At Rest with Slinky

My watercolors for the past two days (Resting Position and Resting Hands Revisited) have been gestures from a photograph of  Mike and one of his classmates, M___, at their Day Program. Mike, my older brotheris autistic, very low functioning and nonverbal. 

Today’s study

In today’s study I portray the hands of my brother. His head is down on the classroom table, in the crook of his arm. His hand is extended above his head. His other hand is holding a slinky, which is his favorite toy.

Two iterations

The first sketch is immediately below.

Mike holding slinky with one hand; other hand is at rest

Rest Time with Slinky 1
7″x10″ 140# Rough Watercolor Block

Mike holding slinky with one hand; other hand is at rest 2

Rest Time With Slinky 2
7″x10″ 140# Rough Watercolor Block

In both sketches, the image on the right is a hand that seems to be relaxed. It is arched and appears to be limp, or the hand of a puppeteer. The left-hand image is of a hand holding or touching something stringy or loopy.


There are a couple of notable technical details. First of all, in the first sketch, I left out the thumb! This is almost as bad as another sketch I was about to publish until my wife told me I had an extra finger on one hand. I was able to fix that before publishing. Instead of fixing sketch 1, I painted another sketch. The other item is the pinky finger on the leftmost image. It is actually present, although foreshortened. I had a difficult time showing this in both sketches.

The distance between the hands is not the same as in the photograph. The leftmost hand does not seem all that relaxed to me. It seems to be actively holding the toy. In the photograph this hand seems a lot more relaxed. We see that it is suspended in air since the forearm is leaning on a bowl.

Emotional content

Without the benefit of context, the emotional content of both sketches is quite different than the photograph. The disparity in states of rest of the hands is the first thing that comes to mind. It seems as if one hand is offering something to the other one, which is in a disinterested posture. As both hands belong to the same individual, this is a bit incongruous. This is particularly true in sketch 2, where the background of the leftmost hand is more staccato, indicating a more active, or less restful hand.

There would be more emotion in these sketches if one believes that each hand belongs to a different individual.

I conclude, therefore that to portray the restful stance of the hands in these sketches, more context must be presented. Information is lost by editing the relative hand positions as well as omitting relationships with other parts of the body.

One thought on “At Rest with Slinky

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: