A number of years ago, I was asked to speak at a women's retreat. I wanted to incorporate as many artistic elements as I possibly could, so I had the women do things like work with pottery, listen to music, write a letter, etc. But the one thing that really "spoke" to me was a picture of a pastel painting of the artist's mother's hands against the fabric of an apron. Her mother had served family, friends, and community all of her life, and it was written in the veins and wrinkles of her hands.
When I think of my mother and how she used her hands, I think of her knitting afghans for family and friends, baking for me when I was working and had no time to do extra for my young family, cleaning her home until it was spotless, hugging my children, my husband, her friends, and especially me, wiping away tears - her own, mine, my children's, and so much more! I believe hands tell a lot about a person.
But it is not just a mother's hands which are special! In teaching drawing to a number of my art students, I used a picture I had taken of one of my husband's hands. Each time a student rendered that hand, I found it very moving to think it was my husband's hand in that drawing, because of all that he means to me.
Just before Christmas, I was contacted by one of my wonderful collectors, who has become a dear friend. She asked if I could do a commission for her as a surprise Christmas gift for her partner. Unfortunately, I couldn't complete it before December 25th, but I did promise it to her before the end of January. Since she didn't have the painting to give at Christmas, she wrote him a beautiful poem as a clue about the gift which would be arriving for him in a few weeks.
Once the painting was completed and dried, I shipped it off to my collector. She emailed me the details of how she presented this gift of love, and the response to the gift. It could not have been more perfect! I loved doing this commission, thinking of the two people whose hands enfolded each other's, creating a story and a strong bond of love.
Take a good look at the hands of someone you love today, and think of all the things those hands have done for you, how special that person is. I try to never take even one day for granted...and to remember how grateful I am for the person at whose hands I am looking.
oil on canvas
12" x 18"