Scratchboard time-lapse videos

I've made several videos showing large scratchboards in a time-lapse progress fashion. That is, I set up a camera, set an intervalometer to take a still photo every minute or so, then stitched the hundreds (thousands?) of still shots all together in iMovie to create a video that compresses weeks of work into a few minutes.

The first video shows my 24x32 zebra scratchboard, "Homage to Muybridge":  

 

...and this one is of a 24x24 commission of a British Grand Prix horse:

 

The last video is not really a time-lapse; it was created in response to a suggestion that I show the painstaking nature of scratchboard in real time. So here are two minutes (for which you might need coffee) of actual progress on a large scratchboard:

"How long did that take?"

I'm willing to bet a large sum of money (eg, more than $5) that every artist has heard this question in reference to a piece of artwork. I'd *have* a large sum of money if I had $5 for every time I've been asked this.

And the problem is, there's no good (easy, accurate, satisfying) answer to this question.

 This is the current state of my drawing table. These are all study drawings, done with white charcoal on black paper, created in the last few weeks to test scratchboard ideas for SEWE. (This isn't even all of them! there are at least half a dozen more not shown). Of the pile o' pictures here, only two have become scratchboards. Most of the rest will not go any further, because I don't think them worthy of becoming finished artwork.

How much time was spent creating these drawings? There's no good answer to that, either - because each drawing represents uncounted time that was spent looking at and fiddling with my reference material, as well as turning ideas over in my head, before actually putting pencil to paper. (It's worth noting that the relative speed with which I create a drawing is due to decades of drawing practice, which adds yet another variable to this unwieldy equation.)

Once I decide an idea IS worthy of scratchboard, there's finicky prepwork involved with transferring the image to the board, so I can avoid scratching in the wrong spot (leading me to destroy the board and then commit hari-kari with my xacto knife. Not pretty.)

The amount of time spent on working a given board then depends heavily on factors like the size of the board, the amount of black in the image, how much coffee I've had, etc.

And note that this is all specific just to scratchboard. There are different processes involved with creating an oil painting, involving both sketches and Photoshop work to help me visualize the final image.

SO, how can I answer the question "how long did this piece take?" in a way that is both accurate and satisfying to the questioner?

I'm open to suggestion! Readers, fire away!

England!!

I spent Thanksgiving week in London (museums! Horse Guards!!) and then moved operations to Dorset, to visit Simon and Monique Gudgeon at Sculpture by the Lakes. I was treated to hunt meet and shooting adventures by the Gudgeons; various photos have been posted to Facebook, and others will be in my December Artzine, but I wanted to share just a couple here.

Part of the hunt field this morning - nearly 50 horses, with beautiful morning sunlight!

Part of the hunt field this morning - nearly 50 horses, with beautiful morning sunlight!

Simon Gudgeon's work at Sculpture by the Lakes awaits - and delights - as one wanders the paths. It was nearly sunset when I saw Simon's swans surrounded by the tracery of tree reflections.

Simon Gudgeon's work at Sculpture by the Lakes awaits - and delights - as one wanders the paths. It was nearly sunset when I saw Simon's swans surrounded by the tracery of tree reflections.

Final - "Girlpower"

The finished painting, now drying on our mantel. I've wanted to paint this confident cowgirl for a long time, and I'm thoroughly pleased with the how she turned out. (She and I are standing in our west woods.)

WIP 2 - "Girlpower"

Coming along well! and this is one of those pieces that flows from my brushes - just a total joy.

WIP (work in progress) -- "Girlpower"

This oil is a 40x30 gallery wrap that will be headed to Authentique Gallery in St. George, Utah after completion. It's had several days of work at this point, including a fair amount of digital time designing the background.

In Montana, women compete alongside men in several rodeo roping events, and I dearly love seeing the cowgirls warming up, swinging lassos, and charging out of the chutes after their quarry. This particular cowgirl is one I saw at a morning slack event years ago, and her confidence and control of her horsepower just captivate me.

Rowe show already selling!

I'm delighted to report that the triptych I sent to Rowe Gallery as part of my upcoming one-person show (Nov. 7 and 8) has already sold! The show is half sold at this point and hasn't even opened yet.

"Paint Abstract Suite" -- 3 pieces, each 18x36 oil on gallery wrap (from top to bottom: Paint Abstract in Chestnut; Paint Abstract in Black; Paint Abstract in Red Roan)

"Paint Abstract Suite" -- 3 pieces, each 18x36 oil on gallery wrap (from top to bottom: Paint Abstract in Chestnut; Paint Abstract in Black; Paint Abstract in Red Roan)