Cave wall handprints

After a bit of research, I found out that hand prints were used years ago (around 30,000) on cave walls. Cave painting was a way of communicating, decorating and simply recording things. Hand prints were the earliest signs of humans on the walls, and it would be created by placing the hand on the wall then blowing pigment over it to uncover a negative print on the wall.

This is an image of a cave wall from Argentina. Although they appeared all over the world, to name a few: Spain, Indonesia, France, South America.
This is an image of a cave wall from Argentina. Although they appeared all over the world, to name a few: Spain, Indonesia, France, South America.

I tried to create a similar piece. I was focussing on the process as opposed to the image, so I used a relatively small canvas and tried to blow paint over my hand. I found out it was a lot more difficult than I envisioned. I struggled to get the right consistency of the acrylic paint; too thick and it didn’t spread easily around my hand, too thin and would run too much under my hand and over other parts of the canvas.

Here is an image of the first hand I tried. As you can see, I have a straw and I am using that to blow the paint onto the hand and canvas. Unfortunately the straw's diameter wasn't big enough to evenly layer the paint.
Here is an image of the first hand I tried. As you can see, I have a straw and I am using that to blow the paint onto the hand and canvas. Unfortunately the straw’s diameter wasn’t big enough to evenly layer the paint.
My attempt at making negative hand prints. I painted a sandy colour as a background to try and copy the typical colour of cave walls. I used a orangey red and a darker colour to try and keep it authentic.
My attempt at making negative hand prints. I painted a sandy colour as a background to try and copy the typical colour of cave walls. I used a orangey red and a darker colour to try and keep it authentic.

Although the finished product doesn’t look particularly impressive, I am quite happy with it because I feel like I learnt in the process. It was fun to experiment with a new way to use paint (I blew the paint through a straw). I also found a few problems that I didn’t plan for, such as I didn’t consider the paint travelling under my palm where my hand doesn’t touch the canvas, I also didn’t put much thought into the consistency. So whilst making this piece, I enjoyed trying to overcome these little issues.

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