Full Speed Ahead… Sort Of
“I draw. I paint. My shoulder hurts.”
I’m not sure where I first saw that phrase, but I know I’m stealing it from another artist. So I use it with humble apologies and great thanks. It’s so true. After several days of extreme discomfort, which started as a sharp pain just under my right shoulder blade, continued up to my shoulder, then down to a dull ache in my elbow and a tingling numbness in a couple of fingers of my right hand, I finally decided it was time to visit the doctor. The shoulder and elbow pain has been chronic for years, coming and going, generally in direct correlation with extended periods of computer (mouse) time, or several hours of painting over a couple of days. The sensation in my fingers was something new, very much like that electric shock tingle you get if you hit a certain bone in your elbow. But this was lingering pain and continuous numbness over about four days. I didn’t like it. First, it was something new for me, and second, drawing and painting were becoming painful activities. It’s also kept me off the computer, which is probably not all bad.
The doctor diagnosed it as a pinched nerve, and prescribed drugs that should begin to ease the condition. It’s only been a full day, but it can start to work any time now, as far as I’m concerned. I’m tired of it. In fact, I had no idea how many typos could be created with a numb index finger.
I just didn’t want to let the blog sit much longer with no activity. At least now my subscribers (bless you one and all) will know what’s going on.
It appears that using the computer is still more painful than wielding a pencil or brush. The doctor didn’t restrict me from doing anything I felt like doing. So, because I just couldn’t stand another day sitting in front of the TV reading, I’ve started a new painting. It’s based on a couple of photos I took in Ohio’s Amish country a few weeks back. It’s also another large piece. As I’ve said before, 20×30 is very large for me as a gouache painter. Here’s my preliminary pencil sketch:
And below is the initial block-in with pretty wet, transparent washes. As I’ve noted before, at this stage, it almost has the appearance of having been laid in with big fat color markers. Since I don’t have many huge brushes, this was done with #4 and #6 bristle filberts. Actually, I do have a couple of larger brushes, and as I look at this stage, I just might do some experimenting with more washes before I start to apply thicker paint. We’ll see.
So now I paint. For a while, at least. Hopefully, the most painful part will have been the act of typing this article.
But then, I’m an artist. I draw, and I paint. And sometimes my shoulder hurts.
I’ll get over it.