Is it OK to use silicone in my paintings?

From time to time people will ask about whether it is safe to use silicone and a torch with their paints. Or whether this form of art is 'archival' quality because of the materials we use.

Based on a thread about this subject here -

I don't have a video on this but I'm happy to chip in with my opinion. (which is just opinion, not fact).

1) I feel that in order to give off toxic fumes silicone oil would need to be heated to a much greater temperature than simply gently warming the paint as we do. That being said, I am no expert on peoples lungs. You should always paint in a well ventilated area whether you use silicone or not. You should also avoid burning the paint or heating it enough to make it bubble - that’s just common sense. If in doubt, don’t use a torch at all. There are plenty of recipes and ingredients that can make cells without torching. I rarely find it necessary to use a torch on my paintings these days. The 'easy cells' recipe doesn't need you to torch, although you can if you wish.

2) Not all art has to be 'archival' and designed to last in museums for centuries. Many of the worlds most popular pieces are transient, or made of perishable materials. (See this article about Jackson Pollack -

Some of our most famous artists used house paints instead of artist quality paints and no one questions it. Museum conservators are charged with preserving art as best they can. I for one, paint for fun, not for posterity and think my art is more likely to end up in a landfill or thift store a year from now, not in a museum 100 years from now.

Read more about 'archival' art here - What does archival mean?

3) Silicone being an oil, floats above the water based paints and torching actually encourages it to do that. When the painting is dry, much of the oil is on the surface and is removed before varnishing and finishing. How much remains within the body of the painting I cannot say and how this may affect the paint decades down the line, no one can know for sure.

4) Meghan did a very interesting YT video testing paint adhesion ( based on the guidelines set out on the Golden website and according to her tests and their standards, paint adhesion was excellent even with a substantial amount of water added.

5) That being said, there are recipes that don't involve the use of any oils and use alcohol instead, so you may prefer to try to make cells with alcohol. I have had limited success with this so I don't include any recipe in this class attempting to make cells that way. Alcohol evaporates as the painting dries.

6) If in doubt, every painter has to make up their own mind, do their own research and use their own safety precautions. Everything you see here in this class, in the group, on my website and my YouTube channel is a suggestion, not a rule. With acrylic pouring, there are no rules!

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