Day 31. The Thing with Feathers

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“A Tune without the Words” 4×4, oil on canvas, $80.00

Today’s painting is a second attempt at this little open-mouthed European robin. The first attempt is in the trash. It wasn’t working. It really wasn’t working, and I kept trying to force it to work. A new canvas and a new day made all the difference. Getting to try again is one of the best parts about painting. 

I like to imagine that this bird is having a conversation with yesterday’s cardinal: “Hey man,” he says, “it’s going to be okay…Hope is the thing with feathers. Let’s go perch in a soul somewhere.” 

What do you think they are saying? 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

–Emily Dickinson

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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

April 15, 2020

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