The first question people often ask when they view a painting of mine is: ‘How long did that take you?’ The answer varies from painting to painting depending on the subject and size of the canvas. I spend the most time on portraits. Here are the stages of a recent portrait of my daughter Amélie, with an approximate time spent on each stage.

3 hours photographing, preparing the canvas and drawing. I square up the canvas and draw when using photos for a portrait.

2 hours blocking in the basic shapes and colours of the face.

3 hours refining the face, adding details, making adjustments. Lots of time spent studying the subject to draw out colours in the skin.

3-4 hours working on the hands, using the same palette of colours used for the head.

2-3 hours painting the dress. Nice to use a bigger brush with loose brush strokes for the folds in the material.

10-15 hours painting the surrounding toys.

1-2 hours refining the whole painting. Plus further time varnishing and framing when the time comes.

So for this painting it took approx 30 hours. That is probably the most time  I’ve spent on a painting. I would guess on average it is closer to 10 hours and the plein air paintings anything between 2-6 hours.

I hope that is an interesting insight into the time spent creating a painting.

Thanks for reading!