Hands and Faces

Thursday, July 29, 2010

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