My opening art checklist

My studio is in my house and there are numerous distractions to keep me from painting.To get ready for studio time, it helps to have an opening art ritual, to signify that this is a special time, and a time for both focus and creativity. Sometimes I light a candle. Sometimes I do a few stretches. And lately, I go through a short checklist of questions:

  • Am I a comfortable distance from my canvas or paper?
  • Is the angle of my paper/canvas parallel to my face? (not too upright, not too flat)
  • How’s my posture?
  • How am I holding my brush?
  • Am I breathing? (i.e., not shallowly)
  • Have I done small value studies or sketch studies? (very beneficial for larger works or complicated ideas)
  • Palette and paint ready?
  • Have I set my intention for this art session?

paint-paletteAsking these questions might sound a little analytical for the creative act of painting, but it’s so easy to get out of my body and too focused in my head. Thinking through these questions helps me acknowledge my posture, my breath and overall stance. My goal for any painting session is to feel like I’m flowing and moving effortlessly…of course, that can be a rare occurance!