Pelican Painting, Three Little Birds, Day 19

Pelican Pod

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

I’ve sold twelve paintings this month.  My goal was four. I’ve been working on becoming a (paid) artist for almost a year now.  I launched my website and blog this month and never dreamed I’d have any kind of immediate success.  I’m in it for the long haul and would have been (and still will be) content cultivating an audience for months or even a year.  I listen to podcasts at the gym and have signed onto countless newsletters and websites whose aim is to help artists not starve.

My point is this:  I couldn’t have achieved anything without the help of those around me.  There is an amazing online community of artists who freely and gladly give away their “secrets” (both artistic and business).  I’ve always had a competitive nature– afraid that someone else’s success is somehow a threat to my own, but I understand now more than ever that cooperation rather than competition can make the world a more artful place.

But the abundance of support and resources online are not even what I’m talking about.  My sister took Ezra for the day today so I could paint.  And I have countless other examples of those around me supporting me in this endeavor.  Babysitting is probably the most valuable of all, but, in addition,  I’ve been gifted a space to paint, a fancy computer to use, encouraging words, and the list just goes on.

I painted three pelicans today and not just one as a kind of tribute to the overwhelming support I’ve received in the last month.  I also had the absolute pleasure of of visiting my dear friend and her newborn baby in the hospital yesterday.  I was thinking about her and her new family today as I painted this image– a family of two, in a moment’s time (of course, in her case this moment involved 77ish hours of labor) becomes a family of three. She has been one of those rare friends that, more than she could ever imagine, has lent me strength when things looked darkest.  I am crazy happy for her and holding her little girl yesterday reminded me of holding Ezra for the first time– the gut-wrenching, soul-breaking joy that destroys you and makes you whole.

And once again, I intended to do process photos but got so wrapped up in the colors on this one that I forgot about photographing it– I’ve only got a couple.  When I taught art, I made my advanced art students do several thumbnail sketches planning their paintings before I let them begin.  They hated it (mostly). Most of these monthly paintings are intuitive; I don’t plan them at all and I don’t know where they are going until they get there.  I’m feeling a little guilty, but I guess you have to learn the rules before you can break them?

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Picture of Denise Hopkins

Denise Hopkins

April 19, 2014

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