I have been thinking about my childhood series and contemplating the inclusion of the children’s hands in several of the paintings. In many ways, I believe the small hands are the subject, the inspiration behind what is taking place. My own hands have played an obvious role in my life as tools of creativity. Even as a child, making and doing have always been a part of my being. Funnily enough, my childhood favourite animal was a monkey…then a raccoon, both creatures that use their own “hands” often.
When my children were born their tiny hands fascinated me as their miniature grip held my finger. As they learned to grasp the object they wanted, as their pincher fingers began to pick up the tiniest of things, it was magical watching them further explore using their hands to further their independence. It caused me to remember my own childhood hands, creative and full of discovery in nature lifting rocks, catching minnows, making shadow shapes with a flashlight.
Seeing my children’s little hands continued to enchant me as they grew, exploring the world around them, picking up stones like jewels, a discovery of a stick seemingly as precious as a bar of gold. Holding my hand like it was the most important thing to do – symbolic of the security they felt within the grasp of my own larger hand. These little hands that looked like my own, resembling and symbolizing my own childhood.
Once as a mother I remember there was a stage I worried about when my baby son would be able to use a spoon? Would he have the control to do it? Fast forward years later and he is forging knives – using those hands in a way I never would have imagined. I watch my daughter dance using her hands so lyrically each finger a graceful dancer on its own.
Magical hands that wipe away a tear, pop a bubble, tie a knot, clap and snap. Feel the texture, the cold of the window in winter, the warm cup of tea, the soft fur of our pet dog, a gentle feather’s touch. When we walk my daughter holds my hand in hers, her hand is slowly growing each year, but still much smaller than mine. Ten and she still likes to hold hands while we walk – something to cherish as perhaps these days are numbered or maybe not? Until then, I will enjoy as I reminisce.
Are you enchanted by little hands?