Painting Checklists Work

painting Checklists work

Painting Checklists Work

Painting Checklists Work Notes

As we all know, painting can be distressingly complicated, especially when we are beginning. There are dozens of things we need to remember all at the same time. One of the things I encourage my students to do is to make a small list of suggestions, a Painting Checklist which can be laminated to hard board like mat board or glued and then covered with a sheet protector. This little list can be clipped to your easel or paint box in studio or if you work on location. I mean a list about the size of a 3×5 inch index card. You can have different lists which might be more tailored to individual situations. Think of this as sort of a site map to your painting process.

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Painting Checklists Work

Here is an example I use:

1. Keep your composition as simple as possible.
2. Omit fussy details.
3. Squint your eyes frequently to establish values.
4. Block in values early.
5. Create Intervals-Try not to put major elements on the same plane.
6. Work all over the painting, gradually adding details.
7. Step back frequently and give your mind a rest.
8. Create resting places in the composition when appropriate.
9. Use diagonals curves and angles to create interest.
10. Create a center of interest through brushwork, detail and color intensity.
11. Do you have a plan for your painting?
12. Will it have a dominant value? Dark, Light, Mid Value?
13. Lay in value and color where you see it. Save the refinement for later.
14. Do not over blend. Keep brushwork crisp and clean.
15. Does the painting have Texture, Rhythm and Harmony?

Painting Checklists Work

One of the lists could have the theme of values and contrast, with questions or suggestions about those issues. Another could have to do with color mixing to help you stay in control of your palette. Why not create a miniature color chart for your palette of the day? Color value charts in miniature? Yet another could involve compositional elements, a way to check off good and bad compositional methods. Finally, you could have a list of questions about what methods you will use to plan your composition.

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Painting  Checklists Work

All of these little lists and charts could be kept in a box next to your easel where you could pull them out and clip above your painting when needed. I often make simple versions to give out in workshop notebooks, but taking the time to organize a decent number of them to use for each situation is even better. Well worth the time it would take to organize and make them for your paintingtool box. The real thing about these lists is that they can be personalized to suit each artist’s personal needs. Think of it like making a series of to do lists that you use over and over.

Painting Checklists Work

If you are an audio learner instead of a visual learner, make tapes instead of the cards. You can listen to yourself talking about how to do good compositions and so forth.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Chicken Sandwich Spread

1 pouch of pre-cooked chicken

1   8 oz package cream cheese


1/4 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 diced red pepper

1 T mayo

1 T sweet pickle relish

Mix all and spread on sandwich breat or homemade carrot bread.






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4 thoughts on “Painting Checklists Work

  1. These are great Linda. I haven’t been by commenting because I signed up to get your posts to my email, I so love reading them. You are so generous with your knowledge. Even though I say it often, I never want to forget to tell you thank you. You are a blessing to me.

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