Time, no matter what you do for a living, time seems to always jump into the conversation. For painters it’s a question that comes up often. How long did it take you to paint that? It seems like a reasonable question and in all likelihood just a matter of curiosity. But it’s not that simple. And artists tend to feel as though you’re asking how much do you get paid per hour.
Tracking the amount of the time it takes to create a painting, starts well before the paint ever hits the canvas. Painting plein air (outside) or in the studio has to start with a subject. When I decided to start my series on the White Mountains I wanted to capture them in different seasons for the variety of color. I also wanted to include at least one painting of Mount Washington, more if possible. That’s easier said than done because it is covered by clouds more often than not.
It’s a three hour drive so I often checked the weather and the web cam’s of the area before beginning the trip. Even with all my preparations, after multiple trips I still was unable to see the peak of Mt. Washington so I would paint or take pictures of other scenes. Finally, staying up there for a weekend, the clear blue sky showed off Mt. Washington’s snowy peak in all it’s glory. I completed several paintings that weekend and then I worked on a larger version of one in the studio. I also worked from photographs of previous trips to continue the series.
So how long did it take to paint the studio version? When did the clock start ticking?