Sunday, January 27, 2008

All good things take time

A painting takes as long as it takes. When I used to talk to people in my gallery, one of the questions often asked was "how long did it take you to paint this?" I think there was an assumption that price should have something to do with hours spent. Or perhaps they wondered if I was one of those painters who could crank out a painting in an hour and a half. If the truth must be told, I am not a fast painter. It is one of the reasons I work in oil paint. Oil paint dries slowly. I guess I need every one of those extra drying moments (or days) to think about the painting, change my mind, scrape parts off, rework, and basically agonize. Oh, there are those magical paintings that seem to just appear, without all of the agony. Certainly there are those. But you know they only happen every now and then. Those paintings are the reason I keep painting, despite the other agonized ones.

I have been trying to hurry these new paintings along. Hurry, hurry, hurry, and be finished already! So that you can dry, I can put a wire on you, sign you, and take you off to be sold. Especially since I am feeling that darn money crunch. Darnit. The sooner I get you out there into the world, the sooner someone will fall in love with you, and the sooner I will have the money I just spent on more paint. But you know it just isn't working!!! You can't hurry a painting, any more than you can hurry love or a nice red wine. It takes as long as it takes.

What I noticed today is that a few of the paintings I thought were finished were not finished. What I also noticed was that the ones I forced myself NOT to rush were working out better. This is not a new lesson, just one that I had apparently chosen to forget. Maybe if I write this down I will remember it next time so that I don't have to go through such confusion about why the paintings don't just perfect themselves on the first go-around.

Case in point: the painting I posted on "The Moody Moon". Remember that one? Here it is again, in case you forgot, or if you want to just see it. Well, I was looking at it and looking at it, and suddenly I decided it was just too darn dark. Moody, yes, that too. That painting got put back on the easel, and now it looks like this. Much different in some ways. Not so moody. (The colors don't look as different from the original as they do here, and I am thinking it is because it was dark when I took the photo of the second stage, so I used a light. I think the light changed the color. The blue is still more of a green blue than it appears.)

I also repainted the one from "Wildflowers in January". It is also much different, and I think it may have one reworking left before I can stamp it finished. Why doesn't it hurry?!?? Wait, haven't we been through this already?

In other news, it rained on and off all night last night, and Pono and I had a pretty wet walk this morning. It is wonderful to see and feel rain in the desert. Just wonderful. I could do without the accompanying wind, but I am not going to complain. Too much.


kate said...

I think you are wise not to hurry the process, although I imagine it is more than tempting sometimes. The difference in these paintings is striking - I thought they were lovely before, but now I think, wow, they really catch me now.

I guess there is much wisdom in the saying, take time to smell the flowers ... or, in your case, take the time to paint until you are satisfied.

Pono must have been trilled to have some rain ... the more splashing, the better!!

lee said...

I agree with Kate, I loved the painting, and thought they were perfect. But now I love them even more, they are lighter feeling if that makes any sense.

Abby Creek Art said...

Well I LOVE moody paintings...but I also like how you re-worked it. I do that quite a bit myself...and often times paint over the whole dang thing!

It's windy here too...what's the deal? I never thought Colorado would be such a blower!

Melissa & Emmitt said...

Hi Karine!
thank you for verbalizing that lesson so well! i was nodding my head and smiling while i read every word. you have helped me to remember this too. thank you so much. I love how you reworked your paintings. to change something you really liked or thought was complete to reveal something even more beautiful is so brave and inspiring. i love that!