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April 30, 2018

No, not those kind of joints. I’m talking about the kind with bones and muscles and tendons. I have been seeing a physical therapist a couple of times a week, and this morning the physical therapist told me to put the brushes away for a while. After a couple of hours yesterday, my right shoulder, bicep and elbow became increasingly painful, to the point that I had to stop painting. My doctor, the xrays and the PT all indicate it’s not the rotator cuff but the muscles and joints from the back and shoulder down to the elbow that are causing the trouble. The PT’s exercises make it better, but the movement of easel painting makes it worse (different motions). So… I’ve put the large canvases and the easels away and will go back to table top work. Maybe some small gouaches or pen & ink and watercolor work. We’ll see what happens with the smaller arm and wrist motion. The physical therapist advised that, even with that, I should stop every 50 minutes to an hour and take at least a 5 minute break. That’s not easy to do when you’re focused, in the zone and enjoying the process.

I may try painting left handed again, but I found that there’s a subconscious switch that takes place, the brush somehow finds its way back into the right hand and I’m painting normally again without even thinking about it. So the easel painting may just have to go on hold for a while. I’ll pull out the gouache and illustration board and see how the arm does with that at smaller sizes. Looks like more meandering is called for.

I need a gouache refresher anyway.



7 Comments leave one →
  1. Terry Wilkinson permalink
    April 30, 2018 4:53 pm

    Funny how the older we get the more unresponsive to authority we also get So Ralph hang up the easel and canvasses and get yourself back to normal well as normal as it will get in real terms

  2. Roberta Sawatsky permalink
    April 30, 2018 6:27 pm

    Oh, sorry to hear that. Take care and get better.

  3. mywordminji permalink
    April 30, 2018 10:03 pm

    Love to see some more gouache! Try MSM and/or Borax for pain. 🙂

  4. May 1, 2018 3:09 am

    I also had. So painful after a while painting. My painter easel set low, so I get no power on my shoulders helps very well. Wish you a quick recovery, you are a great painter and draftsman,

  5. May 1, 2018 10:04 am

    Get well soon..

  6. Gary McCarty permalink
    May 9, 2018 11:08 am

    I had an extensive shoulder repair 3 years ago. I went to painting small and on a horizontal surface with quick drying mediums: acrylics and casein. What surprised me is that I really enjoyed it. I often paint that way now by choice.

    • May 9, 2018 4:16 pm

      Gary, the interesting thing is that I started out using gouache working flat on an old Hamilton drawing table. I switched to an easel and it seemed to loosen my painting work up a bit. I have an EasylLite with a tripod that I still want to take outdoors and try to use with it almost lying flat. We’ll see how that goes.

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