After six session of work on this painting I have finally finished it.
It has been a long while since I have worked this long on one painting and it was a great lesson in patience.
I found it hard, especially during this session, to keep moving slowly and not speed up. The focus was to observe and place strokes as accurately as I could. Closer to the end of the painting, about the last two sessions, I have been working on generalizing my strokes a bit and pulling away from details as I work further away from my center of attention in the painting.
Thai tea painting setup
Honestly I don’t see how other painters were able to finish such huge works of art in surprising detail. Some of these work could have taken years to complete. Such as “The Coronation of Napoleon” by David, (three years to complete). This painting has a ton of portraits in it and its massive, I know I’ve seen it in person (yes I’m bragging about that a bit).
The Coronation of Napoleon flanks the opposite wall of “The Raft of the Medusa” by Gericault, in the Louvre. Another massive master work that took years to complete.
A great story about the final work (from Wikipedia)
Géricault, who had just been forced to break off a painful affair with his aunt, shaved his head and from November 1818 to July 1819 lived a disciplined monastic existence in his studio in the Faubourg du Roule, being brought meals by his concierge and only occasionally spending an evening out. He and his 18-year-old assistant, Louis-Alexis Jamar, slept in a small room adjacent to the studio; occasionally there were arguments and on one occasion Jamar walked off; after two days Géricault persuaded him to return. In his orderly studio, the artist worked in a methodical fashion in complete silence and found that even the noise of a mouse was sufficient to break his concentration.
I get increasingly frustrated at the art worlds current obsession with “speed painting” or more focus on how fast you can get something done rather than the quality of the work. I should do more research on master works to get an idea of average take it take to complete one. My guess is that there will be nothing speedy about it. The Raft of the Medusa didn’t become the icon of French Romanticism by being painted speedily.