2018 Workshop Schedule. New workshops added! click here for details.
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction

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! 

No comments: