“Forget what lies behind you.” Forgetting is an active verb — it requires purposeful action to NOT do something, even when provoked.

The people of Rwandan have to face it every day. Every day, they walk into other people that created a nightmare for them. I am awed at their ability to find redemption and move on. It takes a strong strength of spirit — and a partnership. I wish everyone were as willing to step forward to work on relationship together.

My latest piece is a little larger than the current size that I’ve been working on since I’ll be working on it over November and December with several weeks of down time in between to accommodate the holidays. I picked as inspiration a picture of a Bukonyan elder leaning on her walking stick (with permission by Karen Houghton/Kim Jackson). So often, the focus of a portrait is a person’s mouth or their eyes — but in this one, all of her personality is centered around her hands. I haven’t worked on hands before and found them as engaging as a face.

Although the light is hitting the front of her face, she is looking away from the camera — and there is no pinprick of light hitting her pupils. Even her mouth is closed.

But under her chin lies her hands, resting together. All of the primary light is hitting her top hand — so that is what you see develop first.

I spent some extra time on the wrinkles in the knuckles — just as I did with the wrinkles in the face. It’s the fine details that show age.

This is her without her hair — just her face and hands.

I have since added her hair — she has white scattered in her black hair — and a golden walking stick.

Her cloak is next. I’m still deciding what to do with that.