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About patience in the artistic process

I've been asked several times when the rest of the Kezia series will be finished. Since I decided to post the first pictures and put them on the site, you can actually see how long it will take.


The fact that it takes longer than originally planned is a lesson I have to learn again and again – that the creative process is not a sprint, but a marathon. It becomes particularly exhausting when new ideas are already buzzing around in the back of my mind and want to be realised.


Then there's the rest of life – everything that takes us away from work or what else has priority. At the end of last year, for example, it was more important to me to get the website up to scratch than to finish the picture series. That was a conscious decision.


How long does a picture take?


That depends on the medium, the image size and the subject. My urban sketches, which are created on the go, are usually finished in around one to one and a half hours – including preliminary drawing, final artwork and colouring.


Completing an acrylic painting, on the other hand, can take months. Portraits usually take longer than abstract motifs because I find it more difficult to find an interesting composition when I'm trying to capture the look and personality of a person at the same time.


Of course, I don't work on the pictures constantly, but again and again. They are placed in such a way that I often look at them and think about what to do next. All the big and small changes add up over time until at some point I realise: now it's enough, it's finished.


Artificial deadlines hardly help me because I don't declare a picture "finished" without need if I don't think it really is. I tweak it until I'm happy to look at it and show it.


A journey into the unknown


There is no recipe for good pictures. Of course, you can work off a plan or repeat a recipe that has worked once. Some artists do this for years once they have found their recipe.


However, if I had a fixed (portrait) style that I would simply continue to follow, I personally would quickly become bored and I bet that my pictures would show it.


Instead, I continue to develop, look for new motifs and see what techniques and content appeal to me currently. I want to be creative, to create something new and for that my pictures must mature and change.


In the second part of the Kezia series, for example, I worked with written text and references to graffiti styles. The pictures have just been added to the Kezia gallery.

Since the three songs on the album, which served as inspiration, are about a different person than the previous ones, the corresponding images should also have their own character. Nevertheless, visually they belong to the same series, have the same format, contain the same colours and have a similar depth of detail.



How these pictures would develop was not at all clear at the beginning. Despite extensive research, I couldn't plan what they would ultimately look like. I had to get involved in the process.


To prevent the process from ending in frustration and the cancellation of projects, I have collected a few tips that help me.


5 tips for more patience in the artistic process:


  1. Change your expectations: expect a project to take longer and be more stressful than you'd like. Plan buffers and don't stress yourself out.

  2. Have faith in the process: you won't know all the answers at the start of a project. A promising start is often followed by a low when things don't go smoothly straight away. Learn to endure this uncertainty and you will grow with the challenges.

  3. Develop routines: These will help you to invest the necessary time in your work. Fixed times in your calendar and a ritual when you enter the studio are a good start, whether it's a certain song or a cup of tea. It should feel good when you start to get creative. Then you will be able to integrate it more regularly into your everyday life and make progress bit by bit.

  4. Be brave: Sometimes we fall in love with something we're working on too early. We know it's not good or finished yet, but we're still afraid of destroying it. In moments like that, I take a photo and try out digitally what it can become. And when I think I've found a good direction, then it's back to the paintbrush. I believe that most masterpieces only become great after many iterations. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  5. Ensure variety: In order to not get bored within a project, consciously switch between several paintings (which is why it's an advantage to work in series), between different media (the aforementioned switch between analogue and digital often helps), tools and subtasks (e.g. research and implementation). If you are unsure about something, do a series of small experiments and try it out. Use every form of variety to keep the process exciting for you. Incidentally, much of this topic has been impressively elaborated and demonstrated in the book "Nea Machina – Die Kreativmaschine" by Thomas and Martin Poschauko. A great book about how creativity works in the everyday lives of designers! (There might be no English version of it yet.)


You'll have to be patient for the rest of the pictures in the series, just like me ;)


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