“Take Flight” 6×6, oil on canvas

This is the painting I thought I would create on day 1:  the Great Blue Heron not just sitting there idly but taking off in flight perhaps on its own 31 day excursion. But on day 1, my time was extra limited, the tools I normally use were not readily available, and so I created my day 1 painting without any reference photos and with a too-big palette knife and a too-small brush. 

My favorite high school teacher once told me that it is not the tools that make the expert but the expert who makes the tools. Do you think Andre Agassi couldn’t beat us all with a tennis racket from Goodwill even if we had the most elite, expensive racket, he asked. His words stayed with me yesterday as I pushed through without my favorite tools. 

But today I had all my usual stuff– the ipad I loaned my son safely returned to its perch where I could reference the images I’ve collected, the knives and brushes I’d packed for a live painting back to their proper spots in my studio. I painted the image I’ve been thinking about. The heron still haunting me, her wings spread out, her heart wide open.

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




  1. Kirsten

    This is one of my favorites of all time of yours.

  2. Chelsea Givens

    This feels so very personal to me. Absolutely stunning!

    • Denise Hopkins

      Thanks so much Chelsea. I don’t think I’m done with this image yet!


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Written by Denise Hopkins

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