Sunday, May 03, 2009

Working Hands

Mine that Bird Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Look closely at this amazing photo of Calvin Borel being led back to the winner's circle aboard Derby winner Mine That Bird. He's dropped the reins in his lap yet his left hand still grasps firmly with a half cross while the right has put away the whip (or maybe still tapping a shoulder).

Hands are an integral, expressive element in my paintings. Rider's hands are literally holding onto over a thousand pounds of pulling, jerking, grabbing-the-bit horsepower. Tendons stretch, joints enlarge. Okay, you imagine that I study them endlessly, and I do, but here's a secret: almost every hand in every one of my paintings is Michaels'. Props keep company with art supplies in the studio - from helmets to silks. Tied to my storage rack is a set of reins that I coax Michael into taking a hold of, pull back hard, and make 'em gnarly (then sketch like mad)!

Hands from "Harrowing":

horse racingTwirling the stick.

Reaching for a new hold.

thoroughbred paintingGetting ready for the drive.

And, from the Farrier Series:

blacksmithClinching down the nails.

"Hands to work, heart to God" - symbolic Shaker saying.

P.S. I think Calvin should be designated the official ambassador of horse racing.


takeahold said...

Great photo of Calvin! That kind of emotion has never been shown in racing before and it is about time it has. Great photo of Calvin!

bonnieluria said...

Sharon Sharon Sharon- right here you have a series of " equine " paintings. Are not those hands every bit connected to the horse?
I love how you showed the power and strength of Calvins' hands and knowing he is your inspiration for painting hands seems easy to understand.
By chance, we watched the Derby. Never do.
I was so drawn to Calvins' demeanor and the way he was received by the crowd and gave right back. Not one bit less endearing were his tears for his mother and father......
I thought of you during the race and sent you a note too, on Facebook.

Great post, loved the tie-in of your work, his hands.

Karen McLain said...

Wonderful post! I like the series idea too. The insights you give are gems!

Nancy Moskovitz said...

Such expressive hands! I wonder how many equine artists are brave enough to make hands the entire painting.

Sharon Crute said...

takeahold: I met someone this past week who had never watched the Derby (can you believe it?) and now can't wait to see the Preakness. All because of Calvin.

Bonnie: Thanks for the thoughts and as always, your eloquent comments. Yes, Calvin is the real deal and unintentionally, becoming a media darling.

Karen: Plein air hands, perhaps?

Nancy, paint some hands next week at the workshop! You'll enjoy it.

andrea said...

love the HAND post thank you