Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hand Jive


I used to avoid drawing hands--in life drawing class I merely "suggested" them and the suggestion most often resembled oven mitts. Then I got curious about palmistry, (a thumb that can bend outward is the sign of an over indulgent personality is all I recall), and decided to sculpt my left hand for a journalistic paper cast I had in mind.I began the project by doing many drawings of hands, carefully observing the joinery of the phalanges to the wrist. The studies paid off. The paper cast came out okay. I titled it Tenacity, because day by day, sticking to what seems to be the same old, same old routine is exactly the routine that produces the new and exciting. When I went through my art photos, I noticed drawings of children showed up the most--yet none of them were newborns, the most cherished of them all. I decided to add a drawing of one to my portfolio.

New born hands are precious and at the same time ugly--bluish, pinkish, amazingly wrinkled twig-like forms with long skinny fingers topped with teeny tiny fingernails that need cutting but nobody wants to do it for fear of making them bleed. This drawing is a first get-acquainted effort.

Johnny Otis's Willy and the Hand Jive seemed silly in 1958. The tune made this seventeen year old crack up trying to follow along with the do-wah sisters. Years later, I need to seriously jive with these hands a drawing or two more, before moving on to the full figure. The expressiveness of the drawing is in these tiny hands.

NOTE: Johnny Otis passed away six days ago in California at the age of 90. Jivin' with his hands tickled him a nice long life. Laughter is key.

16 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,

    Amazing and bravo for your determination, it paid off and once again your blog is truly inspiring. I am now working on portraiture studies. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. That drawing is fantastic, Linda!!!

    Well blogged, too.

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  3. Hands take a lot of determination and time Joan. Right now with pencil; later with paint. Now there's a challenge for these little little baby hands are very articulate--maybe beyond me?

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  4. Thank you Casey. Slow and steady and lots of strategic points and lines to note. --So what's going to be in the little box from Paris?

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  5. Hands really tell a lot about us...I think they are not easy to draw/paint by they are certainly always interesting. Your sketch is great!

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  6. You're absolutely right Jane! I'll have to show you the photographs I took of my parents hands around the time I was fascinated by the subject. My motivation was: there were never hands more important to my life than these. Sentimental, I know, but when I look at the photographs now when those two people are no longer around, they bring tears to my eye---and I can feel how it felt to touch them. Those phot0graphs are very important to me.

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  7. I think this is fabulous! I drew a man, and colored him in watercolor just the other day. It was a sketch from life - he kept moving - and I kept his hand undefined. I thought it looked, you know, sketchy, arty, cool. My wife then said it was good, but what was with the claw? She is my most valuable asset, no question.

    I then surprised myself and drew in the hand without a model for it. Not the best hand in the world, but it looks like a hand and that's good. And it is much better than before.

    Hands are tough - and you did a great job - you are right - much expressiveness here. They are so tough to draw, and easy to try to avoid.

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  8. Those hands were very well drawn.

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  9. Ciao Linda, I like very much hands painted because are difficult to paint but if you can, they can tell a lot of thing ...like a face..
    I like also the painted serial, so your imagine it is very good for me.
    (My english is bad but...)
    Ciao, Floriana

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  10. Brilliant Drawing Linda. Also the paper cast. I agree with you about drawing Hands, I find them a nightmare to draw. You have done a brilliant Job of yours. All the best Linda.
    Vic.

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  11. Better claws, than oven mitts Dan. At least claws have phalanges. Oven mitts are just blobs. Slow and steady is the process--and in this case,total focus. Every portrait I ever did (there really haven't been that many) where hands were involved, I studied the hands separately. I sometimes draw my left hand white watching TV--but being that it's attached to my body,the positions are limited. LOL.

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  12. It was nice to see you back yesterday Evelyn! So are mangos, mangosteens?

    Thanks. This kind of drawing isn't a twenty minute knock-off. Lots of concentration and the thing I hate to do: thinking.

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  13. Thanks Floriana. Hands are tedious and time consuming, but well worth our time if we don't want to confine ourselves to just doing "bust" portraits. --Flowers? Flowers are fun, a joy.

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  14. Slow and steady Victor is the way to tackle hands. Years ago, I was going to buy one of those wooden hand models--but hands aren't wooden; they're soft and pliable and expressive. Studying the anatomy helps a lot. Doing separate studies are worth the effort. Thank you. I think you're brilliant.

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  15. I adore hands (not saying I'm good at drawing them...) and this is a great effort. I like that you included the mom's hand as well - makes it very intimate.

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  16. I don't know whether I adore them Margaret; they still require my close attention. But to get beyond painting what we called in the modeling business "head shots" and in the art business "busts," we have to get familiar with the rest of our anatomy. With every life drawing class,came a course in anatomy where we drew bones and studied musculature. Bones are beautiful. My favorite to draw was the os coxae, the hip bone; it had a challenging shape and a great name I loved saying: os-COX-ae.

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