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I gotta hand it to me.

I've been obsessing over hands. Have I taken the beautiful, difficult things they can do for granted? Painful tendonitis in my right hand has caused me to mourn the perfect functionality I have enjoyed all my life. My daughter's loss of most of the mobility in her left hand after an accident necessitating nerve graft surgery has drastically affected many months of her life. My hands, her hand, their lives so mingled.

My hand portraits reflect the particles and pieces that make up the tendons, nerves, vessels, muscles, bone and skin that make my hands twist, poke, pinch, point, grasp, press, pull, scoop, knead.

Studying hands with palms facing away indicates the gestures "stop," "I surrender," pushing and shielding motions. Now face your hands towards you palms up, thumbs out. What are they saying? They could hold something, be supplicating, say, "I have no idea," say, "come here."

Try your own hand portraits. Just outline your hands like you did back in kindergarten at Thanksgiving and see what you intuitively paint within them. Your hands are maps of the deepest soul of touch. What stories can they tell you?

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