robin painting by Denise Hopkins

“Posturing”  6×6, oil on canvas, $75 Buy Now

I’m working on a lot of things that aren’t going where I’d like for them to. Which is why I gave myself a break with this little robin painting.  Yesterday I was in the zone– which for me is relaxed, calm, not worried by outcomes or time. The circumstances of today and yesterday were exactly the same– same amount of time, same studio, same supplies. But today, I couldn’t get in the zone.

Sometimes I look back at paintings and realize that maybe, just maybe, what I thought was good is actually kind of bad. But instead of revulsion, I feel hopeful. I’m glad that I didn’t know and sometimes still don’t. Because if I’d realized then how bad they were, I’d have stopped painting, and I would never have gotten better. I’m glad that I can be naive. That I can be confident enough about things not-so-great to eventually forge things that might be.

Last year, Peter and I attended an open mic comedy night in downtown Covington. We, along with a handful of others, witnessed the worst comedian of all time. He told “jokes” with no punchlines. His stories sounded more like he was talking to a therapist than an audience at a comedy show. Everyone was cringing. The host of the evening had to interrupt his set, mid sentence, just to get him off the stage.

So what’s the difference between that guy and me or any artist for that matter? When does bravery make you better (fake it until you make it) and when is it just outright ignorance, buffoonery?

I’m hoping I can get back in the zone tomorrow.  A new day, a new opportunity to jump on the stage, ready or not.

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