Day 12. Ballet vs. Power Lifting

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For today’s painting I referenced the photo I had taken at the Audubon zoo that has been the basis for nearly all my oil flamingo paintings. I wanted to see how the image translated into watercolor. 

I realize I rely so much on texture. Big globs of paint can cover any less-than confident stroke, convey energy and spirit without subtlety. The watercolor forces me to be more intentional with my strokes, more dependent on my own thoughtfulness rather than just sheer power. If oil painting with a palette knife is power lifting, watercolor is ballet. 

Solely because of this 31 day challenge, I have been asked to teach a watercolor workshop at the St. Tammany Art Association in Covington this February. The same day, a former student of mine reached out about a private lesson. I taught my way through college, graduate school, and then six years after. It’s the only thing I ever thought I’d do. But now, so far removed from it, it feels a new thing entirely. And funny too, because I don’t really know what I’m doing. That’s the secret though, isn’t it? To not know. To go into the endeavor open minded, armed with some fundamental principles but devoid of any superfluous and rigid “shoulds”. Art is discovery, action, delight. 

I said yes to the workshop mostly so I could knock the dust off my teaching boots. Just like watercolor, we will see where this goes. 


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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 12, 2019

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