Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fitness Right In Your Own Studio

When I'm painting, I have a tendency to get so lost in my painting world that I forget I have a body that needs to stretch. Sometimes hours go by and I'm still holding the same position, often one that leads to cramped back and shoulder muscles. Well, here is the solution! Sitting on an exercise ball will remind you to take care of the position of your lower back. You should start out only using it for about 10 minutes at a time and build up to switching your usual chair for it. If you jump in too soon and use it for your whole day of painting, you'll probably get a pretty sore lower back. So be smart and take it slowly. It keeps your core toned as a great bonus!

These are some of my favorite stretches that I can do right in front of my easel.

Get yourself a stretchy band or stretchy tubing (used in physical therapy, as well as Pilates and yoga classes) and hold it over head, pulling outwards until it's stretched kind of tight. Now, keeping your arms straight, lower them behind you and stretch out your shoulders and the entire front of your upper body.

Keeping the stretchy band tight above your head and your arms straight, lean to one side and then the other, stretching your ribcage and lats.

Sitting up straight with the band held tight and in front of you, twist from one side to the other, pulling back with the back arm and front with the front arm. This gives a good rotation to the entire spine and eases tension in your upper back muscles.

Doing these types of stretches at least once an hour while you are working will make you able to do MORE PAINTINGS and you can be like Charles Schultz and create until the very end!


  1. I love getting a view of your workspace/studio set-up here. Cool easels.

    The ball is a great idea. I used to keep a mini-trampoline and bounce whenever I stood back to look at the work.

  2. What a cool idea! Now I have to get a trampoline.

  3. Great tips Julie! It looks like the balance ball isn't that much lower than most office seating. And hey, I even found one with "training wheels"!: I keep meaning to pick up a resistance band-so simple and inexpensive, but they look really effective. Now have you ever seen those new treadmill desks?

    The lab painting looks AMAZING!

  4. Thanks for the nice words about the painting, Jen! I'm excited to finish it and see how it looks.
    And, yes, I have seen the treadmill desks--that'd be quite a challenge for painting!

  5. Thanks for sharing so many great tips! I love this one in particular, since I am like most artists, and also get lost for hours in a time in a painting, to wake up with cramped muscles. I really appreciate your advice, and a view into your studio, too!

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