How long did it take you to paint that painting?



I’m still working on getting that show ready to hang. With a bit of luck I should have it up by this afternoon. This morning I am putting the hanging gear on the last six paintings. Then it is just a matter of pulling the venue consignment sheet together and loading everything up in the vehicle. So while I am sipping on that second cup of coffee I thought I would check in and let you know how things were going.

Art Studio Still Life photograph by Terrill Welch

This brings me to one of the hardest questions I find I ever have to answer as an artist. Can you guess what it is?

How long did it take you to paint that?

The question brings up this jumble of activity that goes into each painting. I know if I start to articulate that list it will either sound like justification or a whine.

Who wants to hear about the years of exploration of one colour – such as blue which I got just right between the sky and the water in this particular painting. Further, it seems unnecessary to explain how it can take several paintings to figure out a particular problem that has been satisfied in this particular painting. Or the days, weeks and months I spent meandering around until I found this particular composition which pleased me enough to pick up my brushes. Of course the trips to town by ferry to buy supplies, no point in mention that either. Then there is the photographing of the finished piece, painting the edges, getting it in the inventory program, posting it on the web and sharing in social media. The actual standing there painting the darn thing was the shortest length of time in the whole process. So I don’t say. Instead I have these rather vague answers that go something like this….

Oh, it took me a couple of months to get it this far – easy shrug.

I have been working on this particular challenge of getting the light to reflect for a while now… seems it worked well here.

If pushed –

The painting itself is actually the fastest part of the process. It is all the background work, preparation and finishing work that takes the time. Not unlike repainting the walls in your kitchen. Then there is the work of getting out there so people know that it exists. That is a whole other story. – big grin.

So there you have it! Thanks for hanging out in my loft studio with me this morning while I do up the last bit of work for the next show at the Green House Bar and Grill right here on Mayne Island.

Well that coffee cup is empty and I really must get to work. Have a nice day all!

SPROUT:  What creative process do you have difficulty explaining?

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10 thoughts on “How long did it take you to paint that painting?

  1. Terrill – I love the photograph and the non-explanation.

    SPROUT: What creative process do you have difficulty explaining?

    That when writing fiction, I really (truly!) don’t know what’s going to happen next – not until the characters tell me.

    • Oh Laurie I can see where that would a hard one as well. What do you mean you didn’t KNOW he was going run buck-naked through the dinner party and into the kitchen right before the dogs were to be fed? How could you NOT KNOW?

  2. Planting a garden would be the one thing that requires much more preparation than than the act of placing the seeds. The answer can be anything from” A couple of years to get the soil right” to ” once it’s all ready, 10 minutes to plant the seeds.” Start to finish, so far – a life time.

    • Yes Sandi planting a garden is definitely another one. Having just been part of the home and garden tour here, I find it is fascinating the things a person can be asked. I like your answer – a life time 🙂

  3. Working on catch up of reading blogs today – this was fun. Having several artists in the family and right before my eyes I try never to ask this question….and I think for the writer it is quite the same…one needs a whole raft of experiences too…I just finished a review and then thought no that is not what I want to say about that book….but I have to move on….maybe revisit after more time.

    I just re-read a book I read 40 years ago to write this current review!

    Marketing – wow that is truly difficult for me…wow You are so much better at it…but maybe because you have a tangible product?
    Nice job Thank you for sharing

    • Patricia with that many creative beings in your family you may not even think to ask this question. Those that are with us behind the scenes see the labour first hand. I don’t know about “marketing” so much as about being of service to a potential buyer. I suppose this is marketing but with the idea that together we can find a way for you to have at least a little of what you need in life. If reading this blog provides that – I have done my job. If buying a card, calendar, book, photography or painting print or even an original painting does that – I have done my job then too. Somehow though at the end of the day and at the end of my life I want to be able to say I contributed to our awareness of the quiet beauty that is in our everyday – right here where we are in this moment. And you are welcome – my pleasure as always to share Patricia. All the best of the week to you!

  4. Teaching writing is always an endeavor that’s hard to frame. It’s the equivalent of stream of consciousness in one sense, as rules are applied liberally and differently.

    But I hear you when you say the actual painting is less time consuming than the planning.

    • I think Sam this a common thread you have identified between painting and writing – planning and preparation. What is surprising is when something feels so much like it painted or wrote itself – completely disconnecting itself from the sometimes years of preparation.

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