Palette Knife through the Heart





“Diving In” 18×24, oil on canvas, $260.00 [button link=”″ type=”big”] Buy Now[/button]

I love painting small and often.  In fact, not producing a painting a day for the last month and half has left me feeling unproductive even though I’ve put in at least close to the same miles on the canvas.  Is art inherently narcissistic?  Do we artists crave a physical representation of our productivity, our worth?  I’ve said repeatedly that it’s as much about process as product, but the physical evidence of my process has become more and more important, and I’m not really sure whether or not to be worried.

Lately I’ve been painting bigger and it’s an adjustment.  This one is 18×24.  I started it weeks ago in response to the overwhelming positive feedback I got about the large crab I did in May for a former student who gave it to her sister as a wedding gift.  This one was just a thin underpainting for weeks.  Ugly. 

The past few weeks have been so full of ugly– still trying to get my life back in order post-marriage and at every turn there’s a conflict I am powerless to resolve.  A lot of waiting.  The DMV needs signatures I don’t have.  I own a car my name isn’t on but that I have “exclusive rights” to which matters little to people who give you things like a registration or brake tag.  Those are the insignificant things that reveal to me my powerlessness.  You don’t just magically get things you are legally entitled to, they don’t arrive at your doorstep.  It’s a process.

In the face of ugly, there is nothing like taking a palette knife to the canvas. Scratching, scraping, layering, hoping that from the mess that’s on the floor and under my fingernails something beautiful might emerge.

I needed the intensity of a palette knife painting, the immediacy of the colors, the aggression in the texture.


Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

June 27, 2014

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