Day 1: Ease on in

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“Ease In” 5×5, oil on canvas


Day 1s are not always a walk in the park but, for me, they come with a tremendous sense of relief. The thing I’ve just been thinking about, worrying about, trying to decide this and that about– that thing gets to finally just take flight. It gets to leave my head and land, gracefully or not, onto some canvas. It becomes real. I get to touch it. 

This is the advice I gave myself this go round and I gave it because, as per usual, I was getting a little ahead of myself fantasizing about grandiose, complicated paintings accompanied by articulate, well-structured, theme-consistent posts about them:

Ease in. 

Ease into the process.  My running app coach always says at the start of the run that you shouldn’t be straining, that the effort should be light, that your body has to get used to going from not running to running. So as I felt my blood pressure rising trying to decide what type of painting would set the tone for my 31 days, I decided instead to just ease in. I picked something familiar, something comfortable. Something I wouldn’t have to agonize over. 

And I picked this particular bird, a Carolina wren, because on the day of the gallery grand opening, I was sitting at my desk getting some things in order, and one just flew right in through the propped-open doors of the gallery. I was worried it would not be able to find its way out. I’ve seen too many other birds try to fly up instead of over (through the open door or window). But this one came, took a little tour, and then made a quiet, uncomplicated exit. I reached for my phone feeling the need to collect evidence of the visit, but either I was too late or I tried to live in the moment, I can’t remember which. Maybe that’s advice for tomorrow. 

The point is this is my start and not my finish. Small and consistent was the rallying cry anyway and the big, grandiose, complicated, thoughtful ideas may or may not come but if they do, it will be through a series of small, seemingly insignificant steps. What a relief!

All my paintings this month (or at least the ones that make the cut) will be available February 4th. Happy New Year, my friends. I hope you’re easing on into it. And if you’ve given or received any good advice lately, I’m all ears!

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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 1, 2022

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