I get asked this a lot at art festivals. It's natural to look at something that seems difficult and wonder how many hours of work are involved. You would think I would have a clear answer, but it took me a while to decide how to respond. Here's why:
It's Hard to Say
I'm never really sure how long a painting takes, because I never work on a single painting straight from start to finish. I usually work on two or more paintings at a time, and I'll often put a painting aside for a while to get a fresh look at it. (The small painting above was completed over the course of two months, because it remained unfinished for quite a while.) And I don't paint all day. More than half of my time is spent on work other than painting.
What Other Work?
Well, there's all the preparation that happens before I actually pick up my paintbrush, including taking photos, culling them, editing them, creating sketches, and doing the work to prepare the canvas.
Getting the Word Out
There's also the marketing side of art, which is always more time consuming than any artist wants. This includes writing my blog and newsletter, preparing for shows, attending art events, entering competitions, updating my website and inventory software, posting on Facebook, shipping art, and maintaining connections with my gallery and my clients. And the list goes on.
The Short Answer
But I think the answer most people want is what time did I spend actually painting. And unfortunately, I don't know because I don't track the hours on a specific painting. The best way I can answer that is to say that my smaller paintings (16x16 and smaller) are generally painted within a week and my larger ones (30x30 and larger) within a month or more. Does that answer your question? I hope so!