This post was inspired by an Insta story that my artist friend @mermaidscoin posted about how making art was giving her killer neck pain.
Oh Yes! Artist’s neck. Painter’s Pain. Whatever you want to call it. I know this pain and I am sure that there are loads of creatives struggling with it.
At one stage I was wondering how I was going to carry on as an artist because I could not cope with the insane pain in my neck and shoulder.
Many thanks to hubby Steve who massaged my shoulders every day for a while there but I knew that I needed a sustainable strategy as he has his own aches and pains (Hello late forties!).
A lot of the time we are hunched over our desks, working away and if you are drawing everyday then this pain intensifies.
I think we need to talk about this and share solutions because we have to take care of our bodies!!
Here are my neck/ shoulder/ back pain solutions in no particular order:
1. Set a timer for 20 minutes to stretch and re-align.
To keep myself on track and stay focused, I work in twenty minute increments. I use a simple and beautiful desktop app called FLOW.
After twenty minutes it goes ‘ping’ and I use this as a reminder to relax my shoulders and straighten my back. Training myself to to have better posture as I work.
2. Desktop Easel.
This is an absolute must if you are going to be painting every day. You can’t use it for all the things but by gosh it helps to straighten your back and neck. Mine is a Conda brand one that I bought from my local art store.
I like it because it’s big and flat and you can stick your colour swatches and test sketches all around your painting. It has a few different notches so you can adjust it to different angles.
3. Work Standing Up.
Every so often I stand up at my desk and work like that for a bit.
I would love to have a drawing bench in my studio that is standing height. That would be ideal. Then I would do a lot more drawing and painting whilst standing up. I think it’s so comfortable and my body is much freer.
4. Create big and small paintings.
As I work my shoulders, neck and back get locked up and tense. Especially when I am working in smaller sizes like A4 + A5.
Once in a while… I go large!
I make a big, loose painting so that I can allow my body to make big sweeping movements.
I think it helps to loosen up my body and my art.
5. Get regular massage.
We have to look after ourselves! If this is my job then I cannot afford to destroy my body doing it. This means regular maintenance. It is not frivolous to spend money looking after your body. Trust me. I’ve just come through nine months of cancer treatment. We are nothing without our health. However, I’m going to be straight with you and tell you that I don’t do this enough.
6. Adjustable Posture Trainer.
Steve bought me this posture corrector from K-mart and I scoffed at him. You put your arms through and it and it pulls back your shoulders. Do I look cool while I am working in this holster? No. Not in the slightest. But I have to admit… it does help.
These are my hot tips folks! Please tell me what you do to combat the ‘ole neck pain. Share this info around. Let’s help each other out here!