Over the last four years, I have been able to produce an average of about one “good” complete painting per six weeks. I have kept this sluggish pace for a number of reasons. Most prominently, that I have never been able to make anything good in less than ten hours. Picture book illustrations are the exception. I think the illustrations that I have published are “good” and those only take three to four hours.
This sounds idiotic, but anyone who works in a physical medium such as watercolor will understand: In order to work on a painting for a minimum of ten hours, you must also not destroy it in that time. It’s harder than you think. There are a lot of brush strokes performed over ten hours, and it only takes one to ruin a painting. What if I have a “nice” painting at five hours, but then destroy it at hour fifteen? It’s happened, and I kick myself for not just leaving the picture as it was. I have found what I hope to be a solution that honors the labor that the model has put forth, and to a lesser extent, shows the sacrifice of my beloved art supplies.
Sometimes after I finish a three hour session with a live model, I have a coarse painting that I’m proud of. These works are not ready to submit to a jury, but i think of them as “nice” just not polished. I have decided to start posting some pieces in their unpolished state. I intend to return to some of these, others will remain happily as they are.
Please excuse my vanity.