What To Do When Your Mouse Hand Quits On You

Posted Mar 30, 2007
Last Updated Jun 21, 2012

Not sure what category this belongs under. It's for anyone who uses a computer. During 2006, my left hand went on strike. What to do? Well, here's what I did, as told in a press release for a show I had in May, 2007...

Bruce Price’s new art show "Low Tech/High Tech" presents one of the oldest ways to make art and the newest way. Ink drawings with digital paintings? Why the extreme mix? There’s a story:

For many years Price explored what can be done with pure digital (that is, no photos or scanned material). His innovative work got in 40 shows; he won prizes. In the process, he put in more than 6,000 hours clicking a mouse. "Unfortunately," Price explains, “my left hand finally screamed, no more!"

When his hand started to cramp, Price wondered, suppose he had an accident and was forced to use the other hand. “One day,” he recalls, “I moved the mouse to the right side, and never looked back. I can still use the left for four-finger typing. But no mouse work.”

Then Price had a further thought. Why not draw with the right hand to help make it more coordinated. He envisioned an art where the line would be loose--all that his right hand was good at anyway. He’d make a virtue of necessity.

“What happened,” Price recalls, “ was very interesting. I ended up exploring this very primitve medium as if it were some brave new technology. I made experimental art with pens and markers exactly as I had made it with digital tools--aim for the new, try not to repeat myself, and, as Andre Gide put it, hope that God does the heavy lifting.”

(Low Tech/High Tech can be viewed at Word-Wise Modern, Price’s studio/gallery in Norfolk, Va. Call 757-455-5020 for appointment.)

Fact is, millions of people are having troubles with their mouse hand. And people are doing lots of strange thing to deal with this problem, including acupuncture, braces, pain killers and surgery.

The last thing they think of is changing their "good hand." Admittedly, it's awkward. But let me just put this happy thought in your head: you do have a spare hand. Like a virgin, as Madonna said. Maybe it's a good plan to use it more often, get it ready.

I hope, in time, to go back to digital art using my right hand.

If you look at the art on the right, you'll see that some of it is quite precise. So I had better explain that I use my left sometimes. Drawing tends to use the whole arm, and I found that this action doesn't aggravate my hand. The reason the mouse is a problem is that we are doing these tiny little movements, mainly with our first finger. The hand, as I often explain it, is designed for swinging through trees, not for little chicken-scratching repetitions.

PS I just noticed that my "homepage" link below is an art site called Price.myexpose.com. Please visit it to see digital art and, on page 4, more of the ink drawings. I'd like to mention that I write a great deal about education, mainly on my site Improve-Education.org. If you're in the mood for reading, this is a good spot.


Only the following HTML Tags are permitted: <em><i><strong><b><u>