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Scott Bakal
Breathe Deeply
posted:
A few weeks ago, I was reminded how sensitive I am to smoke and oils.  One of my senior students was working in oils in class and had standard turps as his cleaning agent.  I haven't used oils in 7 years so smelling the stuff was a pleasant surprise for my memory banks for the first 20 minutes of this lingering odor.  Then, some odd things happened...my throat started closing up and my lungs started to feel heated...not really a burning sensation but sort of tightening up.  Those sensations eventually lasted about two days.
What a surprise!  I was surprised about how sensitive I got over time.  (The girls dig that...) Thinking about it, I rarely even smell cigarette smoke anymore either but when I do, I try to clear the room.  I smoked for 15 years while I was using oils and was constantly sick with strep throat and other bronchial issues.  One time (because of a Crystal Clear incident where I was spraying outside and accidentally breathed in some fumes) I got so sick to the point of getting pneumonia and having to live on antibiotics and steroids for two months.  Certainly nothing as bad as Parada's experience but still, every once in a while I think about the damage I've done to myself since 1987 using oils, Liquin, Cobalt Drier, turps and Crystal Clear on top of smoking well before that, the possible future scares the hell out of me.
Smoke Free: somewhere around 6 years  Oil free: 7 years....
That is my Public Service Announcement for the year.  Just say no.
The drawing for this was done last year when I was thinkng about my anniversary quitting smoking and I eventually did this piece a couple of months ago when I had some down time.
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Bakal is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!