Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

These are a few of my favourite watercolours, from the painting-a-day challenge I set for myself in September.
With the word "pain" built right into *pain*ting, I decided to create a month-long series of fairly quick lunch-, dinner-, or break-time watercolours to mark international Pain Awareness Month.
Each day in September I painted something new, highlighting a different aspect of chronic pain or of pain research.
None of these 5 x 7" pieces are meant to be exhibition-quality works, but rather to garner interest and trigger conversations about chronic pain.
My #ArtDespitePain initiative, for chronic pain awareness, became organically intertwined with my art practice in part because they began at the same time.
In 2021 I transitioned from nature  photography to watercolour painting, with three distinct but related goals.
First, to use painting as a form of movement-therapy for my right hand and arm - both significantly affected by a rare pain condition with which I was struck in 2016.
Second, this new art-learning would serve as brain-plasticity training for my CRPS-related mild cognitive impairment, which had developed at the close of 2018.
Finally, I'd use the resulting paintings to raise awareness of chronic pain.
As an added twist I gave all thirty of these Pain Awareness Month paintings a Latin title, to reflect the archaic language still used in medicine and healthcare; language that perpetuates the power imbalance between patients and healthcare professionals.
If you have a favourite, please let me know through the Guestbook comments feature or over on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn  or X formerly Twitter).

Cephalgia; "Headache" in English

Nervi ignei; "Fiery nerves" in English

Nec quisquam melior medicus quam fidus amicus; "No doctor is better than a loyal friend" in English

Effigies sui; "Self-portrait" in English (an imagined view of my own nerves, affected by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome [CRPS])

Dolor draconis; "Pain dragon" in English