Until yesterday, I had never done an entire painting using just my fingers. Well, maybe I did when I was a toddler. I don't remember. I've done a lot of fingerprint and handprint art over the years, but with those I used a brush at some point, decorated the painted part with pens, or otherwise did something other than just painting with my fingers.
I challenged myself to paint a pineapple in my sketchbook (next to the gouache strawberries) using nothing but my fingers. Actually, I put a few more restrictions on myself. Because I would be taking process photos, I needed one hand to stay paint-free so I didn't mess up my camera. I also wanted to finish the painting without interruption, which meant I couldn't get up to wash my hands, nor could I set the project aside to let a layer dry. I intentionally didn't put anything nearby on which I could wipe my hands. I did allow myself to do a rough pencil sketch before I started.
What you see here is a pineapple painted wet-on-wet with the four fingers of my left hand, which I didn't clean or wipe even when changing colors. It was a challenge, which was the whole point.
Finger Painting Pineapple
- acrylic paint (green, yellow, brown, and turquoise)
I used my pinky finger and some green paint to draw diagonal lines onto the pineapple, first one direction and then the other. This was really difficult. I don't have good pinky control (possibly due to the fact that I've broken that finger a couple of times, or maybe I just have a weak pinky). Fortunately, most of this would be covered, so it didn't really matter.
I switched to my index finger for the crown. I made swooping motions in green from the base outward, which is what you see below.
I added a bit of brown to the crown, trying to get some shadow. After that, I dunked my index finger into the turquoise in a surprisingly effective attempt to dilute the green and the brown already on my finger. Then I painted the background. It was really hard getting between the leaves of the crown; quite a few got covered, as you can see. It was also hard to get right up to the edge of the paper without getting any paint on the strawberry side. I did my best, but had to mop up small mistake with my ring finger.
I mixed a little bit of brown into the yellow (yes, with my finger) and stamped fingerprints into each of the white gaps between the original green lines. Then I dipped into plain yellow and re-stamped the areas in the upper right to add a subtle highlight. I touched up the crown with my pinky finger, which actually worked better than my index finger had. I mixed a small amount of yellow into the green to add some highlights on the left.
The last step was (finally) washing my hands. This was such a fun challenge and definitely something I'd like to try again.