This poor painting sat ‘on the back burner’ for much of last year. Now that my commissions are done I am back to work on Jazz Hands VII, the seventh in my series of oils depicting hands and musical instruments. There is no doubt that hands are difficult to draw never mind paint. Why am I focusing on them then? Firstly I am one of those painters who if I am not challenging myself I say ‘why bother?’ I figure if I can master painting hands I should be able to paint much of what I wish. Well, maybe not landscapes. They are still elusive to me.
The hand is difficult because it has 16 moving parts. When starting I look for the gesture of the hand just as I would with a portrait or figure. I draw/paint the outside shape I am seeing. It may change as I work (not because the hand is moving because I am always working from a photograph I took of the musician but because the more we observe the more we see) but this will get me started. Once I get the contours (forget fingers at this point) I start looking at the values. If you forget you are trying to draw fingers and concentrate on the shapes and values you will be surprised when fingers actually appear.
Here I have added back in some flesh tones. This scene is bathed in a magenta show light which is pretty cool but it does make for some odd skin tones. Once the skin tones are in I am adding back in the magenta/purples/blues I see from the lighting.