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Kitty Wallis
05-14-2004, 03:28 AM
The only sunset I've painted. I've always thought "Why go there? It's already a painting, full of light and color. Nothing left to do." Untill I saw this.

36"x40" with Pure Pigment underpainting.

Kathryn Wilson
05-14-2004, 06:20 AM
Love it Kitty! Don't you just love the reflections wet sand can show - I have a picture in my head of a surfer standing in the water with the reflections gleaming with color from his surf board. Too bad my hubby didnt get the photo shot quick enough -

guess I'll just have to spend more time at the beach! - :D

Seriously tho, your colors are always so vibrant - something I am aspiring to do with every new painting I do.

Dyin
05-14-2004, 10:22 AM
Now THIS speaks to me....texture and color...exciting and peaceful at the same time. :clap:

k9artisan
05-14-2004, 10:52 AM
This is so beautiful! Kitty your work is truly a pleasure to see and this is no exception. How inspiring!
amber :clap: :clap: :clap:

Khadres
05-14-2004, 12:13 PM
Gorgeous, as always. I disagree about painting sunsets, tho...they're a fleeting thing and special ones can merit a painting to "save" them in time. I say this, because I've been collecting up a bunch from pics I've taken and am planning on trying 'em out as subjects! :D

I love the unusual colors in this one...wonderful subtlety AND intensity at the same time!

binkie
05-14-2004, 12:19 PM
Your painting is simply marvelous, as they always are!

binkie

Mikki Petersen
05-14-2004, 12:33 PM
Just look at this! This painting tells so much yet is so simply stated. How did you know not to put the sky in there? I would have gone for the horizon and it would not have been as spellbinding as this painting is. Guess that's why you're the master and I'm the slave ;)

Lisa Olivarez
05-14-2004, 03:02 PM
Beautiful image, Kitty. I love your freshness :) . It strikes a chord somewhere...

Hope to take one of your classes soon :clap:
Lisa

EdK
05-14-2004, 03:18 PM
A sunset without the sun, right up my alley. It makes you think and get involved in the painting. Marvelous. :clap:

E-J
05-14-2004, 04:42 PM
This brings to mind more besides a sunset on sand ... I keep thinking of molten lava ... or the surface of an alien planet. Wonderful! Just shows you that there CAN be something new under the sun, if you're looking in the right place :)

Harm Verbeek
05-14-2004, 05:06 PM
Hello,

I like this too. It gives the right feeling of sea and sand.

Greetings Harm

CarlyHardy
05-14-2004, 05:15 PM
It's so perfect that I want to stick my feet in and feel the water suck the sand from beneath my toes! I love the beach at this time of the day and you captured that feel perfectly!
carly

Maggie P
05-14-2004, 06:34 PM
This goes in my all-time favorite beach paintings file! (It's only in my head but I always remember the great ones.)

Pinecone Conniff
05-14-2004, 09:01 PM
I love this painting!!...I love water and your painting is incredible!! The reflected color of the sky at sunset is masterful...very inspiring! :clap:
Annette

Deborah Secor
05-14-2004, 10:59 PM
mmmmmmmmmm, makes me want to go there.

Deborah

Meldy
05-15-2004, 01:01 AM
It is sooooo believable!!! I can imagine walking over the wet sand and leaving footprints! :p

Kitty Wallis
05-15-2004, 02:00 AM
Thank you everyone.

I appreciate your heartfelt expressions.

Lisa Olivarez
05-16-2004, 07:29 PM
Kitty, how long does a painting like this take you?

bogbeast
05-16-2004, 07:54 PM
simply gorgeous! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Kitty Wallis
05-16-2004, 11:20 PM
Kitty, how long does a painting like this take you?

Anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. Months might be involved.

Why do you want to know? How many times has this question been asked to find out how much the artist is making an hour? Or somehow make a business evauation of it. And why does it make me mad?

Deborah Secor
05-16-2004, 11:34 PM
Hmmm, well, I bet Lisa didn't mean to ask something that made you mad, but I sure understand your reaction, Kitty. :rolleyes: Sometimes folks do want to know what your hourly wage is--which burns--hence the famous "all my life" answer. But sometimes people really just want to know if it came out quickly--did it flow or was there more to it than there appears on the surface? Those are often the best of my paintings, the ones that pour out like flowing water so easily I feel almost like an observer. (I've had one or two, maybe a few more of them in my years as a painter. ) To me this painting looks like it came out of you like mercury--liquid silver that shimmers and moves mysteriously!

As an aside, I remember talking to a man at a fair one time who really wanted me to lower the price on a painting. He asked me that question and I ended up giving him such a long involved answer he wanted to know if I was a lawyer! (He paid full price, too.) ;)

Deborah

Kitty Wallis
05-16-2004, 11:40 PM
Deborah, thanks for your reply, I really wanted an answer to that question, I wasn't asking a rhetorical question or complaining that Lisa asked hers. But most times in the past when the question is asked I get snappy. I think my reaction is bigger than the issue, but I usually react with anger. So I asked in case other artists felt that way.

Paula Ford
05-17-2004, 12:01 AM
Kitty,

I can't speak for Lisa, but I have also asked that question many times of other artists. There are lots of us here who are not very experienced and just wonder what the "normal time to do a painting" is.

Also, it's just a fun bit of information. For instance, if you had said that painting took you an hour, most of our eyes would be popping out in amazement on how you did such a gorgeous piece of art in such a short period of time.

We all live all over the world here. We are not here to compete with each other, nor are we here to inquire about how much money other artists make. Though, all one has to do is go to any online gallery to see what prices are charged for paintings. We are here to share, to get help, to learn, to get information, and to form friendships.

Paula

Deborah Secor
05-17-2004, 12:04 AM
There are times I wish we could post tone of voice here, don't you? :p

It's a good question to discuss! If you've sat a booth for more than a couple of days you've probably heard the question....

Deborah

Kitty Wallis
05-17-2004, 12:07 AM
There are times I wish we could post tone of voice here, don't you? :p

It's a good question to discuss! If you've sat a booth for more than a couple of days you've probably heard the question....

Deborah

SOmetime in the far future we will have magical instuments, computers almost as good as phones.

CarlyHardy
05-17-2004, 12:13 AM
I never mind when another artist asked how much time I've spent on a painting.....but it does get my dander up when my nosy next door neighbor comes out to watch me paint and ask how long it will take me to finish that....and then how much will I sell it for ;D Obviously she is doing math.

I think Lisa just wondered, as we all do at times, how long it takes for an accomplished artist to finish a piece like this. The more accurate question might be....how long did you have to paint or how many paintings did it take until you could paint like this!
carly

MKathleen
05-17-2004, 12:41 AM
:) Hi Kitty:
I can understand from your reply you get tired of this well worn question from people. I don't think Lisa was trying to find out how much you make an hour. As you are a well respected teacher and wonderful artist people look up to you. I think she was just interested in wanting to know how long it took you to paint this scene. Somehow it's important to some artists and people to understand a time frame. As Lisa is a new member she hasn't had time read all your threads whereby you may have covered her very question.
We all get tired and lose it sometimes....

Kitty Wallis
05-17-2004, 01:16 AM
I know my reply sounded petulant, and I regret that. However I actually do want to know how other artists feel about that question. What are people trying to understand, find out? Is there anything worth discussing, any reply that helps anyone? Or is it a non-inquiry, one that nobody is interested in discussing?

I hope you can overlook my reply, Lisa. I just got home from teaching a 3-day color Intensive and had no patience left.

jackiesimmonds
05-17-2004, 03:15 AM
I believe people have various reasons for asking this question (which I get asked a lot, and my reaction is the same as yours Kitty ...well, perhaps not anger, more exasperated despair, and deep irritation.)

1. There is the artist asking the question, because he or she wants to know, as Paula said, about "the normal time" it takes to create a painting. They are measuring their efforts against yours. No offence meant Paula, but this is a REALLY silly question. What takes one artist an hour, might take another three hours, or three weeks, or three months. Paula, if you keep asking artists that question, it must be because deep down, you feel a lack of confidence in your own time-frame, and need some kind of guidance as to what is "right". And what if the answser makes you feel inadequate? That is the best reason of all for not asking the question. Your painting is finished when you finish it, Paula, that is all you need to know.

2. There is the potential buyer asking the question, because it helps them to evaluate whether the painting is worth the money. Others might disagree with this, but from experience learned over many, many years, I know that there are buyers out there who value a picture this way ... the more hours, the more impressed they are. The more detail, the more impressed they are. They equate time spent, with value. One has to feel sorry for this buyer...they are unable to trust their eyes, and their feelings, and have to evaluate the material worth of a piece of art, rather than judging it by its impact on their emotions. Or as well as. They are missing the point completely, but unfortunately, as an artist, one has to cope with this. Kitty - I do not know what the right answer is. I am rather inclined, these days, to say "sometimes a really good one like this will get finished within a few days, because with pastels there is no waiting time for paint to dry, but at other times, it can take me weeks to finish something". This generally satisfies!

I did have an interesting debat with a client once, whose eyebrows shot up when I quoted about £300 for painting, some years ago. Clearly, she thought I had a liberty to ask so much money. I pointed out that I had paid just that sum for a shower door that month. And a friend had paid that much for a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, which would last, if she was lucky, a couple of seasons. Everything is relative.


3. There is the friend, who is curious about whether you are spending your time usefully. The more time and effort, the better. They see less value - in effort terms, in something dashed off quickly. Sometimes, the wheels are turning, and they are working out the monetary value too, but usually, their agenda is less monetary, more to do with evaluating how you spend your time, and whether they think you are spending it purposefully.

My irritation levels show, I know, whenever the question is put to me. I begin the answer with a hugh sigh. I am often inclined to be flippant, and say "oh, I dashed that one off in about 15 minutes" and watch their eyes pop. But I KNOW that they then devalue the image immediately, so it isn't worth it. On reflection, I think from now on, I am going to use: "I deliberately don't time myself, never do, that would interfere with all my creative energies". It should shut up everyone but the most persistent, and if they pursued it, I would be justified in asking why they want to know. And would be justified in saying "well, actually, that is a question I never answer, on principle, sorry."

Jackie

Kathryn Wilson
05-17-2004, 06:45 AM
Kitty, how long does a painting like this take you?


Now, if I were asking that question - my voice would have a different inflection to it. It would be full of wonder and amazement at how long it must have taken to produce such a painting.

In defense of Kitty and Lisa both, they are new members and may not realize that the typewritten word doesn't relay the facial expression or emotion in the voice that we see and hear from a person in real life. Even words in CAPS seems like they are shouting off the page at someone, when that is not the intention at all.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention Kitty -

jackiesimmonds
05-17-2004, 12:01 PM
actually, I think that if you were truly amazed, you would say something like "wow, that must have taken AGES to paint, (or, "wow, that would have taken ME ages to paint") I am so impressed". You would not say, even in awe and wonderment, "how long did that take you to paint" unless actually, you had a reason for wanting to know that ...and that reason must be in order to evaluate the painting from that perspective. And let's ask ourselves seriously here ... is this something, as artists, we need to know? Is it useful information ? Does the time taken make any difference to the quality of the finished result?

I really believe, when one artist asks this question of another, it is not to cause offence. (and I am sure Kitty knew this) In this istance, we don't need to "hear" the tone of voice, it is irrelevant. And anyway on these forums, no one is out to offend anyone else.

Yes, there may be genuine curiosity ...but the point I feel I want to STRESS here, she said, with emphasis, is that IT DOES NOT MATTER how long it took that artist to paint that picture and it is a question better left unasked, for one's peace of mind. What if the answer is ..."it took me 3 hours". If you are someone who can paint a picture in 3 hrs, this probably then feels OK to you. But what if you are someone who needs 2 weeks? You then might start to feel "oh dear, obviously I spend far too long on my pictures, I must learn to speed up, I am doing something wrong here". And yet you are NOT doing anything wrong. You just work at a different pace. One person can eat a whole plate of food in 3 minutes. Another will take half an hour to eat the same amount of food. One person can read a book in an hour, another will take a week. We are all quite different, and as artists, we have to learn to accept our differences.

Mikki Petersen
05-17-2004, 12:19 PM
I, for one, am glad to hear annoyance from the pros over this question. It reassures me greatly. One thing I've noticed here on the threads is that everyone is very time focused. For instance, the Weekly Pastel thread and the WDE and people often mention the amount of time they spent on a painting. Since I just finished a painting that took a year off and on, I get to feeling like I must not be very good since I don't whip these things out.

Then again, Kitty, I have to look back at the portraits you recently posted. You stated the time it took for each of them and I was just boggled! To me a two hour painting is a quick sketch but here you produce portraits with great likenesses and beautiful painterly qualities in just a short time. But then you mentioned you had been painting portraits almost exclusively for many, many years which says your eye is very well trained by this point to pick out those essentials that uniquely identify an individual.

Obviously, the truth is that painting is a creative process and it takes as long as it takes. In this day and age, I think many, especially the young, are on microwave time, valuing less the quality of a thing than how fast it can be obtained. Hence all the questions about time.

jackiesimmonds
05-17-2004, 12:23 PM
Kitty -I've been thinking about this as I drive around today, and here are a couple of responses for you, when asked the question by a potential buyer:

Buyer: "How long did it take you to paint that?"

Me: "Oh, quite a while, but I make a point of never counting the hours, because if I was to charge by the hour, I would have to charge, probably, at least twice what I do charge. "

or

"mmm - people often ask this, but I'm afraid there isn't a simple answer to give you, because I spend ages thinking, planning, and organising the design before I even start the painting, and then there is time spent making adjustments as I go along, and more thinking periods, before I can consider the work finished. I really try not to watch the clock. "

Both of these said with a smile to soften the blow!

Jackie

oh, and one given to me by another artist: "it took me several days/weeks, PLUS the many, many years it took to learn how to paint like this." (the number of "manys" you say, will depend on your level of experience!)

SweetBabyJ
05-17-2004, 12:53 PM
I understand the irritation of the question since I've answered it myself. Do they really want to know the time from idea "Oooh! This would make a nice painting!" through the layout and planning stages (and the two or three days I let the idea sit and stew in my head) through the drafts, the initial drawings/underpainting/brush-off/redo's etc et al, or are they asking how much time was actually spent applying pastel to support? I NEVER think they're being rude, and it doesn't occur to me to think someone is valuing the work by the number of hours put into it; I figure they are genuinely interested, and THEY think their question far less insulting or "nosy" than asking something like "How did you get that shiny effect right there?" A question like the latter deals with technique, and they consider such both rather "secret" and out of their range of understanding.
I welcome any enquiry, I feel it's a genuine kudo that interest is shown.

And why is it, as Mikki asks, that it's fine to "brag"- if such be the word- about a work which has taken a mere 40 minutes, or three hours of plein aire time, or flowed, as Deborah points out, and takes a day rather than a week of fighting? Yet, if a piece does take a few days, a few weeks, then we are reluctant to say "I fought this thing for 17 days, seven and a half hours a day!" or "This took a long time because I didn't like this area at first and tried something else- I had to leave it sit for three months while I figured out how to fix it..."; is it OUR reluctance to admit it didn't come out as we planned like magic from the get-go? Is it some ego-trip that we don't want folks to know, no matter how "good" we are, even we make mistakes? Pshaw!! If you can admit one "I was so pleased with this- it worked so well from the start and only took me three hours!" then you'd better be able to admit the other, "This one gave me fits, I worked hard over it, but am pleased with the results".

Too, I find folks like to know this kind of stuff so they feel more connected to the piece itself: "This painting is only 4"x5" but took her three days to finish because of the detail!" It's kind of bragging rights. "Look at how big this painting is, but it only took him three hours on the beach! Isn't that marvelous?!?" Folks who are NOT artists, who don't understand not only the skills involved but the compunction to make art, DO understand time spent- much more so than they understand "It's on Wallis ground, and I used Schmnickes and Senneliers".

To me, I find the question "Are you self-taught or did you go to school?" MUCH more rude- after all, every single one of us is self-taught: We may have gotten the study materials from an educational institution, but it was up to each of us individually to LEARN what was put before us, whether it was presented on a silver platter, or a paper plate.

Mikki Petersen
05-17-2004, 01:47 PM
My goodness...we do all have our trigger points, don't we? Mine is still "Gee you are good enough to do some real paintings! Why don't you try that?"

Kathryn Wilson
05-17-2004, 01:59 PM
LOL - my favorite is "Are you an artist?" - my thoughts to myself - "Gee, I just might be or else why would I be out here in the hot sun/cold rain/wind/snow painting??" Definitely not for my health - :)

I do like it when people come to talk and ask questions - but then again, I have not been at this as long as some of the pros have been.

I encountered such indifference at the Art Festival I attended yesterday that it was almost pathetic - only one artist really welcomed my questions. And yes, I was very careful not to interfere when they had potential customers in their tent. I guess we on WC are so willing to share ideas, techiques and information with each other it is a real change out in the real world.

Dyin
05-17-2004, 02:14 PM
It doesn't bother me at all if someone asks how long a piece took. It's a large part of the process and never occured to me that it could be an offensive question. I've just always been happy that someone would care enough about my work to ask questions about the creating of it.
Time involved does play a big part in pricing. Something that took an hour and gets $100 and something that took 150 hours and gets $1500...well, do the math. It pays to be quicker and if someone's livelyhood depends on their art it's a very pertinent question. Perhaps they may make it their goal to learn to work faster or like me, perhaps they'll decide to approach the matter in a different direction altogether.
WC is a place to exchange ideas, approaches and get information about all aspects of the artworld. I've asked the time question myself, sometimes it's just confirmed that I'm pretty slow and it's made me think about trying something new to speed up the process, and other times it's made me realize it's not such a bad thing to take my time, so there's many ways to look at it.
Bottom line is that a person needs to believe in themselve and their goals and not let other people's hangups about worth and training get to them. I look at it like it's not my problem, I'm doing what I want and how I want. People will like it or not, buy it or not, but I'm still going to create and all that stuff just interferes with the process.

Deborah Secor
05-17-2004, 02:17 PM
Classic answer to the question, how long did it take you to paint that? "All my life." It's become an apocryphal answer, attributed to so many artists now, but it's as good as anything! Usually I think my customers asked the question because they couldn't think of anything else to say. A time filler that arose from ignorance, from the 'I don't know anything about art' school of thought. (I once flabbergasted a customer when he admired a painting in my booth and remarked he had good taste because it was already sold. I was tired and said, "Yep, I guess you do, if you trust the taste of someone you never met." He looked so shocked. I was chagrined to have said it aloud--but I'd thought it for years. :o )

Mikki--good one! The one that gets me is more like, "Are you finished with it?" which always implies to me that it doesn't look finished (invariably asked when it's still on the board, not framed, of course.) I work 'fast' (compared to some artists, she said, glancing at Jackie with a grin) and sometimes people legitimately wonder if I consider it done, and other times if I have the skill to make it look more 'real'. I still have customers who look at my current work and mourn the stuff I used to do, as if it's such a shame that I've gone downhill in my abilities, when they know I could paint realistically.

I was on Kirk Richards website yesterday, looking at his book For Glory and For Beauty, and he mentioned that in the atelier where he trained it would take something like 300 hours to do one sketch or a semester to complete one oil painting. Here's the article in case you're interested. Atelier Lack (http://www.kirkrichards.com/atelier_article.htm) It's fascinating to read. The drawings and paintings are incredible--classical realism--but I find myself wondering if that many hours are needed to produce an excellent painting, or if it's that those many hours are requred to produce the artist. I think it comes down to the same thing, for instance the experience that Kitty mentioned of painting faces for many years which allows her to capture the likeness of a person in a relatively short amount of time. However, Kirk has the price of $38,000 on one painting. (That would make my year!)

Interesting discussion, everyone...

Deborah

Dyin
05-17-2004, 02:38 PM
good article, Deborah...I think it's saying that the training gives a student just the foundation to become a good artist. I think it's the same thing for a self taught artist. I worked hard to learn to 'see' by working as realist as I could. But there was a catch to that...it stifled creativity and I got really scared for awhile that I'd lost the ability to create. Lately I've been going towards my original goals and the 'training' I got by studying light, color etc in realism have given me a way to start expressing other ideas. To me the end all, be all isn't whether it's realism or abstract or somewhere in between, it's getting into the realm of communication with the viewer by having a good enough solid foundation of technical knowledge to be able to effectively get your vision across in your own unique way. And that's pretty much what the last paragraph on that page is also saying.

SweetBabyJ
05-17-2004, 02:45 PM
I think the "How long did it take you?" question is really a compliment, in a way; I know when it is asked of me it is invariably of a piece which appears somehow very rich or intricate or detailed. There is a note of wonder in the query- as if the questioner is in awe over the dedication needed to produce what he or she is responding to in the work. I cannot see how that would be a bad thing.

The "Are you finished?" question is prolly worse, Deborah, I agree- rather like the foolish husband who says "Is that what you're wearing?"

Another thing I noticed at a few shows was the different words used when referring to an item. Obvious "crafts" such as soft-fabric goods and ceramic stuff is referred to as "made": "Did you make that?" while other pieces, such as paintings or carvings are called "work", as in "Nice work!" I've wondered about that- do folks consider "crafty" things a hobby, but "art" things a vocation? Best compliment I ever received, however, was when the owner of my fave little arts supply store browsed a show and looked at my stuff- she didn't seem to recognize me (well, my hair was brushed neatly, had make-up on and there was a distinct lack of pastel smudges all over me) and said "You do good work." Nice little zing of recognition.

jackiesimmonds
05-17-2004, 02:46 PM
Phew, Kitty, see what you started here! What a fascinating bunch of people to communicate with....isn't it wonderful and aren't we all lucky to be able to share our thoughts like this.

J

Deborah Secor
05-17-2004, 03:26 PM
good article, Deborah...I think it's saying that the training gives a student just the foundation to become a good artist. I think it's the same thing for a self taught artist. I worked hard to learn to 'see' by working as realist as I could. But there was a catch to that...it stifled creativity and I got really scared for awhile that I'd lost the ability to create. Lately I've been going towards my original goals and the 'training' I got by studying light, color etc in realism have given me a way to start expressing other ideas. To me the end all, be all isn't whether it's realism or abstract or somewhere in between, it's getting into the realm of communication with the viewer by having a good enough solid foundation of technical knowledge to be able to effectively get your vision across in your own unique way. And that's pretty much what the last paragraph on that page is also saying.

Yes, I see that clearly, Sue. The article said, "But let there be no mistake, without the arsenal of a sound training at the artistís disposal, creativity and passion may never find an avenue of communication to others, and amateurish technical work exposes the artistís lamentable foundation. The potential downside (of training in such an atelier) is far outweighed by the enormous benefits of learning your craft, being freed from technical constraints by mastering an artistic vocabulary." It isn't the formality or not of such training, as someone already noted, as much as it is the time taken to learn and develop your skill. Kirk was totally frustrated by the lack of training given him in the university at that time (my expereince, as well) and sought out this kind of education, which was perfect for him.

But my question is about the amount of time he puts into each painting. Jackie points out that we shouldn't even ask about that, because comparisons are useless--which is a good point. Yet some artists paint to a finished degree that's amazing (hundreds of hours) and we cannot deny that the buying public recognizes and often rewards the amount of time, effort and skill involved, can we? Look at Andrew Hemingway. His pastel paintings sell for $100,000+ (yes, some go for one hundred thousand dollars). I'm not necessarily advocating that each of us should work this way--I'm just exploring in my own mind the question of skill, finish and reward, and whether I personally need to renew my efforts to become better skilled, differently skilled and put more time into what I'm already doing. How satisfied should I be with what I already do? How much should I continue to study? How much improvement in skills can I expect? It never ends, does it? I hope not!

(Hmmm, waxing philosophical is so much more fun than doing the dishes--but I'm so skilled at dishes! ;) )

Deborah

Kitty Wallis
05-17-2004, 03:27 PM
Jackie, You got it. I wanted other artists' response to this often asked question. It's something I haven't had a real discussion about although I've been uncomfortable with my reactions. Your cogent reply, on all levels, satisfied me.

Thank you.

Kitty Wallis
05-17-2004, 03:35 PM
Thank you all for getting into the discussion. I hope stretching this issue in the sun feels as good to you as it does to me.

Dyin
05-17-2004, 04:05 PM
But my question is about the amount of time he puts into each painting. Jackie points out that we shouldn't even ask about that, because comparisons are useless--which is a good point. Yet some artists paint to a finished degree that's amazing (hundreds of hours) and we cannot deny that the buying public recognizes and often rewards the amount of time, effort and skill involved, can we? Look at Andrew Hemingway. His pastel paintings sell for $100,000+ (yes, some go for one hundred thousand dollars). I'm not necessarily advocating that each of us should work this way--I'm just exploring in my own mind the question of skill, finish and reward, and whether I personally need to renew my efforts to become better skilled, differently skilled and put more time into what I'm already doing. How satisfied should I be with what I already do? How much should I continue to study? How much improvement in skills can I expect? It never ends, does it? I hope not!

Deborah

Well, I agree that asking the time question in a way is like comparing apples to oranges. We're each of us different. My answer to my own musings about how much I should put into it is everything. I do realize that may in the end mean I spent way too much time to make any money. But though we may be happy with something at that point in time it doesn't mean that we've come to the end of our abilities, so I feel we should be ever growing. And too, spending hundreds of hours doesn't mean you'll get big money either. Everything has to combine just right for those lucky few who make it into the big money. There are some artists who perhaps have the same skill and put the same time into it and will never make a living at it. And there are some who may not take so long but will make good money at selling sheer volume. And there are some who will catch the public's eye and get rich selling prints.
And it's funny in a way...I think that quicker artists get rewarded...maybe not selling in the hundreds of thousands but they're selling. Galleries want producers, if the work moves. But if you can only produce one good piece a month you're not going to make much at it.
I think like anything else it comes down to priorities. If you depend on your art for a living then you have to gear towards that. If you depend on it for the sheer enjoyment then why even worry about this stuff. And if you depend on it somewhere in between, where you want to be a good artist, you want to be recognised for your skill and you hope to be rewarded then you have to go about it by priority...the above order suits me just fine so I have to build a business plan that takes all that into consideration. And realise that the money end may not happen the way I hoped. I may be wrong, but in this day of oversaturation of special effects, and an ever smaller group of people who appreciate art for art's sake, it's going to take a wow factor to be hugely sucessful. It takes a combination of skill and intuitiveness to come up with that factor and you'll never know if you have it unless you push the limits to find out.

Lisa Olivarez
05-17-2004, 04:37 PM
Wow. I guess I stirred up a hornet's nest. I am sorry I irked you, Kitty. I really wasn't looking at the issue from a financial perspective. I know that every painting is the product of your whole life. I know that some just flow, and some have to be wrestled to the ground. Your work is worth any price you put on it.

After searching myself for the truthful answer to, "Why do you want to know?". I find it was born of a desire to be a painter like you. It was born of a need to check myself against a pro, not to compete, but to remind myself to slow down. I loved the painting, as I do all of the pieces on your website. I honestly just want to paint as skillfully, sensitively and insightfully as you. That's it. No more. I want to take one of your color intensives, and glean what I can from you. (Although now I will probably have to take an assumed name to get into the class!)

You see, all my life I have wanted to paint like the masters. Not because I wanted to be better, or as good as them, just because I knew instinctively that I had a vision too. I saw the beauty of the world a little differently than non-artists. I wanted people to feel why the intense red of the garage door soaked in late afternoon sun in inner an city Detroit back alley sent me into esctasies. I am compelled to create. That's who I am. I know many of you feel the same way, that is why I feel so free in this forum. Mostly, we all understand each other.

So I went to art school on scholarship, did well but graduated with mucho debt and continued my waitressing career, only now with the distinction of being able to say, "Hi, I'm Lisa, B.F.A., and I'll be your server tonight. Can I interest you in a Margharita?" :D And for many years I crammed in art wherever it fit.

Long story short, I am finally in the position, after 20 years, to paint seriously again. And the first thing I find myself doing is rushing through paintings. It's almost as if, if I don't have one done every day, I'm doing nothing. So, I asked you the infamous question for instructional purposes. Only. As a student to a teacher.
Really, I just want to follow you around like a puppy(you and many of the other artists on this forum) :) Please take it as a compliment, and forgive my gaucheness how do you spell that? Is it even a word? Just call me a greenhorn and chalk it up to social ineptness.
See, here is some my work. My proof that I had no bad intentions. I'm just a wannabe, and I have done all of these in the past 3 months or so. Crammed between homeschooling my 4 kids and trying to remember to make dinner.

Lisa Olivarez
05-17-2004, 04:48 PM
[IMG]

Dyin
05-17-2004, 05:01 PM
Lisa, I have been admiring your approach and you will reach the point you want to be at. You shouldn't have to apologise for asking an honest question while trying to learn. You have a lot of potential and hopefully you'll find all the help you need to acheive it here.
Hope this answers the question of why someone would ask and why it IS relevant to a newer artist.

SweetBabyJ
05-17-2004, 06:04 PM
I know exactly what Lisa is asking. "Does my work not come out as 'perfect' as Artist So-and-So's because they take more time? Am I missing somethng so simple??" when in reality, that's more a case of being too close to see your own work as an 'innocent bystander'.

We all marvel at Dawn's landscapes while she bemoans how awful they are- Dawn cannot see them the way we do, she sees, instead, the flaws, what she considers the areas that didn't come out "right". The columbines I just did- I see them as quite stiff and rather lurid- but y'all semed to think they were amazingly alive and delicate- I'm too close to see them as you do. Doesn't mean you're right or I'm wrong- just means we each have a different level of investment.

Or is someone here trying to actually say "Every one of my paintings is finished to perfection"? Because if that's the case, I say "Pull it out in a decade and see what you would change then"; I'll lay odds even if you like it and can see its merits, you'll still see parts you would change. That's part of living: Changing.

EdK
05-17-2004, 09:48 PM
Well I'm jumping in late, but I joined the forum so I could discuss things with other artists. I paint as a hobby. I do not have occasion to meet with other artists, nor take classes. Essentially I paint in isolation. This forum allows me to observe other artists work, get some feedback on my work and to help feel like I belong to a community. I like this forum because I feel I can ask such questions. Where else can I do this?

By the way Lisa - you did not say how long it took you to do those wonderful paintings - LOL

Ed

Kathryn Wilson
05-17-2004, 10:18 PM
Lisa: Your paintings are wonderful - I hope we'll get to see more!

Ed: There's a lot of people on here that paint in isolation - I think that's a big part of WC's success - keeping in touch with the art world and discussions with fellow artists we would never had the chance to talk to before. Come join us in the Weekly Scumble and tell us about yourself -

You too Lisa!

Laura Shelley
05-17-2004, 10:18 PM
I've been asked the time-is-money question by only one person so far--my husband. :) He wants to know if I'm being adequately remunerated for how long I take on a portrait commission. This isn't totally out of line, since I have been a professional computer graphics artist for years, but I do have to explain a couple of things to him when he starts talking about hourly wages for "fine art".

One, I love to paint and will totally lose track of time in any case. Two, if I let something out of my hands before I considered it finished to the best of my ability, that would only reflect badly on my painting ability and on my dedication. Time flies away whether you are working or not, and you can't save up idle hours to use later. But a really good painting might outlive you.

Paula Ford
05-17-2004, 10:26 PM
Lisa,

So glad I stopped in to view this thread tonight because I got to view your beautiful paintings!!! They are all wonderful.

Paula

Lisa Olivarez
05-17-2004, 10:49 PM
Whew! People are still talking to me! I thought I'd be a pariah forever!
Thanks, guys. And I have no earthly idea how long these paintings took me!LOL :D

Kitty Wallis
05-18-2004, 01:52 AM
[QUOTE=Lisa Olivarez]
Wow.
I guess I stirred up a hornet's nest. -You did, well done!
I am sorry I irked you, Kitty. -I irked me. You asked an honest question.

After searching myself for the truthful answer to, "Why do you want to know?". I find it was born of a desire to be a painter like you.

-After searching myself to find why I reacted with anger, it's the result of not adequately answering that same question the last 3000 times it was asked me. Not facing the issues it raised in me.

LOL! You don't need an assumed name to join my class. Thanks for having the guts to come back and tell your story. I was thinking of you all day and was about to post a message to you on this thread asking you to please come back.

Kitty Wallis
05-18-2004, 01:55 AM
Whew! People are still talking to me! I thought I'd be a pariah forever!
Thanks, guys. And I have no earthly idea how long these paintings took me!LOL :D

LOL

Dyin
05-18-2004, 01:56 AM
well said, Kitty.

jackiesimmonds
05-18-2004, 02:38 AM
OF COURSE you aren't a pariah Lisa, no-one thought for one moment that there was any malice in your question.

As for the issue of you "rushing" your paintings, seems to me that this might come from a subconscious sense of needing to make up for lost time, since you spent years doing something other than painting.

It will take you a little time to find out who you are as a painter, and your own pace of work, which is not dictated by what I suspect is a deeply-rooted need to "catch up".

Can I recommend that you give yourself, say, six months to a year, to concentrate on each painting, to get what you want out of it, without worrying AT ALL about how long it takes. In that period, see if you produce anything "better" if you spend two or three days working on something, than if you finish it within a day, or even within 2/3 hours.

Incidentally,spending years homeschooling 4 kids is NOT possible to do alongside painting - one needs to devote oneself to painting. You cannot possibly "devote yourself to painting" if you have other priorities. No wonder you have struggled along, and it is a minor miracle that you have managed to produce paintings as nice as those you have shown us.

We mostly all want to paint like the masters. Nothing wrong with that. Good to be ambitious. Bad, however, to "check" yourself against anyone else, you are uniquely you, and comparisons are often really unhealthy and serve to do little more than to leave us feeling miserably inadequate.

Mikki Petersen
05-18-2004, 03:45 AM
Is this a great place to be or what!?! The difficulties get worked through and everyone comes out the other side of the discussion with new insight! That's a rare thing and it is wonderful!

Lisa, I hope you are encouraged to continue to ask the questions that your curiosity needs answered. Your paintings are lovely and, as a recent beginner myself, I appreciate your need to know what's "normal". I'm beginning to discover that what's "normal" for me is whatever works!

meowmeow
05-18-2004, 01:15 PM
I'm late here....do I still get to comment on the painting? :D Only kidding...I loved the painting, Kitty. The colors are so beautifully different from what you usually see in a sunset painting and it works wonderfully. Simple and elegant and says so much.

And I have loved reading all these responses to comments people make...it all makes me feel better. I never thought about how often people ask questions like that and how irritated it makes me feel....or why. I know one reason I get uptight when someone asks how long something took is that I don't always know. It is hard to figure the time involved. I mean do I count the time I ponder it and try to figure out what to do next with it? :D I think "All my life" is an excellent answer.
Well, the truth is most people probably do no mean to be offensive...they don't really know much about art or what is involved and they are probably genuinely curious...although I am sure some people have the calculators going in their head.

Sandy

Anita Orsini
05-18-2004, 01:52 PM
I've never seen it said quite like this, Kitty. Wonderful!
Anita :cool:

EdK
05-18-2004, 09:17 PM
Great discussion. Great ending. Chocolates for everyone.