“Splendidly Small, Brilliantly Blue” 4×4, oil on canvas

Beginnings are hard because they necessarily involve loss. With the first stroke, suddenly what once held infinite possibilities now displays just one. And a completed painting, a recorded song, a finished poem is now only what it is instead of all the infinite things it could have been.

But to do the thing that annihilates possibility is, I’m fairly certain, both quite brave and essential. We are not just mind or spirit but bodies. And our ideas, hopes, joys and sorrows need bodies too. 

I find myself every December daydreaming about my 31 in 31. How maybe this time I won’t do the really really small pieces because why not go just a little bigger? And then January hits, and I reach for the smallest canvas I can find because it’s the only thing between me and giving up entirely. The possibilities are just too big and the small canvas is a metaphor for creating any work of art no matter its size. It will inevitably be the smallest fraction of what it could have been. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. And of course, life doesn’t stop just because I decided to paint every day (a sentence I had to finish after a telehealth appointment for one of the kids called in. I had completely forgotten about it.)

Today’s painting is of a splendid fairywren, a bird I had discovered during one of my very early daily painting practices and have loved ever since. I was really interested in blurring some edges especially since blue and orange are opposite colors (across from each other on the color wheel). What happens when we break the sharp distinctions between opposites? What happens when blue flows a little into orange and orange welcomes it? What happens when we start small, and see what one thing transpires from a universe of potential?

** 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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