Day 14. If it’s not hard, you aren’t doing it right.

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“Memory Lane” 9×12, oil on paper

I’m taking a break from good advice to entertain some bad– I told ya’ll I took notes. I think Coach Bennett’s version was something like, “If you aren’t running hard, you’re hardly running.” I’m thinking of all those quotes we attribute to various writers, usually Hemingway, about sitting down at the typewriter and just opening a vein. It’s easy– just a bloody mess. 

Here’s what I know to be true. Some days are agonizing and some feel otherworldly. Some strokes are tortured, others effortless, and most of them are somewhere in between. 

Today’s painting required no blood, nor did the angels guide my hand and I simply awoke to admire what they’d created. Nope. Today, like most days, was born of practice, consistency and routine. Because what is really hard is having to start new after a long absence. What’s really hard is being divorced from ritual and finding myself having to set up (mentally, physically, whatever it may involve) again and again rather than riding that glorious wave of routine. 

Enter the 31 in 31. It’s why I do it at the start of every year– to establish a rhythm under which things don’t have to be so hard. 

Today’s painting is another from a particularly memorable wedding I painted. The bride’s grandmother lived in the pink building behind the musicians so they made sure to parade there. In fact, in the wedding painting, I placed her late grandmother on the balcony, waving down to the second line parade below.

Three cheers for things not always having to be hard to count. This is about art. This is also not about art. 

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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 14, 2022

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One Response

  1. All this applies easily to photography as well. Sometimes I get it right on the first shot. I will usually take more but end up choosing that one. Others I’m frustrated until the very last shot.

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