Vincent van Gogh Starry Night

Finished painting by Angela Canada Hopkins, Copy of Starry Night.
Over the weekend a bunch of artists, including myself, volunteered to paint a community mural.  The project involved painting indoors (thank goodness 'cause it was snowing) on primed canvas sheets. 

Yup, that's me painting.
Eventually all the paintings will be pieced together, like a puzzle, on plywood panels and sealed.  The installation will be used to hide a boarded up store front on 4th Street in Downtown Loveland, Colorado.

In progress.
 Check back - when the collage of paintings are installed I'll post a photo update.

More info about the REAL artwork from Wikipedia, "The Starry Night (Dutch: De sterrennacht) is a painting by the Dutch post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. The painting depicts the view outside his sanitorium room window at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (located in southern France) at night, although it was painted from memory during the day. It has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, part of the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, since 1941. One of Van Gogh's most popular pieces, the painting is widely hailed as his magnum opus."  Link to site:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starry_Night


5 Mind-Blowing Facts About Cells

Cell No.1, Acrylic on Canvas, by Angela Canada Hopkins
If you have trouble remembering 10th grade, much less specific lessons about cells during biology class, this post might be an eye opener.  Since my artwork is all based on the form, function, and sometimes freaky appearance of unhealthy cells, I've spent a lot of time researching the human body, and what happens to this essential building block of life. I'm always running across fascinating facts about cells, and thought I'd share some of them with you!

 1. There are two primary types of cells. 

Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells are the two main types of cells. Eukaryotic cells are called so because they have a true nucleus. Animals, plants, fungi and protists are examples of organisms that are composed of eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotes include bacteria and archaeans.

2. Your body has more bacterial cells than human cells. 

Scientists have estimated that about 95 percent of all the cells in the body are bacteria. The vast majority of these microbes can be found within the digetive tract. If you take probiotics, you're helping to replenish these cells every day. See, not all bacteria is bad!

 3. Cells can have sex. 

 Most prokaryotic cells reproduce by a process called binary fission. A cloning process where a single cell divides into two identical cells. Eukaryotic organisms have a similar type of reproductive method known as mitosis. But some eukaryotes also have the ability to reproduce sexually, which involves the fusion of sex cells or gametes.

4. Cells are super efficient packers. 

Even though they're microscopic, each cell in your body has an estimated 6 to 8 feet of DNA, the genetic information necessary for directing cellular activities.

 5. Cells don't worry about tomorrow. 

Except for your brain cells, 50,000,000 of the cells in your body will have died and been replaced with others, all while you have been reading this sentence.

 Got a mind-blowing cell fact I should know about?  Share it in a comment!


Where Does Artistic Inspiration Come From

Cell No.21, by Angela Canada Hopkins
As an artist, one of the most common questions I'm asked by fans and gallery-goers is how I come up with ideas of what to paint. Now, if you're familiar with my particular art, you know that almost all my paintings are representations of cancerous cells, a muse that found me after losing my father to the disease. While this is the foundation upon which all of my paintings are built, each piece requires its own special inspiration to be beautiful, interesting, and different than all of my other work. Inspiration is a tricky thing. It's not always reliable, which is why you often see artists complaining about creativity blocks. Sometimes it just feels like the inspiration switches off, and you're left with a blank page or canvas, wondering what went wrong. In artistic circles, there's lots of discussion about where inspiration comes from and how we inspire ourselves when the creative juices just don't want to flow. In order to understand creative inspiration, it's important to think of yourself like a vessel. Sometimes, inspiration fills us up to the brim, and we can draw on it for a while. Eventually, inspiration can become depleted. Here are a few ways to fill yourself up again.

Inspiration from Place

Ever heard someone say, "I just need a change of scenery"?  Where we choose to work or explore creative ideas can have a big impact on how inspired we feel. Some artists feel inspired when outdoors. Nature has many healing and calming properties, and spending some quiet time in a beautiful place can do wonders for your creative self.  

Inspiration from People

Humans are social creatures. We crave attention, camaraderie, and affection. We love to do things with other humans. While solitude is important for concentration, isolation is the enemy of inspired art. When facing a creative block, denying yourself human contact will likely only make the problem worse. Go out for dinner with your friends. Play outside with your kids. Organize a movie marathon of every film your favorite actor has ever made. Reestablishing connections with stimulating people is a great way to kick-start inspiration.

Inspiration from Distraction

It is possible to become too involved in your creative work. Sometimes we're so immersed, we can't step back and view things as a whole. We lose our way, unsure if things are really as good as we think. We become paralyzed, and lose our inspiration. Although art is a passion, for many, it's also a career. We can be tempted to "keep our nose to the grindstone," ignoring all else in pursuit of
our goals. But sometimes distractions can be a good thing. Just a few weeks ago, the New York Times came out with a feature on artistic inspiration. Many of the professionals and experts interviewed said that distractions, doing something completely unrelated to their art, were the best way to break through a block. Read more here.  

Where does your artistic inspiration come from? Share ideas/experiences in 
a comment!


How to Care for Canvas Artwork

Cell No.19, Angela Canada Hopkins © 2012
Most of us have had posters and photographs on our walls since childhood. It's usually not until later in life that we have the privilege of owning fine art--something that's an original, and likely painted on canvas. There's just something special about owning an oil or acrylic painting on canvas. It feels gritty, alive, faithfully serving as the medium for the artist's inspiration.

If you've purchased or are thinking about purchasing an original canvas artwork, you should know it will require a slightly different style of care to keep it looking good for years to come. Three things you must look out for as a fine art owner are Heat, Sunlight, and Moisture. These three conditions are deadly for canvas art, which is rarely hidden behind glass the way paper art is.

How To Frame Your Canvas Artwork

Framing is essential for quality presentation of your fine art, and is also an integral part of the preservation process. Canvas art is usually framed without glass. In most cases, your canvas art will already come stretched on a frame, but just in case it doesn't, make sure the canvas is†stretched properly on the supporting frame. This will minimize movement of the canvas over time, which often happens as a result of changes in temperature and humidity.

Where To Hang Your Canvas Artwork

After you've purchased and brought your new artwork home, the first thing to think about is placement. Never hang or place your canvas artwork directly above a heating unit, stove, or fireplace where it could be subject to high heat. You'll also want to avoid areas of direct sunlight, or pronounced humidity, like near windows or in bathrooms and kitchens. Heat, sunlight, and humidity are factors that might cause shrinking and expansion of the paint layer, that will result in cracks in the paint.

How To Clean Your Canvas Artwork

Well-loved canvas paintings often collect dust, but you can't just spray on some Pledge and wipe it away. Water and chemical-based cleaners are deadly to canvas artwork. Instead, use a dry lint-free cloth or feather duster to remove any debris that may have settled on the painting. Every few months or so, take the painting off the wall and turn upside down gently to dislodge any larger pieces.†Paintings should be removed from the wall twice a year and the back of the painting should be examined for any signs of cracking or woodworm damage.

When To Seek Professional Help

If you ever notice cracks, waves or bumps, or yellow spots on your canvas artwork, those are signs that serious damage is on the horizon. It's time to bring the painting to a professional to let them re-stretch or restore sections that are affected.



What does a "real" cancer cell look like?

Acrylic on Canvas painting by Angela Canada Hopkins

"Are they "real" cancer cells?"  This is the most frequently asked question by viewers of my paintings.  The quick answer is, no, they are not realistic medical illustrations.  They are, for the most part, conceptual where the idea and content are central.

The cells are invisible underneath the surface and almost don't seem real.  If you've had cancer or been affected by it I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  You feel the effects of it but you never stop to ask, what is it?  In fact you want to run if someone even mentions the "C" word.

It took me many years before I was ready to ask questions.  After researching cancer and studying photographs I wanted to replace my memory and thoughts with something positive.  I wanted to make it "real" in my artistic way.  The colorful and beautiful cell paintings are my way of taking control and overcoming everything negative to do with the terrible disease.

If you'd like to know what a "real" cancer cell looks like, you'd need a scanning electron microscope, or visit these sites to see photographs:

Environmental Graffiti
Science Photo Library
National Cancer Institute


Armstrong Decides to Stop Fighting the Charges

Photo from the Livestrong Facebook Page

On August 23, Lance Armstrong issued a statement.  Here's an excerpt of the statement, "Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities..." Read more on the Livestrong Blog: http://blog.livestrong.org/

I don't know if he did or did not use performance enhancing drugs and I won't be speculating.  What is more important, in my opinion, is all the good he has done.  

The Lance Armstrong Foundations mission is to inspire and empower people affected by cancer.  They help people focus on living well.

I have a similar mission even though, of course, it's just lil' me.  I see hope through the ugly despair of cancer.  I believe I can offer those affected by cancer a different perspective through art.  

Let's focus on a cancer free future and move on.  Onward and upward.


Where do ideas come from?

The diversity of nature from microcosm to macrocosm can be a vast source of inspiration.  It has been a source of inspiration for scholars, scientists, and artists throughout time.

Biomimicry is a new term I just learned.  It can simply be described as copying nature.  But it's more than just copying, it is the scientific practice of studying systems and elements in nature to come up with new man made inventions inspired by nature.

Video of nature used as inspiration by biologists and engineers at UC Berkeley.



Art Student Finished Painting

My student finished the first painting she has ever painted!  She did an excellent job!!!  I'm not sure if you can see it, it's probably too small, but the photo she referenced is in the background above the painting.

Anna with her finished painting (acrylic on canvas)


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