“Always on my Mind” 4×4 oil on canvas

This 31, unlike all my previous ones, I have kept a sketchbook. I don’t pull it out every day, but when I do, I try to work out some ideas for paintings I’d like to do instead of just going straight for the oil paint on canvas every time. This does not seem very revolutionary for someone whose full time job is art. This is very much revolutionary for me. 

For so long, nearly every piece I do, I’ve attached to it a desire for it to be complete, marketable, finished. Like an insecure parent trying to live vicariously through her children, I put a lot of pressure on my work to go to work for me and make me look good.

But to actually use a space that is meant only for exploration is nothing short of liberating, and I’m a little embarrassed at how infrequently I visit these soul-affirming pages of my sketchbooks.

Today’s painting is another attempt at the image that is dominating my sketchbook and my thoughts– the Great Blue Heron taking flight. I’m still working out why exactly this is my emblem. I’ve also added some pink flowers in honor of my writer friend Stephanie, who is also doing the 31, and wrote about pink flowers she put on her grandparents’ graves to honor their persistent, audacious belief in her. 

All my paintings from the month will be available February 3 at the gallery and online February 6.

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Written by Denise Hopkins

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