Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hands and Faces


Hands and Faces

Last week, sitting across from a friend at dinner, I found I could not keep from watching her hands.   Waving in the air like exclamation points, they punctuated all her sentences with expression every bit as clear and articulate as speech.  Later that evening, I happened to catch a rerun of the Merchant-Ivory film, Howard’s End,  on television, and once again found my attention ensnared completely by Vanessa Redgrave’s eloquent hands.  In a movie so teeming with beauty and artistry, her hands are two of the most picturesque players on the screen.

Yes, I have always been fascinated by people's hands. So much more than the sum of their parts, with abilities reaching far past their primary occupation as prehensile appendages, they are, to me, the most intrinsic tools of our uniqueness.  For we all possess them, but they perform so differently for each one of us. 
 Put a paintbrush in the hands of Vincent van Gogh and one has a post-impressionist masterpiece.  Put a whisk in the hands of Julia Child and, voila, a feather-light souffle.  Switch those around and one could reasonably surmise that the results might be altered considerably. 
Some hands can build a ship, some can play the cello. Others can knit a sweater or weave a Nantucket basket. There are hands that know how to gently guide a thoroughbred around a dressage course.  And hands that can make the perfect Tinky Winky costume for a memorable Halloween.

In my many observations, so often it seems that the most captivating hands belong to the most intriguing faces.  People's hands are every bit as unique as their faces, (perhaps that is why holding hands is almost as sweet as a kiss) and I usually find they match the faces they belong to so very well.  Look around a bit and see if you don’t agree. 
By way of example, the hands in the photograph above belong to the artist, Georgia O’Keefe.   
We all know what those hands could do with a paintbrush and canvas. 
 To me, they seem to match her face below just perfectly. 
 Don’t you think?



Now, I think I’ll head out for a manicure.
 Don’t forget to enter the giveaway in the post below. 
The drawing is midnight on the 30th!


Photographs of Georgia O'Keefe by Alfred Stieglitz

30 comments:

  1. I have always been fasinated by Georgia O'Keefe and was excited to go through the Museum in Santa Fe, NM. I have read books about her and now there is a movie out about her life. I am not sure how accurate it is but it would be worth seeing.

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  2. hmmmm, I will have to pay more attention - haven't thought of this idea before :)

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  3. Dear Pamela, As you so rightly remark, hands, and the ways in which they are used, give rise to endless speculation as well, of course, as being utterly fascinating. Vanessa Redgrave and Howard's End apart, there is, I believe, a general reluctance amongst the English to express themselves with their hands. I include myself!!

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  4. I'm sure Sherlock Holmes would read a great deal from a person's hands!

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  5. I wonder if Ms. O'Keefe talked with her hands. I hope so. Even when typing, I often have to stop so I can make a point with my hands.

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  6. Love that film, Pamela. Vanessa Redgrave has always been a bit of a role model for me.

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  7. Wow, Georgia O'Keeffe had beautiful hands, didn't she? But then her husband was Alfred Stieglitz, so naturally there would be some awesome photographs. So cool.

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  8. Beautiful thoughts about our most important tools, our hands.

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  9. Oh yes!!! A gigantic Bravo to the eloquence of HANDS!
    Beautiful words. Thanks you Pamela and big happy woof to Edward!

    xox
    C

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  10. Oh yes!!! A gigantic Bravo to the eloquence of HANDS!
    Beautiful words. Thanks you Pamela and big happy woof to Edward!

    xox
    C

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  11. I would never have guessed these hands to belong to Georgia O'Keefe...Is that a thimble I see? Her husband's photo of them is beautiful...

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  12. Dear Pamela,
    I also love hands and observe them a lot. Our son is a musican and he has very long and maliable fingers. My dad was also a musican and he, too had long and slender fingers. I have often noticed that , especially pianists. Has the Songwriter got beautiful hands ? I imagine that he has. XXXX

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  13. Hands have always been so important to me. I've always watched them and even have dreamt (?) about them. Thanks for the lovely post.

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  14. Hello Pamela
    I received a wonderful email this morning about hands - showing 4 generations of womens hands ... lovely post & sketch ♥ Hope you & Edward are having a wonderful Summer.

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  15. Georgia O'Keefe's hand are a little spooky in this photo.

    Yes, I remember hands very clearly indeed.
    I recognize hands as readily as faces.I fell in love with my husband because he had a most sensitive face and workman's hands
    a rather heady combination many moons ago....

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  16. I love how you focused on hands in this inventive post. I adore Georgia O’Keefe. Howard’s End was fabulous and Vanessa Redgrave is one my favorite actresses – I just saw her in Letters from Juliet.

    I’m not much of an actress, but I do talk with my hands. I’m sorry to say that my hands are a disaster – dirt from gardening and paint from watercolors. I’ve never had a manicure in my life – I’d give the poor manicurist a heart attack.

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  17. Being a wood carver there are times when I'm embarrassed of my rough hands. Georgia O'Keefe's hands are beautifully expressive aren't they? We have just watched the movie ( a week ago) which was thoroughly enjoyable.

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  18. Fascinating! Some people do talk with their hands. I'm usually fascinated by them on TV - I think reporters and newscasters are taught the same 'hand language' - I'm also drawn to the stillness of people - those who can sit, hands in lap, so still, serene and quiet and yet express themselves just as well as those who use their hands often:)

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  19. I love hands and faces...hands especially are one of the major themes in my work.

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  20. A person with a true love of beauty & artistry such as yourself would appreciate the uniqueness of a persons hands. I will forever now pay attention. Wishing you a lovely weekend Pamela x

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  21. one of the BEST written posts i have ever read here in blogland...

    perfect.

    you are a talented writer, my friend

    my visit here is way past due...so HAPPY to come here today and find this...so very HAPPY

    sending sweet summer wishes,
    kary and teddy

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  22. WHat a wonderful observation, you are so right. I will be giving my attention to this from now on! SUsie xxx

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  23. I love hands too. So expressive and interesting. Some people beguile you with their hand gestures so much that you don't listen to what they are saying but just watch the movements. I love the way the Old Masters painted ladies hands. So elegant and long fingered. Sigh..I wish I could draw hands properly.

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  24. Pamela, that picture of Georgia O'Keefe's hands reminds me of Ada's hand at the end of The Piano. (Do you remember that her husband cuts off one of her fingers and a new metal finger is fashioned for her. I realize that is a thimble, but it looks just like that metal finger!)

    Fascinating post -- another good example of your great attentiveness to detail. I wonder if my hands and face match. One thing: I'm obsessive about putting cream on both of them!

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  25. Hands have language all of their own, you are so right. I recently saw an interview with Vanessa Redgrave, she has such presence and seems to deliberately slowdown her speech and her movements. I once saw her in 'real life' on a train. Noticing her because she was so tall and seeing also her elegant hands as she moved, steadying herself against the motion of the train by holding on from seat-back to seat-back.

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  26. I would have never of guessed Georgia okeefe...is that a thimble??

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  27. I fell in love with Steve's hands before I fell in love with him. What he creates with his hands is a gift from God.
    xo
    Brooke

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  28. i too have always been fascinated by hands, they do tell such tales. The oh so talented piano playing long fingers of my mr o, the elegant expressive hands of my eccentric best friend, the worn caring beautiful gardeners hands of my mother.

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  29. Watching people 'speak' with their hands has always entranced me. I have to admit I'm inclined to do it too and am always a wee bit miffed when told to keep my hands still. When excited and trying to describe something they want to go a mile a minute!!!!

    I loved my mother's hands - they often wore a silver thimble, which I have - as she was a talented dressmaker. Her hands were always very smooth and dry, I remember the comfort they brought when I held them.

    Lovely post Pamela - thank you.

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  30. Madame, The concluding portrait is so very far past what we have teased ourselves into accepting from pictures not based on silver halide film, as to make us all dash out and acquire abandoned Leicas and Rolleis, just as our ears have taught us to leap for the nearest serviceable vacuum tube and diamond stylus.

    I do apologise for the expletive to follow -- I agree with Miss Hope, by the way, about hands -- but this Steichen photograph is extravagantly gorgeous shit, and I can tell you that I have not seen a more vivid "dies irae" upon the progress of digital image-making in a very long time.

    I'm sorry not to address what you wished to express; I am certain that you will not mind.

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