Do you have a painting checklist?

I stumbled across this video from artist / youtuber Cedar Lee. She mentions that she has a studio production checklist, meaning a list of tasks that she has to check off for every single painting that she creates before it leaves her studio. The list includes the following:

- priming the canvas
- toning the canvas (sometimes)
- drawing the design in pencil
- blocking in the base colors and composition
- adding more colors and details
- signing the finished painting
- making sure that the edges look finished
- attaching the hanging wire
- titling the piece
- deciding on the price
- recording the piece in her inventory files on her PC
- writing the control number on the back of the painting
- photographing the work from several different angles
- cropping and color correcting the photos
- saving a high resolution and a lower resolution version of the photos
- oiling out the painting
- varnishing the painting

 Which of the things from her list do you do? Do you have your own painting checklist that you apply to each and every single one of your works? Please share your thoughts on the matter. :)


  • Great list, Lucian.It's easier to share what I don't do, but that means I agree with you on everything else, with some slight differences. I don't have an external list - more an internalised process which I vary because I obsessively think about a painting and which process should be used and what I should do next.
    * I don't ever draw the design in pencil. Before I painted i loved drawing with pencil - I saw things through that lens, and then my painting teacher blew me away by teaching me to see . A pencil sketch is usually lines and makes every object too distinct - when part of the trunk of a tree might be lost in the shadows. I paint masses of tone, not lines, from the start. That's what the eye sees. I make exception in drawing for a few things like architectural details. My 'sketch' is either:
    a) My favourite method is wipe-back: I tone the canvas and use rub back method with a rag to sketch while it's still wet because I can access the white ground and define values. Advantage: it's not lines, it's the major tonal shapes, the values and the drama of the light vs dark all captured in a single sitting. It's like a sepia photograph of the final painting. Everything is there, in place. My next step will be darks and slight adjustments because the sketch will not be perfect and that doesn't matter - adjust as I go.
    b) Block in major tonal statements of entire painting: I block in the major tonal shapes for the entire painting in one sitting - simplified, covering entire canvas. There will be 3, maybe 4 values. No details. Values, shapes, edges, major blocks of colour. Half close your eyes and it's the same as source.
    c) Oil transfer: I use oil transfer sometimes for really complex things like architectural details. You could use pencil.
    * Oiling out: I avoid oiling out where possible, particularly at the end, because it creates a layer of oil over the top that will eventually yellow. Some yellowing is caused by storing in dark places, and this is reversible by bringing it out. However over time all oils will yellow (unrelated to light) and this will particularly affect your light colours and blues - anything that yellow can shift. Best advice appears to be to oil out only over the section you are about to paint, so that you have pigment on the surface. To avoid matt appearance, umbers in particular are highly absorbent and so if I want to use them I may use a little stand oil. If still dull in final painting, I might oil out sections I think would be unharmed by yellow, just a tiny amount and wipe it back significantly. If blue or light section? With caution and my white highlights shouldn't be dull anyway - avoid them.
    * Control number /recording the piece in her inventory files on PC: I'm clearly just an amateur who  doesn't produce many paintings. I'm on my 9th or 10th original over 25 years. About 22 paintings in all including lessons. :D
    * Deciding on the price: Never tried to sell one. I don't enter art shows because I don't want to part with them at this stage. With more time to paint, I'm sure I will. So I'll need to do all these things you listed.
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