Showing posts with label Hands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hands. Show all posts

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Expressing Inner Life

Artists are often reluctant to interpret their work when asked. A reason could be that the artwork is like a child and the artist the parent. The parent does not want to interpret the child, but rather have the child speak.

Hand of a Muse, mixed-media on panel, 20 x 16 inches (50 x 40 cm)

Furthermore, often there is great mystery in creating art—and it is not easily put into words. Accidents come into play (that are not accidents at all), and the art seems to breath and have a life of its own. Sometimes I finish a piece and when standing back to look, I catch myself saying, Wow, did I do that?

I have been making three-dimensional art recently and often, hands are included. The one shown here is new. I wanted to use a hand with forearm. It had to be situated so that it expressed itself. I had the thought that it could be dragging colors with fingertips across the white ground. To cover the arm, I had the idea to use pieces of broken mirror. 

As I broke a mirror into bits with a hammer, a piece struck me in my left eye. Ouch! Then I thought, How stupid of me. Why was I not wearing eye protection? Thankfully, I did not need to go to an emergency room and my eye was not cut. That was several days ago and it is still sore. I wonder why my left eye was injured (everything that goes wrong with me or suffers injury is on the left), and I also ask if it was fate that by breaking a mirror, which held my image, I would feel torment? Oh well, as they say, "No pain, no gain."

Now that the art piece is done, I will make an attempt to interpret it:
The white rectangle ground represents purity of space. White contains all the colors. The hand represents human endeavor, and art. It is interacting with the white, bringing forth colors that plays from fingertips. 
Color is vibrant life, like the inner life of an artist. The bits of mirror reflect light and the real world. They are broken in fragments, but recreating to be part of a whole—coming together to be part of the magic artist that is expressing inner life like reflections in a mirror.

As I finished, I decided to pour white over the colors streaming from the fingertips, to soften their notes, and further the mystery of coming forth from an enveloping matrix.

One day I noticed that I could go on working my art motif no matter what the weather might be. I no longer needed the sun, for I took my light everywhere with me. (Georges Braque)

Sunday, May 08, 2016


 Hands are essential to human life. How many poems have been written about them? Hardly any. Yet, think about it; we use our hands to make the world we live in. We grasp tools, drive vehicles and go places, feed ourselves, express ourselves, make music and art, write, climb, lift, caress and make love, hold babies . . . hands give us mobility, life and progress.

In art, hands are among the most difficult part of human form to convey. They are complicated appendages.

Appreciate your hands!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Three Hands

Voices of the Ancestors, oil on panel, 16 x 20 inches
Two hands are natural and emblematic of human beings—one hand is tragic—but what about three? I have a series of paintings using the theme of three hands. For most people, the images are perplexing, and that is okay with me, because I like mysterious pictures.

My first painting with three hands was made while I lived in Granada, Spain. My apartment was high on a hill in the Albayzín neighborhood, near the flamenco caves where dancers and musicians performed every night. I could paint, and walk around shooting photos during the day, and go to the caves at night. The house was great. I entered from a small street that had no cars, and passing through a narrow kitchen and living room, a couple stairs led to a spacious patio that overlooked housetops and the tree-lined river that flowed from Sacromonte into town. Directly opposite on a hill stood the walls and towers of Alhambra, the World Heritage Site. Another door on the patio led to a cozy bedroom.

Artist models are sometimes hard to come by, but with a mirror, a self-portrait can be made. I started a self-portrait, but wanted expression, so I included hands reaching to my face. Maybe because I was alone, and desired company, I added a hand coming from the top of the painting.

Soon, a French woman I met in Venice, Italy arrived to visit. We had become great friends in Venice, especially since she is a professor of art in a University in Nimes, France. I had visited her where she lived in Provence, and now she visited me. I did a portrait of her, and again, added an extra hand reaching down from the top of the painting, as if to touch her head. She liked the result, and also the self-portrait I had done. “You must do a series”, she suggested. I liked her idea, and in the next several months made more paintings with three hands.

Anne, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches
When I went to Berlin, I made a painting of my young German friend Anne, and used my own hand as the third one. Another time, I painted an abandoned house, high on a hill, in Andalusia, Spain. I put in three hands, as if gesturing. I call the piece “Voices Of The Ancestors”, as if spirits were re-visiting a place on earth they were familiar with.

Sometimes, while artists work, their unconscious is emerging in the process.   “Great art is as irrational as great music.  It is mad with its own loveliness.”  ~George Jean Nathan

I cannot entirely explain the meaning of having three hands in these paintings. It is to offer an element of mystery and surprise, and also my belief is that I have a muse, and I surmise I am including one hand of my muse in the paintings.

Self-Portrait With a Rose, (made while in Berlin), oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches
“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.”  ~André Gide

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Common Humanity

The surface of the moon became a stage when the astronauts landed there, and Madrid became my stage when I landed here. I have taken to the streets with enthusiasm and enjoyed the wide avenues, fashions, museums, street performers, vagabonds, and café life. My apartment is in the midst of it all, so I am part of the pulse. The Indian consulate issued me a visa, Nikon fixed my lens, I took a thousand photographs, made a new “three hands” painting, and visited some of the best museums in the world. The weather has been perfect, and I have not had a bad day.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum houses an art collection that originally was collected by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family for over two generations. The largest and most important part, over 800 important masterpieces, was acquired by Spain in 1993. It is one of the finest and well-organized bodies of art I have seen, and kept in a palace originally built in the 18th century, and then expanded and remodeled. The artwork spans the ages from classical to modern. A fantastic, large, Caravaggio painting, called Saint Catherine of Alexandria caught my eye in a prominent position in a smaller room. I arrived at the same time as two other admiring people, and within minutes we began talking with each other excitedly. Francesco is Italian and Deniz is from Turkey. We all understood and appreciated art and could talk about it, and fortunately for me, the other two spoke good English. Deniz happens to be an art historian living in Berlin, but she lived in Venice for two years and speaks Italian. I am an artist and know quite a lot about art, so our conversation stayed elevated. Francesco became animated and took us around to other important Italian paintings in the collection, talking all the while. The paintings themselves offered us topics and thrilled our senses. This is what art does; speaks to our common humanity in a universal language. It breaks barriers between people and offers dialogue.
Click artistic photography to see photos by Steven Boone of the streets of Madrid.