I read an interesting piece of writing yesterday. It was a quote from Annie Dillards’ An American Childhood (1987), about the act of observation and painting.
Dillard says “One thing struck me as odd and interesting. A gesture drawing took forty-five seconds; a Sustained Study took all morning. From any still-life arrangement or model’s pose, the artist could produce either a short study or a long one. Evidently, a given object took no particular amount of time to draw; instead the artist took the time, or didn’t take it, at pleasure. And, similarly, things themselves possessed no fixed and intrinsic amount of interest; instead things were interesting as long as you had attention to give them. How long does it take to draw a baseball mitt? As much time as you care to give it. Not an infinite amount of time, but more than you first imagined.”
Today I had the time to give to my painting, a study of the utensils left behind after a meal.