Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Romancing the check list

 Bright light
(Art group painting)
Acrylic on canvas
14 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2011

As I got ready to rush off to my art group
tonight I ran through the checklist. 1. paint.
2. brushes. 3 paper towels. 4. water bottle.
5. extra paint. 6. charcoal. 7. a canvas. 8.
brushes. 9. Something to put water in. 10.
A yogurt lid to mix paint on. 11. cash for class.

And so on.  And last night very late before I
went to bed I wrote a check list on a scrap
of paper on the table in the studio to direct
me through the finishing job for a difficult

My point.  Sometimes we think of painting as
being like something apart from life -- a high
orgiastic experience comparable to listening to
Beethoven, or Verdi.  And it is like that, especially
at the origin of the inspiration and at pivotal points in
creativity.  But there is another more practical side to the
job of creation too, and that is the work side.  Enter
the check list.

When I was preparing to go on Oprah Alyson Stanfield
advised me to write a checklist every day and keep it
with me all day.  I teach this kind of thing, so I should
have known it.  But she was extremely comforting,
and so is the check list.  It's an anchor in a sea of
the strange, emotional highs and lows of creativity,
like the grocery list that leads to the amazing
dinner and terrific party.

Have a writing-a-checklist day.


Nicki said...

Barbara, I don't know where I would be without my lists! Grocery lists, household chore lists, things to ask the teachers about lists, ideas for paintings lists, paint supplies lists.... oh I could go on! They are very comforting and I love crossing things off!

This study is lovely!

And now I can cross off "check out favorite blogs" from my list!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Nicki,

It's a great discovery the check list. When I remember to write one for my day it goes so much more smoothly than when I don't. But it's almost more important to write one at the end of a project when the small finishing touches need to be done. In a moment of clarity I write the list, then if I'm less confident later it pulls me through bit by bit.

Now I can check off respond to Nicki's lovely comment.


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!