As Christmas draws closer, I am racing to finish some work before a few days of non-painting causes my oils to dry. I remember my student days, when time was a distant concern and I could devote all my waking hours to my paintings. A false sense of time stretched out indefinitely. As I tweaked some paintings yesterday, I debated whether a lack of time seriously damages or invalidates one's work. For most artists, 5 days a week in a studio is a goal yet to be attained, so painting is slotted between daily duties. I know artists who work full-time and paint at night, or spend all their weekends painting. I would dearly love the chance to paint full-time, as I believe that it promotes a flow and rhythm I can't have when I work in irregular hours, snatched here and there. (Though I probably have more time to paint than friends who have children.)
But all the part-time artists I know haven't suffered any loss of integrity or substance in their work. So it made me wonder if perhaps a lack of time can force you to focus very intensely and make some deeply considered and quite definite decisions. I wondered if perhaps it could be turned to an advantage? Most artists are painting even when the brush is not in their hand, and it's possible to sit in front of my canvas and find that the stored hours of visual adjustments and possibilities, played with internally during daily routines, suddenly flood into the painting. Many a painting has been finished in the final half hour, when pressure forced unexpected resolutions.
('Terrain.' Oil and acrylic on board, 31cm x 61cm)