Extremities Environment

for web 38x18 alternate large landscape 1.png

Digital Painting, 38" x 18"

The hands and feet, far from the warmth of our hearts, are like snowy mountains. The bacteria here endure the harsh environment of exposed skin. They thrive in the creases of fingers and toes where conditions are more favorable, just as the trees of northern climates thrive in the valleys between the snowy peaks. The mountains and snow piles of this painting are shaped to resemble the hands and feet while the trees in valley remind us of the bacteria growing amongst them. These visual allusions are emphasized to a greater extent in the detail images below.

Detail Images

Extremities environment Detail.png

In this detail painting, I have exaggerated the likeness of a hand in the heaps of snow near the valley. Just as the snow is inhospitable for many lifeforms, the hands can be a harsh environment for some species of bacteria. The ones that do survive are often picked up from the things and people in our daily life. The number and kinds of bacteria living on our hands can be viewed as microbial map of our lives; our hands contain a record of the things, pets, and people we touch.

Digital Painting, 16" x 9"

Extremities Environment Detail 2.png

The bacteria in our hands and feet help maintain our skin by balancing our pH levels. Bacteria known as Firmicutes out compete illness-causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli. Washing your hands can prevent these harmful bacteria from making a home on our extremities. However, over washing can be harmful as well. Excessive hand washing kills the good bacteria, leaving a fresh place for harmful bacteria to grow. I have depicted a selection of the bacteria present on the hands and feet of many people in the detail painting on the left.

Digital Painting, 16" x 9"