I get asked this question often, and my answer is usually “my whole life” or “30+ years+”.
Some paintings flow wonderfully as if all the planets have lined up, pointing the way to an almost perfect finish. Others are a struggle from start to finish because of either the moon, inadequate planning or I was weighed down with mental slog. Sounds a bit like life in general right? Some days I go into the studio and honestly cannot remember how to paint. I am not really sure why this happens but I have learned it signifies a change for the better, the infamous breakthrough. Like in life, when you cant get anything done, when the “gates are all closed” and you seem to be running into a solid wall, then all of a sudden the floodgates open and everything flows perfectly. It's a big ahhhhhh.....
I have had paintings that have taken over 2 years to complete, one in particular wasn’t finished until I cut the bottom 18 inches off of it and re-stretched it onto a different sized frame. (see image) Other paintings may only take a day which is extremely rare but quite a rush when it happens.
So, to sum it up simply, each painting is an accumulation of knowledge thus the lifetime answer….that and some planets and a moon thrown in.
Enjoy the weather!
PS: I have 17 members now in my facebook group "The Self Taught Artist". I attempted to have a group right here on this website for those non facebook users but it has proved to be confusing and cumbersome, so my apologies. If you are and artist and not yet a member please subscribe to this webpage (if you haven't already) and go to Facebook and join. https://www.facebook.com/groups/288690552622039 I am sharing tips, my painting process and answering questions.