Monday, 14 September 2009

The Hand I Held in Mine

This was an illustration i did for a book of poems. The theme of the poems (at least the ones I illustrated) was love. And as with most good love stories the love was not plain sailing. The different poems each taking a different approach and each telling a story either of love gone wrong, or love with issues that could be worked out, or love that started as total passion but ended in a desire to kill. Unfortunately I do not have the poems themselves to hand, but I am sure that you get my drift. There was no story that was about fairytale love - but then that is just that - a fairytale.

Call me cynical - but I don't think I am. I still believe in love and I believe that it can be good and that it can endure. I am a realist - I think - others are not of the same mind - but I have not been ground down by life in spite of love that has gone wrong and in spite of the curveballs that life has thrown at me. Love must be allowed to grow and develop, but change is never easy and growth can be painful, but nothing stands still so the work has to be put in. That is realism, is it not?

My father was a pessimist and I always used to say to him "can't you look on the bright side of life for a change - the worst is not always going to happen". So as long as he was alive I had to be this amazing Pollyanna type figure as i tried to win him over with my positive outlook. But somewhere along the way I realised that he did in fact have a point. If you always expect the worst then you may be pleasantly surprised when the worst does not happen. If, on the other hand, you are an optimist like I was, you can be disappointed and disillusioned time and time again - which I was.

So I did try to take a leaf out of his book although I also try to temper it with my natural joy of life. Life would be too miserable if you were always looking for that cloud. I still (secretly) really believe in happy endings although I also realise that sometimes they do not happen for everyone and not all the time. But I do believe that a positive outlook can actually help the outcome whatever it is - as Scarlett O'Hara said "After all, tomorrow is another day" (if I have quoted her correctly)

Here, I do apologise for going on about it (and I cannot remember if I have blogged about this before - it is quite likely as a father's influence cannot be underestimated!) but thinking about these poems, written incidentally by a friend of mine called Christy Parker, from Youghal in Co Cork, brings up these thoughts about life and especially love.

Regarding the illustration - i tried with this one to convey in a simple graphic way how the love in the story was in the past. The soft and gentle hand, has a little sting to it.

In addition I think you can tell from this drawing how much I like hands for their wonderful expressiveness. Think of puppeteers and what stories they can tell with the expression of their hands - or a ballet dancer or just an Italian. It has been said that I speak with my hands too by the way. Hands are so expressive!

I always liked that silly schoolgirl joke "How can you silence an Italian?" answer: "Tie his hands behind his back" Boom, boom!

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