“Connection” 8×8, oil on canvas

There are things you can’t reach. But

you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God. 

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

– Mary Oliver in “Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does it End?”


Poet Mary Oliver taught me to look for the sacred in the natural, to uncover the universe in my own backyard. Her lessons are more often than not lost on me. I am so often looking at clocks instead of trees, websites instead of birds, a screen instead of the sky. 

But every once in a while the lesson gets through, and more often than not, art is what causes the breakthrough. 

Today’s painting might be my favorite of the 31. I am repeatedly struck by the size of the Bluejays that flit about the oak tree in my backyard. Watching them simultaneously brings me back to myself and out of myself, both grounded and reaching out.

All my paintings from the month will be available February 3 at the gallery and online February 6.



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Written by Denise Hopkins

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