Last week I wrote that artists frequently must deal with chronic illness and chronic pain. Here is a response to that post from one artist, the Australian artist Trudie Moore (www.trudiemoore.com.au):
“I read your article with great interest, and was very grateful that you wrote about this issue. In 2008 I resigned from a Teachers’ Aide career in Special Education. I received little support after an attack by a mentally disturbed student resulting in a wrist injury. I didn’t apply for compensation, as the whole process would have been very stressful; so I walked away.
“I concentrated on building what had been a part-time hypnotherapy business into full time, and concentrated more on my encaustic art. Until 2 years ago, I was able to work for 3 or 4 hours at a stretch on an artwork but found that the injury had done damage to my shoulder which was not apparent at the time, and I began suffering from acute bursitis.
“Now, due to the body trying to compensate, I have pain and damage in both shoulders. I’ve had surgery on both, and still have pain that is managed with a combination of cortisone injections and slow release pain medication. So how has this impacted my art? Well, the bursitis is aggravated by repetitive movements and by staying in one position, so I work for around half an hour, then have a break and walk around.
“I also scoured the Internet for a lightweight heat-gun as this adds to the strain. I found a German-made one that is half the weight of hardware store models. Making sure I sit comfortably is important, and the height of my workbench and chair are also important, so that when I am holding the craft iron that I use a lot in wax painting it is not adding strain on the shoulder and arm.
“Whereas before I would just do my art regardless, I now have to plan and re-think how I do things because I know if I allow my head and passion to over-ride my body I pay the price for several days.”
Do you have a story of dealing with chronic illness or chronic pain as you endeavor to work at your art? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Eric Maisel is the author of 40+ books. His next creativity coaching trainings begin in February: