Perhaps if you’re an artist like me you’ve been asked this question before, “How long did it take you to do that? I have this debate, specially if I do a painting demonstration that takes me 15-20 minutes. I don’t want to give the wrong impression that it’s that easy. For any demonstration I do, I practice before hand just like an olympian. An olympian has one opportunity to compete and prove to the entire world his skills and ability that took a lifetime to achieve!
Consider these facts:
- The long hours in the gym, early wake up in the track, sometimes more than once a day.
- The mental, emotional and physical demands training in a special location. I think of Gabby Douglas, who trained far away from her family and almost quit because she was homesick.
- Perhaps studying long hours and new techniques to improve your skills.
- The physical injuries, such as Abby Wambach, a local athlete, punched in the face, ouch!
- The financial burden for training and education expenses, the toll it takes on the entire family.
- The sweat, tears and frustrating moments when you lose and you’re representing your country.
As an artist we have parallel lives to an olympian;
- Long lonely hours in the studio; sometimes seven days a week for 10 hours or more a day.
- The cost of materials, studio cost, books, magazines, DVD’s, competition fees, club dues, framing, workshops and classes just to mention a few.
- The mental stress of putting all the components together of composition, value, design and color before painting like a complicated puzzle before even laying down a stroke of paint.
- The exposure to chemicals that possibly in the long run may affect our health.
- The financial and physical amount of paper, canvas, brushes and paint that I have used over the years to create what I consider one good painting in 15 minutes!
I feel for those competing and feeling defeated, the italian volleyball player crying or the gymnast with a low score and her eyes are swelling, they break my heart. Like an olympian we challenge ourselves everyday to get better at what we do. We treat each day as a gift to create something that we envision with our hands just because it’s our passion, we fall, dust ourselves off and start again…and again. An olympians ultimate reward is a gold medal, to me it was one day when a gentleman came in my booth at the end of long hot weekend at an art festival. He was on a bike and sweaty, he decided to buy an original triptych set. I asked him if he was buying for a special area or room. He replied, “No, I’m buying it because I love art!” It was like I won the gold medal and I was standing on a podium!
Next time you watch an artist paint, please don’t ask “How long did it take you to paint that?”. Think of the olympics and “Go for the gold”!