View Full Version : Hands--need help now please!

Deborah Secor
07-22-2004, 04:35 PM
Help! I need some feedback on these two hands today, if you can... I'm open anytime, of course, but they're going to be shown tonight, hence my haste...

This is from a photo in the Reference Library--but I don't remember the name! Anyway, thanks to whoever it was! The color is off here--reds are not as vivid and there is more purple, but you can get the idea. What do you think this one expresses?

This is a weird one, I know, but I like it. I want to do some of these that aren't so literal but have a more expressive quality, even up to slight distortion. I wanted to play with the light and let it be loose--not sloppy. How'd I do?

Both are on Wallis and about 8 inces square.

Please tell me what you think! Thanks!!!

07-22-2004, 05:25 PM
The fist is well-done, although it lacks the sense of a TIGHT fist- something does not seem stressed enough. Perhaps it is a lack of whitened knuckles indicating stress of bone against skin.

The out-stretched fingers, though, need work. The fingers are far too small for that palm size, even discounting the perspective angle which demands fore-shortening. Larger, rounder, more prominent fingertip pads, well defined, and then thicker fingers, tapering slightly towards the palm, will fix that.

Nice sense of movement and tension in each.

07-22-2004, 05:26 PM
Love the looseness ..... colour play and light in both of these Dee .... A Clenched fist always normally strikes me as anger... but this one, its as if they have something held, that they dont want to let go ..... on my screen, the inner of the thumb pad is very bright..... I know you said in real it isnt so much so .... so thats good... love all the wonderful colours in the fingers......

I like the open hand...... and you said its 'weird' :) lol ..... I know you like this, but for me the fore shortening doesnt work .... it makes the palm too wide ..... perhaps if you worked on the thumb part a bit more, put in more depth and dip ..... or is its that the little finger is set out too far.... but lol I know your in a rush .....

I enjoyed viewing these from you ..... definately loose.... and not sloppy .... good colour play

Kathryn Wilson
07-22-2004, 05:27 PM
Hi Dee - these are very strong paintings! I love the colors you've used in both - and the colors support the feeling of "anger/frustration" in the first, and "asking/pleaing" in the second.

In the first painting there are a few lines that throw off the formation of the palm - they are too sharp - the palm muscles should be rounded off.

On the second hand, I know you are going with distortion, but it just doesn't read right to me - it's not the foreshortening, but the spacing between the fingers. But, that being said, maybe that's what you are aiming for - so disregard if it is.

Both very powerful paintings.

07-22-2004, 05:29 PM
These are both wonderful! Very expressive, and I love your color use, especially the first!

As for feedback...I 'm bothered just a bit by shadows seeming too abrupt on the outside "meaty" part of both hands, under the litlle fingers, as well as the big muscle wrist-wise of the thumb on the upper one. Just a little of that pale pink you used on the fingers (in the red one) to make the transition in shadowing would make the muscles a lot rounder to my eyes.

Also on the first, if I clench my hand hard (i.e., "expressively?"), I get more pronounce wrinkling on the lowest, um, palmwise, section of my thumb, and in the deep shadows closer to the wrist under the little finger. Same same when I try to imitate the second pose, but the wrinkles are closer to the palm than in the first pose.

On the second, my fingertips look a little more rounded, er, fat and ball-like!, and the wrinkle-lines acrose my thumb and palm show, even though they aren't wrinkled in that pose--a hint of that might break up the shaded palm and show a bit more of the power in the hand, in spite of all that difficult fore-shortening!

I hope this makes sense--I just woke up, and don;t know the geographical terminology for the hand! And I hope it's helpful--the pictures are both excellent as they stand, but since you asked for last-minute help...

Kitty Wallis
07-22-2004, 06:02 PM
I like the colors, and treatment of the fist, even tho it isn't completely clenched. I feels to me like a person who wishes he was angry enough to hit but isn't.

The open hand has problems, as most mentioned. I see it as a foreshortening problem, the fingers aren't coming toward the person but dwindling away, getting thinner, making a very odd impression.

The dark values in the shadows on the hand, with the light background don't work. Maybe your reference had a darker background?

07-22-2004, 07:52 PM
To me, the clenched fist expresses determination, maybe stubborness to the point of anger. I like it except that I think the colorful lines in the meaty part of the palm area (thumb side) seem a little distracting...I like the looseness, but in this case it seems almost flayed and sinewy it's so pronounced...but then that's just me.

The open palm shows a sort of "Oh, come ON!" kinda imploring quality. But I really have a problem with the wide, wise palm in relation to the thin fingers...at first glance I actually thought this one must have SIX fingers! Where the near finger ends should be BIGGER in relation, these look the opposite. Neat colors and neat ideas in general, tho! Nice series.

Deborah Secor
07-23-2004, 12:30 AM
You all are a font of information, as they say! Thanks.

Your thoughts and suggestions on the open hand don't surprise me--it is weird and it needs more. I may make it more realistic, which would be a compromise with my intention, but sometimes that's what you have to do. I think what I had in mind was to make the fingertips more like the blur of the hummingbird wings I do--sort of missing but there, if that makes sense. I may give that more of an effort before abandoning myself to 'real.' I think the fingertips need more space to give that foreshortened look, even if I don't draw them precisely. I want this one to read as begging in total need and frustration, exasperation, sort of a 'what NOW?' look, so I think it's on track, if not there yet. I'll keep you posted.

On the red fist, I want determination to be the emotion, not anger, so in some ways that worked. The dark line at the base of the palm works against that, so it will change. I think IRL the gross, stringy look of the palm is minimized--though I'll look at it in the morning and see if I'm right, The hyped colors here may be what's doing it.

It was pouring RAIN so I couldn't shoot outside (NOT complaining...!) but I will fix a thing or two and try to repost tomorrow-- unless it's raining again. (Please Lord, let it be too rainy to post again! We need the rain more than I need photo ops... )

I showed these tonight and found I got more from you all here. Not surprising...but I like it here! Thanks. :cool:


07-23-2004, 10:46 AM
I'm probably a bit late in responding here, but I thought I would add my two cents. :D I love the colours you've used in both your pieces! The colours in your "fist" piece give off vibes of anger or intense emotion; however, the position or shape of the fist tells me it's not really angry. The fist seems more confident and self assured, not angry or tense.

If you want to get technically anal :rolleyes: , I do see some problems in your drawing of the fist. I hope I can explain myself here. You are looking down on the fist, therefore you cannot see the knuckles. In your drawing you've made the end of the middle segments of the finger look like the knuckles. You've added the webbed skin that jions each knuckle, you've evn shown the pointed bone of the knuckles. The ends of the second segment should be more flat and gently rounded, with a clear indication that each finger in separate from the other. You should also see a hint of the third segment that leads to the actual knuckles. Your rendering gives the impression that the third segment doesn't exist... Also, I have not seen the reference photo--so I could be wrong, but if a fist were clenched tightly, like it appears to be here, then the thumb would lie accross the middle segment of the finger, not the end segment like you have demonstrated in your drawing. In order for the thumb to lie across the end segment, your fist would be cupped or hooked, not closed and tightly clenched.

I hope i've made some sense here :( Try it with your own fist and you'll see what I mean.

In your second drawing, it's the baby finger that looks a little rubbery, like it's bin broken a few times and no longer responds to signals sent from the brain. :( The wide palm doesn't bother me 'cause maybe this person is the generous giving type. I think if you made the tips of the fingers fatter or more bulbbus, you'd have a more convincing hand.

Excuse the grammer today, i'm feeling a little dislexic today. :( I hope I've not completely confused you.

Heather :D

07-23-2004, 11:14 AM
OK, my third cup of coffee has kicked in, now I realize that your fist is anotomically correct. The thumb is lieing where it should, (accross the middle segment) and 'cause of the angle of the 'clenched' fist the viewer cannot actually see the tips of the fingers. :rolleyes: Oh brother, I was up too late last night.


Deborah Secor
07-24-2004, 12:18 PM
AArrgghhh! I spent about an hour yesterday morning on the weird hand. I tried first to make the fingertips look right, then had to adjust the negative spaces, labored over finger length and width, then thought the palm needed work--and in the end I LOST it completely! It now looks like an even weirder hand with about 10 gloves on. I don't mind losing now and then--it happens to all of us--but I get aggravated when I liked the painting to begin with and when I've spent a lot of time on it and then I lose. I'll consider redoing it, since I really find the gesture fascinating, but not right away. :mad:

Ah well! Sometimes the painting wins... ;)


07-24-2004, 01:27 PM
Its a hard one Dee...... though you said, would make the open hand more realistic as a 'comprise'....... I think it could still of been worked more realistically but only had to be in regards to more correct proportions - the style that you applied could of still been kept loose and imaginative.....

I feel for you, the time and effort you put in...... and you yourself loved it as was .... and feel a loss of something good....a lesson again, that we all learn from time to time....... if YOU are happy with your work (3rd personal singular and all that :) )..... Problem with asking for opinions etc.... is they all tend to differ .... and may not always be what we were hoping to here...... sometimes as viewer, we do not always 'see' what the artist either envisaged or hoped to portray..... and I think that if the feedback isnt in the same vein of thought, we then tend to think of the work in a lesser light, and work on the suggestions to receive the approval

Sometimes we just need to know when to stop and stand firm - ..... say hey, I know this isnt so great in ^^^^ aspect.... but I rather like it as it is..... what do you guys think, let me know for if I do another similiar in the future

..... sorry am Waffling........... in other words......

Sorry you feel bad Dee...... here, have a ((((((Cuddle)))) :)

07-24-2004, 02:41 PM
Hi Deborah, I really like the fist, love the colors, I don't get the angry feel, but someone determined to hold on to something, kinda like "It's mine and you can't have it". The other hand seems to be searching, reaching for something, I understand the feeling of losing on a painting, this is a tough one, I admire your determination to do something new. Good luck on these.

Deborah Secor
07-24-2004, 02:43 PM
Aw, thanks for understanding, Dawn, but I also felt this painting wasn't up to snuff and since it is/was part of a series it has to either be a cohesive part of it or move the series onward in some aspect.

I think I recovered from 'criticism by committee' a while ago, so I don't want anyone here to feel they overburdened me with an opinion, it's just that I knew it needed 'more' and gave it a shot.

Funny, last night I glanced at the painting and remarked that it was awful and I'd lost it--at which point my son said, "Mom, it wasn't good to begin with." LOL Love it when the kid is right and I'm glad he feels free to say it when it's true. You all here have that same right, respect and freedom--and I don't ever want anyone to back off from truth only for the sake of my feelings. However, I'll add one thing to that: I'm glad my son waited to say it until I had said it, rather than grinding something into me before I was ready to hear it...that's part of why I respect his (and your) opinion!

So, I share my 'failure' here as part of the bigger picture of growing in knowledge, you know? Sometimes the painting wins, but in the end I win because I learn something. In this case it's what Jackie always says, that underneath it all the proper proportions and perspective really count. If we are to distort reality we must do it with certainty. I'll get there--just not ready in this series yet! (Which means I need more practice. :rolleyes: )

Okay, back to the drawing board! ;)

07-24-2004, 05:54 PM
Well, isn't that what makes art one of the greatest things in the world? We're never done experimenting and learning! Hence, it keeps us interested our entire lives.

I do think that you did run into one of the hazards of asking for opinions on WIPs, tho. I personally didn't really understand what you were after on these. Hence, my reply was based on a different criteria entirely...ie realism rather than whatever it is you're after (still not entirely clear on that, but obviously YOU know and that's what counts). You've also taught ME a good lesson both from a critiquing standpoint and from my own standpoint as an artist...sometimes we need to stick to our vision, even when no one else see it yet. As well-intentioned as we all are here, we CAN actually do harm if we don't understand what we're looking at. I've seen this happen a LOT in writer's groups...a misplaced comment on someone's story often destroyed forever the budding writer's primary idea and it wasn't the writer's weakness really, but the fact that he often figured if someone didn't understand what he was saying, then it wasn't worth saying. Does that make sense?

I can't help but feel bad that you might've been trying to answer some of our comments and lost your hold on the painting because of it. But on the other hand, I can't really see a way around the problem. Is it a case of putting the work out for comment before the vision is nailed down solid enough? Is it just a case of having to stick to one's guns sometimes despite the comments? A mix of both?

Anyway, I'm sorry about the painting and hope you try it again sometime!

Kathryn Wilson
07-24-2004, 06:04 PM
Sooz, in one way I think you are right on the money . . . I think we all forget that when something is in progress that it's not perfect, or even done yet! Let's keep that in mind when critiquing.

On the other hand, Dee did ask for our help and critiques, asking for input puts us at risk and each of us has to wade through the comments and take from them what we need.

Dee, please consider re-doing this painting - who knows, it might turn out just right!

Deborah Secor
07-25-2004, 12:20 AM
Right, Kat, I DID ask--and it wasn't anyone's comments that I was responding to really, as much as the fact that I knew it needed fingertips--even if just my own vision of them as being blurred like a hummingbird's wings. No, it was my HASTE that got in the way. I hastily showed it and the next day I hastily changed it. It really doesn't matter. I lose paintings rather frequently and don't mourn the loss! In fact I'd rather risk it and lose than be afraid to try things!!!!! You know?

I find that when I become too devoted to the image--or to some little part of it that I think is particularly precious--I lose the freedom to learn and become enslaved to that thing. More than once I've shocked my students while doing a demonstration by wiping out something that looks good but is keeping the whole painting from succeeding. Sometimes the stunning beauty of one part inhibits me. I'll spend far too much time trying to bring the rest up to that standard and before long I'm doing a jig around that part, not painting. Either the whole thing has to work together or I have to cut out that one little part and frame it--which I've done more than once!!! The best ones are those that flow together from start to finish, but it takes a lot of clinkers to get to that harmony. :eek:

In this case I think my vision of what I wanted it to be was clouding my ability to see what it was! (Hope that makes sense...) I was seeing in it the things I wanted to see, not what others saw. By the time I went back to it, my ability to see it was clear but my vision of what I wanted was gone. Y'know, I look at it now and see it was a clinker! :o If I try it again, I'll do it when my vision is clearer (like knowing I want to distort it and how I might accomplish that) and start by seeing what's there, I hope!

Okay, enough philosophy for tonight. ;)


07-25-2004, 10:35 AM
Ahh, but some of us LIKE all the philosophising that goes on here :)

The colours in that fist painting are very striking, even if they're not reading completely accurately here. Really enjoying your 'hand' series.