Creating something of quality, beauty and substance requires planning, patience, thought and commitment
Any kind of creative or skilled process demands great attention to detail, passion and belief. When these three things are in place the results can be truly inspiring. For an artist this is no different. Much of the work that’s involved is done without you ever seeing it or knowing about it; painting can be a small piece of a large jigsaw – even if it is the most important by a mile.
To get more of an idea about what goes on, here are the processes I go through to get a concept from inception to delivery (and assume that I have already thought about the structure of the painting for weeks in advance):
Decide on what colours to use | Place an order for paint | Decide on the size of the piece; Order and collect stretcher bars (1-2hrs) | Buy a non-porous membrane sheet | Check application tools | Stock check thinning mediums | Buy staples | Drink coffee | Eat cake | Cut a piece of flat canvas to oversize | Charge iPod | Buy plastic tumblers | Fit new filters to breathing mask
Mix all the paints | Arrange all the tools | Have a slice of cake | Paint (hooray – at last!) | Move to drying area | Clean all tools | Put paints away | Re-Cycle leftover paint | Tidy and clean studio
Assemble the frame | Square off the frame | Position canvas in final position and check all sides | Stretch and staple (1-2 hrs for around 150 – 300 staples per piece) | Take photographs (up to 1hr) | Trim excess canvas from the inside of the frame | Sign and name the painting on the reverse | Final QC check for indentations, rippling or flaws and correct if required | Final check on stapling quality (usually with the help of a big hammer)
Download all photographs to PC | Sort through around 100 to find nine good ones | Crop and resize images and save for Web Optimization | Choose three room settings to place examples in | Optimize these images for Web too | Open site Content Management | Create new post | Insert images and create a thumbnail gallery | Place all ALT tags on images | Embed copyright watermarks | Insert titles, tags and SEO meta data | Write engaging and descriptive content | Decide on price | List all sizes and materials used | Program Shopping Cart with new information | Have a slice of cake | Choose a site category to list it in | Upload everything | Check everything
Update Sitemap | Create, print, sign and hologram the Certificate of Authenticity | Post to Facebook and Twitter and other networks | Create content for the mailing list | Test page for Caching Speed, readability (Flesch Scoring) and that everything works | Check stats after one week | Check for Google crawl and indexing point | Check and revise SEO meta-data after two weeks
I can easily go through fifty individual component processes to get just one painting onto my website. Painting the actual piece is a small part of a very large logistical system; all with the focus of creating the best quality art I possibly can. I haven’t included what happens when I take paintings on the road to visit clients. Then the whole process begins again with selecting, packing, loading, driving, hanging, wrapping, loading driving and unloading again – usually all in one day!
A little love and a lot of care will always translate into quality.
Effort will always equal reward. More of one brings more of the other. In the end, a complete and unique art ownership experience doesn’t come cheap, so next time you see an artists’ original work think to yourself what lies behind it and why they ask the money they do for it.
More often that not it will help you appreciate the art can be so much more than just a painting or a piece of sculpture – what you are really buying is a piece of someone’s life; always a difficult thing to place a value upon.