July 15, 2012

"Hands" - The July 2012 Diana Moses Botkin Artist's Challenge

Oil on museum quality Ampersand Gessobord panel  - 8" x 8"

Challenge indeed!  This month's theme is "hands" - the bane of many a painter, myself included. Upon seeing this month's challenge theme, I had half a mind to paint the face of a clock.  After all, Diana didn't exactly specify what kind of hands. I suppose if it wasn't difficult or slightly "out of the box," it wouldn't be a challenge, would it?  Why is depicting the metacarpus so difficult?  Why are our paws so hard to portray?    I have often heard that the expression, "that will cost you an arm and a leg" was based on early portrait painters who charged the least amount for a bust, more for a painting that included the arms and hands, and yet more for a full length portrait.  Further research on the internet seems to debunk that explanation, but I am sticking with it. 

Here is another theory:
Adam told God he was lonely, so God said, "I will create a perfect companion for you who will always look after you, do all the house work, cook all the food, carry your children, look after you when you are sick, love and cherish you always. When you have an argument your companion will always be the first to say "I'm  sorry because you were right."
"That sounds too good to be true," said Adam.  "How much will this 
cost me, God?"
And God said, "An arm and a leg."
Then Adam said, "What can I get for a rib?"
And the rest is History.

Hands, often even more than faces, express a lot about a person.  Why is that, I wonder?  My mother was a particularly expressive, theatrical talker - her hands waving and gesticulating wildly as she spoke.  Yet even at rest, her slender hands proclaimed her style and grace.  

I would have loved to have had even just ten minutes with John Singer Sargent while he was painting the hands on one of his portraits.  Painted with an exiguous amount of strokes, they are almost abstract when you get right up on them.  The fluidity and expressiveness of his hands are almost too much for this artist to bear.    

Here are my  fellow challengees' mitts:

"Blue Egg"
Oil on hardboard 6"x6"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

"'lil Mama-San"
6x6" Oil on Linen
© V.N.Ross


vickiandrandyrossart said...

I agree, Mark. One of my tutors used to say that most realism painters always hide the feet in grass or skirts...and the hands are always amorphous. He claimed that was because the artist didn't know how to paint them!

I like 'what you get for a rib'...funny quote!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

What a lovely painting... and some entertaining musings.

Every month when we have a new Challenge I turn over a number of ideas in my head before I settle on something. It's so fun to see that you painted something similar to one of my thoughts about this Challenge.

Wouldn't it be fun to expand the Challenge for a week and keep painting several ideas we've each had?