Day 14. Rules

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“Head in the Clouds” 6×6, oil on canvas, $135.00

Kingfisher number two. I didn’t draw this one first. I just started from the bottom of the canvas with my favorite palette knife and worked my way up, stacking the shapes that make up the body on top of one another. It’s not how I typically paint– in order like that from bottom to top. It’s not the way I would teach anyone else to paint. I used to tell my students that when I look at a half completed piece of their work I don’t want to see half of the image perfectly rendered. I want it to be more like a photograph that slowly develops– the contrasts and colors start to bloom all over. In other words, don’t fixate on the parts but see the whole. 

Rules are suggestions anyway. If I still had students, I’d give them a few rules one day and the next encourage them to do the exact opposite just to see what happens. In this painting, I tried really hard not to see the whole but only the little pieces of shapes. I tried to forget they were part of a bird. I tried not to care if they would make a bird shape in the end. 

This little guy is floating on the canvas– perhaps another broken rule. He isn’t anchored by a branch or even feet (maybe they are hidden?). I thought about grounding him. I almost did. But there’s something a little snarky and compelling and I decided just to leave him there– not flying but floating in a mustard sky.

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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 14, 2021

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