If you look into the past of the successful painter you will find square miles of canvas behind him. (Charles Hawthorne)
Earlier this year an instructor said a painter “needed to paint a mile of canvas” in order to get really good. I didn’t think too much about it until I ran across Hawthorne’s quote. I sat back and pondered on how long it would take to paint a mile of canvas, let alone a square mile.
I know converting square feet or square miles into linear feet or liner miles is not perfect when an artist tries this sort of mathematical feat. So please bear with me. (If you have a better way, please feel free to comment below. Ideas welcomed.)
For me, a normal size canvas is: 16” x 20” canvas or 2.22 ft2 (Yes I know this means “area” verses “linear” and some sort of conversion. Let’s assume simple length. To get the minimum amount of 16″x20″ paintings, we’ll lay them end to end 20″ wide regardless of their orientation.)
There are 5,280 feet in a mile.
Taking the optimistic approach that every painting was 2.22ft2 means it would take approximately 3,168 paintings to paint one mile. Doing 365 paintings a year translates into about 8.68 years to reach the “first” mile. Maybe I should do two a day? 🙂
Does this sound exhausting or exhilarating? For me, the answer is yes! When I look at a Don Sahli, Lori Putnam, or Roger Dale Brown – I realize how many paintings they have done to get where they are today. Knowing they started way back over yonder way and are now “here” gives me a perspective of the journey. Hopefully it will encourage you too.
A mile of canvas isn’t done overnight. For a “patient” person like me, that’s probably going to annoy me at some point along the journey (not to mention everyone around me). I have a sign in my studio that says, “I’m better today than I was yesterday but not as good as I’ll be tomorrow.”
Over the next year I’m going to stop and smell the roses as I paint them because I don’t want to miss the fun. I’m learning to be content with my own “canvas mile.” How about you? How’s your mile coming along? What have you learned that you could share to encourage others? If you’ve stopped because the mile just seems so long, I’d encourage you to pick up the brush and start your journey again.
Hey, a year from now we can meet back here and see how far we’ve all come.
Feel free to share.
Until next time: Connect | Engage | Unleash