Day 29. Connections

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“Carry your heart” 4×4, oil on canvas

I opened the gallery in October, and while I don’t ever have a line of folks waiting to get in every morning, I do have a few people trickle in every day. Oftentimes we’ll get to talking, and it will turn out that we’ve got something in common or I’ll learn something new. John went to the same tiny college as I did, but a few decades before, and Clare used to live on the same street as my grandmother and loves Mary Oliver. 

I’m at the gallery on Wednesdays and Thursdays so on those evenings I find myself rushing home eager to tell my husband about someone I just met and connected with. 

A while back I met someone who asked if I ever painted butterflies. She had lost her sister and often thinks of her when she sees one. She ended up with a little painting on which I’d written some of the lines to Mary Oliver’s “Invitation.” We talked a little about poetry and ee cummings, and she said if I ever did paint a butterfly, it would be special to write that poem into it– an ode to her sister. 

Today’s is that painting. It took me a while to finally get to it because the butterfly intimidated me. Their symmetry I find challenging on a canvas. My bird bodies move almost in an imprecise arrow guiding you from one side of the canvas to the other. The butterfly feels more like a stamp– a bulky shape that doesn’t leave a lot of options in terms of composition. But I found that it did create some interesting negative shapes between the wings. I really tried to play with the complimentary colors of the background. 

If there’s any advice for today it would be something about procrastination. So often I find myself spending so much more energy thinking/worrying about the thing I want to do but am not doing, and in the end, getting in there and just doing it takes just a fraction of the time and is far more rewarding. Or maybe it would be about people– getting to know them, and listening to their stories. I’m working on that last one, and it has been a real joy.


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you


here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 29, 2022

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  1. I was reading something quite different today that came to a similar conclusion: why do we expend so much effort avoiding one thing or another? It’s so much more work than the thing we are avoiding, and we end up doing that thing anyway.

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