Painting a Day, Day 30. Now What?

kingfisher 2

“Now What?” 6×6, oil on gessoboard, $75 [button link=”″ type=”big”] Buy Now[/button] SOLD

Thirty paintings in thirty days. A painting a day.  Done. Haven’t been checking off many things on my ever-growing to-do list, but I can check that off.  I’m not sure I feel as accomplished as I’d imagined.  This feels more like a beginning than an end.  Who knows.  I might celebrate by doing a painting.  Tomorrow.

This painting came easily,  freely, almost effortlessly, but the mental torment of what to paint for my “last” painting, was not so easy, not so free.  I felt like I had to make some sort of statement, which is silly considering this is in no way my last painting or even the last in a series.  April is arbitrary.  Cruel, fertile, arbitrary.

I picked the kingfisher simply because I enjoyed painting the last one so much.  That’s it.

I went to the gym this morning, a routine that’s immensely different now that I’ve taken up daily painting.  I listen to art podcasts while I lift weights and hold planks; I clumsily jot down notes onto my phone as I simultaneously attempt to run on the treadmill.  I take longer breaks.  Sit down in the spa area and do research while the more dedicated gym goers hold heavy weights, breathe evenly and purposefully, do lunges past me.

At the gym today all I could think about was this inner struggle about what to paint.  Like I need to paint something “more important”.  Is this important? Does it matter?  Birds?  Really?

I’ve experienced so many lines of thinking when it comes to art– my college days when I studied it and first started making it; graduate school when everything became theoretical, conceptual; and now.  Now is a struggle to identify.  So many of the artists I listen to at the gym complain about not having learned technique in art school.  One in particular said the popular refrain was “Andrew Wyeth bad, Jackson Pollock good.”

I love both Wyeth and Pollock.  I love painting birds, and I long to accomplish more.  I can’t help but wonder if this is just another case of “both/and” in a world that clings to “either/or” as though the alternative would cause it to crumble before us, around us.

Does anyone really accomplish anything “important” or “revolutionary” by setting out to do so?  Or does it flow from an honest pursuit of knowledge, understanding, compassion?

These questions are too much for me– I think I might have to go paint another bird.



Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

April 30, 2014

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