How long does it take to paint that?

The age old question.. “how long did it take you to paint that?”

It’s a very valid question and often the first and most obvious thing people want to know when striking up a conversation, but it’s taken me a while to formulate an answer.

I could just think about it in terms of physical painting time and this probably wouldn’t be as long as people think, but what they are less aware of is the hours spent mulling over ideas, the space in between, the walking away and letting it sit for a while while I work out where to go next.

I now work on more than one piece at a time, and whilst some think you need to keep the focus, it works better for me. The downtime allows my subconscious to sit with ‘the other piece’, develop new ideas, methods and direction which I find far more exciting.

In the lead up to the exhibition, I spent many nights going over plans, thinking up new paintings and often had to get up and make notes for fear of losing the connection.

So now when someone asks me how long it takes to paint a particular artwork, I usually say something along the lines of ’50 years, lots of sleepless nights and sitting on a beach gazing out to sea’.

I truly believe my creativity is in part a gift, but also 75% thinking and probably only 25% putting paint to paper, and of course some technical ability and skills and experimenting which have been learned over the years.

I think this is where having the studio space at Wooda has been such a rewarding fruitful experience. The peace and calm has given me total focus, sometimes to the point of obsession and not having to think at all about emptying the dishwasher, how much laundry is in the basket etc. Thank you Don 😉 .

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