A 31 day creative journey…

Denise Hopkins


What is the 31 in 31?

Hi! I’m Denise Hopkins, a Mississippi artist and gallery owner. Every January I start off my year with 31 paintings in 31 days. The paintings are mostly very small, and I post them on my site with a short reflection each day. For the past six years, a community of other artists and creatives has joined me in this practice. We have had writers, yogis, musicians, poets, coloring book enthusiasts, and photographers, and the list goes on and on. The idea is simple: Do one small creative practice that matters to you each day for one month and enjoy the support and encouragement of a group of people on a similar journey. We have a private Facebook page where you can post your work as well as provide positive feedback to others. We don’t get mad if you miss a day, and we don’t require you to be an expert. If you’re looking to start your new year with a new dedication to expression and exploration, this might just be for you. Sign up below!

This January this studio time has been such a wonderful escape and an opportunity to simply paint. I feel like an artist again.

Bea Mcdowell, painter

“Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.” ---Henri J.M. Nouwen. Thank you all for the affirming gift of “listening” to me and to my work this month. It is a gift I treasure and one that has greatly eased my sore/bumpy places. Via con Dios, my friends.

Donna Colosino, painter

As much as I’ve complained—and I don’t think it’s been excessive—I’m certain that attempting a portrait of myself each day was an important and valuable exercise. It got me out of my routine, for one thing. And forced me to think very differently. Most of all, it made me pay much closer attention. To be more intentional and to think about what works and what doesn’t. That’s a lesson I don’t always consider when I’m out in the bigger world.

Greg Molchan, photographer

31 in 31 is a community that builds people up. It is a support system and reminds me of the good in the world. My grandfather believed that people are inherently good, and this group reinforces this. I have often said that 31 in 31 is one of the top three healing things I have done in my life.

Stephanie Sauber, writer

The 31ers group has transformed the way I think about my art/work. It has allowed a safe space for me to show up each day and create- for the process- not the outcome. To paint something on all the good/bad and in between days and actually show it all to people I trust with it! I have formed relationships with kindred spirits through this group - people I call friends now, who I look forward to interacting with each new year . I feel so fortunate to be in my 5th year of doing the 31 paintings in 31 days. I really can’t put into words how grateful I am because though it I have been able to find my truest voice as an artist.

Gretchen Gackstatter, watercolor artist