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Saturday, 24 November 2012

ELDERLY HANDS



I've been asked to paint an image that will be given as a gift to a very important woman who works with the elderly. I am told that she always holds their hands.

First attempt.....

My mom is very old, very tiny, very lucid, very agile. She is a perfect resource and I ask her if she will allow me to photograph her hands. To my surprise she agrees.

In an age when wrinkles are filled with poisons, where surgical procedures suck out the fat that keeps us warm or gives us womanly curves, it is fascinating to photograph someone who hasn't been altered in any way.  She wears no makeup, suffers from male pattern baldness, and is riddled with age spots and protruding veins. She is absolutely lovely.

Initially, I concentrate on her hands.  I am struck by her "papier de soie" skin.  It is so thin and translucent that I can almost see inside her body. The tubing through which her blood flows replicates the lines of a landscape. Her skin folds, overlaps, like miniature accordions in places. There are cracks, crevasses that reveal too much dryness even though she rubs her hands with St-Ives cream religiously every night.

A little manipulation in Photoshop exposes patterns and texture.

Switching between Corel Painter and Photoshop, I managed to obtain an interesting abstract digital painting by just playing.




I combine the abstraction with one of my drawings, and voilà, another dimension to the work.


Mom pulls back her sweater and I'm shocked by the size of her arms.  "They've always been small," she says, "I never thought I would live this long."  

They are like bones covered with muddy saran wrap.  Mom is reverting to her childlike shape.

I decide to paint her hands but know that this will never do for the commission. My mind is in surreal mode, making visual associations with what is in my environment. I'm having a Dali attack.

Ce n'est qu'un point de départ.


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