Hot mugs and sketched circles

With each new winter, my right hand slows down just that wee bit more.
Decades of "poo shoveling" and hard outdoor equine management is starting to take it's toll on my joints - more importantly my right hand.
I'm not too worried (strong images of work produced by Renoir while crippled by arthritis remind me of what can be achieved when the passion is strong!)

Knowing that I am not the only artist relying on a fully functional, mobile hand, I would like to share my home remedies of how I try to overcome and beat the frustration of drawing with a slow, overworked hand.

A big chunky hard-wearing mug filled to the max with piping hot water is held a few minutes. This is too let the heat seep in and warm-up the whole of my hand. The warmth generated helps to relax it and get a better grip of my pencil. Bliss.
Once the warmth is in deep, I move on to a few warm- up exercises. Circles of all shapes and sizes are sketched on scrap paper. Paying special attention that they are produced at speed in nice flowing swoops in every direction.
After which, mug is re-held tight, fingers jiggled and "serious" drawing begins.
The process does take long but the relief and effects hang around for a good part of the first session.
If you have any other tips you would like to share. I would love to hear them.

"Reunion dans le jardin" (unfinished)
Auguste Renoir, 1911-1915
Despite the vivid colours and strong movement , this Renoir painting was no doubt created through pain and frustration.

"Renoir peignant"
Albert André, 1919

This painting by Albert André shows Renoir painting with his brush strapped to his badly damaged arthritic hand.


Linda Shantz said…
Ah...I can relate, Sheona! I hope by the time I'm no longer doing horses (if that day actually ever comes!) that I'm not to crippled to paint! Maybe we should be working on our brush and pencil strapping-in techniques now so we're ready when that day comes!
LOL! I have visions of a special kind of glove that would not only strap the pencil to my hand but also give off that all too welcome heat :D (mayb with my initials on it to give it that extra special "je ne sais quoi" ;)))))
Linda Shantz said…
Hmmmm....sounds like you're headed in the right direction! I like the heat idea!
Jo Castillo said…
Your drawings are so beautiful and lovely. There is no hint of the underlying pain. We take so much for granted. Thanks, Sheona, for sharing. I love your work.
Anonymous said…
Arr yes, I can also relate to this. I use alot of Aqueous Cream or some lovely smelling hand cream on my hands; they get very dry and when they are so dry, they seem to feel older, so to have my hands feeling so soft and "lush":) helps me feel I'm caring for them. Not so much a medicinal tip, but definitely a way to "treat" our precious hands!
Jo, thank you! Luckely the pain is just that: underlying and kicked to the side :D Hopefully it won't get too intrusive in the future.

iheartpencils, thanks for the tip :D I like to use hand cream just before I go to sleep. Never seem to remember where I put the tube if I try and cary it around with me. You are right hand TLC really does help!!

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