“Devotion” 5×5, oil on canvas

A few days ago, I was on an early morning run down a usual route, and about a mile or two in I saw emerge from the large ditch that lines the train track, a Great Blue Heron. The great part is already in the name so let me make sure I’m clear: I saw a majestic Great Blue Heron rise from the depths beside me and take off in glorious flight before me. 

I had been worrying about this upcoming 31. Every single year I want to have it more planned. I think there should be a theme. I want to be organized. And every single year I’m not ready, not organized, there’s no theme, and it works out anyway. But I never learn the lesson. Which I think is something like this: the themes emerge from doing the work. Nothing has to be planned except devotion to a process. That’s actually it, the whole thing. 

So my day 1 painting honors that heron who I think will emerge again and again, maybe not from the ditch along the train tracks but from the trainwreck of my studio which I promised myself I’d clear before day 1 and most certainly did not. 

My plan this month is simple. I’m going to pay attention. And if all I’ll I ever get from it is a memory of that one Great, Great Blue Heron rising, I am certain it will be enough.

All my paintings from the month will be available February 3 at the gallery and online 

February 6. 




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Written by Denise Hopkins

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