Sunday, September 15, 2013

Making Art Is Not for Wimps

Making art is not for wimps.  I've written before about the many difficult aspects of art making in relation to self-doubt, schedules, expensive, creative blocks , etc.  But there is another aspect that is just as important and just as difficult.  Our physical selves.

Have you ever found that you have stood for hours over your art without a break.  Then you decide to take that break and find that your body is "frozen" into whatever position you were in.  Standing, sitting, bending over a table, sitting at a machine, hand writing or typing your novel on the computer.  Any of these activities performed too long can really cause you problems.  I visited with a friend this week who is a writer and she shared with me the problems she is having from working hours on end.  She writes the initial copy for her books by hand and confessed that she's been know to work so long that it was necessary to bind ice packs to her hand just so she could hold her pencil and keep writing.  Ouch!

A couple of years ago I began to have lower back pain which I'm sure was directly connected to how I work and working too long with no stretching or contra movement.  I'm happy to report that I looked around and found an excellent yoga instructor who has helped me begin to strengthen my back and limber up some very stiff joints.

My suggestions are nothing that you don't already know.  Get up and do something different from what you are doing.  Take a walk, swing your arms,  do some yoga, lift some weights.  Don't forget your eyes, ears and lungs either.   Have your eyes checked, wear your sunglasses, get a check-up.  Don't be a hero, don't push through pain if you don't know why you're hurting.  Wear your eye and hear protection, use a face mask when indicated, read the ingredient list of the materials you use and follow the safety directions.

If you are young, start a practice to keep yourself in good shape or improve your condition.  If you are mature, start a practice to keep yourself in good shape or improve your condition.  You just start wherever you are.

I think I'll take a break now, stretch and have a cup of lemon tea with ginger and honey.

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  1. You speak the truth here! I can't do anything for too long anymore. About every creative thing I've done has eventually done me in...which may be one reason why I've shifted media every few years. I had to stop spinning after many years because my wrists couldn't handle it...I can't crochet at all any longer because of the wrist action necessary...standing at my sink rinsing out dyed fabrics hurt my lower back...hand- or machine stitching hurts my hands, wrists and arms...standing at either of my studio tables for too long doing mixed media hurts my hips...doing through magazines for fodder or cutting paper for handmade books hurts my neck. Oy, what's an artist to do! Rest and ice a lot, that's what!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Connie. I also know the truth of what you described. The resting is necessary, the icing helps and changing up the activities also helps. Who would have thought our passion to be so physically demanding?

  2. Thank you for bringing up an important issue we all face. Okay, I admit I'm older and less-spry. When inspiration strikes, I must take it in smaller measures and save some for another day. No all nighters because it's no fun to be physically knocked out for even a day. I work out at the gym, limber up with an arsenal of yoga, physical therapy and tai chi exercises, and soak in the hot tub so I may return to do more. I refuse to wimp out - can't face a life of active mind in an incapable body.
    Ginger lemon tea would be good now. Hugs to you!

    1. I am completely hooked on Lemon Ginger Tea! We are soul sisters!!!

      I'm with you regarding the idea of having an active mind but not being physically able to make your work or do the things you love. Very unfortunate. It sounds like you have taken action and are doing all the right things. My yoga instructor just recently said that a hot tub would benefit almost everyone. Cool.
      Great to hear from you.