I’ve always shied away from painting hands. I have two major portraits that included hands, but in 90% of my paintings, I only just “indicate” the hands. There are some major reasons for this:
Hands take almost as much time as portraits for me. They are so incredibly detailed, and there is a lot of measuring. For me, the amount of work that goes into a hand might even be MORE than a portrait, since portraits are my focus and have become easier for me to complete. It’s all about practice time, though.
Alla Prima Hand Oil Painting Tips and How Tos
Instead of shying away, I have decided to embrace all of the things that bother me on a regular basis: Hands, Ankles, Feet, Legs… Arms.. Noses! Pretty much everything! Since I have my happy little Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook easel setup, it’s easy for me to go from one study to the next. It’s also easy for me to sit my little easel in front of the TV and paint from the couch with a movie on. So here is my start of a hand study. You may recognize this from the digital version I did before.
The block in is just large shapes. I’ve broken it down into a rectangle and some sausages of varying widths. Remember that the thumb comes from the side of the rectangle, the fingers from the top of the rectangle, and the knuckles will be settled inside the rectangle. These things are hard to explain in words, but I highly recommend finding those large shapes with hands. Use angles to find out how your fingertips flow, as you can see I outlined the “angles” of the fingertips before I drew them in.
Here’s the fun part. Instead of doing one middle tone across the hand, I used variations. Darker values for the farther planes (the joint of the thumb closer to the hand rectangle, the plane of the hand that’s not highlighted, and several sections of the fingers.) This helped me visualize these fingers as three dimensional. Another couple things I do for fun: Add cad red or alizarin crimson, or a mixture of the two, to all the mixtures of paint that come from the fingertips. If you look closely, the tips are a bit reddish. Another area I use this mixture is the knuckles. These two areas get and show a significant amount of blood flow. I enjoy exaggerating it.
Stay tuned for more tips as I work my way along this study. But I will let you know, I’m packing today to leave for Berlin tomorrow! I will be painting out there, so this hand study might be put on hold until I get back. I’ll have plenty to share in Berlin, though!
Thank you for reading!