I’ve been getting more productive art-wise again after an extended break. I went to Europe recently and saw a ton of amazing art in Spain, England, and France, so that inspired me. I visited the Prado in Madrid for the first time and saw some incredible stuff, including an important self-portrait by personal favorite Albrecht Dürer. I also saw some gorgeous paintings by Anton Raphael Mengs, with whom I was previously unfamiliar.
Another source of inspiration: while visiting Montmartre Cemetery in Paris, I came across Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s tomb. I love his art and did a study of The White Hat, so I feel something of a connection with his work.
I’m currently wrapping up another project that I’ve been working on for a couple years, and will post more about that later.
My next painting will be a dark realistic oil painting of a Hand of Glory. It will have tattooed symbols on it, inspired by some old alchemist illustrations/diagrams, and will be painted on wood panel in monochrome, subsequently glazed over sparingly with skin tone. I think it’s going to be a fairly simple project…I wanted to do something straightforward to return to painting. My last project was a bit too ambitious and complicated, so I ended up struggling and letting it sit for long periods of time. This new one should be much simpler but still interesting and will nicely complement my Memento Mori skull painting.
I’m not sure when I first encountered references to a Hand of Glory but I remember it from the original Wicker Man film and from the old game “Thief: The Dark Project”. There’s also a great song by the band Witch called Hand of Glory that may have inspired me to pick this subject. On a side note, I want to mention that the Thief game series has really amazing art and atmosphere…the first three games have inspired various projects of mine including stained glass and a song.
Hand reference photo
For this Hand of Glory project, I took some moody low-key photos of my hand a few months ago, and used one as a reference to do a pencil sketch directly on wood panel. I revised it over a few days, looking at my own left hand while sketching to alter it. After I was satisfied, I went over the outline with fine sepia sharpie marker and then erased most of the pencil. I then mixed black and yellow acrylic paint into a thin wash and sealed in the drawing, making the brushstrokes in such a way that if they show through later intentionally they’ll add some interesting underlying texture to the painting.
Here’s my start to the project. This is 11×14 inches and the hand is somewhat larger-than-life:
Hand of Glory sketch on panel
Hand on panel with wash