How long will a new painting take, from start to finish?
Update!! Click here to see my video on the entire process of completing this painting.
By tracking my hours from the first day to the last, I can develop good estimates for this and future paintings. In this case, I am starting an oil still life, 20″ wide, 16″ high.
In a previous post I discussed first moves: choosing subject matter, arranging the props, etc.. This post illustrates the next steps: from set-up to laying in colors.
The set-up. How much time? 3 hours, but that includes some ironing!
The drawing in red chalk on my painting panel.
Underpainting in oil, refining and correcting the design.
Color analysis, using the Munsell system.
Mixing and tubing the colors. This takes time now but saves time later.
First color pass, not yet complete.
How much time at this point? I am 20 hours in, not counting clean-up and other chores.
Some paintings are timeless, so is learning the craft.
All paintings take time, many stay with us for a long time. Consider Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. A pretty girl gazes at us over her shoulder. Her hair is hidden by a cloth wrap, we see one earring glowing in the shadows. We gaze at her wide eyes, and plump, moist lips. Meanwhile, she looks at us with an expression of . . . well, it’s hard to say what is in that expression. Mild surprise? Curiosity? Unease?
She looks at us, we look back, and time disappears.
The painting has shimmered with drama and movement for three and a half centuries. No one knows how long Vermeer worked on this painting. However, we can say with confidence that it took him years to become the artist who could paint Girl with a Pearl Earring. As the medieval poet Chaucer put it: “The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.”
Continuing the series I call How It Looks in a Frame, here is my watercolor Highbush Cranberry, 12″ x 16″. You can see what it looks like without a frame here. If you are interested in purchasing my work, please visit the Purchase page. You can find prices on the Prices page.
Starting September 2, through September 30, 2016, this painting will be on view at a new gallery in Anchorage, Pink Raven Studio. Please drop by and take a look!
Being a working artist has its joys and challenges, but, through it all, your support and encouragement sustain me. Thank you so much for being my audience.