Day 10. Magic.

“A Little Bit of Magic” 8×8 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 paintings that did come forth did so through that little jostling of planning even if the what of the plan has proved quite different. 

I also wrote in the sketchbook some notes, phrases or mantras I’ve picked up over the years. From my sketchbook on December 28th. 

To Remember:

Things are hard before they are easy

Enjoy the journey (ahem, see day 1)

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas

There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do

Open mind, open heart

I have the courage to step forward, even when I’m afraid. 

 

I knew I would need reminders so I figured I’d write them down before I needed them. And how I need them now!

Today’s painting is one I started long ago and has been sitting on the fold-out table of my studio for months. It needed less work than I’d originally thought, and it was refreshing to work on the middle/end of a painting instead of the beginning because that’s what I love most. I don’t like the beginning part. It feels like an exhausting, painful, but necessary preamble. It’s the “agree to our terms” box you have to check before you can purchase anything online. It’s the form you have to fill out for the 100th time at the doctor’s office listing your medical history before you can see a doctor about a sore throat. It’s the countertop you have to clear before you can cook. 

 But middles and ends are full of the magic. Magic, I’ll concede, that is only possible because of the grind of the beginning. 

I’m calling this one “A Little Bit of Magic” and I’m grateful that I started the incantation long ago so that today I could see it flutter to life. 

If you have any mantras or helpful phrases that serve to remind you of something essential or calm you when you most need it, I’d love to know. 

** I’m doing something a little different this year. I’ll post each painting at (or close to) 10 am each day this month and they will be available for purchase on my site. However, the pieces will not be shipped out or available for pick up until February 26, after the run of the gallery show.

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Day 31. Blessing for the Seeker

“Seeking, Striving, in it with all my Heart” 48x48in oil on canvas

“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”

-Vincent Van Gogh

This is the part where I stare at the blinking cursor on my screen. Because there’s a jumble of thoughts, of what I could or should or want to say to bring the whole thing full circle, to express my gratitude, my pervasive hope that creating matters– to our spirit, to our homes, to our world. What a wild thought.

Today’s painting is large. I’ve been working on it on and off all month long, and this morning I put the final touches on it, stood back to look at it, and was overcome by how hard this month was, how much joy it produced. 

My dear community of fellow 31ers, I have many times this month been awed by you, your work, your vulnerability. You’ve made me laugh and cry. You’ve made me hopeful. I’ve been impressed, jealous (not super proud of that one), moved, curious, excited. But most of all, I’ve felt supported and held by a precious community. I hope you have felt the same.

I wrote a blessing as a companion to today’s painting. It’s for the seeker, the 31er. It’s for you. 

 

For the Seeker, A Blessing

May you uncover not only what you seek

But what the soil of your search makes bloom

Not only what you are certain of

But mysteries holding together that which fades

 

May the light that is already yours

(and always has been)

Find new cracks and crevices

Into which to pour and reveal itself

 

And when petals turn brown and crisp

Clinging, absurdly to what is disappearing

May their memory guide you

To your next discovery

 

But until it beckons, 

May you stand still, awed, 

long enough to know

The joy of flight

The blessing of travel

The gift of the season that was

And will be

Again.

All 31 coming exclusively to my subscribers list tomorrow Feb. 1 at 8pm. Make sure you’re on it here.

 

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More From The Blog

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 29. Intuition

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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 30. Ride the waves

“Circling Back” 8×8 oil on canvas

If you aren’t a painter, let me describe the typical process for you. 1. An idea! 2. A decent start with the first few marks of the piece. 3. Looks like trash. 4. Looks like the most glorious things you or anyone else has ever created 5. Looks like trash again. 6. Looks fine. 

I don’t know why such extremes are involved, but I’ve talked with enough painters to know that it’s not just me, we somehow require them.

Today’s painting was extra extreme for me. Moments of glory and devastation all wrapped up into a tiny little 8×8 inch canvas. I’ve ended where I usually do: it’s fine. It’ll do. And tomorrow, well, tomorrow, there will be potential for magic once again. Rinse, Repeat. 

The month is closing out more quickly than I could have imagined a couple weeks ago when time was moving slower than a herd of snails traveling through peanut butter. But here I am with only one day left. One more attempt to ride the waves of emotion that show up every time without getting thrown out into the abyss.

All 31 coming exclusively to my subscribers list Feb. 1 at 8pm. Make sure you’re on it here.

 

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More From The Blog

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 29. Intuition

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Day 28. Except the Opposite

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Day 29. Probably had been for quite some time.

“Expanded Horizons” 10×10 oil on canvas

This bird has been my mind all month, but I’ve resisted the urge to do 31 paintings of her. I’ve seen several since the start of the month: on a drive where she flew over me for at least a mile and I had to force myself to focus on the road, when I was leaving for a run and just yards from my house and she hovered above me as though ordaining the journey. 

There’s that saying about love: you find it when you stop looking. But maybe it’s not that we stop looking. Maybe it’s more that we find it when we stop looking only in one spot. I stopped seeking out that one Great Blue Heron in that one spot by the train tracks. And without a one track mind, the blinders lifted, and she was everywhere. Probably had been for quite some time.

All 31 coming exclusively to my subscribers list Feb. 1 at 8pm. Make sure you’re on it here.

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More From The Blog

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,...

read more

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...

read more

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. The bird is coming from inside the house.

“Breakthrough” 6×6 oil on canvas

Today’s painting started off just as the egret, but I placed it too far to the top of the canvas which in turn made the whole thing just beg for a figure. And the stripes? Those are an experiment. Let me know what you think? 

I can’t get enough of these elegant coastal birds, the Great Blue Heron, The Great Egret. I must not be the only one, because whoever named them did so using the accurate but not very creative or scientific word “great”. They are great. They fill me with awe.

These paintings are not of hats. They are of ideas. The bird is coming from inside the house.

All 31 coming exclusively to my subscribers list Feb. 1 at 8pm. Make sure you’re on it here.

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Subscribe to Blog via Email

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More From The Blog

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,...

read more

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...

read more

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 24. Complicated dinner recipes and photographs of birds


“Paraclete” 6×6, oil on canvas

I was scrolling on pinterest. The algorithm seems very aware that I am into both complicated dinner recipes and photographs of birds. 

So right after the “fiery lamb ragu on parpadelle” pin, I saw a stunning image of a white peacock. A white peacock? 

The way the feathers flowed down like a waterfall, I immediately saw where I would put her in a painting. Today’s painting is my earnest attempt to paint what I’d imagined after seeing the photograph. It fell short, it always does, but the going after it, the drawing, the painting, the mark-making? That part always feels right.

After several emails, I’ve decided to change things up. I want to offer my 31 paintings this month to my emails subscribers first. So many of you have asked about certain paintings but are not local and cannot make it to our celebration on February 3. I’m working to give my email list first dibs on all 31 on February 1st. Details coming soon. 

 

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More From The Blog

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,...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more