Look Ma, no hands!

Egg posts have been light on the ground for the past two years, thanks largely to the pandemic. The covid-19 lockdowns that left so many people without work had the opposite effect for me. I worked very long hours which injured my right wrist, so now typing is a challenge. I use Nuance Dragon dictation software – a good option, though it takes practice to organise your thoughts in your head before saying them loud, and the odd things that happen when I forget it’s listening keep my coworkers amused!

But it’s not as easy to ‘write’ in company. Perhaps I need to learn to dictate while cooking dinner or something.

And it’s harder to edit photos. So much for my graphic design career…

So now my creative activities are modified to keep my hands happy. Sorry, crochet, you’re gone for now.

I’ve found some paint brushes with ergonomic handles which I’ll be trying this Easter. And I’ve had a play with pastels for my second yearly Pawly Drawn Pet portrait for the wonderful Canberra Street Cat Alliance (well, I’ve done it twice, so that’s a tradition, right?) – they’re chunkier, so easier to hold, and less about the fine detail.

Then my daughter and I discovered diamond dot painting, spending hours and hours transferring tiny little plastic dots onto pre-designed canvas paintings – kind of glorified paint-by-numbers. Sounds tedious but it’s actually very relaxing, almost meditative. A way to create something pretty without having to think too hard. It gave me a creative outlet when other options weren’t available.

Dot painting could be done in short bursts, I could use more ergonomic tools (there’s a whole industry out there creating bits and pieces for it!) and even do it left handed. And I coud do it while watching TV with my hubby in the evenings. I finished one brightly coloured cat…

…and thought ‘Sure, I can do this!’ and bought myself a giant canvas of The Campfire, by Deborah Malcolm.

I got it all organised – putting all the different colours into separate little containers and off I went. The design I chose has large blocks of the same colour, which looks good when done but there’s less of an immediate buzz from finishing a bit.

It’s now added to my huge collection of UFOs (UnFinished Objects), while taking up a large amount of room in my loungeroom.

I think one of the reasons I ran out of steam was because it’s someone else’s design, not enough of my own creativity. But it was great to have something to keep me going.

So when it came to summing up my year leading up to last Easter, I needed a way to represent my wrist problems, but in a positive light. So I decided to dot paint an egg.

My immediate family decided a few years ago to do an Easter version of Kris Kringle, and last year my son James got me. He lives in Canada, so had to order me a tasty Easter surprise online. He chose two delicious chocolate blocks from a local Canberra company, Sweet Pea and Poppy, and one was covered in sprinkles (the pieces were also triangular, which made them extra amazing!). Rainbows plus chocolate – what’s not to love?! And there was the inspiration I needed for my egg…

Freckles! The obvious choice. Each freckle IS a mini dot painting made of sugar!

I conducted some highly important (and tasty!) research on freckles, starting with my sprinkle chocolate, to get the colours right.

Emily gave me spare diamonds from kits her kids had ‘done’ (aka spread all over the floor) – much better freckle colours than mine.

I painted my egg a lovely, rich chocolate brown and dotted away.


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