What Comes Naturally (Hand In Mug)

It wasn’t supposed to be any good.  The painting.  It was set up to fail.

But it didn’t.

This painting was begun as a way to pass the time while another watercolor was drying.  That other piece was a large picture of a branch with these little papery seed pods on it.  It was taking forever.  To pass the time, I looked around for something else to do.
I really *wanted* to do another self-portrait; to try once more to finish a piece where I *don’t* look like I’m trying to move a house down the street with my mind.  But one gets a little tired of hearing, “another picture of yourself?” and, “well SOMEone likes his own company…”  Looking around the room for something else to paint, nothing seemed all that appealing.  Microwave?  Someone else’s painting? That ratty, old, orange chair?  Again?

I settled for my hand.

Still, it shouldn’t have been anything more than a quick exercise.  A doodle.  A school assignment for someone who is home-schooling himself… in art… at a studio… not at home.  Moving on… The evidence of low expectations is in the partially-finished version below:

That smear of yellow paint in the background?  It was already there.  This piece of paper was just a leftover scrap of a previously aborted painting.  It wasn’t meant to be any good.  It wasn’t meant for anything.

For this picture, I really wanted to take a close look at the anatomy of the hand.  I needed to give the hand something to do, so I did what comes naturally; what I was already doing: holding a mug of coffee.

The slightly elongated ellipse of the mug opening is actually accurate.  It’s due to the way the mug is being tilted forward, as though preparing for a sip.  It’s also quite full of coffee.

I like how chunky and full-bodied the hand is, and the naturalness of the colors.  There are some nice vein-y things going on in the wrist.  My absolute favorite part, though, is the tip of the ring finger, just under the handle, and the little sliver of nail peeking out from the warm shadow.

As it turned out, the other piece I had been working on was such a dead end that it had to be abandoned.    You can’t win them all.

UPDATE: 12/3/2012 – This painting sold during a one-day holiday event at my studio building over the weekend. 

This entry was published on July 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm. It’s filed under Coffee, Humor, Mug Shots, Watercolors and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “What Comes Naturally (Hand In Mug)

  1. It’s amazing how when we ‘try’ hard our images usually resist or end up a bit ‘dead’ and when we let go of that some freer work can emerge. Thanks for sharing, it’s a really cool painting!

    • Thank *you* too… There’s a lot of truth to what you’re saying. Although I’d have to admit that I “try hard” on most of my work.

      Now that you’ve brought it up, I’m thinking… it seems I end up trying so hard because I’m focused so much on accurately *seeing* what’s in front of me, and more importantly *learning* how to coax the image in my head onto the paper via paints or whatever medium.

      Sometimes, it may be nice to take a break from learning, and just ‘do’ instead; just for fun!

  2. Ah, but you did win with the failed painting, Gabriel. You ended up with this painting instead. So the first painting wasn’t a waste; it was a stepping stone. I like this painting, too.

    • Thanks. I’m actually quite fortunate with the percentage of pieces that I’m able to consider ‘successes’. The failure of the other piece was notable mainly for the irony of it all.

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