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Saturday, August 09, 2014

How to Keep your Plein Air Paintings Organized

'Where the Buffalo Roam'             8x10         plein air pastel         ©Karen Margulis
purchase this painting on Etsy $125 click here
 I took a trip down memory lane today. It was a bit of a detour but I enjoyed every minute and came out more organized!  I was supposed to work on getting my pastel papers back in order. I have piles of paper all over the studio. But somehow I got distracted and decided to find a better way to organize all of my plein air paintings.

I am a prolific plein air painter....when I get to paint outside that is. I think of my paintings done on location as studies and I am usually more interested in capturing a certain mood or moment than doing a longer more polished painting. So I paint small and quick studies. I find that these studies are great references back in the studio. So I save all of them.

I save them but I have lost track of many. They have gotten mixed in with my other landscape paintings.  I needed to have a better system for organizing my plein air studies. The answer came to me today and I am thrilled!

My system is very simple....paper envelopes and a big box!

'The Grand View'         5x7        pastel    $50

Starting the organization process

  • I began this project by going through my paintings and pulling out the plein air work. Most of them were still together by painting location so it was easy. I organize my finished small paintings by subject and they are then placed in a labeled box in between sheets of glassine paper. While looking for plain air work it  was also a good time to make sure all paintings were in their proper box. 


My paper envelopes made from a bog sheet of newsprint

  • Next I stacked the paintings organized by location and date of the plein air trip. I used glassine paper in between each painting. I only paint 8x10's or less when doing plein air so they all stacked neatly.
  • I made a large envelope by folding and stapling a big piece of newsprint paper. I slipped each painting pile in an envelope and labeled it with the location and date of the paintings. 

Storage box for the plein air packets.

  •  Finally I placed each plein air packet in a large sturdy box. Now whenever I want to refer to my studies of a particular location, it will be easy to find what I need! I have my Iceland plein air paintings on display in the studio but soon they will join the box!

'Summer in the Tetons'         8x10         pastel   $125
The paintings in today's post were done on location in Grand Teton national Park a few summer's ago. They were hidden away and I was happy to uncover them today! 

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