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Harry Seymour Art Blog

How long did it take to paint that?

by hseymour , January 11, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: African American, Ferry boats, Harry Seymour, Martha's Vineyard, beach

About 30 years, is a reply I once heard from an artist, suggesting years of experience and by implication, talent has more to do with the quality of a painting than how much time expended on it. Despite the logic of this point of view, those who ask this question really want to know the number of hours or days involved in a particular painting. I__™m often asked this about ___Departure___ "a highly detailed scratchart etching depicting the loading of cars and passengers onto a ferry about to depart from Vineyard Haven on Martha™s Vineyard. Well, it took hundreds of hours -extended by eye strain and constant cramping of fingers when using straight pins to produce tens of thousands of scratches. Given this effort I am loathe to dismiss time and effort as irrelevant, but do accede to the maxim -it is not how hard one works but how well that counts. And so it is with art.




  Caroline Henry ( homepage )

01/12/2010 * 16:26:25

I think we vest time in our art in both ways: The immediate hours of work, and the long haul of learning and practice. It does make it hard to answer the question, "How long did that take you?" Add to that the brain in art mode is not much of a time keeper. The cramped fingers are though, and they let you know it on this work! I suppose the person who could best answer that question is the disciplined artist who keeps regular studio hours, works on paintings successively rather than simultaneously, and keeps notes on when he starts and finishes a work.

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