Day 2. Take it all in

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“Eyes Off the Prize” 36×36, oil on canvas [creativ_button url=”×36-oil-canvas/” icon=”” label=”Buy Now” colour=”blue” colour_custom=”” size=”medium” edge=”straight” target=”_self”]


If yesterday was the first few steps in a marathon, today I’m still finding my stride. It’s another older large painting I’ve been re-working. Those small and completely blank surfaces I know I’ll have to face eventually feel oddly intimidating. I’ve painted hundreds of them, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

During our 31 day challenge in October, my friend Donna explored painting with cold wax medium which, since then, has inspired my own painting. I went over this older painting with some new paint mixed with the wax. It creates some thick but less dense textures I’m not sure the photograph quite captures. I’ve even started using the wax in my wedding paintings.                                                                 

My abstract paintings all have that horizon line about a third of the way up from the bottom of the canvas. It started when I lived on a marina and was fighting off depression. Drawing lines, separating spaces and then letting them bleed into one another was therapy. I spent so much time watching the Tchefuncte River touch the sky from my window that that touch, that line where they met made its way into large paintings I had to use my whole upper body to create. If chaos felt all consuming, a horizon line suggested profound order. Drawing one made me a participant in such order.

In today’s painting, I wanted to disrupt the line I’ve been relying on for a couple of years now. I started by drawing large circles and vertical waves with an oil pastel along the same bottom third. But as I painted it, the horizon– long and flat, kept coming back and eventually I stopped fighting it. It still, after all this time, comforts me. This painting has more vertical action than yesterday’s. It asks your eye to travel up rather than across. Which, on day 2, feels fitting. Sometimes I get too focused on the end goal– the finish line– that I forget to take it all in. Success is rarely linear.

If you’re on this 31 day adventure with me, let me know how you did with words or a photo in the comments. Yesterday was thoroughly inspiring– and day 1, as we certainly know by now, is always the hardest.


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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 2, 2018

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4 Responses

  1. This is amazing! I woke up and it’s literally freezing out. Hard to find my stride, but I’m going to ponder your words in my heart–might be time to disrupt some lines in my life!

  2. This is really good. It’s like you got closer to that horizon line, and could see that it wasn’t exactly a line, after all, but had depth and reach to it.

  3. Well horizon line or no horizon line, I love your abstracts. They are both chaos and order, both calming and energizing at the same time. The tension you create is beautiful. I am always inspired by both your words and your paintings. Thank you for another opportunity to be in a group like this!

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