Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: 'Hands' on the wall

'Hands' on the wall


These are the first six of my ongoing Hands series of prints all together, completed at the end of last year. I've already posted these individually, to be found under 'Hands'. While preparing several more to print the next few weeks, I put these up on the wall of the printmaking studio to have a long look and think. This is merely a snapshot, not a good photo, for the lighting was poor and I did not use a tripod. However, it shows for me the series as a work in progress, like this other photo. I like to pause like this, to revisit what I've done so far, how they look together, which are the strongest ones, which the weakest. I try to imagine ten or twelve in the series all in a single row, as I'd like them to be were they to be in an exhibition. I also enjoy the feedback from my artist colleagues in the studio, just as I do from you, dear readers.

Now to carry on with some more 'Hands' with objects. Hope to print one more tomorrow...

Marja-Leena | 17/01/2013 | 9 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Digital printmaking, Hands, Printworks


The impact of them all together is stunning.

I like all of them, but I do respond to three of them more strongly than the others. The one with the fossil is mystical, the fossil resembling an eye. The one with the pine cone skeleton makes me think of an as-yet-undiscovered creature from the deep.

My absolute favorite is the one with the leaf skeleton, veiling the hand. I learned to read palms many years ago, and I always look at the lines in your hand when you post your scans, but this one hides the information behind the intricate lines of the leaf.

Obviously, I need to learn to read leaves - other than tea leaves, another thing I learned to do when I was young.

Fascinating work, Marja-Leena. Provocative, mysterious, beautiful.

I hadn't noticed until seeing them together that your hand actually looks quite different in each depending on the depth of the object you're covering. With these I find your hand, and the amount of pressure being applied, to be of considerable visual interest. Of course, I also understand that these are very large prints so the computer screen format is bound to distort their appearance in reality.

I'm assuming you have a treasure trove of wonderful finds from nature to work with as you continue this fascinating series. It's inspired.

Martha, thanks so very much for your kind words and observations, especially from the perspective of reading palms and leaves. Fascinating what others see..

Susan, yes, the variations in size and shape, even distortion of the hand surprised me as I worked on them when printing them so large. I don't think the computer screen is distorting them for viewers here, at least I hope not. The colours do look a bit washed out on my monitor. I do have a few more objects to work with and maybe I'll find even more if the inspiration keeps going! Thanks always!

Marvelous to see them all together - I think they gain something when seen collectively -- even more mystery, an enigmatic quality that makes us wonder about why you chose the particular objects, and how the objects transform the hand. Carry on, they're terrific!

Beth, I'm so pleased you agree about seeing them all together, and seeing that mystery which I like to convey. Thanks so much!

I spent several hours today proofing the next piece, with some frustrations in getting the colours right, but did finally get a good one! Hope to edition that next week.

The middle top one (which I don't recall--or had forgotten) is mysterious, decayed, and bridal all at once.

Marly, that one is the hand with leaf, probably my favourite so far.

There is something really powerful about this series which contains so many resonances - time and vulnerability being the two greatest ones for me. I find these touch me more personally than your last series, and I like to come back to the images again and again.

I find the scale of the 'enclosed' interesting, as is the different pressure on the base of your hand. I'm not completely sure how I feel about the differences yet - a brilliantly thought-provoking series.

Olga, I'm so pleased you find these moving and thought-provoking. It has turned out to be a very challenging series to work on, with many problems with printing the colour of the skin realistically. And yes, the hand positions change according to the depth and size of the objects being held against the scanner which has a shallow depth of field - another tricky area. Who ever said digital work is easy?! I've committed now to this look as I move ahead with the rest of the series - wish me luck.