To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Hands and feet always have been a fascinating subject to draw. They say as much as one's face. 

In my first year of graduate training I learned quite a bit more about hands. We would be video-ed weekly, and got plenty of comments of our supervisors how we came over, the sitting positions, hands, feet, face. Everything had to look  as "neutral" as possible. One of my favorite hand positions for the counseling room is to fold my hands into each other.

In my  life outside that room my hands are seldom at rest. A reminder came some weeks ago, when my brother emailed me " made me think of you when you were drawing so much in your teens..."
I thought he should see me now! My hands are busier than ever, not only with drawing, but also painting, knitting, crocheting, making jewelry, and so on.

This mixed media work was done about 12 years ago, when "oversized anything" was in vogue. Notice the wedding ring on the left hand? When  living in Holland, I wore the ring on my right hand, because that's where Protestant people who are married, wear their wedding ring. 
If one was Catholic, one wore it on the opposite side. (Commonly, the engagement ring moved to the other hand when one got married.)

So the more subtle question to ask if you wanted to know if someone was married or not, was to inquire, "Are you Protestant or Catholic?"

In the seventies most women in the Netherlands had a simple wedding band. Sometimes with a tiny diamond in it, but never the extravagant two rings fitting into each other, now common in the USA. 
Two years ago, I noticed to my chagrin that in the new church we attended, people were looking at my ring. At first I reasoned that I had been living more than fifteen years in the States, and was not planning to change anything on my appearance. 

But as time went by, these looks from men as well as women became too distracting.  I could see their pondering or confusion. Hmm, she keeps coming with the same guy. But why doesn't she have a wedding ring on?
So, one time I had enough of it, and told to my husband, "I need a ring." 
Not, I want a ring, or I like a ring for my birthday.  No, "I need..."
I know that was not very romantic!!

Hubby looked very surprised, so I told him why.
He did not say anything that I can remember. 

A few weeks later, we were visiting one of our kids, and we were shopping in Old Town.
When we passed a Russian jewelry store, I suddenly remembered my conversation with hubby. Because the ring in itself was not an important thing to me, I had forgotten all about it!
I saw a ring I liked, but I did not expect hubby to like it, or to immediately give in to an extravagant expense.

My jaw dropped when all he said was, "okay," and went to the cash register to pay for it! Without any protest, or joke "that is then your birthday gift" (it was not near by birthday).
I was so dumbfounded and confused that when leaving the store, I carried the little handbag with the box in it. My daughter demanded, "Aren't you going to wear it?" 

(Sorry, it's not very visible that these are two rings, but if you want "proof" then click on the image to enlarge.)

"Uh, uh..mmm....I have to get used to the idea."
" Well, you get used to the idea, by wearing it!" said little Smarty Pants, and had a big grin on her face, when in the middle of the street, I finally opened the box and put "it" on.

"It" is a pain to wear, or rather, all the times you have to take it off, when you wash the dishes, when I paint, or when I knit, my yarn gets stuck in it, and so on, and so forth. 
Can't I just go back to my simple wedding ring? Don't tell me...
I remember now why I started wearing it.


Protege said...

I really enjoyed this story about hands.;) What a beautiful sketch! I am fascinated by hands; I often look at peoples hands. As soon as I meet someone new, I judge them by their handshake and the appearance of their hands. Hands can tell a lot about person.
You have absolutely beautiful hands.
Love the story about the ring; I had no idea that wedding rings (or the lack of) is such a big issue.
Your new ring is lovely.

Gaston Studio said...

It's so interesting to learn the traditions of other cultures, and that's a beautiful ring Jeannette!

Know what you mean about it getting in the way when doing things with your hands, but it's also nice to wear when you're going out.

Barry said...

Its a beautiful ring and fits your hand lovingly.

Barry said...

Its a beautiful ring and fits your hand lovingly.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Jeannette, this was very interesting. I once worked with a woman from the South of France who wore her wedding band on her right hand. I have the band from my Mothers set which is a thin band with 5 small diamonds. My sister has the engagement ring from the set.I wear Mothers band all the time and add my ring which is a large diamond band to it when I "go out". HA! :0

Reader Wil said...

Well that was interesting to read about the ring tradition in the States! I still wear one ring on my rght hand, even though most widows wear two rings. The problem was that my husband lost his ring. So nobody can see that I am a widow. It's okay with me!!
You wrote about the bush fires in California! That's horrible indeed!
I wish you to keep out of harm's way!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a lovely story and painting Jeannette. Here we also wear our rings on the left hand and I have a yellow diamong ring so that people will think I am engaged and eave me alone. LOL!! Darn long engagement this is. :)

DUTA said...

I've always been fascinated by hands, and aware of the importance of the feet to one's health (reflexology interests me).

As for the russian ring - it's lovely. Enjoy it!

Rudee said...

My wedding ring is my engagement ring. I love it, but don't wear it often because like you said, it gets in the way.

Interesting story about how to tell faith by which side the ring is worn.

Gaelyn said...

Hands can tell so much. I like your scribble of well groomed hands with long and talented fingers.
So, do you wear both wedding rings now, on separate hands?
I wear rings on many and any fingers.

jeannette stgermain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeannette stgermain said...

SORRY PEOPLE for the blips in my article as well as the typos - a disadvantage of scheduling to post in the middle of the night:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, I do like the ring!
Some things you discover are a big deal when you start living in another country LOL
You're so right: a handshake tells a lot!!

jeannette stgermain said...

Especially you would know, having lived in such a different culture from the US!
Thank you Jane, yeah I have good taste (just kidding:) ).

jeannette stgermain said...

You're kind -thank you!

jeannette stgermain said...

Wow, if you ever come to L.A., better be careful with so many diamonds - especially the big one!(just joking)

jeannette stgermain said...

Reader Wil,
People must start wondering when you talk about your children and grand children. Do they ask you about your ring?
Yes, it's amazing, but every year there are large fires - I should be used to it by now, but one never is! Don't worry, I'm in a pretty safe area, close to the ocean:)

jeannette stgermain said...

I remember now you referred to it earlier. I've never seen a yellow diamond. Guess Africa is the continent of the colored diamonds.
You make me laugh Joan! So...are you Catholic or Protestant? :):)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks for the reminder, I should enjoy it! (I'm often too focused on things being functional and pragmatic!)

jeannette stgermain said...

Wow, I haven't heard that for a while (that the engagement ring is also the wedding ring).
I can imagine with your job, it's too much hassle to keep taking it off and on repeatedly!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Gaelyn - I wear both the band and the ring with the diamond on the same finger, so there can be no mistake! And sometimes I wear rings on my right hand - I actually like silver more than gold!

Barry said...

I was doubly kind, Jeannette. I'm not sure why my comment appeared twice.

I guess I was just being emphatic!

The Green Stone Woman said...

Even though I'm divorced, I wear two gold bands on my left ring finger, which makes me look like I'm a widow, as it is the custom in the Netherlands for the widow to wear her own and her late hsbands wedding band as well on the same finger.

My second gold band is in memory of my son and has his name and the date of his death engraved in it. If I wore it by itself, people would think it was just an ordinary wedding band and think me still married. By wearing the two gold bands, at least they think I'm a widow and in mourning and maybe also available. I thought it was a good solution to the problem. I don't want anyone to think I'm still married. I'm happily divorced.

jeannette stgermain said...

Don't worry about it! Gaelyn's also came in twice, but appeared once after moderating. Who knows...little blogger elves playing around:)

That's a good solution! Empathy is popular with therapists LOL!

jeannette stgermain said...

Happily divorced, but available, huh? You know, today is the first time that I heard about this custom (from Reader Wil-see above)! It's the hardest kind of loss, to survive your child. Take care:)

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for your visit! About my ring: no, nobody thinks it strange that I have only one ring.
Have a great weekend Jeannette.

Floss said...

I've only got one simple gold band, and to be honest I've never even looked at French people to see if they do anything different - I don't think so. I'm fascinated to hear that ring customs vary so much.

Two ring stories:

My mother in law, a farmer, lost her wedding ring inside a sheep one lambing season. She did get it back when the lamb was finally born!

My husband didn't have a ring when we first got married - it's not particularly traditional for men to have them in the UK. But several years later he started teaching at university and, like you, decided he had to get one, this time for his own protection! He was fed up with looking single and available. I was quite pleased, of course!

Diane AZ said...

Very interesting about the customs for rings. Even though I'm still married, I stopped wearing my wedding ring years ago when I was often sculpting with plaster or clay. I've also stopped wearing all jewelry including my wrist watch just because it's simpler.

jeannette stgermain said...

Reader Wil,
Glad to hear that - I remember how people in Holl. can be particular (and talking amongst themselves) about some things -but maybe over time they have changed for the better:)

jeannette stgermain said...

What a funny story about your mother in law - that would be worth posting, Floss:)
Exactement, ma cheri - I know the feeling (about looking available)!

jeannette stgermain said...

Good for you! Maybe I'm too concerned about "looking proper", but of course I had to be because of my therapist job!

Bytheway have you posted your clay and plaster sculptures? Can't remember seeing them...

Jo said...

You are a wonderful artist...! Hands are very difficult to draw.

I never had an engagement ring, I just had a simple gold band, and I was paddle boarding in Osoyoos Lake one summer, and my ring slipped off my finger and sank to the bottom of the lake. Not long afterwards my husband's plane crashed -- into a lake. I have always felt eerie about that.

jeannette stgermain said...

Oh Jo, that must have been foreboding! At times these things I feel happen as a sign to prepare us. Heaven is speaking to us continuously, and we sometimes get a glimpse of it and can see and hear...

Liked your post about visiting other blogs, and forgot to comment on it:) - I hereby do now.

Quiet Paths said...

I really enjoyed this story mostly for its humor but also for the glimpse of the culture from your eyes. I never did have an engagement ring - we couldn't afford it and never bothered. My father just didn't like that a bit!

jeannette stgermain said...

Quiet Paths,
Thank you! Yeah I know about fathers!!
Well, I never had an engagement ring either, but that was because my father forbid me to marry the one who's now my husband (he was born and raised in Asia -unfortunately for him, but he sent me to Dutch schools, so I viewed things the Dutch way and not the Asian way:) ).

dutchbaby said...

Very nice story and very nice understated ring.

My wedding ring once broke and I wore no ring for months. I know exactly why you needed a ring. Though it was nice to learn that men still found me attractive, it was embarrassing when someone would flirt with me in front of my children. Eek!

I now wear three stacked rings by Frank Gehry. They are very easy to wear and I never take them off.

jeannette stgermain said...

Do wedding rings break?? I've only heard of pregnant women having to have the ring cut, because their fingers are too swollen.

I understand the attraction part when you have children, but when you have a few grand children you don't see it from that side anymore LOL

dutchbaby said...

Yes, my wedding ring broke when it got caught on a wire basket. It had a triangular design and the gold was soft It snapped open at the narrowest point.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks for getting back to me:) How sad! It seems it shouldn't have happened. Good you have another one now!:)

matthew houskeeper said...

From my own experiences, a wedding ring (or lack of) has never been a very good indicator of anything.

And I am not trying to be smart alecky with that comment either.

jeannette stgermain said...

Oh, I agree with your general concept that a ring is not being an indicator of anything, but for me individually I do want the message to come over that "till death do us part - I am not available" (saying it in a nice way instead of being annoyed).
I know you're not being smart alecky...YES, you ARE (just teasing:) )