Skip to main content

Learn to Paint podcast, episode 97


I am thrilled to share that I was invited to chat with none other than Kelly Anne Powers' as part of her Learn to Paint podcast. I'm the guest in episode 97. You can catch the episode on your favorite podcast platform or here on Kelly's website (which also includes access to an extended cut where I talk about nurturing your Must Haves and other gems). 

In our conversation I talk about why you shouldn’t be afraid to cover up what you’ve put down (that universal problem of things becoming precious!), how to build an intuitive approach to your painting process (working from your humanity, your gut, is always authentically fresh and something AI simply cannot replicate) and why you might need to start a studio log (more on that below). Plus so very much more.

But let's jump to the big question - What is a studio log?

I started one decades ago as backup documentation for tax purposes. Initially it recorded what I did on work days with regards to creating artwork and driving my business. Today's studio log has evolved quite a bit from that sort of day book record into a vital tool that feeds my creativity.

I work daily inside an inexpensive composition notebook (cost is about a dollar or so at back-to-school time, and I load up for the coming year) and note my thoughts down as a painting progresses. I start with intention, some palette notes or perhaps ideas on scale, and add to those as the painting evolves. The books are organized by date. I write on the right hand side of the page, leaving the left side blank for thoughts or additions that bubble up after the fact. The logs are labeled on the spine and stored in the studio for easy access.

Over the years I've developed a process of questioning that I employ which essentially measures the forward movement and whether it's in alignment with my Must Haves (a separate list of things I believe a successful painting needs to include) and the basic principles/elements of art. I also like to add all the possible solutions to the various problems a painting presents during her creation - particularly those I don't follow. I have learned that by doing this I am more likely to commit these possibilities to memory - there is something about the act of writing a thought down that helps me personally recall it.

Every time I pop my brushes into water, I then sit across from the painting with my log and measure what's happening. I also take a photo of the piece in process with my phone. I allow myself to daydream with the image as the jumping off point. I blue sky on various possibilities, study my value patterns, look for color balance and listen to what she is trying to say. And write these things down - also because when i want to return to a particular idea that bubbled up a few weeks or months or years back, I can easily do so.

I invite you to pick up this practice yourself. Here's a simple painting checklist worksheet to help jumpstart a studio log. These sheets can be filed together in lieu of a notebook, or adapted to work in whatever system you devise.

Happy painting!

Thanks so much for your interest in my artwork,
All my best, warmly, Kim


Popular posts from this blog

Picture Book "A Dog Named Blue" - now available!!

The cover of "A Dog Named Blue," now available from Blurb publishers. When I first painted Amelia I never imagined that she would be re-christened "Blue" and inspire a book. In her defense, Amelia had a number of other partners in crime - animals who's portraits seemed to fall into a specific color category and prompt color-centric names. In typical ADD fashion, my brain started spinning 100mph. What if I turned those muses' paintings into a picture book for animal loving kids? I shared my idea with three friends in the industry, and they eagerly offered their expertise. I am truly indebted to them. Illustrator and author Matt Faulkner and children's book author and literacy expert Kristen Remenar edited an early version of the draft. They suggested key plot/conceptual changes that made it oodles better. Designer Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson worked her magic, pairing the images with perfectly color

Tabby Kit

"Tabby Kit," 5" x 7", acrylics on a museum quality panel, depicting a tiny little orange striped guy from Morgue File . This painting can be yours for $289, which includes s&h inside the US. And in case you didn't see it, a little doodle of him is also available for sale here . Inquires may come directly to me .  Although it certainly doesn't FEEL like spring here (snow and ice and wind chills, brr!), I can tell that spring is coming. The mercury is rising a wee bit each day and the days are getting longer and brighter. Over the weekend we drove with the moonroof open just to feel the sun's meager and oh-so-very-welcome warmth (although the heat in the car was cranked, too, in the interest of full disclosure!). I wanted to work with spring-like colors today, and this little guy was still on my mind , so I grabbed a small panel and got to work. Of course, I also have Poppy to finish and some changes to make to another po
“Rapt (Shadow),” from the Larger than Life series, 16”x22”, acrylic black lab mixed breed pet portrait on gallery wrapped canvas, $699. Inquiries to . SOLD. This is Shadow, who went missing on Sunday night. He belongs to a friend of mine, and has been a fixture in our community for many years. Errant fireworks scared the silly old guy into running off, and his family is busy searching for him. (If you happen to be in the Lake Orion/Oakland County area and have seen Shadow, please call 248-391-0867 or 248-391-6817) I’m confidant that he is safe (somewhere!) and awaiting discovery, but meanwhile, couldn’t help myself from posting his portrait as today’s dog a day painting . He’s constantly on my mind, and probably will remain so, until he finds his way back home. Hug your four legged guys while you can! Thanks, as always, for looking. And for sharing these paintings with friends and family, Kim Kimberly Kelly Santini dis