here's an in-situ shot of one of my paintings during a visit to the Meadow Farm Museum, where I twice visited this week. I haven't had a chance to photograph the finals but when the rain lets up I will share them also.