The most frustrating question I get asked as an artist is, “How long did it take you to paint that?” It’s a frustrating question, obviously asked by those with little artistic ability, and has no good answer. For the observer, it is an honest and easy question to ask, how else are they to gauge the monetary value of what they are looking at. But for the artist, it is not as easy to answer.
On one hand, there are all of the years leading up to the point of creating the painting. I have worked on some paintings for hours and hours, ending up with a mediocre creation (in my opinion) while every so often I end up with a masterpiece in a matter of a few short hours. Does that make that painting any less valuable because it didn’t take as long to paint? I think not.
It took George Gershwin three days to compose Rhapsody in Blue, one of the greatest compositions written by an American composer. Does that make Rhapsody in Blue any less significant because it only took three days to write it, or is it all the greater for it?
Should my work be valued by the hour instead of content or experience? If so, this New York artist would do better painting houses for a living.
I think the next time I am asked, “How long did it take you to paint that?” I will answer, “It has taken me a lifetime.”