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Inventory Control in the Studio

December 11, 2008

paintings-for-key-westAt long last, after having a rented storage space for almost a year, I went down yesterday, cleared it out and brought all my paintings home. It simply no longer made sense to pay for offsite storage for paintings that probably aren’t going to sell soon.

It was nice having them out of my way, but the only real long-term solution for those is to take them off the stretchers. I can do that a little at a time. Then, if I ever need them for a show, I can re-stretch them. It’s easy with practice.

The other component of inventory control that I want to get better at is my digital inventory. I do have a database of paintings in Microsoft Access, but I don’t have a field for jpegs.

The software version is really old, and it became buggy, so I haven’t updated it for a couple of years. Still, the existing database could easily be imported into a more streamlined software, but I haven’t gotten that far. I’ve heard good things about Working Artist, but I think it might be overkill.

Here’s what my database keeps up with:

Title, medium, size, description, date created, several fields for shows, a couple of fields for galleries, date sold, sold to name and address, price. I need to add a picture of each one!

How do you track your art inventory?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2008 1:49 pm

    I envy your organizational skills, Martha.
    I just have titled jpegs in my computer by folders. 😳
    I do have to get some sort of reliable system going.
    And start backing up my jpegs into disks should, god forbid, something happen to my computer where I lost things.

  2. December 11, 2008 1:51 pm

    Oh, I also have an irrational fear of stretching my own canvases. I haven’t done it in YEARS.

  3. December 11, 2008 6:31 pm

    I can’t speak about databases. I just put all my “finished” art on my website. However, I produce art at a much slower rate than you.

    It is so weird though. I was just thinking about renting a new space. I want to do larger works. However, I am very aware of the possible storage problem and the addition cost of renting more space is something to think about. My idea is a really good one. I just don’t know if it is economically feasible.

    Ahhhhhhhhh……….did I just say that. OMG!! I think I must be sick or something. Sheree is thinking about economic feasibility? LOL


  4. December 11, 2008 7:56 pm

    John, you might be glad later on if you have records of where your work is, like for instance when you become famous!

    As for stretching canvases, it’s really so easy to do. Canvas pliers are a help, though not absolutely necessary.

    Hm, Sheree. Sounds exciting to think about you doing bigger work. A studio and/or storage away from home is great for so many reasons, but impractical for me because of my weird habit of painting at all hours, plus my three studio dogs that I have to consider.

  5. December 11, 2008 9:03 pm

    After spending time setting up my own inventory system on the computer, and then trying a few of the programs for artists, I have cried uncle and just keep track of things on paper, filed in binders. Easy to get to, don’t have to worry about crashes or outdated programs, bugs. or even power, which can be an issue out where we live! I do have all my jpegs on the computer (they are backed up) and while I haven’t done it yet, someday I will print them all out and add them to the binders. This system works for me and gives me a rest from the computer too.

    Of course, I don’t always keep the binders updated but that’s a different issue:) and I had that problem when I was tracking it all on the computer too. For backup, I have a notebook, where EVERY piece I paint is noted; title, size, date, where it is, etc. So I have that as reference in a pinch.

  6. Sherrill Pearson permalink
    December 12, 2008 10:25 am

    When I first opened your blog and saw the “picture” you had posted – it hit me right away and I thought how interesting the “piece” was. Then I understood that the pieces were just arranged here for a photo.

    I believe that if you could find some ingenious and creative way of attaching these pieces together you would have a sale before too long.

    I can see “it” hanging in a reception area or some other high-end office building in their office areas.

    Sherrill Pearson, Montreal

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