Some people could eat a 4 course meal with only a fork, and not have a drop of food on them. Or cook Christmas dinner for 10 and emerge from the kitchen looking pristine. Me? I can’t eat, or cook, without spilling, dripping or slopping. It’s not that I’m clumsy as such, just – I don’t know – a bit uncoordinated I guess.
And when I paint? Yes, the same thing applies really. They say a picture paints a thousand words; in which case my clothes, and hands, tell quite a long story. I have tools – brushes, scrapers, knives – and paper towels, rags, wet wipes etc. Yet, somehow, I always end up with paint on my clothes and on my hands. The food mess may well be lack of coordination, but (forgetting the clothes for a moment) I think the paint on my hands is really about something else.
I am one of those people who likes to touch things. I’m a librarian by day; I touch the books, I touch my customers – sometimes I hug them if they need it – I touch my scrapbook pages, my pets, my mother, flowers, the hand of people who serve me in shops.
And I like to touch what I paint. I pick the small canvas up and hold them in my hand as I paint. I pick up the tubes and bottles of paint and feel the weight of them and, of course, I touch the wet paint! Not deliberately, but then again, perhaps really it *is* deliberate? Perhaps for me part of the process of painting is feeling my way through the layers of paint and glazes and marks. Feeling what is right, what needs changing…
I think that for me painting is not just about the image, the colours, the texture – it’s about the feel of the process, and the feel of the finished work. And that’s why my hands tell a story – because for me painting is as much a tactile pursuit as a visual one. How about you?