Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fine Motor Skills, Test One

My fine motor skills are slowly returning after medication induced dystonia that began in October 2015. It was so severe I couldn't walk for months, hold cutlery or speak without stuttering. I often retreated into involuntary silence as my brain misfired: thoughts blanked and limbs either froze or spasmed violently, uncontrollably. These days I can move and speak almost fluidly. I can perform everyday tasks. However my ability to control very fine movements is still recovering. I let it be for a while, in part so I didn't focus on what I couldn't do – a coping mechanism to prevent despair. But it’s time to test the range of movement in my hands. If you click on each photograph you can see a larger, higher quality image.

Preparing to paint a hard-edged gouache study. I drew the first, small version last year, before the dystonic reaction.
Custom mixing gouache paint to match the colours of my digital study.
Speeding up the drying process between coats by gentle blow-drying. Years ago I saw Howard Arkley do it in a documentary. It works on goauche and acrylics, not so well on other types of paint.
The only time I use masking tape for hard-edged paintings is on the border of gouache studies.
After several coats of each colour, the work is ready for a fine black outline. I'm pleased with the result but more tired than I expected. I'll take a break before the next stage, to rest my eyes as well as my body.

Rebuilding my psyche and physical self over the last few years has been exhausting. But with persistence – and reluctant periods of rest – my stamina has increased in each area.

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