Day 1. Mile 1. Long Road Ahead.

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abstract oil painting with texture













“Long Road Ahead” 36×36, oil on canvas [creativ_button url=”×36-oil-canvas/” icon=”” label=”Buy Now” colour=”blue” colour_custom=”” size=”medium” edge=”straight” target=”_self”]

As my half marathon approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about running as a metaphor for painting. The way it’s manifested itself most lately is this: I’m not that good at mile 1. It’s always, inevitably my slowest. Do you know what miles I am pretty good at? 8. 9. 10 even. Inertia I suppose. Once I’m already in motion, I get the hang of it. I feel good. My legs remember what they’re doing or what they’re aiming for. It’s easier for me to continue than it is for me to start. The success (completion?) of the first few miles makes the following ones more rewarding. I’ve already experienced success. Adding to it is far more gratifying than trying to get to it in the first place.

On one of my longer runs recently, as I neared its completion feeling strong and relatively fast, I thought about how if I never struggled through hundreds of mile 1s and 2s I’d never see how good I was at mile 8. In a December where my inner voice has worried and complained, lamented and chided, on my run I did the opposite. I thanked my 1 mile-in self for not giving up. My 8 mile-in self was pleased.

So here we are on day 1 of 31 days of painting and inertia is getting the best of me. I’m not already in motion. Day one takes greater effort than day 31 will. It’s easier to stay in motion.

So I’ve opted to finally complete a painting that I’ve been working on for months. It reminds me of my junior high friend who changed her hair color every week or so.

But the layers are finally working. I love the gold showing through the light grey-blue (the whole thing used to be gold). I’m happy with the energy of the line in the middle. It, appropriately, feels like a road. And here we are, right at the beginning.

This January, twenty other creative folks are joining me in this 31 day, let’s call it, adventure. And I want to gently remind you, yes you, that it’s not too late. Mile 1 is hard. But if you don’t struggle through it ,you might never know how good you are once inertia is your friend and not an obstacle. Let me know in the comments if you want me to add you to the closed 31 in 31 FB group– it’s place for kuddos and virtual high fives. A place for accountability but never criticism.

And if you’re already going on your 31 day challenge, I’d love you to post a photo of your day 1 accomplishment in the comments. Just hit the little photo icon.

See you tomorrow. I promise it will be a little easier.

P.S. Just like in October, all my 31 paintings this month are discounted for two days after they post. 


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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 1, 2018

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11 Responses

  1. My challenge this month is to walk every day. I had way too many days in decemeber when I left the house before the sun was up and got home after it was down. I spent more time looking at a screen than God’s creation. So looking forward to walking the “Long Road Ahead” with you, my friend!

    1. I love this. And isn’t it so appropriate that it is twenty-something degrees the very first day of January? SMH.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about subject matter lately. In December I did a very large commissioned landscape painting. I’m really interested in literal outdoor spaces and their connection to spiritual interior spaces (in the mind not the insides of buildings). If you see anything particularly moving on your walks, snap a photo for me?

  2. I’ll be developing characters for a novel (“The Misadventures of Beck & Jess”) by writing short “glimpses” into the lives of two characters via Twitter. Follow me @writereebswrite

      1. We’ll learn together. Every time I log in, it takes me forever to figure out how to get to my tweets (even though I just did it the day before). Apparently, being a millennial does not guarantee social media prowess.

  3. Wow, Denise! Your thoughts on inertia absolutely ring true for how Day-1 me I feels! And I am confident Day 31-me will be pleased I did this.

    1. I absolutely agree, Gretchen! Denise hit the mark with her words, as she frequently does. I had a moment today where I thought, ‘Well, I guess I just ‘used to write.’ And what I did today was, well, all I had. But it will get better.

  4. The painting is beautiful, Denise. It hearkens back a little to some of your earlier abstracts [I’m almost feeling a little of the ‘At the Metro’ sense], but at the same time moves on to its own beauty, and stands on its own feet. I really like the feeling of the road you’ve captured.

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