How much time do you spend on creating?

by martin davis artist

I was sat in the studio again the other day, in a bit of a daydream as I’m want to do. I was deep in thought as usual about 1. a piece of art I already had on the go, 2. another piece I was trying to start *, and 3. where all this was taking me artistically and in what direction I was trying to travel. Well so far so what you might think – and well you might – but an obvious thought struck me with more than usual force about my time actually spent in the physical creative process.

No doubt many of you will at some point in time have had the same idea, and in fact so have I. I don’t know why on this occasion I was so taken aback just because of a sudden realisation how much creative time is devoted to thinking rather than(in my case) painting. I can tell you it’s huge! and I don’t mean time spent wondering what to paint. Oh no! choosing your next subject, as difficult as that sometimes is, pales into insignificance when you stand it up against the time spent considering and reconsidering, sometimes, every brushstroke once you have started. My record time for not finishing a painting is 15 years but I had the excuse at that time of just having become a father for the first time – and, well you know the rest. I just never seemed to recover my mojo after that – not until the kids had grown up somewhat.

Do people actually realise what they are buying when they purchase a piece of original art? I don’t care who the artist is, or how prolific they are, to some extent the same thing will apply…..that they are actually purchasing a substantial portion of someone’s lifetime, considering the next brushstroke. Hell yes (to use a current term) so the art is expensive and so it should be when you consider it like that!

I often find myself explaining that in terms of pricing I will never be able to sell a piece of work for the kind of sum that would even begin to pay me back for what I have put into it in the first place. So I am resigned to my art never being a viable proposition in real terms.

How many other artists out there toil away under the same certainty of ultimate loss-making? Most I would venture to guess.

So I arrive at the usual position I am in when I consider all this – why do I do it then? Well I will tell you why. It’s because I love doing it that’s why. That’s it! nothing else comes close to the overwhelming feeling I get when I am painting . An intoxicating mixture of excitement, calm and fear – fear that I may never achieve what I want to get onto canvas, excitement that I am getting there and calm that whilst all this is happening I am in some kind of nirvana and so relaxed and away from the world.

Just a thought! not especially original but one I find myself musing over again and again when I am doing what I love doing so much.