“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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Written by Denise Hopkins

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