Painting hands has historically been a challenge for most artists. I happened upon painting hands in the 1990′s when I created a large body of work entitled “No Time for Idle Hands,” commemorating the women of the 1800′s. The hand was used to visually tell their stories.
Currently I have embarked in a news series “Your Inner Core,” where the hand(s) has re-appeared.
1. Before I begin painting, I have taken a number of different photographs of the visual concept I want to convey. I then sketch my idea and often on tracing paper. You will notice grid lines that I have drawn. These are on the back side of the tracing paper. The dimensions correspond with the 16×20 panel I will be using.
2. For the next step, I decide upon the color palette. Often my hand paintings are created using a triad color palette of: green, orange and purple. The paint is applied quickly and with a large brush. You can see that the directions of the brush strokes relate to the sketch above.
After this layer dries, I then lightly draw in the grid lines using a watercolor crayon. From there I can follow my preliminary drawing to draw in my hands.
3. I own the skeleton of the hand/arm. Here you can see that I have positioned it according to my concept. A sketch of the bones is drawn directly onto the panel. My apologies for not having a photograph of this stage.