Under the threat of yet another snow squall, I finally set myself to the daunting task of trying to paint with my non-dominant left hand. Since the fall last Thursday that precluded the use of my right hand, we have been inundated with snow. We have as much on the ground as one would expect in January. The roar of snowmobiles is already audible. I have not quite plucked up the courage to go for a walk outside past the mailbox. I cannot tie my boot laces anyway! My situation has changed and could yet change as quickly as the landscape here has in recent days.
I cannot tie my own shoes or do up buttons because my thumb is completely immobilized in the cast. (I’ll attach an image further below). My food must be precut like that of a three year old and everything is cooked for me. OK – the part about getting cooked for is generally true anyway, I don’t really cook…. I try, but even with both hands, the results are often less than desirable.
The cast does not come off for another couple of days yet – and there are no guarantees it will stay off. While the hope that this is all very temporary is still powerfully in place, I picked up the brushes. At first I held them in a claw, like the way I have been wielding a fork lately, to gnaw on my food. Then, I began to move my grip down the shaft of the brush handle and started pushing paint. The muscles in my left arm are not developed for this kind of movement and I experienced cramps that made me think that my arm was running a marathon.
As for the subject of this experiment, I thought I would start with something very simple, something that would help me practice broad steady strokes. I confess, I am not ready for the challenges of detail, so the image is very much as foggy as my ability to see into my own immediate artistic future. Inspired by the image at the title of the blog, I thought I’d take a shot at Lake Superior….
The near useless fingers of my right hand made a very convenient brush holder and carried me through the frustration of having to reverse my every thought. Instead of working from left to right, as I am accustomed, I found the strokes were easier to control when I went from right to left.
I am not certain that anyone is going to get too excited about this one, but I would say it is a solid first effort – and encouraging enough that the thought of losing the use of my right hand for up to three months is a little less frightening. It could take a very long time, if ever, for me to match the product of my right hand, but then, I wonder, maybe it should have a style of its own. I think I’ll try again tomorrow…..
Now if only I can get my writing to look a little better than a first grader…. Then I can get out of the house, to the bank, and do a little retail therapy!
As promised… here is an image of my cast, taken an hour after returning from the hospital last Thursday….
Also, I have added a few images to the Artscapes Gallery page here on the blog, so you don’t need to go back to the website to see paintings. It is only a selection though, the full Gallery is a link.