Emotional Struggles · Galleries · Historic Sites · Northern Neck Artisan Trail · oil painting · Productivity · Step-by-step

Fast or Slow: It’s Relative

I visited my local Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago and ran into a number of folks who follow me on this blog, on Facebook, or Instagram and have been excited to see the Colonial Williamsburg Series continuing. I was gifted with a lot of positive feedback but one comment was repeated by a number of people and it got me thinking (maybe even worrying a little bit for some reason).

The comment was basically: “It’s amazing how quickly you get those paintings finished!” I explained that I am basically working on a painting for several hours a day, six days a week (most weeks) and averaging one 20×16″ painting every two weeks or so. It just “seems” like the paintings are getting done quickly because I have a set out with a plan and a system. Given a deadline and the tremendous opportunity to participate in a two-artist show at this stage of my career, I’m extremely motivated to get the project completed in a timely and organized fashion.

But some how, the comments (while I’m sure, well intended) sort of worried me because at least in the U.S. time is money and the less physical time invested in something for some reason, our society often places less value on it. And honestly, I don’t feel like I’m giving these paintings less then their due time.

I was also sort of saddened when asked by a couple of folks about my pricing and they recoiled in horror! I assured them, that my paintings were actually priced very low and I normally raise my prices 10 percent annually in January. I’ve bumped up against this a couple of times even at the Gallery in Kilmarnock, but most of my artist friends assure me and help me stay the course. Some of my artist friends, in fact, tell me my prices are still too low!

So, all that said, I’ve been working on my next Colonial Williamsburg piece and here are a few shots of this painting in progress. I expect to finish it in two to four more sessions. There is a load of detail to add to this, but I’m happy with it so far.

This one started off a little differently. I decided to use a green/grey/blue stain instead of my usual burnt sienna. I transfer images in two ways: sometimes I use a grid and draw with pastel pencil onto the painting surface or, if it’s very complex with loads of detail as in this case, I will get the image the way I want it on tracing paper, then use pastel on the back then transfer the image onto the painting surface by tracing it with a ball point pen. Time wise (for the curious), a day to stretch the canvas and get it stained; two days to get the drawing right on the tracing paper; two days to transfer it to the painting surface (there is a point after a couple of hours my back and eyes just have to stop).

I spend the next two days getting the values blocked in. Then, in this case, I spent a day on the blue jacket, another day on revisiting the background to make some corrections and doing the skirt. Then I spent a day on all the flesh. This was a long day as in my method of painting, wet into wet, I could not go back the next day to make a lot of changes as the paint mixtures might be too hard to replicate.

One thought on “Fast or Slow: It’s Relative

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