After years of creating art, usually with my head bent over a panel placed on a table or on the floor, I have succumbed to serious neck and shoulder pain.
As mentioned in my last post, I’m not painting in the traditional way right now, though what I was doing wasn’t exactly traditional either.
For years I’ve worked in encaustic. Encaustic is a mixture of beeswax, damar resin and pigment, which is heated and applied in various methods on a panel. I preferred to use regular bristle brushes to apply my wax, but because it solidifies very quickly I found that the best way for me to work was to have my panel flat on a table. A slight angle was fine too, but a vertical panel didn’t work well.
Hence, my 7 pound head was hanging over a table at a degree that made it feel more like 35 pounds and hey, I’ve got one of those nerdy, long, skinny necks, which means I was creating a lot of trouble for myself.
Now, I’m mostly working digitally and I’ve been striving to find a way to keep my posture neutral. No slumping shoulders, no out-stretched neck, no reaching arm and bent wrist.
To that end I modified a small computer table I bought at Staples. In the picture above you see it as it would be if I use it for my drawing tablet, but I took off the side panel (where the mouse would normall go) so that I could put a drawing board in this same table and use it for analog drawing too. This little table-top tilts to a 45 degree angle, and because the whole thing is small and on wheels I can easily move it out of my way when I need to use my computer for writing.
It’s early days, but I think this might do the trick. Now if I could just figure out how to get the lighting right.
In the mean time, as you can see, I’ve decided to practice. I may not have anything to say in paint right now, but drawing for me is meditative, so for now, I’m doing the equivalent of scales: drawing hands, feet, gestures, contours, and so on.
Oh and I made this very strange lady. I stole some bits of her from a drawing by Wylie Beckert.