Saturday, April 2, 2011

Studio Ergonomics

I did a live painting today at Flax Art and Design as a promotion for the upcoming Mission Open Studios. It was a fun experience with many people stopping by, asking questions, complimenting my work, and taking postcards. It wasn't at all uncomfortable for me to paint while having people watch me. It did make me realize something though.

While painting there, I realized that I am lucky with the set-up in my studio. I have a custom made table that was made by a friend of mine who does awesome carpentry. The table is perfect for my height, which is kinda tall at 5'8", so that even when I am sitting down on my stool, I don't strain my arm or shoulder while reaching for my paint. I didn't realize until today how important that was. The Flax people had a pretty nice set up for me. There was an easel, comfy stool, and a taboret for me to put my supplies on. There were even other easels set up so that I could show some completed paintings. They were very accommodating and super nice. The problem was that the taboret was pretty short for me, about waist length, so that I was having to kneel a bit in order to get more paint while I was standing, and when I was sitting, it was still pretty low. I didn't think much of it until hour number two when my right should REALLY started to hurt. By the end of hour three I was hurting pretty badly. I didn't realize how important it was to have a table/ taboret set up at the right height. I didn't know how much damage it would do to my body if it wasn't. I guess I just didn't think about the ergonomics of a studio.

I do recall having a lot of neck pain for while, back when I started painting a lot. It took me a long time to figure out that all I had to do was lean back my easel a bit and all my neck pain was relieved. It was kind of a "duh" moment. It's these little things, like table height and easel angle, that help us do what we do more comfortably and with less damage to our bodies. I wouldn't have thought that kind of stuff was important. I was wrong. I'm sure I'll figure out more things about the right way to set up my studio...although sometimes it takes me awhile.

It doesn't look like I got much done in three hours, huh?

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