Dr. Jekyll - Steampunk Art Update

I FINALLY have a Dr. Jekyll Update for you. (btw I know the Dr. Jekyll half of this diptych isn't really steampunk - just Victorian - but the search engines are logging these posts in a certain way and I want to maintain consistency across entries - and Mr. Hyde is decidely steampunk so it will even out in the end. )

First a quick bit of background. Some years ago I was diagnosed with Chemical Sensitivity. This sucked big time of course especially since I couldn't use my most favorite medium any more - Oil Paints. I did look into alternatives at the time but unfortunately with CS you can become so sensitive that even smells that are not toxic but have a toxic association can trigger a response. So even though I tried using turpentine alternatives the paints themselves made me sick sick sick.

Happily after several years off and an all natural organic diet (and eliminating refined sugars, High Fructose Corn Syrup and wheat from my diet - which allowed my body to detox and reboot) I am MUCH better. And I've found I can use my oil paints again.

I had suspected I could for a while now for a variety of reasons. But I proved it yesterday while painting Dr. Jekyll.

See I HATE acrylics for portrait painting. Now let me explain before you get upset. There is nothing wrong with acrylics it is a great medium. Many many amazing artists use them and do amazing things with them. I however, do not. Acrylics just don't mesh with my painting technique. They work fine for me when I am painting Munnys or Manga or Design work - because I paint differently when I create those kinds of things. But when I portrait paint - when I am working in realism - I tend to "buff" the paint onto the surface and blend blend blend. Acrylics just don't work for me in that respect then.

So yesterday as I sat down to paint I looked at the acrylics with dread and said there had to be a better way  and resolved to try oils again but with some major differences.

One major change is that I no longer use turpentine or any of its alternatives. To clean my brushes while painting I use simple Safflower Oil and paper towels. This works brilliantly. Then at the end of the painting session I cleaned the brushes with shampoo and water.

This experiment went so well that I now feel comfortable investing in some Walnut Oil based paints and dive back into oils again. I painted all day yesterday and felt fine. Yay!

Here is yesterdays progress.

The little sparkly glints are just where the light has hit still wet oil paint.

I don't know about you but I see a MAJOR difference in the quality of the painting in this piece versus when I was still working in acrylics. I'm interested in your thoughts as well.