“A lot going on in there” 16×20, oil on canvas


I had a good feeling about it, so before I went to bed last night, I snapped a photo of the bud on my orchid plant that looked most on the brink of blooming. By the morning, it had opened.

I’m not going to romanticize this (too much), but I will say that the timing was good. I’d been wanting to see a bloom by the last day of the 31 in 31. I got one, and I can’t help but see it as a little nod to the month’s journey, a little gift just as we cross the finish line.

I say “we” because this year, so many other artists, writers, and one lovely musician joined me in doing one creative thing every day (or most days) and their words, images, and melodies have been both great company and great inspiration throughout the month. I had a small painting ready to post for my day 31. It was a figure study I’d done at the same time as yesterday’s, but after seeing the orchid bloom, it didn’t feel quite right to end the month with what I’d originally intended.

So I pulled out a painting I had been working on before January even began and have not touched the whole month. Until this morning.  If it were a story it was stuck with no resolution. I just didn’t know how to bring it to its natural conclusion even though I felt like it was almost there. So this morning I played around with it for a bit, added the orchid that had bloomed as well as the buds that had not yet. I wanted to add some lines from a poem written by Caroline, a poet from the 31 in 31 group, to the background so I pulled up the group page and started scrolling for it. I was immediately struck by some little line drawings done by one of the 31 in 31 artists, John, so I scribbled a few of his shapes into the painting and then kept scrolling. You might be able to make them out in the detail shot below.

I wanted to add something from each post I saw as I scrolled, but I realized so much of it was already there: Donna’s pink flowers, the lush gardens behind Myra’s birds, the selfie of Greg’s photography series, a little of both the hope and loss of the writers in the tangles of the wilderness from which the flowers bloom. If I had another month, I would include something from everyone. I’d tuck a little piece of each of them away in all that wild.

It’s not my favorite painting nor am I even sure it found it’s conclusion. But it feels right for today. It feels like the end.

Coach Bennett, the running coach whose voice I listen to repeatedly on my running app and have been talking about on and off this whole month, always says at the end of a run: “I’ll see you at your next starting line.” Well, friends, I’m going to soak this one up for a day or two. I may even go grab a massage or take myself out to lunch tomorrow. But I can’t wait to see you on the next starting line. Thank you so much for participating, following along, sending words of encouragement, or sharing your insights.

If you’d like to participate in next year’s 31, the starting line can start today by joining the group. Just click here and then “join group”.

And please consider joining us at the gallery on February 4th for a Celebration of the 31. I’ll have all my paintings on display as well as those of guest artists from the 31. There will be live music (courtesy of that lovely musician I was telling you about) and (if you don’t know me by now, you will never ever know me) plenty of wine.

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