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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > February 18 > The upper limbs and hands

The upper limbs and hands

Hands can be so expressive in poses, and convey much emotion in a painting or sculpture, says Adele Wagstaff, who continues her series with a study of the anatomy of arms and hands


Hands, After Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride, silverpoint

The complexity of the structure of hands in particular often makes students avoid them at all costs, yet in painting, drama and emotions are so often conveyed by the position of hands, their gesture and expressive qualities. We see this in Rembrandt’s painting Portrait of a Couple as Isaac and Rebecca, which is known also as The Jewish Bride, (1665, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). The tenderness shown by the placing of hands in this portrait (see above) makes this masterpiece one of the most sensitive and poignant depictions of love. Although the hands appear to be so simply depicted with broad strokes of colour patched-in, when you stand back to look the modelling and form appear to have been rendered with great attention to detail.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our February issue with our extra 16-page guide to art courses and holidays for 2018, including Kevin Scully's article on what to take into consideration and what to pack to make the most of the opportunities offered by a structured course away from home. Our artists also offer plenty of ideas and inspiration for painting a variety of subjects in a broad range of media, including pastel pencil animals, a horse in watercolour, trees and an orchard in pastels, mixed-media collages inspired by old buildings, a photorealist self-portrait in oils and more. In addition, Hazel Soan starts her new three-part series on light and shade in watercolour by explaining how to train your eye to see and interpret tone, Judi Whitton demonstrates how to mix and exploit a wide range of lively greys in your watercolour paintings, while Paul Gadenne shows why and how acrylics can be the key to achieving greater spontaneity in your work. Be inspired and enjoy trying some new ideas under the guidance of our fantastic team of contributing artists!