How Long Did It Take You?

Alarm ClockThis past weekend Deb and I drove to Superior, Arizona to see the annual Home Show, where they have several revamped old homes on a mini-tour. While in the “downtown” area, we dropped into a couple of art galleries, and I ran into Arizona artist Mary Rose Sanderson who had several originals and fine art giclée prints of her work on display. We had a nice conversation about painting in watercolor and acrylic, and the challenges of each. During our conversation, I said to her, “So, when people see one of my pieces for the first time, they always ask …,“ and she said, “How long did it take you!”

It’s amazing that nearly everyone asks that question. I asked her how long one particular piece of hers took to complete, and she said, “I have no idea. That’s too much work to keep track of the hours.” She does beautiful work, and you can see it if you visit her website. I especially like her Arizona works.

Artists have different styles and speeds when it comes to painting. Some can whip a painting out in a day, maybe even a few hours, while others take weeks, even months. It depends on the size, the medium, the detail, and the style one incorporates in a piece. Some of my favorite artists paint in great detail, but I also like the work of those who are more “free” in their styles. I like to paint in detail, and I seem to be getting more and more obsessed with that.

For artists who can generate a painting in a day, that’s eight to ten hours. On the other hand, paintings with great detail can take a week, or even months to complete. Take the work of Mary Rose, or Danny Day. (Amazing!) That’s what makes original artwork–and fine art giclée prints–so desirable.

A wonderful artist and art critic recently posted a great quote on Facebook that says it well:

“When you buy something from an artist you’re buying more than an object.
You’re buying hundreds of hours of errors and expectation.
You’re buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy.
You’re not buying just one thing, you are buying a piece of a heart,
a piece of a soul, a small piece of someone else’s life.”