A few days ago I hit day 100 on my #100daysoftracingmyhandsproject. I had high hopes of having scanned and posted all of the pieces in portfolio format by now. Of having gathered all of my learnings from the project and having shared the big ones for those who were interested. I had high, slightly delusional, largely unrealistic hopes given some very full days committed to things other than scanning and cataloging art work.
I am continuing to work on this though and am very excited to share the final post when it is done. Today however I want to share some thoughts that came together as I started to research why hands have been painted in the past, specifically prehistoric cave paintings of hands.
I recently received a message from a friend with a link to an article announcing recent studies show that many of the cave paintings of hands were created by females. Until seeing this article I had never made the connection between my project and these pieces but seeing the pictures and reading the text it suddenly felt very related. After making this connection I had to know more; off I went to do a little research regarding why hands were painted in caves for tens of thousands of years ago and continued to be up in to contemporary times.
I read various articles from a wide variety of sources and the conclusion offered by most of them was that it's all a mystery. One article however proposed the possibility of hand paintings as a form of communication offering advice on navigation. This explanation, though purely hypothetical, really excited me! Why? Because in a way, that is exactly what my daily hand paintings have done for me.
The article read that prehistoric hand paintings were "sometimes made in highly uncomfortable positions, where far more convenient options existed." They were placed in a way, "perhaps offering advice about cave features, how to position one's hands, how best to move safely through the passageways and so on." They may have existed for the purpose of navigation.
As I worked each day on #100daysoftracingmyhands I realized early on that the project for me was becoming very much a means of navigation as well. Not in the sense that the prehistoric cave paintings may have been for those that followed but in the sense of a daily opportunity to check in and assess where I, personally, am and where I want to be heading.
A daily connection of palm to page confirming "yes, I am here, and here and here". A daily opportunity for introspection asking, "if I am here now, where do I want to go next?"
A form of navigating in the sense it helped me to identify the current path I was standing on and then allowed me to question and decide in which direction to move forward.
More and more my creative process has become this for me. The hands project and showing up daily however really secured creativity as my compass.
So now I'm wondering, how do you navigate? Does your creativity play an important role?