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Day 31. If you want to go far…

"If You Want to go Far" 24x30 inches, oil on canvas I started this month with a bike, and I knew I wanted to end with one too. Only this time there’s not just one, but several. All month I’ve been thinking about the African proverb that says “If you want to go fast,...

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Day 30. Reteach a thing its loveliness.

"The Bud Stands for All Things" 24x24 inches, oil on paper I discovered this poem last week by Galway Kinnell and immediately started planning a painting in my head. Originally, I had intended for this to be my day 31 offering, the finale to this month’s work, but I...

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Day 29. Intuition

"Follow Your Intuition" 9x12 inches, oil on paper My art studio is a 300 square foot storage room underneath our raised house. I have an AC unit but no heat, so for a handful of days during the year it’s miserably cold. Those days are almost always in January. Those...

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Day 28. Except the Opposite

"The Birds are Circling" 9x12 inches, oil on paper Today’s painting is a companion piece to yesterday’s. As I was painting it, I kept thinking “The vultures are circling…except maybe the opposite.” I used photographs of a white-tailed tropicbird for a reference for...

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Day 27. One day at a time.

"Look at the Birds of the Air" 9x12 inches, oil on paper Every 31 takes me on a different trail through the same forest. One year I discovered the magic of watercolor. Another, my ideas and hopes started to grow as plants and flowers from the heads of human figures, a...

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Day 26. Who is watching whom?

"Bird Watcher" 6x6 inches, oil on canvas I saw a post on instagram recently that I shared. “One day you’re young and carefree; the next you’re like, “Is that a tufted titmouse at my bird feeder?!”  I don’t think I much noticed birds when I was younger and could...

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Day 25. Tired.

"Come With Me" 6x6 inches, oil on canvas I found a file in my google drive this morning that I’d created in 2021 called “Poems I Like." Some I remembered well, and others felt like it was my first time reading them. Thank you, past me, for creating and then forgetting...

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Day 24. So much depends upon…

"How the Light Gets In" 8x16 inches, oil on canvas Today’s painting is a bit of a shift. A couple weeks ago my family was invited to one of our most dedicated and long-time 31 in 31 participant’s new home on a huge, sprawling span of land complete with a large pond...

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Day 23. Caution: Artist at Play

"Inspiration Does Exist" 16x20 inches, oil on canvas I have been working on today’s painting for several days now. It’s a good bit bigger than my paintings so far, and I had no idea where it was going until it got there. First one bird. Then two. Then three and four,...

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Day 22: The one that almost wasn’t

"Sing the Tune without the Words" 8 inch diameter, oil on canvas I know this is painfully trite, but I’m diving in anyway: Mondays are hard. My son nearly missed the bus as I threw all the previously chopped onions, peppers, garlic, celery, and beans into the crock...

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Day 21. Do over.

"A Holiness that Exists inside Everything" 8x8, oil on canvas Today’s painting started many days ago. I was trying to explore the poem by Mark Nepo that I shared on Day 14– This line in particular: In the very center, under it all, what we have that no one can take...

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Day 20. Love Letters II

"It's Okay, Dear One, to be Proud of Yourself" 6x6, oil on canvas I came across a photo of a little Prothonotary Warbler with its chest pushed out, and I knew that kind of confidence would have to make it into a painting.  I learned this years back about parenting: It...

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Day 19. Let the voodoos of ambition sleep.

"Let the Voodoos of Ambition Sleep" 6x6, oil on canvas Today’s painting is a continuation of yesterday’s: the subject matter but also the idea that it’s okay to explore the same thing again and again if that is what feels right. I did wonder if these faces would...

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Day 18. You don’t have to be good.

"Heading Home Again" 12x9, oil on paper When I was contemplating a title for this one, my mind kept saying “Bird Brain,” a reflection of how I’m feeling at the moment– a little tired, not from painting itself, but from thinking about painting. I have been so drawn to...

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Day 17. Tend it well.

"Your Mind is a Garden, Tend it Well" 6x6, oil on canvas  I started this one before day 16 but there was something not quite right about it, but the idea of it, the little built in frame, led me to yesterday’s painting which came quickly and without the strain and...

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Day 15. Blue Skies.

"What You're Looking for is Already Here" 12x9, oil on paper I heard this metaphor for the mind recently. Andy Puddicombe, founder of the app Headspace, explained (in his delightfully-British-so-it-must-be-smart-accent) that the mind is like a blue sky. When things...

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Day 14. Adrift

"Adrift" 9x12, oil on paper I mentioned a poem on day 12, and I’ll share it today. I stumbled upon it on instagram and have been thinking about it ever since. Today’s painting borrows from yesterday’s. It’s the raven from the bicycle basket. It’s one part of the duet...

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Day 13. “Brutiful”

"Brutiful" 9x12, oil on paper Over the holidays, our oldest came back from college and after weeks of his planning it, we sat around the kitchen table and did something I have never done before. We played Dungeons and Dragons. If you aren’t familiar with this...

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Day 12. Of Wonder and Grief

"Of Wonder and Grief" 6x6, oil on canvas I started working on today’s painting alongside day 10 but the figures are from a different day. I stumbled across a poem on instagram recently which I’ll share in the upcoming days. It describes the “duet of wonder and grief”...

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Day 11. Those Spinning Wheels.

"Rest in the Grace of the World" 12 inch diameter, oil on canvas I was drawn to this image because unlike in day 1, the figure is not pedaling but resting. She’s gotten off the bike completely. It’s easy, especially during a 31 in 31, to get caught up in the moving,...

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Day 10. Magic.

"A Little Bit of Magic" 8x8 oil on canvas Late in December I started a sketchbook to start brainstorming ideas for the 31. Very few sketches have made it into actual paintings but I think the act of sketching itself helped serve as a warm up, a loosening. The...

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Day 9. Take your own advice.

“Taking the World into my Arms," 6x6, oil on canvas I was having some trouble in the studio, so I took the advice I recently gave another artist: paint something familiar while you wait for the next inspiration to come. It usually comes when you’re painting, afterall....

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Day 8. There you Always are

"Sometimes I Need Only to Stand Wherever I am to be Blessed" 8 in dimater, oil on canvas Yesterday, after posting my painting with the great blue heron, I went for a run. I haven’t been running much lately–  the December marathon felt like a triple exclamation point...

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Day 7. Love Letters.

"Led by Love" 8x8 oil on canvas Writer Elizabeth Gilbert has a spiritual practice called “two-way” prayer where she writes a letter to God which she often just calls Love and then writes a letter back to herself from Love.  I tried this practice months ago and it was...

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Day 6. Stand as 10,000

"Never Alone" 4x4 oil on canvas “I come as one, I stand as 10,000” – Maya Angelou My cousin texted me last month to ask me how the marathon went. Her mother is my grandmother’s sister. Their third sister is my Aunt Catherine who was a brilliant artist and my first art...

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Day 5. Exhale.

"Exhale" 6x6 oil on canvas I have been keeping a sketchbook this month in hopes of making this 31 a little more organized, a little less frantic. If I can work out the ideas ahead of time, so goes my thinking, my actual studio time can be less fraught. Ease is my word...

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Day 4. Displaced

"Holy Longing" 8x8, oil on canvas Back in November I was in Baton Rouge visiting my brother and we took a walk in his neighborhood which is in the middle of town, full of big historic homes and beautiful well-kept lawns. When I spotted a fox in someone’s yard, I at...

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Day 3. Ease.

  "You Have My Full Attention" 4x4, oil on canvas “I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed” – Mary Oliver   A while back, before it...

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Day 2. Beginnings are Hard

"Splendidly Small, Brilliantly Blue" 4x4, oil on canvas Beginnings are hard because they necessarily involve loss. With the first stroke, suddenly what once held infinite possibilities now displays just one. And a completed painting, a recorded song, a finished poem...

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