Thursday, May 23, 2013

Well Armed, Part I

© 2013 Hannah Phelps

oil on canvas, 6" x 9"

Many of you know that my right arm stopped working correctly just before Christmas. I still don’t know why - all any expert could come up with was “overuse injury."

To which I maturely roll my eyes and say, "whatever." As a right-handed artist, I am going to continue to use and over-use as necessary. 

But maybe not at first.

After a few months away from painting, blogging, printmaking, and other activities I enjoy but aren’t art related, I am feeling better. My right hand is no longer numb and my elbow rarely hurts. My shoulder still hurts sometimes. I am trying to be careful. I don't always know what that means.

For instance, there was a period during recovery when I knew I could a start working again, but I was a little scared. What if I relapse? What if I discover that I can’t make art without re-injury or pain? 

I avoided my easel and carving tools and a possibly painful answer. Plus, there was this monster of a question:

What if I have lost all my skills and only produce junk?

I admit that I let these fears control me for a few weeks and I’m not really ashamed of that.

But eventually, I had to climb back on the horse, jump into the pool, take the first swing....

Stop talking about it and pick up a brush, dip it into paint and swipe it at some canvas. Just to see what would happen.

So I did. And it was bad. Really, really bad. And I stepped away again for just a bit.

When I returned a second time, I set some boundaries: 

Paint small.

Work for an hour at most and then stop for a while.

When I feel tired, just put the brushes down and leave the studio - there is no need to clean up right away.

If I want to paint more later, do it.

Armed with these rules, good things started to happen. After a few bad little paintings, I started creating some good ones.....

That is enough reading for now. Enjoy this little seascape for a few days and I will tell you the rest of the story later!



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