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This is my final submission to the second Swift Expression blog challenge!

The prompt for this assignment was as follows:

For this project, you will need to “decorate your hand” (just one hand will suffice, but you can do both if you like).

Here is my entry:

This is the best picture I got of it, the camera was acting up and the scanner was just being annoying.

This is the best picture I got of it, the camera was acting up and the scanner was just being annoying.

Now for the explanation part (I’m going to try to decipher this as best I can)…

Bottom

I focused a lot more on the background of the image for several reasons, the first being that I wanted to incorporate some aspects of my previous life. At the bottom, we see the ocean scene. I loved to draw oceans when I was little, and I was always fascinated with underwater archaeology. That is why there is a sunken ship on the right hand side. There are also crates on the ocean floor, which is a nod to my favorite historical character: The Pharaoh Hatshepsut. She was a woman who kept her power by ruling Egypt with a firm hand. She is also well known for her legendary expedition to the land of Punt (around Nubia) to bring back goods like ivory and incense. Basically, she was a complete badass in a world where women didn’t even have the ability to speak freely. You might have also noticed that there is a treasure chest down there too… that’s because I’m whimsical and I love stories about finding buried treasure. I guess I never really grew out of that.

Middle

I used this part of the picture to showcase some thoughts. The mountain scene on the left is a memory I have from travelling. When my family and I went on a cruise a few years back, I was stunned by the natural beauty of the islands. The mountains were gorgeous, complete with winding roads leading to the tops, and mansions for the rich. I found it to be very picturesque, if somewhat imbalanced. On the other side, I made a nod to my current state of life. I modeled the city after the city I work in. The city has always seemed cold to me… men in suits hurrying along the sidewalks, coffee in hand… trash blowing about the road. Homeless people huddle under the overpass… to be honest, I just don’t see the beauty. The city reminds me of harsh structure, which is why I made it the only part of my picture to have distinctive and set lines.

I included some things I see from time to time that makes the city beautiful. I love how after a storm, the clouds break up and you can see rays of sunshine falling to the ground. After the rain, the streets are clean. The only people walking about are those who were smart enough to bring umbrellas (never me of course). The trees glisten and everything seems peaceful, even if it is only for a small moment.

I used the sunset I often see in my rear view mirror to transition the middle and upper parts of the picture. I see the sunset now only if I’m stuck in traffic, but at my old job, I’d often sneak out into the parking lot (if only for a moment) and look at the clouds. I love how they slowly fade from one color to the next, until all that remains is tranquil darkness and the delicate lights of the stars.

Top

The top of the picture represents my love for astronomy and for science. I’ve always found the universe beautiful and fascinating in every sense. I included the sun of course, but also a few of my favorite planets. The red planet is Mars, and I included it because of all the scientific exploration going on there. The rovers, the remnants of water… it’s quite frankly fascinating. The horribly off color planet above Mars is supposed to be Saturn, which I’ve loved because it’s different from the rest… I love the rings. To the left of Saturn, I included Mercury because I thought it would be a lovely contrast to the deep red of Mars (because of the ice). The black speck at the top left hand corner is Pluto which is still a planet to me damnit! It’s not that obvious, but in the free space between the planets and the sun is supposed to be a nebula. All the colors I used got overwhelmed by the black but hey, I tried.

The Center

I made the center of the picture my hand and I crafted it intentionally. That is the outline of my actual hand, and I sketched it in purple (because it’s my favorite color). I wanted to make as close a representation of my hand as possible, and that’s why I included the various imperfections. My nails are plain colored and oddly shaped because when I’m anxious, I bite my nails. I always have, and I know I need to stop, but old habits die hard. My nails are plain because I rarely have the time or the will to paint them. It’s just not something that’s important to me. I sketched in my knuckles as they appear because they are quite irregular. Of course, no one notices, but I think the various creases and marks add something to make it more warm and lifelike. I wanted the focal point of my picture to be the focal point of my life right now, which is coming to terms with the events and broken promises of my past. That is why I included the promise ring Luis gave me and kept it on my left ring finger. I kept my hand white because I wanted to capture the essence of being removed from everything else, but still reaching for it. I feel like the focal point of my picture has become the focal point of my life. While I heal and come to terms with what has happened, I find myself not wanting to engage in my life or the world. I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to do things, I don’t want to nurture friendships… I just want to fade into the background and watch my life from afar until I feel strong enough to step back in. That’s why my hand is plain and ghostly… everything else pales compared to what I’m currently focused on.

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