People have asked this question to me many times. They often ask me personally, How long did it take you to draw/paint that? My natural inclination is to tell them exactly how long, in technical terms. I often reply with This painting took me about two weeks. Of course, most of my larger paintings take much longer. Plus, the fact that I create several artworks simultaneously, makes it more difficult to quantify an exact time.
So, I have been thinking about different ways to answer this question. It is a valid question after all. The person asking is obviously interested in hearing what I have to say. But, in stating an exact time, I am a little worried about the impression it might give.
- This drawing took me one hour to complete
The person asking may think my drawing is not worth as much as one that took me a full day. The quality may be less, but expressive drawings are often produced very fast and convey more emotion. Should it sell for a cheaper price just because it was created faster?
- This painting took me a full month
I have a few paintings that took a month to create. There is even one that I have worked on for the past 3 years, and I am just putting on the finishing touches. But, it is impossible for me to say exactly how much time I spent creating. On one day I may work on a certain painting for a few hours, then place it back so the paint may dry, before reworking. I may not return to that painting for a couple days or more. Most of the time I like to create a few artworks simultaneously.
If I give this answer in this case I fear I may not be entirely truthful.
Can you see the dilemma? I think most artists have had to deal with this question.
Many people only see the time it takes to create an artwork. They do not see all the training that led up to that particular piece.
It takes skill to create a work of art. That skill often does not come naturally. Most artists have to work at it for years. A painting that is created today may be the result of years of training, along with experimentation, trying new techniques, not to mention all the money spent on art supplies on the way.
So, here I am now, exploring better answers to the question, ones that will be accurate and honest for my art.
Answers to: How Long Did it Take You to Create This?
I took 42 years to paint this. Every painting and experience I did before led up to this creation.
Many artists have given this answer, but it may be a little disappointing to some. There are many who are genuinely interested in how much time it takes to create a painting. They may be impressed with the artwork, and may be dissatisfied when they do not get a straight, honest answer.
I don’t know
A simple I don’t know, without an explanation, may actually be harmful to the artist’s reputation. The person asking deserves an answer, even if there may not be a good intention behind the question. As artists, we should be prepared to answer difficult questions about our art.
I don’t know how long it took. I work on several pieces at the same time, and it’s hard to tell. I just keep working on it till it’s perfect.
This is how I have decided to answer from now on.
How have you answered this question?
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