Did you ever have one of those moments when you suddenly felt so inspired you just had to make some thing now? You rush to grab supplies, you sit down, ready to make your masterpiece, but those first few efforts just don’t look like what you had in your head. Maybe your drawing was “off”, or the paint didn’t behave in the way you expected? How many of us just gave up at what I call “the ugly duckling phase” of a piece of work, because it just didn’t happen quickly enough for us? Many artists do – but not the really successful ones…
Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s an absolute necessity in the Art Studio. If you have been following the Art-Mantic vlog posts, you will know there are lots of Contributing Artists with lots of various styles and speeds of working. One even says a painting might take her as little as three seconds. Wow, that’s fast! Or is it? Did you take in to account the hours of research? Of observation? The testing? The experimentation with colour? With Technique? The years of trying and failing that ultimately perfected those techniques?
The fact is if you are going to be good at anything it takes time to develop. That can be alien to us in a world of instant gratification. Those amazing Instagram reels of people creating incredible works of art in 30 seconds? If only!
Not only does it take time to learn technique, to research what we like, and to develop our individual voice, there are also material concerns. I speak as a painter, so preparing my support is a consideration. Canvasses must be stretched and primed, or gesso boards made, dried, and sanded. Materials need to be collected. Drawings made, remade, and remade again. Every oil painter will know you sometimes have to wait for days or even weeks for some layers to dry before being able to continue to the next stage. Once your work is complete it may be several months before it can be moved, varnished or sold.
And perhaps the most difficult part is being patient with ourselves. Understanding that great Art takes great patience means accepting failure. It means trying again and again. It means not giving up, even when it’s frustrating, and most especially when you think you’ll never get to where you want to be. It means being patient with those around us who struggle to understand why we continue trying to make things that can, at times, drive us to the edge of madness! It means having faith in our own ability to learn & grow.
But if you stick with it, if you respect the time your medium demands, if you are patient and calm with yourself, and if you keep showing up, I can promise you that bitter plant of patience can bear exceptionally sweet fruit.
So keep going, and going, and going. We are Artists. It’s what we do.