In a recent post I shared the beginning of A Handful of Lotus Seeds. It was at that point a monochrome underpainting of hands holding colourful lotus seeds, reminiscent I think of green acorns. Since then I have been very busy with this picture, and am delighted to share with you the finished artwork. Like all of the hands studies in this series, A Handful of Lotus Seeds has been created in pastel on Pastelmat.
I had really looked forward to including the background in this picture, I love the way the out of focus seeds below give context to the image and contrast to the hands above. This background was, I soon learned, a harder task than I had anticipated. The blurring of lines when I am so used to being sharp in my mark making, and achieving a balance of the yellows and greens between the darker shadows.
When I look at this picture and any others in my portfolio, I have two distinct experiences. On the one hand I see an image I love, with a certain sense of detachment and appreciation where I can say ‘oh, I love that, it is beautiful!’. The other experience is one of remembering – perhaps a film that was playing in the background whilst I shaded, or the podcast that kept me entertained whilst I drew. Sometimes I have a particularly strong sense of place, where I was both physically, and in my life too.
Right now when I look at A Handful of Lotus Seeds I see primarily the learning. I recall the ups and downs of ‘this looks great!’ contrasting with the ‘oh no, maybe I shouldn’t have included this bit’. The ‘how on earth am I going to get that effect?’ and the ‘does this just look odd to me because I have spent so long staring at it, or will others immediately see that and think it looks off too?’ And I like that. I like the records of my experiences as an artist that it keeps, and that the lessons it taught me will inform my future work. Over time the associations and memories it holds will shift I imagine, as new connections are made with this picture and it takes it’s place amongst the series that is growing around it. My art is, to me, so much more than a picture on a page. I like that every person who views it, whatever they may think of it, will have their own interaction with it however brief or meaningful.
Once the full series of hands studies has been completed, I will make available limited edition prints and greetings cards of A Handful of Lotus Seeds and others.
Thanks go to Rehahn Photography for his amazing reference image.