Friday, October 5, 2012

News From Studio A

One of the most frequently asked questions of artists is the one that goes, “How long did it take you to make that?” It is a legitimate question for someone who has never made a painting, or composed a song, or created a sculpture. That person’s frame of reference tends to be elsewhere. They know how long it takes, for instance, to bake brownies or build a deck, so making art must likewise be given a definite number of hours or days.

The correct answer ought to be, “It takes long enough,” for in reality, artists must deal with the kinds of restraints that cannot be measured in time. We say we don’t have time right now; the yard needs mowing, clothes need washing or bills need to be paid. The real culprit is not a lack of time, but a lack of confidence.

There are no how-to-books or instructions that I know of for creating an original vision. The artist must learn again and again to plumb the depths of their experience for that single spark. Confidence is essential and some days we simply don’t have enough. Those are the days we tell ourselves we don’t have enough time. We need to grocery shop. We need to take the cat to the vet.

How long did it take me to make that art? It took a lifetime.

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