Daily Art – The Key

Full painting
click on images to enlarge
Close up

The blue of her robe is much deeper and has darker shading than these pictures allow for (Prussian blues and deep purples). The background and hair are well represented in tone, the hair is Prussian green, Ivory blacks and ultramarine blues as well.
There are also shadows of deep plum under her hair (on the robe) that are being washed out in this lighting. This painting looks foggy. It is supposed to look that way, she is in the world in between…between what we know and what we struggle to understand. Hence she is in and out of the fog that surrounds her.
‘The Key’ #6 in the Choir Series
18″ x 24″
oilsPainting extends around sides of canvas, no frame needed.


Here is the quote that inspired the painting:
All persons are puzzles
until at last we find
some word
or act
the key
to the man,
to the woman;
straightaway all their past words
and actions lie in light before us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803 – 1882)
It felt good to get this work out of my head.
I have many drawings of variations on this theme, in my journals; the key hole in the head space.
This is the first time that I tried the back of the head.
I like it much better this way.
Because of course we would not have
our secret key hole on our faces…I mean any one could see them!
The horror!
Only those most close to us will be able to ever find the secret key, button, handshake or password that opens us up.
That’s what makes it scary and exciting to share our lives with others.
Love and Trust.
Faith and Work.
Those things make us grow, make us embrace the power of change, make us find our lost keys and then use them.
We all have a key that will turn the lock inside our heads, that will free us from what we fear the most.
All I have to say is,
“I’ll take what is behind door number two, Jack!”
Have a wonderful, magical day.
See you on the flip side,
The fine print:
“The Key” from the choir series #6
18″ x 24″
back stapled/finished sides
ready to hang

Contact me HERE for purchase or
for a free shipping quote to anywhere in the world.
PS. A big Thanks to Cynthia who was my muse for this work. Her recent series of unfortunate events made me think of this subject again. So, thanks for the inspiration Cynthia…I hope you found your keys!


  1. andrea
    January 20, 2008

    Great image, Heather!

  2. JafaBrit's Art
    January 20, 2008

    Oh my, that is creepy in a very cool way.

  3. HMBT
    January 20, 2008

    Thanks Andrea!You mean it, really, really Jafa? I am chuffed! I am now able to do creepy cool! Yippeee!

  4. Robin Lassiter Art
    January 20, 2008

    Love your art! I found it through Cynthia’s blog. Love the color and expression… thanks for sharing!

  5. Cynthia
    January 20, 2008

    Love painting and the Emerson quote! Ain’t that the truth?Now if I could only find my *^%$(*@# keys… I’m better – my husband is threatening to buy me Focus Factor. LOL – it’s not that bad – only a momentary lapse. Surely your painting and linkies have to be some good juju for me. 😀

  6. HMBT
    January 20, 2008

    Hi Robin, thanks for coming by! I hope you will come back again. Thanks for the kind words about my work, I really appreciate it.OH Cynthia! I was so hoping to hear “they were in my purse the whole time!” I do hope things settle back into “place” soon for you my friend!!!!

  7. San
    January 22, 2008

    Wow, Heather, I’ve been home for a few days. As I’ve mentioned before, your blog doesn’t load properly on my home laptop. I see I’ve been missing out–you are on a roll with your art! This key painting may be my favorite YET of the choir series. It makes me wonder who has the key…and I love it when a painting makes me wonder.

  8. HMBT
    January 22, 2008

    San, thanks so much! I love it that you are wondering, that was the whole point…make people think about themselves, the world and their place in it all. You rock!

  9. Kalliope Amorphous
    March 11, 2008

    This is FANTASTIC!

  10. bluejude
    March 11, 2008

    Another great post! Another great piece! Hmmmm…now ya got me thinkin’ bout keys! Happy Tuesday!

  11. San
    March 11, 2008

    Thank you for allowing me to revisit this poignant painting, Heather.

    As ever, I love your words too. What you have to say about those close to us knowing our password, holding our key, is wise.

    Now, what I’m hoping for: that this painting holds the key that will open the place in someone’s longing for just the right painting, that it will come to reside in that place.

  12. badkittyartstudio
    March 11, 2008

    San: Thanks for your kind words, and Let It Be Sistah! Oh, great Universe, please let it be.
    Blue: As always its ever so nice to see you and feel the love!
    Kalliope: Thanks!

  13. Cynthia
    March 12, 2008

    P.S. I found my keys one month later (well actually someone else did exactly where I thought I lost them and looked!) – what does that mean? Maybe I’m back on my game and paying attention.

  14. Kris Cahill
    March 13, 2008

    Great work, Heather, and a fabulous story too! Very inspiring. I like the keyhole in the back of the head too. It seems very true this way.


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