Channelling the Painter Within: Lesson III

There’s a saying I’ve heard, that goes, “beautiful hands are lazy hands,” or words to that effect. The point is that only hands that are idle can be kept beautiful.

I happen to disagree. While I acknowledge there is a certain distinction in having flawlessly smooth, well-proportioned and even-toned (something I lack) hands, some of the most beautiful hands I’ve seen have been creased, wrinkled, or marked from a lifetime – or even just a day – of good work.

A shot of my teacher, artist Megan Bernard's, hands.

I was thinking about this at my last painting class at the Kelowna Art Gallery. It was near the end of the class and I happened to glance at my paint-spattered hands (above). I felt strangely proud of their pied beauty. Like some of the artwork had crept off the canvas and onto me, and had become a sort of extension of the work.

Traces remained, even after a good, soapy wash. And until I obsessively picked their last traces away, I wore them like a badge of honour. Like a “real” artist. And if somebody had only asked me (but nobody did), I could have responded, “oh, yes, that’s just from my painting. Acrylics. I’m working on a big piece right now.”

Whether it’s paint from an art class, dirt from the garden, or just the wear and tear of putting them out there, living life, the character our hands collect along the way is symbolic of the interesting person we become on the inside. Just ask Scarlett O’Hara (though Rhett Butler may not agree). She only really started to become three-dimensional when the sheen was off her hands.


In case you’re wondering about the poo swirls, they’re coming along nicely. This week I reshaped them with a generous slathering of Heavy Gel (Matte), which will be more or less transparent when it dries…

And added a wash of red. We’ll see how it really looks when it’s dry.

Here’s one more thing I’ve been working on – the rose is actually a transfer of a photocopied picture of a rose, and the white on and around it is more Heavy Gel (Matte), to give it texture:

– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier


Giveaway Winner Announced!

Thanks to those who commented, blogged, Facebooked and Tweeted our last giveaway! The randomly-drawn winner of Prairie Feast: A Writer’s Journey Home for Dinner, by Amy Jo Ehman, is Rosanne. Congratulations! We’ll be in touch by email to work out the details on getting your book to you.


Complete Story:

Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson I
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson II
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson III
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson IV
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson V
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson VI

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  1. Wow, I’m impressed with how it’s coming along. I like the effect of the gel stuff. I wish I could do that. My hands still have altogether too much sheen and not enough character.

  2. I am so enjoying reading these posts… 🙂

  3. Paint on hands , garden soil under the nails; Our badges of honour and character indeed! Great post 🙂

  4. Hello Lori-Ann Poirier,
    Hope you enjoyed your lesson.
    We were excited about getting to lesson three to test out Bob’s new palette.
    When shopping he had an idea that a Teflon Pizza Pan would be an easy surface to work with especially when cleaning up. I was a little doubtful thinking it would scratch easy or react with the paint etc.
    But to my surprise it cleaned up just perfect. Bob had a great big smile!
    Lesson Four is tonight. I’m feeling excited to see what items our -Talented Teacher Artist Megan Bernard- brings in her lovely beige cloth bag for us to use as props. Last class she had a solid yellow looking lemon, a brown speckled banana , a rich red,brown & green mango. I feel I falling in love with colors from a whole new angle.
    Catch Bob’s smile.
    Happy Painting ! Suzanne Chavarie

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