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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

A System for Storing Finished Pastels

                                     'A Shore Thing'           5x7         pastel       ©Karen Margulis     $65



Slow and steady wins the race. It would be nice to blink my eyes like I Dream of Jeannie and have the studio rooms Pinterest-worthy. But then I wouldn't have the pleasure of discovery. Today I uncovered a rolling tool chest FULL of pastel bits and pieces. You know you have a lot of pastels when you actually forgot you had a stash! These pieces are the halves and thirds of sets purchased in my early pastel days. I will not allow myself the pleasure of sorting through them until I am finished cleaning! That will be my reward!
I also discovered a few boxes of older paintings. I enjoyed finding a box of small pastel paintings of food. I used to enjoy the occasional still life and painted the usual apples and pears but I also painted candy. I thought I'd share a couple here. I added some of my metallic silver pastels to the Hershey Kiss.  Now onto the progress I made today.....starting a new system for storing finished paintings.

'Chocolate Break'           6x6         pastel         ©Karen Margulis  available $50
Storing Finished Pastel Paintings

 There are many ways to store finished pastel paintings and many systems for keeping records of those paintings. I have tried many. I admit that I am not a very good record keeper when it comes to my paintings. I always start the year with good intentions and spreadsheets and codes....but I quickly get behind and give up. I have decided that I need to pick my battles and this is just one that I will never win.

So I need to be as organized as I can without stressing over perfection. I am happy to say that today I finally have all of my finished paintings together in one room! That is an accomplishment. I have set up a loose filing system.

  •  The paintings from the last two years are all stored laying flat in boxes with glassine or plain newsprint in between paintings. 
  • I am using produce boxes from Costco with index card labels on card tables....for now. It isn't pretty but it is functional. I would love some better shelves and cool boxes but this solution will do for now.
  • The paintings are separated for the most part by SIZE. I have a box for each of the sizes that I paint. I have further separated a few of my most crowded subjects such as Marshes, Southwest and Wildflowers. When I need to find a painting I navigate to the appropriate box.
  • I do have some paintings stored in clear bags with foamcore backings. These are paintings that I bring to demos and workshops. It isn't cost effective for me to put every painting into a clearbag.(I paint a lot)
  • I am storing 18x24 and larger paintings taped on foamcore with glassine protection. These are placed against the wall. (not seen)
  • Paintings older than 2 years are kept in ikea boxes out in my other studio room soon to be known as the gallery.


My new system for storing my daily paintings.....not pretty but it works!
 After I finished filing my paintings I decided to tackle the outer studio room. It was a pleasant 70 degrees today and this room has no heat....or air conditioning which is why I don't use it for anything but storage. It used to be my studio when my current basement room was a daycare/preschool classroom. Now it is a neglected mess.

shelves of all kinds of art and craft stuff
The room is lined with shelves. The shelves are filled with stuff. Art magazines, acrylic paints, clay, sketch books, empty pastel boxes (I can't throw them away) a beading loom (never used), sewing machine..... you get the idea.


This room has potential. I am going to transform it into my personal gallery space. I will clean out the shelves and consolidate the stuff and then have fun displaying some of my work and other fun goodies I have collected.  It is falling into place....my studio, my studio annex and my gallery space. I have a plan! Come back tomorrow for another installment.

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

Wow! I knew it! You'd find pastels! That rocks! Can't wait for the post when you sort those. That's so beautiful!

I normally rave about your art, it's always so wonderful and your little food paintings are no exception. Those shore candies are a delight, that one's a great little abstract in yummy colors and flavors. I'll bet the buyer can taste them at a glance. Hershey's Kisses ROCK with the metallic pastel on the wrappers. Love how you used silver in different values to get shiny crumpled foil just perfect.

One small critique suggestion - the Kiss that points up at the top of the painting is kissing the top of the painting with its paper tag. If you either shorten it about 1/8" to leave some red background OR just swipe with the "white" pastel of thet paper tag so it loops up and then down, goes out of the painting before coming back in, then the Kiss won't be Kissing and the composition work. If it's put in a six inch frame, the problem will vanish under the mat edge, so matting it would also solve the problem. That may make it a non-issue and explain why you didn't fix it too.

Ah, the cost of Clear Bags. I got the Mountex Shrink Wrapper Kit instead - $252 investment but like getting a mat cutter, the cost goes down over the long run because bulk rolls of museum shrink wrap are a lot cheaper than comparable numbers of Clear Bags in Assorted Sizes. Includes everything, sealer, heat gun, roll rack, 100 foot roll of shrink wrap. That can be done to size and the cut off pieces sealed again to turn them into bags slide smaller art into seal again and trim, etc. like cutting mats.

Then, you'll laugh, I bought Clear Bags anyway when after two years I realzed I cold not work out a place to use it without a large table. Now I'm moving back to Arkansas, I will have that out on a long table with my mat cutter ready to go whenever I want - and a lot of my finished smaller works will just get matted and packed as I do them, in manageable batches. I might leave longish tops open and unsealed till sale though, so that I can get into them if I see changes I want to make while it's still unsold.

I also took your suggestion of those Itoya Profolios and am merrily filling a 9" x 12" one, an 8" x 10" one and a 5" x 7" deluxe one plus now an 8 1/2" x 11" one that my neighbor gave me along with the oil painting stuff. I love that, it's so easy to let people flip through what I've done recently. Minis go in Top Loaders regardless of medium and stacked in the cardboard tray the Top Loaders came in. Until I get home where I've got my albums. It'll be nice to have all the minis I bought years ago at hand again too!

Though yours will be framed, that's wall art. I still need to cut that fancy little mat arrangement and float it with a tab of archival tape on the back.