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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Easy (and cheap) Way to Store Wet Paintings

'Naptime'           5x7         oil on panel     ©Karen Margulis  sold
Wet Paint!  It's a new problem for me. With pastels I didn't have to worry about letting paint dry. I could easily store my finished paintings in boxes separated by a piece of glassine paper. (I have other pastel storage ideas and you can read about them in these posts)  But doing an oil painting a day results in a lot of wet paintings to store. I can't just leave them propped up on shelves in the studio because of my menagerie of 6 cats and a dog. I do allow them into the studio so I have to make sure it is animal friendly. Fortunately I came up with an easy and inexpensive solution.

A mini table easel makes a good drying rack for a single wet painting
I started out using my small table display easels to store my wet paintings while they dried. I put them up on shelves. I quickly ran out of table easels so this wasn't a good solution for a daily painter. I knew of other artists who have narrow shelves built on their studio walls. (too skinny for cats) and I am planning on putting some shelves in. I have just the place for them. But until then I needed another solution. Thrift store to the rescue!

Re purposed CD racks for wet panels
I came across several CD racks at my local thrift store. These racks are perfect for storing small wet panels. They are great for small panels up to about 8x10. I even brought the smallest rack along on my latest plein air paint-out. It fit into my bag and was perfect for storing the day's wet paintings back at the hotel. It frees up the wet panel carrier for the next day's painting. 
 I never realized that CD racks came in such a variety of designs and sizes. Through trial and error I have found that some work better than others. Here are some things to look for.
  • Bring a panel along on your hunt. You can test out your potential finds. (I didn't have a panel with me but found a 5x7 children's book as a stand in)
  • Some racks hold the CD's flat and some show them at an angle. I prefer the flat ones which keeps the painting level.
  • Some racks have wider slots which are good for thicker panels.
  • I see the tall stand-up rack all the time but I haven't tried one. I'm afraid my big dog will fun into it and knock it over or her tail wagging will create unwanted brushstrokes!
The best thing about this storage system is the price. I got one for $2 and one for 77 cents!  How do you deal with wet paintings? Anyone have some great ideas to share? Comment below!

Today's painting is my first oil painting of my cat Tobi. I have painted Tobi many times in pastel. It was fun to lay on the paint and get textured fur!


Bobbe's Community Food said...

Great idea! I figured out the little single display and had to take a few pictures of the grandkids down to repurpose for wet 5x7's but the cd racks are brilliant. I may even have one in the basement.

Peggy said...

What a good idea! Your link for "these posts" just points back your blog and not a specific post. How do you store pastels?

Peggy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gail Watford said...

Thanks Karen, what a great idea! I look forward to reading all your posts!!! You have beautiful work and great information also. Thanks for taking the time to share!

Dee Sanchez said...

I did the same thing! Then I decided I needed wall shelves. Couldn't find what I wanted (ledges that had a lip to hold painting) so I build my own out of cheap moulding. Does the trick.

Colleen Sanchez said...

Great suggestion, I recently started painting small oils too and so far have used an old book shelf with lots of shelves to store them on, but it takes up too much space. I will be heading out to the thrift store soon.

Karen said...

Thank you all for the comments! Peggy I fixed the link. I have several ways to store finished pastels. I hang them on hooks when finished and at the end of the month I file them flat in boxes with sheets of glassine in between them.

Karen said...

Dee thanks for the tip about moulding. I know I will need to do this too!

Karen Winters said...

I have a file folder organizer (an old timey desk accessory, metal, with about 12 upright dividers. This will handle 11 x 14s on panels, 9 x 12, etc. Same concept as the CD organizer, just bigger so I can stack bigger paintings.

Karen said...

Karen I think I have one of those too! It is great because it is wider and sits level. This is another great thing to have!

Karen said...

I just got a couple of suggestions for using a dish rack. One artist keeps it in her trunk and the heat makes the paint dry faster. Thanks for sharing your tips!

robertsloan2art said...

Karen, that's brilliant! I've been racking my brains for how to store wet oil paintings here. I live in one room, it's a residence hotel. Storing pastels is very easy. Storing wet oils is one of the reasons I've put off doing oils.

I'll have to look into that along with getting some small panels. That's a great idea, and I'll bet I can find them at local thrift stores easily. They're everywhere, it's not like bookcases.

Congratulations on the sweet cat painting too. Points! I love a pointed cat. Such a great pose too, looking relaxed and meditative. Of course your cats come into the studio. They'd be outraged if they couldn't. Besides, you get six doses of Cat Hairs of Inspiration, no wonder you're that creative!

Karen said...

Thanks Robert! I am wondering if the tall floor racks might work for you as a space saver. I am going to test one of those. I see them all the time!
I had fun painting Tobi. I really should do a painting of each of my cats! That would be a good series.

Anonymous said...

Love this painting!

Thanks for the idea on the storage. Makes me think I'll look around for other clever ideas!!

robertsloan2art said...

Oh cool! I would love to see a series of each of your cats. Even if you do Tobi again I know it'll be delightful. Siamese are so gorgeous and Tobi's long face is intriguing.

Today I'm painting my Ari in watercolor, but I might go over that in pastels and see what I get for a final version. Started from life!