View Full Version : Storing paintings?

02-27-2010, 08:15 PM
Hi Everyone!
Gee, seems like it's been so long since I have been around here. Not for lack of love of pastels, but for all sorts of other things going on.

The short story is that it looks like I'm losing my job because our entire department is being outsourced to India - and jobs in my field are pretty hard to find - so I'm also trying to get my house fixed up and organized so I can sell it - as I won't be able to afford to live in it any longer once I lose my job. In fact it's making me crazy. I'd hoped to have it on the market by now. But I am a packrat, and I've been in my house for 30 years, and I have lots of *stuff*, so much of my time is spent going through "stuff" - but most of it beings up so many old memories that I hate to part with it, so most of the time I end up sitting here sobbing with the stuff in my lap....

ANYWAY, that brings me up to my art, or lack thereof. I'm still crazy about pastels and would do nothing but pastels all day long if I could - but my situation makes it difficult for several reasons.

The MAIN one - when and if I move it will have to be somewhere smaller, maybe an apartment, and I won't have room for all my art supplies. I have lots and lots of paintings - but it's not like I sell my work. No one every buys any of my paintings, so they just accumulate in piles and the piles keep growing and growing. And I *don't* want to throw away my paintings. but if I keep on painting I'll run out of space to store them.

And then there are shows. At least 95% of my paintings are unframed, and I can just store them flat. But then there are the ones I have had framed for shows or whatever. Once they are framed they take up MEGA space. I have one whole ROOM (very small, :lol: )that is just filled with spare frames, framed pictures, etc.

I'm just at my wit's end, and so I have sort of given up painting as a way to try to minimize the amount of stortage needed. But I can't imagine what will happen in the future. I don't want to give up art - but in the future I'll have even *less* space to store more and more paintings.

Surely I can't be the only one to face such a dilemma? Well maybe the rest of you sell your paintings and free up space that way. :D But what do people d to solve space issues and storage and frames?

02-27-2010, 10:18 PM
Hi Debbie! I'm so sorry to hear of your situation -- it is such a common story these days unfortunately. I hope things turn around soon for all of us! I am someone who is quite used to living in very small areas! I lived in a New York City apartment for 12 years, a sailboat for 10 years and now I am on an RV! There are a couple of things I can tell you that I do to save room. I keep all my pastels (and now oils as well) in plastic stacking bins when I am not actively painting. I keep all my loose pastels sketches (done on paper) taped in large sketchbooks which really minimizes the room. I keep the paintings done on boards in plastic sleeves with a piece of glassine taped over the actual pastel surface first. I try not to keep too many framed pieces. I usually try to swap out paintings when I need to put something in a show or send something to a buyer. I usually only buy enough frames to get a discount which is like 6 to 12. All these things used to fit in a large area under our v-berth on our boat. They now all fit in a large locker on my RV. But, one of the things you might want to consider is trying to find an inexpensive artist's co-op in your area where you can keep a lot of your materials and hang your paintings. I am always amazed at how much stuff I have when I unpack all the plastic bins! One thing that I think is really good to do is to go back through your artwork every year and see what you want to keep. I never throw anything away -- until I have looked at it again and again and decided that I can't fix it or do anything better to it and THEN I finally get rid of it. I am getting better at evaluating what has potential and what is beyond redemption.

Hope all works out well for you Debbie! Good luck!

Paula Ford
02-27-2010, 10:20 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about your job and having to sell your home Debbie. I won't start by telling you my opinion about the evil scum that ...... nevermind.

I have lots of paintings that I've wrapped with tracing paper that are easily stored and don't take up my space. The ones in frames, well, they are in my garage, proped up against the wall in my studio and they do take up a bunch of space. I plan to unframe the ones that I don't like and just destroy them. Sorry, that's not much help. Sometimes you've just got to let go of some of them to make room for new paintings. Please don't quit painting Debbie. It will help you cope with what is happening.

02-27-2010, 11:36 PM
Debbie, So sorry to hear about your troubles. I will put you in our prayer chain. I had a very tiny space as a studio for years. I painted in sizes 8x10, 9x12, 11x14 and 16x20. I did not frame them all but instead used removable pins(forget what they are really called) that I could take apart and reframe as I needed for shows, etc. I kept four of each size on hand and found that by limiting my sizes to standard frame sizes it helped when I needed to change them out. Hope this helps, Good Luck,

02-28-2010, 09:59 AM
Hi Debbie,

So sorry about your job. It really stinks. But I also know how much you love to paint and so I hope you won't give it up. One thing you could do with the unframed paintings is put them in clear bags and them put those in those storage boxes that you see at Dick Blick. They are archival boxes and could possibly be stored under your bed. That is what I plan to do. i just moved to a small house and my studio space just decreased quite a bit as now it will just be in one of the bedrooms. so this is my plan for storing paintings. We have down sized over and over because we move so much but I am also not as prolific of a painter as you are. i think Edens suggestion is a good one too. I just put severaal paintings that I am doing in a series in a pad of tracing paper that is a little bit bigger than the paintings. they are all 9x12 and I think the pad is about 11x14. It works great! I then put a clip on each side, well two on the sides and one on the bottom so they won't move around at all. there is space for more paintings as i do them. Hope this helps.


02-28-2010, 07:46 PM
Debbie, don't sell your supplies. Clear bags and those archival storage boxes from Blick are a good idea for storage.

Why not try selling some of your art on eBay? It sounds like you have so much to store that comes at least partly from not selling as many at shows -- but you have them framed and ready to go. That could cut down on the framed pieces to something like at least a rotation for what to hang in the apartment.

Glassine is 58 cents or so per sheet and they are 30" x 40" sheets at Blick. So getting those boxes and stacking the art with glassine in between the paintings should do fine for storage, it's how I'm storing mine (and I need a new box, just stuffed my box).

For shipping, a Clearbag and a stiffener inside a Priority Mail box or big envelope would do -- and charge your actual shipping costs. If they're big you may need to roll some of the paintings with glassine on them or get other boxes, but just be honest about the shipping cost on ebay and collectors are fine about paying it.

If you start to move enough of what you have stored, that may help you get going on being able to continue selling your art instead of having to give it up. It's a matter of finding the right market. Your paintings are beautiful judging by your thumbnails. Take a good look at other people's art on eBay and try to price comparable to what others at your skill level are getting.

Be sure to mention it when you've used archival supplies in an eBay listing, that matters to collectors. Also mention it if the painting's framed. Take good photos of the art if it's framed, so they can see the frame. This could help solve both the money and the storage problems.

But don't get rid of your supplies. I did that once when I left New Orleans and then spent years replacing everything I used to have because I missed it -- even things that I hadn't gotten into often, once I could replace them I wound up using them. It's only been a year or two that I've been adding to what I have instead of replacing what I used to have in my studio.

However, I have almost all of my stuff in one small bedroom right now. So it is possible to reorganize to keep supplies and even store lots of finished art within a smaller space. It's just not all going to be handy at the same time.

I have about 500 or 600 pastels, more like 600 now since I got the Richeson set. Maybe more than that, I counted up about 500 before I got the Art Spectrum ones either. I have a half dozen full sets of colored pencils in different brands and numerous smaller sets in other brands. I've got paper in full sheets and in pads.

Let's see -- two large portfolios and a cardboard portfolio in the closet take care of most of the papers, the 30" x 40" mat boards and foam core boards are in a Blick box the foam core came in. I've got most of my supplies in a rolling taboret with five drawers and a five shelf tall bookcase from Wal Mart, sets and boxes stacked on it. Small things have migrated off in front of the books on the other bookcase. My table is covered with small stuff.

It gets cramped but it's more organized than it looks because it's also organized by proximity to my chair -- the mediums I'm using right now are stacked in reach on the table and the ones I'll do in the summer months off on the bookcase.

You could also get some binders like Koolbind ones or even three ring binders, cut pastel paper and glassine to fit in them and do your current ones in those sizes rather than working large. Not being able to set up an easel might get frustrating -- it is for me here because my room's too small to unfold my easel and set it up. I'm not getting rid of it though because we'll probably move again to a larger house in a year or two and when we do it'll still be good.

So you can store some things until you do have more space and pull together what you do have into good organization. Shelving and cabinets are important if you're cramming more into less space. I found out that having plenty of Sterilite tubs helped too -- I've got most of my tube paints in Sterilite tubs and they pack down pretty solid when I've got them stacked over in the corner near the closet.

I should get rid of some of the non-art junk that I have in the closet, that would make my supplies a little easier to organize. Eh, maybe when it's warmer and I've got more body energy for rearranging everything, plus when it's nicer out I'll want to put away some of the winter things and get out things like my oils that I can only use out on the porch.

So inventory what you have and consider how to put it into a smaller space. If you let go of having all of it out all the time, that can make a huge difference in how much you can keep.

I do know what a crush it is trying to move from a house down to an apartment or from a whole apartment down to a room -- but the art supplies are something you'd really regret. While any art you sell to help fund the move is a lot easier to live with letting go of.

Good luck on it.

Oh, duh.

On pastels especially -- if you are a pack rat with thousands of sticks instead of hundreds, maybe you could reorganize by breaking your sticks. Sort and put away about half of them but keep the other half sorted into a box the way Deborah and so many others do -- pieces indiscriminately by value and color rather than by brand. That could give your whole collection a box that can slide under a bed and then come out for pasteling. It would mean buying a nice pastel case if you don't already have one, but it would let you still have all or most of them handy -- and also stored.

Then get into the storage when you use up the pieces you use up most and replace sticks as you pull out the second half. That is what I'll have to do at some point because I know I'll have too many pastels to just keep shuffling boxes that sets came in.

For the future, or the part of it when you're in cramped quarters -- consider getting some watercolor pads and Colourfix primer. Then tape glassine between the pages at the tops. I bought a watercolor pad to make a pastel sketchbook for myself that has a spiral binding, glassine and Colourfix primed pages on my last Blick order, because my sketch wall is getting full and I'm not selling art for other reasons. Anything in it I really want to hang or frame to give someone, I could pull that page out, but a lot of the paintings can just stay in the pad until I'm ready to sell art again. Or get stored a lot easier than loose sheets in the boxes.