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View Full Version : How long did it take to complete your "personal best"?


nvcricket
01-06-2007, 01:38 PM
I'm curious how long it took everyone to complete thier "personal best" work of art in pastels. From conception to signature.

I was reading an article in PJ about Jane Lund. I find it amazing that she can spend months on one of her glorious pastels. The painting of her mothers hands is a good example of time well spent! By taking months, is this diligent daily work, or does she take a break, do something else and come back to it with a fresh spirit? I wonder how many total hours she spent, and how many months until it was completed.

My "personal best" took me about 6 total hours from conception (plein aire) thumbnails, sketch, pastel application, refinement at home, to signature. The six hours were over a period of 2 days. So my answer is 2 days.

How long did you spend on your "personal best" pastel?

Carol

Bringer
01-06-2007, 02:33 PM
Hi Carol,

Well, I've started my Harley months ago and still haven't finished it.
It's pretty much close to ending, but I haven't touched it for long time.
In terms of sheer (sp?) working hours, the Bowl of Red Currants took me the most time. I can't say how many hours exactly, but probably between 10 and 15. Probably.....I'm not sure - I don't worry how long a work takes. I just do it.
Some works come out great and are done fast and others come out bad and take time. My work Pop Does the Cork took me about 2 hours (if I remember correctly) and it came out good (so I think).

Kind regards,

Josť

P.S.

I didn't vote because I didn't agree with your options, since in my opinion you should put everything in hours. Or 2 to 7 days you mean 2x24 working hours to 7x24 working hours ? Because a work can take 7 days and only have 3 working hours.

nana b
01-06-2007, 02:57 PM
My best work is usually done faster than the ones that took longer because no1. I think I'm more inspired on the best ones
no2. I tend to overwork and ruin potentially good paintings

nana b

David Patterson
01-06-2007, 03:45 PM
With my new style, I try to work quick and loose, so mine never take more then 4 to 6 hours. Now the matting, spacers, and framing is a different story!:D

David

nvcricket
01-06-2007, 04:04 PM
Thanks for your reply Bringer. I wasn't clear in this poll!

This is for your personal best pastel painting. From conception to completion when the signature is applied, how long? (This includes the downtime you aren't actually working on it).

Sometimes, like Nana pointed out, a painting is just clicks, its totally inspired and can be completed in a short span of time.

Sometimes it may take a long time until you feel satisfied that is finished and you place your signature upon it.

I want this to be you personal favorite, or what you consider your best painting.

Carol

Jo Castillo
01-06-2007, 04:19 PM
I didn't vote, because not all my paintings are framed and some sit for a long time in between actual painting time. Also sometimes you just think about it for a considerable amount of time.

When I actually sit to paint, I want to finish in one or two sessions of a couple hours each for an 8 x 10 or so. Larger ones take three or four sessions. Plein air in just a couple of hours, four max. If I work too long on a painting I get bored and loose my enthusiasm.

So the more I like it the faster I get it done. My favorites are an afternoon each. :)

Jo

sundiver
01-06-2007, 04:41 PM
Difficult question to answer. Sometimes I start several paintings at once; get them drawn, underpainted etc. I find it more relaxing to work on whichever one I feel like doing at any given time (meaning after work and on weekends). Also with oil pastel, sometimes it needs a few days to "set" before you can layer on more colours.
The one I'm working on now I started last June! But I've done, and started, many paintings since. I have another on the go and two more underpainted.

Paula Ford
01-06-2007, 07:54 PM
I didn't vote, because not all my paintings are framed and some sit for a long time in between actual painting time. Also sometimes you just think about it for a considerable amount of time.

When I actually sit to paint, I want to finish in one or two sessions of a couple hours each for an 8 x 10 or so. Larger ones take three or four sessions. Plein air in just a couple of hours, four max. If I work too long on a painting I get bored and loose my enthusiasm.

So the more I like it the faster I get it done. My favorites are an afternoon each. :)

Jo

I'm the exact same way.

Paula

Bringer
01-06-2007, 08:10 PM
Hi again,

Ok, I'd say that the work that I think is better succeeded is my Bowl of Red Currants.
I didn't conceive it since it was taken from the RIL - ok...ok....I confess that I work more from photos. Shame on me ! - and I already said how long I took (10 to 15 hours).
I would say that nowadays a work done with care and relativey difficult, and not done exaustly, will take me about two weeks since I also work on other mediums.
I'll vote 2 weeks.

Kind regards,

Josť

nvcricket
01-06-2007, 10:19 PM
Thank you Jose!!!!! Applause, Applause, Applause. Standing Ovation!!!!:clap:

Paula:wave: and Jo:wave: , since you came in and put in your two cents, you gotta pay with a vote!!!

I know you have at least one painting completed with a signature. Think of your most favorite, most special, personal best.

If you don't have a favorite, that's ok, you don't have to vote.

But there just has to be that one special pastel that means more to you than any of the others. Perhaps it was your first, perhaps it was one you painted from a special memory. Perhaps it was a special subject or painted for a special person.

How long did you spend with this special painting before you stuck your signature on it and said....Now I'm finished, and this is my best! :heart: ???

Carol

chinchilla
01-06-2007, 10:53 PM
i don't think anyone cares how long it took me to do my favorite piece. i will say it did take me about 3 days (8hours a day) :)

Jo Castillo
01-06-2007, 11:23 PM
I told you I like to work fast. Probably one of my plein air works, City of Rocks is my best. Two hours. So I voted for that. Most probably take a week. Some I couldn't like sat 6 months or were never finished. Ha.

Later,
Jo

Paula Ford
01-07-2007, 12:37 AM
Ok. The painting in my signature line is one of my most favorite paintings. It really painted itself and only took about 2 hours.

I like a painting to take between 2 and 4 hours, after that I get frustrated and tend to overwork and over analyze. Therefore I voted 3 - 8 hours.

Paula

Deborah Secor
01-08-2007, 01:45 PM
I've painted for some 25 years now. In that time I'd say there are three paintings that I consider to have been my best. My personal favorite of those three was done in about an hour, start to finish, because it was the beginning of something entirely new for me. I set up my 18x24" Wallis paper and just wildly began dashing colors in place to see what would come of it. The result pleased me and the painting ended up getting some big awards, to boot. Nice to have judges agree. It ended up in The Artist's Magazine competition, too.

By the way, the classic answer to 'how long did it take you to do this painting?' is "ALL MY LIFE!" As flippant as that sounds, the answer is pretty accurate. My one-hour painting was the result of hours and hours and hours and hours of loving study, classes, painting, workshops, painting, reading, painting, looking, painting, painting and painting. It came after about 20 years of study. I suspect that any one of us at any time will have that 'one' painting, but now that I can look back as far as I do (gulp!) there sure aren't many that made it to that mythic status of 'best'. I guess it comes down to the idea that you can train even a rat with a certain amount of positive reinforcement. My real successes are very few and far between but I have to say that they make it worth the journey. I guess I'm trainable, if nothing else. :D

Deborah

johndill01
01-08-2007, 02:48 PM
My real successes are very few and far between but I have to say that they make it worth the journey. I guess I'm trainable, if nothing else.

I think that this is what each of us hope and work for. My two personal best, one took less than 45 minutes and the other took more than 3 weeks of daily painting before I was happy with it.

John

Jo Castillo
01-09-2007, 12:49 AM
Deborah, Ain't that the truth! I usually say, "Fifty years and two days." I'm a little leary of telling strangers, "Fifty years and two hours". LOL
Jo

artistxposed
01-09-2007, 01:23 AM
Hi Carol, I have to agree with Wendy.
I have always had several pieces of art in the making at the same time.
I will always have to have a room that I don't have to put anything away at the end of my creative session.
A picture will change if you do not look at it for awhile.
you just may decide it does not need very much more work.
artistexposed

Christopher

scall0way
01-09-2007, 10:20 PM
By the way, the classic answer to 'how long did it take you to do this painting?' is "ALL MY LIFE!" As flippant as that sounds, the answer is pretty accurate. My one-hour painting was the result of hours and hours and hours and hours of loving study, classes, painting, workshops, painting, reading, painting, looking, painting, painting and painting. It came after about 20 years of study.

You sound like Alex, my art teacher. I remember him saying that the very first painting he got accepted at the PSA show in New York took him 40 minutes to paint, but 20 years learning how to paint it.

Which means I still have a long way to go since I've only been painting for two! :eek: But I confess I voted for 1-2 hours. I have a few painting I may have spent longer on, but very few. Two hours seems to be my outside limit of what I can stand to spend on one painting. :)

fortysomething
01-10-2007, 07:01 AM
Okay, I voted for 3-8 hours. This is for a pastel on 12" x 9" paper. I'm not a lifelong artist, and it's my sincerest hope that I haven't already done my personal best. ;)

Donna A
05-06-2008, 10:26 PM
Hi, Carol. Goodness---some of my "best-est" or most favorites include pieces that 'just fell into place in moments' and others that I kept working over time. And some are what many would consider really large (40"+ the long direction) and a few are really small (like 8x10") tho most are around 18x26". So---I dunno! I guess, tho, that so many of these have often been pretty fast. There are three among demos I've done on 28x40, " each in about 1.25 hours---that I LOVE! One that is maybe 10" square-ish that won a top major national award, as small as it was among all the others---and it was moments that flowed---and others that I worked for several days to hone in the mid-size. So---???? Lovely when it just falls onto the painting surface NOW, but can also be very delicious and satisfying to nurture and nurture a piece that is flowing along over several days. The very large piece I'm working on now (with an 8-week delay for the killer flu) began two or three weeks before the horrid flu hit so hard. Making a lot of subtle changes---and some that were pretty massive---but to glance at, most people would think there had been no changes. But there are so many wonderful subtle qualities to be played with with this piece. It just seems to DEPEND! :rolleyes:

I do find it generally much easier for me to paint a really large or medium piece than a very small piece. If I'm demoing, I work large! For our MAPS Small Painting Shows annually, (argh) I make myself work small (8x10" limit!) :) I have friends who work far more easily in a very small format---and can hardly do medium or large pieces.

I have noticed that with some artists, they get concerned that if a painting happened toooo fast (as it seems to them) they think it can't be any good.

One of the artists who studies with me does such remarkably gorgeous pastels---and he works slowly. Weeks. Gorgeous! Some work quickly! And some---many---most, probably---do some fast ones and some slower ones.

Just so everyone knows that there can be a lot of variety for any one of us human beings. Machines---probably about the same time per square inch! :D :rolleyes:

But an interesting question. Has been interesting to ponder! And interesting to read others' responses! Thanks! Donna ;-}

nvcricket
05-07-2008, 02:44 AM
Thanks for chiming in on this one Donna.

Since I started this thread a long time ago, I have found that if I want to be very detailed it will take me days to get results I am happy with, when I paint looser, the paintings just flow and don't absorb as much time. I struggle often with trying to conceptualize the painting and tend to get overly concerned with values/comp/temp...I find myself way off the mark and the spontaneity of the painting is lost. I end up throwing in the towel and burying the piece in my storage portfolio.

To bring up my thought when I started this,, is how incredible Jane Lunds art works are. I don't understand how she can spend months with her painting. She works the paintings inch by inch and must have some sort of grand scheme in mind that she is following. I so wish I had the experience and talent to know how to select each color, each specific type pastel, each type of stroke to create an image that transfers from my brain to the paper - - -and remain intact.:lol:

This forum is awesome. I feel like I am still learning to play Chopsticks with Mozart as my music teacher.

ps...Deborah great answer!!!:thumbsup:

Carol

Donna A
05-07-2008, 03:14 AM
Thanks for chiming in on this one Donna.

Since I started this thread a long time ago, I have found that if I want to be very detailed it will take me days to get results I am happy with, when I paint looser, the paintings just flow and don't absorb as much time. I struggle often with trying to conceptualize the painting and tend to get overly concerned with values/comp/temp...I find myself way off the mark and the spontaneity of the painting is lost. I end up throwing in the towel and burying the piece in my storage portfolio.

To bring up my thought when I started this,, is how incredible Jane Lunds art works are. I don't understand how she can spend months with her painting. She works the paintings inch by inch and must have some sort of grand scheme in mind that she is following. I so wish I had the experience and talent to know how to select each color, each specific type pastel, each type of stroke to create an image that transfers from my brain to the paper - - -and remain intact.:lol:

This forum is awesome. I feel like I am still learning to play Chopsticks with Mozart as my music teacher.

ps...Deborah great answer!!!:thumbsup:

Carol
Hi, Carol! One of the 'mantras' here around Aldridge Studios is "Relate-Relate-Relate!!!" I do spend some time LOOKING at my subject before I begin painting (usually!) There are times when that is impossible, but over the years, I've learned to look for my contrasts and unities, the dynamic energies (or movements), get a sense of the color scheme/relationships and so on. I do have a reputation for painting fast---and as I tell folks---It's cuz I don't start painting quite as soon as others (those times when I'm doing demos along side of others, for example.)

I've believed for years that knowing how to SEE is such a crucial issue for artists. I can understand some of the frustration you are feeling. The other thing is---the more we can "internalize" or "feel" the sense of the subject and the sense that we have about it---the far, far easier it will be 'just know" which stick we want to pick up and how our body wants to move laying on the stroke. Trust yourself maybe a bit more to (what it feels like for some is to simply) loose yourself into the energy of the subject and how you FEEL about it----once you have taken the time to really LOOK and soak it all in and focus in to yourself about what you are really being excited about by the subject.

When artists are rather 'standing at arms' length" just mechanically looking at their subject, they will so often be disengaged and distant---and looking at the subject as only Objects, rather than as Shapes of Colors. Objects is a Left Hemisphered response to the subject. Shapes of Colors is the Right Hemi response---and also the Intuitive response. Intuitive is where we need to be to paint! Left Hemi is a great place to be when we are balancing our checkbook! :-)

Concept is such an important thing to resolve before we paint, I think. Concept and then Composition and then our Color! It's soooo much easier to have fun, to have joy when we paint with those things considered (well---played with, is how I look at it! Yum!!!! Just love that part as much as I love the actual painting!)

Yes---this forum is sooo awesome! Love it! Take good care! Happy, joyful painting! Donna ;-}

Colorix
05-07-2008, 04:27 AM
Depends a bit on skill-level. I've not painted my best painting yet!... :-)

Am speeding up, as I learn more and get more experience. So by now it takes me about 8 hours, if I include photographing, sketching, thumbnails, etc.

One of my favourites was done in 2 hours, but it is a small sketch, not a fully developed large painting. And my least favourite was repainted and took 'forever', and I'm still not happy with it.

But I guess an average is 4-6 hours. And every painting I work on is my current favourite, until two days later, when I've started the new favo!

Donna T
05-07-2008, 08:18 AM
Great question, Carol and I have enjoyed reading everyone's answers. I haven't voted yet because I have no idea what I even want my best to look like. If I felt I had a style that would help but I've spent hours on detailed paintings only to declare that they are boring and overworked when I finish. Some of my plein airs are done very quickly but they teeter on the border between "fresh" and "messy." Not happy with them entirely either. So, I guess I'm still searching for what my best could be.

Donna

Trilby
05-08-2008, 01:19 PM
I voted for 2-7 days. the painting itself took 15 hrs, the time photographing, composing, feeling, the drive there, the walking around, the developing the skills, well that took months and years.

I'm always a bit disturbed by the question of "how long did it take you" For me it took the time the painting demanded, some want to be painted quickly and with energy, others want time to savor and mold. Western culture seems very focused on speed, more than the journey itself. I paint with a woman whose works sell for thousands. she works in oils. She paints and repaints and repaints some more. We ask her how she knows when it's done. Her answer is when it tells me. My answer is when I think the journey has taken me as far as I want to go and I'm ready for a new journey.
TJ

Wrichards
05-08-2008, 03:40 PM
hard to answer as Im always chasing the elusive "best" :)

To honestly answer, Im advancing with every work and hopeing that trend will continue as long as Im able to produce :thumbsup:

qpdoll
05-08-2008, 09:29 PM
I really never time myself (except when I've done one for WDE for fun). .... I don't think I would enjoy painting if I felt it had to be timed.

bluefish
05-09-2008, 04:58 PM
I'll let you all know when I complete " my best"!!!!!!!!

Have done them in very short periods of time and extended periods of time but I'm still waiting for "my best"!

'bluefish':wave:

nvcricket
05-09-2008, 11:35 PM
Wow, These are some awesome reflections! Great answers from all!

Trilby-well stated! You are getting as good with the written word as you are with your art.

Richard - don't you have one painting that is more meaningful to you than the others. The subject really hit a sweet spot? It may not be your "best" but a personal favorite. Mine was the first one I did- no experience, no thoughts or knowledge about temperature, value.... but it is packed with my emotions. No one else would consider it my best, but it has the most meaning to me.

Blue - PLEASE post it when you discover you have painted your "BEST"...promise?

Carol

BabyBeeb
06-05-2008, 12:58 PM
In art history class, I learned that Notre' Dame in Paris took many centuries of work to complete, giving it the look of a disjuncted period architecture. Or was it another famous building? (So much for my art history retention!) And, it takes a Doctor several years of training to become a Doctor. So if one were to paint and out comes a masterpiece, I'd have to vote on the alloted time to complete. For me, with a young family I get many interruptions before I can finish a piece. My personal best took about 2-3 weeks, but my most successful piece took 2 days! This is a hard question! Ugh! I like Deborah's answer too!

Scottyarthur
06-09-2008, 09:06 AM
Well it seems to me that when I create my work that the less I think about what I am doing, and Just do it, with how I am going to it they just seem to happen right. when I think to long I tend to over work it and well they just don't seem to be as good. One of my best was a quick study took about 20 min. of course it was small 6"x7"

Susan Jenkins
07-08-2008, 10:31 AM
Hmmm.... I tend to find that I like my work more that is quick and loose. That doesn't mean that I get it done quickly though. It sort of depends on how many times I hear... " MOM!!!" or "Honey... could you help me with this!?". Life is part of the art though and I wouldn't change a thing. I think my best paintings take a week or more to finish, but if you could boil it down to time alone on the painting it would be 4 to 6 hrs.
:) susan

annette71
12-28-2008, 02:36 AM
Hi there,
My personal best, which is a portrait of my deceased grandfather, took 3 months to complete, but i did not work on it for long periods of time...i was letting it "marinate" between sessions...hahaha :)
So i would have to say that it took perhaps two full days to complete (if i had worked continuously). I'm not a portrait artist so it was a real effort for me...
Surprisingly...i think of it as my best work yet.
For other subjects, i normally finish a pastel in an average 5 hours unless it is much bigger than 16x20.

Regards,

Annette

nvcricket
12-28-2008, 10:58 AM
Hi Annette!

I just had to reply. What a rich word...marinate ....:lol:when applied to painting. So true. I have one on the easle right now marinating!
I'm sure your portrait of your grandfather is a great tribute to him.

Carol