Last week just as I took one of many breaks from painting during the day I noticed a twinge in my shoulder. Later on it developed into a bigger pain, making it difficult to move my arm. The crazy thing was that it wasn’t my right shoulder. I’m right handed so you’d figure that if something were going to ache it would be the arm I was working with.
When this happened three days in a row I had to figure out what was causing it. As it turns out, because I sometimes work from a reference – a drawing, a small watercolor, or a small oil study that I hold in my left hand while I paint with my right, I was holding on so tightly that I was tensing up my shoulder. I remained completely oblivious to this as I worked resulting in tight, cramped, sore muscles in my left shoulder and arm.
I actually have a nifty device that I can employ to prevent this from happening. It’s a little “shelf” that can be clamped on to the easel, or even to the painting itself, that will hold a small drawing or a painting. The shelf is adjustable so that it can be attached to either side. This device actually has a name - it's called a Testrite Picture Holder. For some reason I had taken it off the easel. So I went and found it and reattached it to hold my reference drawing and I haven’t had a sore shoulder since.
Pictures of this helpful accessory in action are below:
In this photo I've removed the drawing so you can see the actual device:
Since buying this one I've noticed that there are other similar clips for holding reference material that are about half the price.
lines and colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts
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