About my mother…

People’s hands are something I’ve always been drawn to. I study their shape and condition. I watch how they move while someone speaks, how they’re used during the most mundane tasks, and how they appear at rest. To me, hands speak a different language than eyes, but can say just as much.

I find my mother’s hands particularly fascinating; they’re the set that created this fixation of mine. I’m one of those people who holds an entire world in my head, revealing feelings and thoughts only when I run out of room to keep them. I get this from her. She can be reserved and silent. Her hands, though, are loud. They shout and howl, but are most imposing when still.

The skin that covers them is heavy, like a quilt. Draped across the back and tucked in around her fingers. There are lines of varying depths etched into the surface and a few cracks that are tender and weak. Rough, calloused palms, often facing outward to ask for distance. Rarely do we get a glimpse of her open hand, palm up. It’s a vulnerable position to be in, only shown when she’s willing to give a part of herself and never shown to request something for herself. She always struggles to receive a kindness, not sure we mean it, not sure she can believe it.

These hardened features on my mother’s hands speak of strength gained through involuntary reactions, not sought out for cultivation. Built by, not for. Still, her strength is magnificent in its efficiency, but saddening that it won’t always allow her to exist unguarded.

Her hands are small and very delicate. Though the skin appears like stone, they float when they move, gliding from one thing to the next. Her handwriting is tiny, each curve created with perfection and so light it’s as if she doesn’t want to hurt the paper or maybe feels her words lack importance.

With this resilience of my mother, always functioning in the safest way, I want there to be an aspect of her that evolves. I want her to learn how to open her hand, reveal her palm, exist for a moment in vulnerability, and accept the kindnesses given to her. I want her to understand how incredibly worthy she is and that love for her is unconditional. I want her to know that this beautiful machine she is and lives in can still run well if she loosens her white-knuckle grip on the controls. I want her to know she’ll be okay.

These are my mother’s hands and these are a few of the things they say about her.

Started a landscape…

A huge gap in posts for which I have no (reasonable) explanation.  I was asked to paint a landscape similar to an earlier painting, so that’s what I’m doing.  Of course, it doesn’t look exactly like the original, but I that’s okay.

Few words this time.

Alexandra landscape (Medium)

…stings like a bee

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I was supposed to finish this drawing in early 2014 (read: I said I would — much more of a failed promise rather than a request).  I’m only almost a year late.  Finished in record time!
01182015

Back to work…

Every year (or multiple times per year) I decide it’s a great idea to revamp my life. By that I mean my work and all that’s related. Perhaps it’s not the wisest decision, but refreshers are good, especially for a mind becoming stagnant.

Four pieces were completed at the beginning of January for a play. As soon as they were done and shipped out, I paused to look around my studio and realized that it had become horribly chaotic. Paint tubes scattered, tiny shreds of paper, dirty brushes, not one surface was bare, including the floor. I did what I could, which was to walk away from it for a bit over a week. It was not a relaxing time because all I could think about was getting that area in order so I could get back to work. I had been so focused on those four pieces that when they were done, I felt lost.

I finally forced myself to clean (pics to come). I’ve found that even with this clear space, my brain isn’t working the way it needs to. The empty space is in my head, not in my studio. I’m uninspired!

While I continue to draw and paint, I figured I would update this blog and post a pic of one of the paintings. If you have thoughts, inspiration, motivation, anything, tell me. Share your brains.

Unrequited | 8" x 11" | acrylic on canvas

Unrequited | 8″ x 11″ | acrylic on canvas

I’m still proscrastinating…

…but the year is almost over, so it’s okay.  Maybe I’m getting a jump on 2015?!

For the past few months I’ve tied myself up with artwork (creating, not literally).  I’m not at my computer (thus, this might be short and stuffed with typos) so I only have one photo to post that is semi-clear.  I promise, I’ll show you more next year.  I’ll also write more about what I’ve been doing.  And will practice *technology* so I can write proper posts on my tablet or phone! 

So, here is the clearest pic of any of the pieces I’ve worked on.  It was done for a play called “Scenes from the Cliff” written by Nina Childs, first run will be in January 2015.

Thanks for reading!

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Hot Press Watercolor Paper

…makes me want to cry.

I’m trying, I really am, but I am not winning at this type of paper.  I’ve read comments and perused tutorials and all of that stuff.  “Don’t soak it”, “Soak it for 15 minutes”, “Gesso the front and back so it doesn’t buckle”, “Only use it for drawing!”, etc…

My first attempt was using watercolor pencils.  I sketched my figure out, did a bit of shading, and liked how it turned out!  Then…I added water.  Mistake.  I only added a little bit of water, not a lot, and it was still a disaster.  So, in an attempt to fix it, I added more paint/water.  Of course, it got worse.  The paper buckled and pilled.  In some sections the paint just lifted right off, leaving my lady speckled.  Frantic, I tossed aside all water-related mediums and attempted to smother her with oil pastels (that I don’t even know how to use).  I was desperate.  Hopeless.  The painting was destroyed.

I started off my second attempt being a little cocky, giving a little sashay in my step.  “I’m going to gesso the shit out of it!” and that I did.  Paper didn’t buckle or pill!  It made the surface a bit rough, and that was okay.  I lightly sketched an image on the paper, using a ruler, gettin’ my perspective right and everything.  Then I added the paint — acrylic this time.  Watered-down acrylic.  It wasn’t the best move.  It didn’t do what I thought it would do.  The paint still sort of lifted off, so I reduced the water and added more paint.  That seemed to help, but the background lost its subtly tinted sky and bare landscape and was replaced by rough spots and brush marks.  I like dry brushing.  I might even say I’m not terrible at it.  But, I didn’t want to dry brush this one.  I wanted it to be smooth, fluid, and pretty.  It, too, is a disaster.  It looks like I squeezed a whole bunch of acrylic paint on my hand and mashed it on the paper in a fit of rage.  It’s terrible.  I threw my brush against the table, took a hot shower and cried while in the shower.

I’m a basket case.  I’m not giving up, though.  Today is a new day!  A new day to completely wreck anything I touch!  A new day to make a zillion more mistakes, possibly cry some more, but also figure out what I did wrong and try something else.  I thought that what I was doing wrong was to even attempt to do any artwork at all, but I need to nudge that out of my head with a hard elbow.  Maybe.  I’m full of self-doubt today.

If you have comments or advice, I’d love to hear them!  In fact, I think I need it.

And it’s done…

I’m not sure how I feel about the finished product. I do know that I’ve fallen in love with Golden soft gel medium, though. So…hooray for love!

I think the bristol was a good idea, along with the canvas. I needed more coats of paint on the bristol, but it seems like it made more sense for the ravens than the canvas did, due to its smooth texture allowing more light to reflect (as with feathers).

I will be doing more work like this. Scissors are hell on my hands, but I like the idea of what could be.  If you have thoughts or ideas, share them!

Ravens1 (Large)