"How long does it take to draw
one of your pictures?"
"A month or so, though some take a little longer." (Okay, some of them take a lot longer.)
Consider Rhinoplasty. This odd little item was randomly selected last week from my large and growing "I'll get back to these ideas one day - really, I will" pile of unfinished drawings, just so a visiting TV crew could get some footage of ‘the Artist at Work.’
“Here’s one I’ve been working on,” I said to the camera, pretending that I’d actually laid eyes on this drawing since… okay, I couldn't remember. I did recall that once upon a time the concept seemed like a fairly good idea (a rhinoceros made of plastic pieces still makes me giggle), that it was part of my Medical series, and that I had lost interest in the project at least twice - once after becoming hopelessly stuck on the developing design, and again after coming back and solving whatever creative problem had me roadblocked, and, satisfied with having gotten past that, finding little desire to keep going.
But how long ago had that been? I started looking for clues.
One of my reference images for this piece was a Rhinoceros drawn by Albrecht Dürer, the famous German artist from the 16th century, known universally for his etching, Praying Hands. He signed his work with his initials, D tucked beneath a capital A that looks something like an oriental gateway.
Dürer completed his Rhinoceros in 1515. (I have no idea how long the work hung around his studio before he got around to finishing it.)
Apparently I decided to sign my rhinoceros drawing in a similar fashion, S inside a D, and did so lightly, in pencil, sometime after I was pleased with the overall design, which was at least a year after I first committed the idea to paper. Over time, my ‘DS’ had worn away, evaporated to a few ghostly gray lines. The date penciled above it was almost entirely gone, but with strong glasses I could just make out the number 2006.So, I started this drawing in 2005, 495 years after Dürer. Seven years of waiting, and it still took another full week to finish. For a little while I thought about putting it away for another three years, just long enough to separate the two Rhinoceri by an even 500. I figured that would be a fitting homage to the Master. But then I thought about the slim chance that I would actually remember this idealized plan, and retrieve my Rhino-in-progress at any time in 2015.
After all, I still have the beginnings of a Grand Piano drawing that I started in 1999, scheduled to be completed a year later (in Two Grand).