Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hands Down

Hands Detail - Paint Dancer
Why do we painters freeze up when it comes to hands? It could be because they are so complex, what with all of those joints and digits. Someone in the Saturday workshop asked me about hands and expressed how overwhelming they are! Part of the problem, I think, lies in the interference of our naming brain - the left brain. It is the part of our brain that organizes, categorizes and names. When our L-brain takes hold of the notion of "hand", it helps us to recall the 6-year-old notions of hands, all far to difficult to reproduce....it also recalls all of the times we have attempted and failed. In my opinion, we would benefit from the shift to the art-friendly R-brain, where the visual language exists only as visual....the hand becomes terrain, shades, lines and masses. Hands, for me, take a back seat to the overall rhythm of the picture, which is my goal. If it helps to support the movement, I count it in. The gesture of the hand is more important than any of the pieces/parts. Then, as I distill and simplify, only important parts of the hands are described, as supporting actors, so to speak. All artists are different, dependent on their personal aesthetic choices. Just yesterday, I perused some paintings by Daniel Greene....the hands are exquisite, in all of their veiny detail. He has determined what works for him, and I for me. The Art Spirit by Robert Henri is my art-bible.

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