How long do they take?


The question I probably get asked more than any other by people who are viewing my work is "how long does it take you to do one of those?"

They usually wish they hadn't asked. That's because the question is not quite as straightforward as it seems and neither therefore is my answer. The time investment varies hugely from painting to painting and it's not just about putting pastel on paper; there are lots of other things that go into a finished piece.

I'll usually start by explaining that pastel is a relatively quick medium, which is one of the main reasons I love it. Tape down your surface, select a pastel and away you go. There's no mixing of colours beforehand or stopping to let things dry like you have to with oils or watercolours.

So, from blank canvas to finished painting we are dealing in units of hours for pastels rather than days or even weeks for an oil painting.

Generally speaking, this means I can usually set out with the intention of starting and completing a painting in a single sitting (excepting the odd meal or coffee break). In fact, if I don't think I've got enough time for an interrupted sitting, I probably won't start the painting at all. I prefer not to leave a painting unfinished overnight, although sometimes this can be helpful when I'm struggling. A new day can often bring a fresh perspective to the challenge.

However, intention and reality can often be very different.

Take this work that I posted on my social media last week:

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