Day 20. Pelican Paintings in April



“Muse” 12×12, oil on canvas, $150.[button link=”″ type=”big”] Buy Now[/button]

I will never tire of this, my favorite bird, my muse, the subject that got me back into painting to begin with. When I want to experiment with any technique, I turn to my trusted subject. Lately I’ve been most interested in edges. I don’t want sharp distinctions between foreground and background. I want the painting to appear as an impression–hazy and sometimes as exaggerated as a memory.

I discovered a beautiful poem by J. Allyn Rosser entitled “Pelicans in December” which I’ve lightly scratched into the background of this painting. After trying a variety of new things– live event painting and plein air landscape, it’s nice to revisit an old, familiar friend. Tomorrow is mother’s day out though, so I’m planning another plein air adventure. We’ll see.

And since I started daily paintings a year ago with an April 30 in 30, I thought it’d be fun to go back through my blog and look at what I painted on day 20 last year. It was Easter Sunday, and I painted my Ezra. Check it out here. I’ve also created a pricing page on my website for all those who have inquired. I hope you find it helpful.


Pelicans in December

One can’t help admiring

their rickety grace

and old-world feathers
like seasoned boardwalk planks.

They pass in silent pairs,
as if a long time ago

they had wearied of calling out.
The wind tips them, their

ungainly, light-brown weight,
into a prehistoric wobble,

wings’-end fingers stretching
from fingerless gloves,

necks slightly tucked and stiff,
peering forward and down,

like old couples arm in arm
on icy sidewalks, careful,

careful, mildly surprised
by how difficult it has become

to stay dignified and keep moving
even after the yelping gulls have gone;

even after the scattered sand,
and the quietly lodged complaints.


Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

April 20, 2015

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