A List or Two

I enjoy the adventures of Frog and Toad. In the story “The List”, found in “Frog and Toad Together” by Arnold Lobel, Toad creates “A list of things to do today.” I love his list. I wish it were my list. Let me share his list with you.

A list of things to do today

  1. Wake up
  2. Eat breakfast
  3. Get dressed
  4. Go to Frog’s house
  5. Take walk with Frog
  6. Eat lunch
  7. Take nap
  8. Play games with Frog
  9. Eat Supper
  10. Go to sleep

It just sounds so relaxing and yet productive at the same time. My lists are nothing like this. And yes, I said lists. I have a list of things that I intend to accomplish each day, a grocery list, a list of all of my art supplies – an inventory list. I also have a list of all of my work – another inventory list. I have a list of all of my customers. I have a list of what is in the freezer, although I don’t use that list very well. I have lists of what to pack for classes that I teach – even for different days of the classes, and a list of what to pack for an art fair. OK, maybe I have too many lists, but they are so helpful, when I use them.

One of my most useful lists is my Plein Air Packing List. (Plein Air Painting is an artwork done from life on location.) I have had people laugh at me but really, I have been hours from home only to realize that I forgot something. And this doesn’t just happen to me. One year I was at a paint-out event (a plein air painting event) where someone needed an eraser, not to erase I am sure! Erasing to erase is a no-no in my world. Someone else forgot his palette knife. A packing list is just the best tool to ensure that you don’t forget anything.

If you have never painted out in the great outdoors and are curious about it, I suggest that you make your first trip out to your backyard. As you pack, make a list. When you set up, add to your list all of the things that you forgot or now think would be beneficial. I break my list down into sections. I have one section that list everything that I need just to paint. I have another section that lists what I need for a paint-out competition and sale. I have sections for Promotional Materials, Extras, Clothing, Personal Care and Food. These might sound like strange sections, but under “Personal Care” for instance, I list sunscreen and bug spray. And taking along food will allow you to paint longer.

I also have a list of notes from my paint-out experiences. Reviewing what went well or badly is helpful too. No, I don’t have Alzheimer’s… yet. I call it being a mom. And I like Einstein’s theory of not memorizing anything you can look up.

Some of my notes from the past:

  1. Pack 7/16 wrench.
  2. Not every piece needs to be completed. I can learn from the process.
  3. The sketch doesn’t need to be all that detailed. I am just thinking through what I want to do.
  4. I tried using a View Finder to establish the composition. I found it awkward to work with.
  5. I tried working without using a View Finder. I established the height and width of the focal point (a tree) and went from there. But as I added surrounding scenery, I lost the focus of the painting. I didn’t finish this piece, but I did learn from the process.
  6. Try a Quick Draw – a Timed session
  7. Try to get the feeling of distance. Start with a sketch!
  8. If cloudy, try an approach similar to (some other specific works that I created).
  9. Simplify! Try a grouping of__________, not the entire garden.
  10. If light appears to be constant, I can work on something more ambitious.
  11. First attempt – from 2008. It went very well. Light was constant. Time was 4:30 – 6:30. I focused on making one tree the focal point.
  12. Second attempt – from 2008. Didn’t go as well. I forgot my tripod! I ended up sitting on the ground, and had to keep shifting to capture the view that I wanted.
  13. Need to ask about prices, they seemed rather low. This was in response to a paint-out and sale.
  14. Carry brochures and framing gear for competitions and sales.
  15. Do sketches first! Just to double check my original idea. It might not work.
  16. Argh! I just had a feeling that these events were much more structured than “just show up!” This one was huge. I called the organizers because this was my first big paint-out, and I wanted to make sure that I had the details down. I was told to just show up. For two days I thought that I was the only artist who showed up for the event. I finally found the official location at 1:00 on the last day of the event. Someone came around 1:30 to inform me that I needed to turn my work in for the show… what show?! So much for just showing up. Funny now, but…
    • Check website and read throughly
    • Re-read throughly
    • Ask questions because EACH PAINT OUT IS DIFFERENT. For one paint out event, I spent too long trying to find the check in point. They were supposed to put out balloons – they didn’t. And then, I didn’t need to check in. I wasted precious time trying to find the check in point when I could have been painting! For some events, you must check in to have your paper stamped to ensure that you are starting with a blank canvas.
    • Get out early!

Looking over this list I see that I have mentioned something about sketches more than once. That is something I can’t ignore. Your list, of course, will reflect you. It is different composing a painting from a photo verses from the great outdoors. In the photo, the composition is somewhat worked out for you. Next time, I will share what I did to resolve the view-finder issue. Well, look at that! I now have something to add to my “List of Things to Blog About.”

Lakeside Rose Garden

Lakeside Rose Garden. From Artlink’s Wet paint Auction, September 2012


3 thoughts on “A List or Two

  1. 1. Read the LRS “October Surprise” blog.
    2. Enjoy the words.
    3. Chuckle at the list making.
    4. Re-read a day later to enjoy it again.
    5. Post comment so the artist/writer knows what “ahhh!” means.

  2. My List for 11.30.12
    1. Get up
    2. Rush to computer to read last minute end of the month blog by this blogger who promised monthly blogs. Note date of most recent blog. Oh no, 10.29.12.
    3.Bite lip in momentary disappointment.
    4.Let dog out to “use” the yard.
    5.Run back to computer for a quick 2nd check LRS’s blog.
    6.Let impatient dog back into house. Feed her.
    7.Eat breakfast, shower, dress.
    8.Check LRS’s blog between each activity.
    9.Bite lip again.
    10. Start to let excitement build for Saturday’s Holiday Open House at the O.G.
    11. Work for a bit.
    12. Check blog again.
    13. Call dentist about sore and bruised lip. Seek advice. Dentist says “bite finger nails”.

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