Day 30. Reteach a thing its loveliness.

“The Bud Stands for All Things” 24×24 inches, oil on paper

I discovered this poem last week by Galway Kinnell and immediately started planning a painting in my head. Originally, I had intended for this to be my day 31 offering, the finale to this month’s work, but I have another idea for the month’s conclusion and there is now just one day left to see if I can pull it all together. 

When I was a teacher in my twenties, I went to lunch with some coworkers at this place called Martin’s Wine Cellar where they rotated art exhibitions from local artists. I don’t remember who the artist was that I saw that day, but I remember the paintings. The artist used multiple canvases in each piece, having attached smaller canvases to larger ones and letting the painted image flow from the more raised canvas to the base canvas. I loved it so much I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And apparently I’m still thinking about it nearly twenty years later.

And finally, I tried it. The circle portion of this piece is a thin circle canvas attached to a larger square canvas. When the floral borders emerged in my work starting on day 16, I knew this might be the way I would approach a multi-canvas piece. 

All the plants and flowers in this piece are healing flowers. The orange blooms are marigolds, known to relieve pain when applied topically. The grass-like leaves shooting from the reddish stems is rosemary, which is often used as an oil to treat nervous system pathological conditions like anxiety. 

The long skinny leaves are spider plants which give off lots of oxygen, helpful for respiration. And finally, the rounded leaves are Eucalyptus which both cleans the air and is known to have a calming effect.  

“Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness” says the poem that inspired this piece, and it in St. Francis lays hands on a pig. I wonder if it is the laying on of hands– on a canvas or guitar or yarn or paper in pen, that reteaches us our loveliness. 


Saint Francis and the Sow



The bud

stands for all things,

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;   

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;   

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch   

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow   

began remembering all down her thick length,   

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,   

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine   

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering   

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.


Please note: All 31 paintings will be on display at our gallery celebration February 24th from 5-8pm. The show will also feature other artists who have been part of a 31 in 31 community.

Click to Shop Day 30

Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

January 30, 2024

Share Post

Leave a Reply


Related Blog Posts

Day 31. If you want to go far…

  “If You Want to go Far” 24×30 inches, oil on canvas I started this month with a bike, and...

View Post
Day 29. Intuition

“Follow Your Intuition” 9×12 inches, oil on paper My art studio is a 300 square foot storage room underneath our...

View Post
Day 28. Except the Opposite

“The Birds are Circling” 9×12 inches, oil on paper Today’s painting is a companion piece to yesterday’s. As I was...

View Post

Privacy Policy

This following document sets forth the Privacy Policy for this website. We are bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Crh), which sets out a number of principles concerning the privacy of individuals using this website.

Collection of your personal information

We collect Non-Personally Identifiable Information from visitors to this Website. Non-Personally Identifiable Information is information that cannot by itself be used to identify a particular person or entity, and may include your IP host address, pages viewed, browser type, Internet browsing and usage habits, advertisements that you click on, Internet Service Provider, domain name, the time/date of your visit to this Website, the referring URL and your computer’s operating system.

Free offers & opt-ins

Participation in providing your email address in return for an offer from this site is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose your information. You may unsubscribe at any time so that you will not receive future emails.

Sharing of your personal information

Your personal information that we collect as a result of you purchasing our products & services, will NOT be shared with any third party, nor will it be used for unsolicited email marketing or spam. We may send you occasional marketing material in relation to our design services. What Information Do We Collect? If you choose to correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages together with your email address and our responses.