The idea that great things take time has recently been on my mind. In order for something to be great, does it really need to have been created over a long time? Time shouldn’t dictate quality. Can’t we take a long time and end up creating something bad? Can’t something great be also have been created in a short period of time? And how long is a long time? Hours, days, months, years?
I am concerned about this because I often catch myself slowing down with my art process in order to “take my time”. I say that it’s ok to take things slow, to not rush and that it SHOULD take a long time. But does it? Where does the scale evens out when it comes to quantity and quality?
A few days ago I talked about mastery. But only creating one masterpiece in my lifetime won’t pay the bills. I need to be able to finish smaller projects through out my life too. And no, they don’t all need to be masterpieces, but couldn’t they be great too?
When you tell someone that your painting took an entire year to be finished, they will pay attention. But really it doesn’t make your art better. People can’t tell how long a piece took to be created, and often times artists will lie about it. Saying that your work was done in half hour will make the work less valuable. We assume if it didn’t take long than it isn’t great. And that’s not only in art, but in everything else, including writing, science, sports, etc. And just because we value discipline and strength in our societies, and we admire those who put in the hours, those two things aren’t exactly how quality should be measured.
I am still figuring out the right balance, where something needs to be done but done well enough. It took Michelangelo only four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And some people will say that the Mona Lisa wasn’t even done when Leonardo died. An art piece can be always a work in progress if we aren’t too careful. But perfection really doesn’t exist and trying to achieve it seems like a way to just make ourselves mad.
I don’t have enough answers but this is a good start. More on this later.
Thanks for reading.