Essential Tremor and Art

Ask anyone with hand tremors what is most difficult in their life, and they are likely to say the same things: drinking a glass of water, signing a check, buttoning a shirt. Since essential tremor is an action tremor, symptoms are most severe when you’re using fine motor skills. That said, can you imagine creating art while experiencing hand tremors? Many people do just this — and find it to be an excellent way to lower stress.

An Artist With a Tremor

A.V. Flores, based in New York, works on intricate, detailed paintings that blend humans, animals, and machinery together — and he does it all with a tremor. While it’s never stopped him from doing what he loves, it has still added a level of complexity and slowed him down. A single piece can take him up to three months. To counteract this, he takes beta blockers an hour before painting to relax his hands, and waits until each layer of paint is completely dry before continuing his work. Yet, with effort and patience, his paintings remain surreal and beautiful. Want to try picking up art yourself? Here are a few tips to get started.

Make References Your New Best Friend

If you’re nervous about others seeing your hands shake, don’t worry — there are plenty of ways you can find inspiration within your own home. Find a place where you feel comfortable and use printed-out photos for references while painting. If you’re completely new to art, try picking up a how-to book or DVD. Then, when you’re relaxed and ready, pick up those brushes! Staying as comfortable as possible will prevent stress from triggering a more severe tremor.

Use a Large Canvas

Don’t worry about miniature paintings. Instead, opt for large canvases to display your artwork. Think of your painting as one that will be seen from a distance! A jagged line here or there won’t be as noticeable, as everyone will be focused on the bigger picture. Try stepping away from your art and viewing it from a distance — you’ll see the smaller details won’t matter as much as you originally thought.

Don’t Rush

Like any hobby, painting can take time, and as A.V. Flores has shown, a good painting can take a little more time and effort when you have a tremor. That’s okay! You can choose a fast-drying paint, such as acrylic, and wait for the paint to dry before adding the next layer. This will make it easier to hide any mistakes; just paint over them and move on! You’ll be creating beautiful art in no time. Hand tremors can be stressful, making art a good opportunity to relax. However, if you find that your tremors are too severe for art — or other daily activities — consider looking into essential tremor treatment options. You can talk to one of our educators today about potential treatment options by contacting us online or calling 844-NO-TREMOR.