Friday, August 12, 2016

The Hans Olson Challenge

Black Dress 12x12 oil study on stretched canvas. 
Last night I went to my friend Hans Eric Olson's show at the Art Domestique gallery. His work is incredible. You could tell he was an inspiration to fellow artists as well. So many people were asking if he gave workshops and you could over hear others saying to each other, I wish I could paint like that. Is that the ultimate compliment a painter could get?  Most of his work on display are landscapes and of various sizes. Someone asked him how long it took to paint the smaller ones and he surprised us all by saying that he tries to knock out the small ones in about an hour. His small paintings were all 8x10, my idea of small is usually 4x6 and it still takes me over an hour to do that size!  He said he cranks the tunes and gets to work.  On my drive home I thought about this. I would challenge myself to paint faster. I've done this before when I was trying to prepare for quick paints for upcoming plein air events. Most of those give you two hours to complete a painting. If I could knock out an 8x10 in an hour just think what I could do with two hours!
So today I decided to try to crank one out in the shortest amount of time possible.  From start to finish this one took me just a little over two hours. I cranked up the tunes, turned off the phone and concentrated on painting. At the end I asked myself what I could have done to work faster. I considered using more tube paint so I wouldn't spend time mixing, but it's not really a race. What I learned by doing this is that it's not an exercise in who can paint the fastest, it's an exercise to build up your confidence. Timid painters take too long. Timid people take too long at everything to be honest.
This painting could definitely use some more work but I got my lesson from it so in that sense it was successful. Another lesson to be learned here, don't try to race through a black on black and white on white scenario, it's enough to make you want to punch yourself in the face.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. It was nice to see you and to meet your husband at the opening.

  2. Very strong shape-wise and the rythem of the pyramid forms is nice too. It LOOKS confident. A 12x12 in just over 2 hours is respectable. I bet you could duplicate it in an hour and a half, now that you've done it.

    1. Thanks. If I did it over again I'd change some things in the composition. That's the other thing I noticed, with a short amount of time you don't get the opportunity to change things you don't like. So not only do you have to be confident you have to be a quick thinker too.