I started a self-portrait project last week. My goal was to try new techniques, maybe slow down and really get into the process.
I don’t know who’d want to buy a painting or two of me so the subject releases me from the whole “get it done” mindset I tend to have when I’m painting.
Get it done. Move fast. Next painting!
My friend, Salley, makes slow art.
Every step is a process. Every colour hand mixed and carefully considered. The piece she just finished took MONTHS to finish.
I die a mini death when a painting of mine takes more than a few hours to get done. Everything I do is done fast.
These emails? Hours of thought but really only 15 minutes or so to write.
My paintings? A couple of hours of prep but really anywhere from a half hour to a couple of hours to finish.
My day job? I do that at full speed too so I can have more time to paint.
Reading? I can read thousands and thousands words a week on top of everything else.
I live FAST.
I always have and I know exactly why too. I’ve written before about my superpower. I wrote it to parents who have kids like me. To show them that the reality that they’re living isn’t going to be the same for life. It actually calms down once a person exits their teen years.
In North America we call it ADD or ADHD and the last D stands for disorder.
I don’t consider this state of being a disorder, because that indicates there’s something wrong or abnormal. I consider it a superpower.
But all of that aside, it’s why I live the way I do: at full speed.
It’s how I’m wired.
And yet, I know that full speed means I miss out on some things. Things like the universe that gets created between an artist and their art. It’s a precious place that disappears once the art has been finished.
My moments with my art are fast and rarely savored.
So this is what I’m doing with these self-portraits. Taking deliberate and considered steps. Falling in love with the process. Being very focused on the moments I spend painting.
On top of that, I’m going to be slowing my videos down too. I know that while I live fast, not everyone does. And I want my viewers to enjoy moments I get while painting. The act of mixing colours. Creating textures. And applying brush to surface.
And while I savour this time with this art, I’m going to take you behind the scenes. My process. My thoughts. And even my vulnerabilities.
Because there’s so much more to art than just the act of painting, no matter how fast the painting is done.