Don’t Loose Your Artwork to the Studio Mess

This past week I was with some friends at a local coffee shop, all right it was Panera’s, and we got on the subject of how much inventory artists have. This of course led to how do you keep track of the stuff. Not surprising most artist don’t keep track of their art or they hope their spouse or partner will magically do it for them. Personally I run about 50 50 when it comes to keeping track. At least I did until the beginning of this year. That’s when I was surprised by multiple sales of sculpture and paintings from the gallery that represents me, and while this was a great thing, I realized I didn’t have a clue as to which ones sold. I know that sounds silly but somewhere along the line the gallery and I had different names for the works. It took weeks of searching through computer files to match up the sculptures. It was then I decided that this was NOT going to happen again.

So I devised a plan to inventory my work in a coherent fashion that would not be labor intensive. After all I’m an artist and my mind tends to wander to more creative endeavors, meaning art marketing overwhelms me. You can make up a spreadsheet for this but I don’t keep a computer in my studio. Besides I thought a basic handwritten log would be a good starting point. My laptop is way to distracting. However I do  try to transfer this information periodically to an Excel sheet which I’ll go over at another time.

  • I created a naming convention that works for me. Year-Month-Number, which looks like this 15-o6-001, (2015, June, first piece)
  • I place this number on the back of a work in the bottom right corner WHEN I START IT!  Wherever you put it be consistent.
  • Now for the really hard part. Copy the number in a cheap composition book. You can add more information later.

I need to interject a small note here. YOU WILL MESS UP THE ORDER OF NUMBERS ON THE BACK OF ARTWORK. So what, its your reference, you don’t get marked on it. I wrote the same number on 3 separate works and had to go back and change them. No one laughed at me. So if it makes you feel better go ahead and list a bunch of numbers in the book now but skip a line between them. That way you can jump to the rest of the information you need to record. Let’s look at that now.

  • Weekly I go back to the book and next to the art works matching number I add the medium, (acrylic, oil, watercolor, etc)
  • Next I list the substructure, (canvas, art board, watercolor paper, etc) You can make up your own abbreviations, just be consistent.
  • Then I list the size which is about the last known piece of information.
  • I leave the title and description for last because you know the work can change overnight.
  • Once the work is done I write the title and size on the back.

It takes a little work but if you start now with any new work you can go back and tackle all that other stuff laying around. Remember these do not need to be in sequential order. This list is for you to inventory your work. It will be important later!

Let me know how you keep track

Imagination is never still. The marks we make are verbs!

Clean Color Reprint

I’ve been subscribed to and reading Fine Art Views for the past few years and have always found it informative. There is an smooth narrative style that is easy to digest. From time to time I think it will be fun to reprint some of the information.

Clean Color
by Keith Bond

But first, what is clean color? Clean color does not necessarily mean pure color straight from the tube. Ironically, clean color can be gray, neutral, muted, subdued, etc. Or it can be bright and pure. The color’s chroma does not determine whether it is clean or not. The Russians have beautifully sophisticated grays. Yet they are clean. How or why? In his book Alla Prima, Richard Schmid defines muddy colors as a mixture of color that is simply the wrong temperature. So, if that is true – and I agree with Richard – then it follows that clean color is simply a mixture in which the temperature is correct. The key to the Russian artists’ sophisticated grays is proper temperature. […]

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Embrace Your Creativity, Promote Your Work

I was out this weekend looking at art. I didn’t really find much. Now that’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of stuff out there, there was. And for the most part it was going to stay out there. It left me feeling like I was becoming more and more lost in a flood of mediocrity. So when I got home I sat down at my computer and began looking for art on the web.
It’s amazing how the internet has opened the world of national and international clients to creative people, truly a good thing. But it has also opened the floodgates on a growing multitude of people who for no better way to say this are creative misfits.
This is not about them!
Many creative people I know are so frustrated they’re not sure they even want to continue promoting their work. They see themselves lost in a sea of people shouting, look at me!
What you need to understand very clearly is that people who buy their art at malls, or booths at flea markets don’t understand the creative process of one of a kind art. They are not collectors. They are redesigning some space and filling up their walls. And while a bit of education might move them in the right direction, the truth is most of them will never “get” what you do. So stop looking at that stuff out there as anything other than poor design mostly made with inferior quality materials and basically nothing more than filler.
The people who will buy your work, the people you are marketing to, are smart enough to see the quality regardless of how the economy is doing. Their good taste in collecting doesn’t disappear because money is tight They don’t suddenly run out and buy some cheap crap. You know better!
Now is the time to embrace your creativity, time to work it hard. It’s also the time to promote your work to stay on top of your art marketing and to start the kind of conversations with your audiences that shows your confidence. Create quality work that fits a smaller price point if that’s what you need. Just remember the world of creativity is filled with white noise. Use this as a backdrop for a clear voice that offers a consistent quality. Collectors are still looking for the best work out there. They aren’t going to settle so don’t you.

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Driving With Your Artistic License

Creating art is a journey and traveling it can be a very rewarding experience. Learning about technique through reading books and magazines and watching videos or talking to other artists is like looking out the windshield. Hands on painting and sculpting, the act of creating, needs to fill miles. There is no substitute for doing!

When you first got in a car you were sure you couldn’t drive. You probably even said it to yourself. I can’t do this, I’m not sure what I’m doing, and you may even believe you weren’t any good at it. Get over it. You are allowed to become an artist, tell yourself so! The process of creating art is fun and filled with mistakes and happy accidents that I guarantee will make you smile. So go along with it and have fun. That’s why you started.

My first few cars were beaters that ran on maypops (worn out tires). As the cars got better so did the experience of driving. Your art is the same. Cheap quality brushes and paint will have a lasting effect on painting that IS NOT GOOD. Use better quality materials and you will quickly find that the work you create will be better in quality. And you know that it’s hard enough to create without having to deal with the frustration that is caused by inferior quality brushes and paint.

Having artistic license means that you have a responsibility to driving the creative process. Make it interesting. You don’t have to travel down the same roads day after day. Experiment with getting from one point to another. Instead of long careful brushstrokes across a landscape, dab and stroke blotches to see how they relate to the rest of the surface. Instead of pressing forward with your eyes open, squint at the artwork. See the tonal relationship that makes up your art. Color can be important but tones and their relationships are part of the variety that makes a work of art. By changing the size, shape, color and texture of elements in a painting, you are creating an interesting visual environment that a viewer will be pleased to visit. This is the importance of using your artistic license.

Your journey will put you in touch with the elements of design, the rule of thirds and maybe even an exploration of the golden triangle. You will play with cool and warm colors and tints and use them to create depths and perceptions. Your textures might create movement across the surface where you make your marks. And who knows what medium you will choose to express your ideas. Your artistic license will not be revoked for mistakes or experiments. Enjoy the journey!



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