Day 22. “Should”

“Should” 6x6, oil on canvas, $125

Today’s painting is a smaller version of day 14. I’m feeling those should’s start to creep up on me–  you should be trying new things. You should make every painting completely new and different and exciting every day. 

But I’ve known “should” for so long now, I finally know how to handle him. I just say hey, a familiar wave of my hand, and then go on my merry little way.

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Day 21. Challenge Accepted.

“Challenge Accepted” 6x6, oil on canvas, $125

Magnolias are more challenging to paint than some other flowers that have less precision in their forms. But challenging is a thing now and will be for a while. Might as well settle into it. Still seeking out the beauty. 

Stay well, my friends.

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Day 20. Little Things

“Little Things” 10x10, oil on canvas $300.00

I took a photograph of a cute cruiser bike resting against the fence at the Mockingbird Cafe in Bay St. Louis probably over a year ago, thinking there was a painting idea in there somewhere. 

The bicycle created these really interesting negative shapes that took most of my energy and attention. This painting is only 10x10, but I can really envision a second go at it that is much bigger, more abstracted. I think there’s a bit of a longing in it– a longing for the time when I snapped the photo– probably a glorious Sunday after a long run. I probably had to put down my bloody mary to take the picture. I probably gave hugs to friends at church that morning. I probably rubbed shoulders with people in line at the Mockingbird; it was always so crowded even after the PJs moved in across the street. 

“It’s the little things” takes on new meanings during quarantine. What little mundane things do you miss the most?

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Day 19. Walk it Out

“I Spy” 6x6, oil on canvas

You’d think that because in a former life I was a teacher, I’d be good at this crisis learning thing. I can’t even call it home school. It does not come naturally to me. I worry constantly and then have this internal pep talk where I say things like “Look, it’s going to be fine. Teaching him how to do laundry is a life skill. A life skill, D-hop. He’ll be okay.” Truthfully, my son is watching a lot of learning shows and playing too many video games. 

But we did have a true success story the past two days that I want to share. 

I need daily walks to stay sane. My son detests them. And so the beginning of every walk is a routine argument about its duration, the efficacy of tired, seven-year old legs, the oppressive heat or cold of beautiful spring mornings. 

But we started looking for the bears people have put in their windows or porch swings and it turned into bonafide math. It turned into school. You see, stuffed bears are clearly special and worth 100 points. Birds and squirrels only worth ten. A bug is worth 5. Chickens!? Well, we were so surprised to find those, we deemed them worth 200. We saw 5 in a coop, and I watched the wheels turn in my son’s head to get to 1000 extra points. 

The next day, we did the same thing, adding lawn statues to our list– 50 points. Today, I’ve got something special planned. Evil squirrels roaming our once safe streets, taking away 10 of our hard-earned points every time they cross our path. We can’t neglect subtraction. 

Our walks typically end with over 3000 points. But the real win? My son said “This is fun.” I kid you not.

I’m getting this post in before we head out for our walk. A cardinal will be a bonus. I’m thinking 100 points– yes?

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Day 18. Yes, And.

“Yes, And” 10x10, oil on canvas, $300.00

My work anniversary came and went without my noticing yesterday. Six years and one day ago I started my very first daily painting challenge. I did 30 paintings in 30 days in April 2014, diving headfirst (like a pelican) into a whole host of unknowns. You can read my very first day 1 post here

I never could have imagined the circumstances under which I’d be starting yet another daily painting practice six years later, but I think it would have been comforting to know then that this was going to last, was going to be there for me time and time again. 

So these are my anniversary flowers– simple, small, deeply meaningful. I am feeling both anxious and grateful, fluctuating between anxiety and acceptance. Most days, most hours, I am both the drooping flower in the left corner and the one in the middle with a sunshine center.

I saw the following graphic the other day and took a screen shot. I am a whole mess of “Yes, and’s” these days. 

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Day 17. Wait it Out

“Wait it Out” 6x6, oil on canvas

Since the are usually only 31 days, normally in my daily painting challenges, day 17 would feel like a victory. Over half way finished. 

Only this time, there’s no finish line to measure my efforts. It’s like running. If I set out to do 3 miles, I’ll probably get tired at 1.5. But if I just move the line to say a 6 mile run, I don’t start to feel it until mile 3. 

And honestly, with no finish line in sight, I feel fine.  I’ve settled into the routine. I’m not aiming for any date in the future, just settling in to the rhythm. At least, that is, when it comes to painting. I’m like this little hummingbird on a branch– just waiting it out.

I’m giving away a small painting today to one person on my mailing list. If you want a shot at it, you can enter here: www.denisehopkinsfineart.com/subscribe.

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