Hands: Gabe Leonard


Hands are like snowflakes: no two hands are the same. Even on one person, hands are different though the basic shape is the same. Our dominant hand is larger. Injury and disease change the shape of our hands as we age. Hands tell the story of our lives and you can often guess a person’s occupation from their hands. Look at your own hands and see what evidence of your life is etched into them. My Canasta playing friends will appreciate this painting of Dead Man's Hand by American Cinematic Artist Gabe Leonard an expert in painting hands.

To quote from Leonard's Bio:

His work captures rich moods by combining the free brushwork of an expressive artist combined with the lighting and framing of a seasoned Hollywood cinematographer. Drawn to rugged and romantic film noir characters, Leonard merges technically brilliant figurative painting with a finely crafted cinematic atmosphere, creating snapshot moments full of narrative possibilities. The trademark runs and drips in his work are a deliberate break from academic restrictions and allow him to be more expressive, free and loose. Leonard's style is deeply rooted in the European artistic tradition, drawing particularly on the work of his heroes such as Rembrandt, Alphonse, Mucha, Gustav Kilmt and Egon Schiele. (gabeleonard.com)

If you want to learn to draw or to paint hands start by studying Gabe Leonard's paintings. He is a master. Copy his hands. Study the lines and tones. These paintings below have all been created using oil paints.

Many of Leonard's paintings are based on Game playing in its various forms. In his online gallery the images are often accompanied by a quote. For the painting below Everyone Wants a Flame he has included the quote: Love is a game in which two can play and both win. Notice in this painting that the narrative is carried almost solely by the hands which appear like dancers in the image rather than appendages to the bodies.
(Credit: gabeleonard.com)

And again in Shark Tank the hands are carrying the message that Being a predator isn’t a matter of morality; it’s a matter of nature (gabeleonard.com). The hands have been expertly painted as lethal hunters each poised ready to attack.
(Credit: gabeleonard.com)

I find that Gabe Leonard's hands are so intriguing that often I forget to look at the rest of the painting: the skilful control of his brush as he creates the creases and folds in clothing. The faces of his characters also offer so much to study, to think about: but it is the hands that carry the message that
The laws of probability can be affected by playing the right game… and it is all An Educated Guess. (gabeleonard.com)

I find this painting intriguing and perhaps somewhat disconcerting because of the dominance of the man's hands. Provocative? Yes I think so. What do you think? Who is in control here? The title is also slightly confusing - Under the Table. Much to think about and it's all being communicated through the hands.

I will leave you with this painting of Wild Bunch. The bodies, hats and hands have been perfectly choreographed like notes on a musical staff, the figures making a latticework of music notation. The tonal composition also appeals to me.

Gabe Leonard is a brilliant artist and I do hope that you have enjoyed this viewing of his perception of hands and obviously a little more. If you are going out to dinner tonight or to the pub for a drink, do enjoy yourself and don't spend too much time studying and worrying about the predatory nature of hands! And, as one of my friends said today, best to keep them in your pockets!

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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