How long does it take?
People often ask me how long a painting took to paint?
Unless I’ve just completed it I often can’t actually remember - I paint and sell so many.
That’s not to say I ‘churn them out’. I work hard, intensely, nearly every day – it’s not always easy. I’m obsessed. Driven. I love it. I want to do it. Over and over. I love remembering the fact that Picasso completed over 8000 artworks in his lifetime. I haven’t counted exactly how many paintings I’ve finished and sold but know it’s over a 1000, most of those in the last three years since I’ve been painting full time and selling online. Only another 7000 to go!!
But seriously, while I may or may not ever match Picasso’s output, each painting I’m pleased with is, for me, special, individual, new, amazing. Real paint. Real me.
Often I’ll work on a painting over several days or weeks, layering, adding, playing, being (or trying to be!) logical too.
But sometimes, yes, a painting will happen very quickly. The paint falls and settles on the canvas along with my dream and my spirits. It’s like a dance. Pure magic. Paul McCartney once answered my question “Do you think your music comes from within your self or from beyond – perhaps from another dimension or somehow spiritually?” He said it was the best question he’d been asked. He said he didn’t know where his ideas came from but yes, sometimes it did seem they were given to him – came to him – from a source beyond the world we understand.
Noel Gallagher similarly said it sometimes seems as though a song has fallen out of the sky as though someone up there in the sky is dropping them and he needs to be ready to catch them.
To let the magic happen.
I feel the same. Not that I have any ideas above my humble station I hasten to add! I’m just a painter, learning, practising all the time and trying to pass on something beautiful that makes me sing with joy and, I hope, transmit that sense of beauty and joy to others as they look at one of my paintings.
Some scientists and philosophers call this flow, as though that explains it. It doesn’t really, but I know the feeling of being ‘in flow’ – wherever, however, it comes.
Often this doesn’t happen and I practise and practise and if a painting seems to have potential work on it for as long as it takes, developing it and getting it, with a bit of luck, better and better until it’s something I’m pleased with and someone else may like too. Sometimes it doesn’t work and if it’s on paper I’ll acknowledge defeat and tear it up, or put it in a drawer for someone else to dispatch one day when I’m gone! If it’s on canvas, I just paint over it and start again – it’s often how so many of us arrive at a painting with fabulous textures and colours shining through.
But sometimes the ‘in flow’ phenomenon happens or, as I prefer to think, like Paul and Noel, the magic was out there – somehow, somewhere – waiting for me and all I have to do is simply be a conduit for its birth.
It’s taken me a lifetime to get to where I am though with my painting.
So my answer to the question How long did it take you? is
My whole life.
with love and light, Jenny