"My Whole Life"

Everytime I’m asked the question “How long did it take you to do this drawing?” I get tongue tied. The natural response is to give the literal timing it took to make a particular piece, but I feel like I’m not being fully honest. There’s more to be said than “five hours” or “30 minutes”. The time it took to be able to make XYZ in five hours is massive.

But I can see the curiosity behind this question. It makes sense!

Kandinsky in his studio.

Kandinsky in his studio.

When I respond, I find myself wondering what my specific answer of timing is saying and second guess myself. I’m wondering how the other person is reading between the lines and what conclusions they’re making by my response. Does five hours sound good? Does five hours seem too quick? Does my answer match up with my pricing? I get self-conscious and too focused on how my answer is being received instead of taking another approach…

The most true and honest response is “my whole life”. It took my whole life to draw that 8x10 portrait of a giraffe. It took my whole life to draw that tiny sketch in the corner of my sketchbook. It took my whole life to put that massive humpback whale on paper.

It’s the hours upon hours of drawing, painting, experimenting, sketching, seeking inspiration, etc that have lead me to today.

Calder in his studio. Original Image Tumblr.

Calder in his studio. Original Image Tumblr.

What a relief it is to know this! It feels like a piece of the puzzle has been added that I couldn’t find for a while. It gives me clarity on where I’m at with my work and how to best respond. It gives me a story to tell instead of a quick answer to spout out.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent Van Gogh