"How long does it take you to paint one of the bigger paintings? " "Did you do all of those dots?"... followed closely by "You must be incredibly patient."
The short responses to those are "60-80 painting hours", "yes" and "ah... not as patient as you might think if you heard me fussing about other drivers on the road".
But let me explain a little...
Yes, I do all of those tiny dots on those large 3'x4' canvases. But I'm a tad sneaky about it. To speed up the process, I actually start with a #6 bright (a squared off brush about the size of a fingernail) to block in the main color. After a couple of quick layers of larger dots, I switch to another straight edge brush about half that size. I use a couple of layers of these to blend the colors more. Then, at about 1/3 of the way through, I'll switch to a tiny #2 hobby brush. I might use this brush for another 4-6 layers of fine tuning the color and then getting in the major highlights and darks. 3'x4' paintings that used to take 80 painting hours are now taking closer to 60 as a result.
So why are all of those dots not making me totally insane? Sometimes it's just music, audio books or podcasts. But mostly, I'm in the zone. Color fascinates me. I love seeing how a color that looks like a lovely pink on the palette can be lavender next to a blue. That same color next to a cool yellow can become yet a warmer pink than what I have on the palette. The colors are what they are based only on what they are next to, not what I mixed them to be. It's like a a crazy puzzle that draws me in.
Then there's that point when I'm no longer referencing the photo I started with and am just reacting to all of the colors and compositional elements of the painting. How can I bring this forward? Push this back? Get more of this color? Make this stand out more? Get the color blends to practically vibrate visually? I'm so focused on all of these different elements that I don't even notice the passage of time. (Thankfully, the iPhone has this lovely alarm feature that keeps me from forgetting to pick up the kids from school! Deep breath... and queue the fussing at other drivers part of my day.)
So, yeah. I'm not really so patient. My kids could vouch for me on this.
What activities put you in the zone?