How Long Does It Take?

"How long does it take you to do a painting?" It's a question I often get asked, yet the answer, as it pertains to the development of an individual canvas, hardly seems sufficient.

I remember a pastel class I took, not too long ago, where the instructor was asked that very question. Without hesitating, he explained, "57 years." Evidently, he was referring to his age. The answer confounded the class, seeming to avert the question in favor of creative secrecy. Recently, I saw a film on Mark Rothko (Simon Schama's- The Power Of Art, Disc 3, I believe) where the artist gave the same answer.

While reflecting on the growth of my own technical abilities in recent years, I realize the explanation is actually quite thoughtful and authentic. The works I produce today are the sum-total of my very existence; it has taken me all my life to learn how to 'see' the world; how to communicate with it. That progression continues constantly, whether or not I choose to work on any given day. Every comprehensive moment shapes what and how I paint. Therefore, my work is the collective insight of my life experience.