June 10, 2011 - How Long Did That Take You?

Happiness lies in being privileged to work hard for long hours in doing whatever you think is worth doing.
- Robert A. Heinlein

For artists, it's a standing joke, a tongue-in-cheek, a roll-of-the-eyes and a pain-in-the-other-anatomy question:  "How long did that painting take you?"

Some artists answer, "A lifetime."

Some artists answer, "A lifetime," with additional flair. (See, e.g., blog entries and commentary by Martha Marshall, El Prado Gallery, and Elizabeth Berrien.)

Some artists - perhaps those more tolerant of a prospective client wondering what bang he is getting for his buck - answer in terms of days or hours.

My answer: ""How long did that take me? Probably way too long."

Today's Open Studio was sparsely populated, because most of the artists were preparing for the upcoming ASLD Summer Art Market.

Those of us who are not spending the weekend fielding interesting questions - see supra - were comparing notes on our home studios.

I confessed that my studio is the dining room table, and that I work an hour each morning.

"An hour each morning?" a colleague asked with raised eyebrow, just to be sure she'd gotten it right.

"Well . . . uh, yes . . . see, that's all I can really guarantee before the spouse, dog, and toddler wake up."

"An hour."

"But it's a good hour," I backpaddled. "I set up the night before, and then I get right to work after walking the dog in the morning, and by the time everybody wakes up, maybe I get something done."

So right now, yes, if I tell you a painting took me 18 days, it probably did. Let's see, at minimum wage, that's . . . 8 hours per day . . .hmmm . . . times 18 days . . . well, feel free to email me.  We can deal.

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