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Thoughtful Thursday: Is Creating Art Hard Work?

When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece.” -John Ruskin

Today’s Thoughts are an addendum to a blog I read earlier this week by Jason Horejs Owner of Xanadu Gallery, “Is Creating Art Hard Work?” Long “blog” short, most contributing artists concluded that creating art is not hard and it isn’t even work but selling their art is laborious! Now this little bit of insight prompts me to look at the art in my gallery in a different way. Stripping away the artists’ creative insights and the emotional impact of each work of art leaves us a much narrower lens through which to view and appreciate.

Much of the art in my gallery is Plein Air which means it is painted outside, on site in a relatively brief period of time; purists notwithstanding, some final touches may be added once returning to the studio. What happens before and what happens after that magical span of time where creating art is not work but fulfilling a greater purpose personally and collectively for society? 

The artist spends hours searching for a compelling scene while tracking the sun’s trajectory. Stretching and sizing canvases and panels, formulating a palette, assembling rags and solvents, and squaring the easel prepares the artist to paint. Hidden in that 24” x 36” painting are years of traditional education and training, hours of ongoing professional learning, times of personal interrogation as to both personal and product readiness and a lifetime of practice! Every hour spent painting is an hour of refining, improving and perfecting one’s artistry.

One gallery artist shared one of his larger creations took approximately 40 hours plus 40 years of practice.  Les Poissons Gallery hosts 100+ paintings from 20 different artists and using the above formula, somewhat modified, that is well over 1500 hours labor plus a collective 800 years of practice…now that is a lot of work!

To view the fruits of great labor, please visit our gallery in Chestertown or shop virtually at

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