I believe most of us need to be creating something – writing a book, painting a picture, or a myriad of other acts of making, even creating a perfect lawn. We humans are makers of stuff.
This urge is persistent into old age, when we sometimes lose the abilities necessary to create in the ways we want. In my case, arthritic hands have made several techniques and media inaccessible. First thing to go was woodcarving. I was just getting started and have only three pieces I was able to finish. I won’t recite all the media I enjoyed at one time but can no longer manage. The bottom line is that now I don't have many choices for creative outlets.
I’m not alone in this. I know of two other women who have lost their ability to control a paintbrush because of hand tremors. Both have made beautiful paintings in the past. Both are trying to use the tremors to their advantage, creating abstractions using watercolor for one and charcoal on paper for the other. They just can’t quit making.
For myself I have taken refuge in photography. I have a small digital Cannon that I can easily grasp. Luckily I don’t have tremors, so I can focus and steady the camera. The iPhoto on my computer has several thousand photos. It wasn’t enough to look at photos on my computer; I wanted to see prints, too, of my favorites, but I didn’t want to fill my house with framed photos or photo albums.
Nancy got me started on the right path. She asked me to have some notecards printed using my photos. It was the perfect solution for me. I would get to see the printed photos and I would have a nice supply of gifts, not only to Nancy, but also other relatives and friends.
I’ve had three different batches printed. One of the first batch was called “Peas in a Pod.”
The second batch centered on photos taken on Galveston Island, such as this feather.
Now I’ve had a fourth set printed, this time 20 copies each of nine different photos. One of these is “Rural Road in Autumn,” taken on a road we often travel to town.
The process is amazingly easy. One simply carries PDF versions of photos on a zip drive to the printer. My first printer didn’t furnish proofs, but I found that Printing Solutions in Lawrence does, so I switched. After I look at the proofs I can sit down with Chris, who does the tweaking of image placement, if needed. If I sent Christmas cards, I could have had Christmas notecards made for about 50 cents each.
I’m thinking about going commercial. At my age, that would be ridiculous…or would it? I'm not interested in making money, but I need to make and share. Am I too old to dream?
Copyright 2014 by Shirley Domer