How do you Inventory your Watercolor Art?

Years ago I used index cards, I then went to 8x11 sheets of paper and a notebook. With both systems, I took tiny pictures and attached them to the info. (Before computers...or before I had a computer.) That was slowly becoming outdated and hard to find the art. I named each piece and filed it alphabetically, but I was forgetting what name went with what picture, so I knew I needed another system.


So I developed a number and alphabet system. This system helped with the old system, but I updated it to a computer spreadsheet. I entered each painting with its number and then also entered it on another spreadsheet that was alphabetized. Not as good as I thought, so I decided to make the numerical spreadsheet by years, (20- 1, which would mean the year 2020 #1 painting. )This works really well. What doesn't work is trying to find a specific piece of artwork. Ok so I am looking for #17-24, where is it? I have limited space even with a designated Art supply and Art storage closet, it can be daunting looking for something, that could be in numerous boxes. So there must be a better way.....

How about plastic storage boxes? Since I had a flood in my home a few years ago I am a BIG fan of Plastic bins. I just put the art in the bins and stacked them in the closet...Easy? Right? NO..........which box has which art? Now, what to do...


So keeping the box idea, I still had to come up with a better system to actually find the Art.

I kept the boxes, (some are not clear and they are for storing the things that I need for an outside show, I mark the contents on the outside of the box). I thought this would be a quick fix, but after a few days, of inventory, I realized the word INVENTORY was a devil word..... but I continued on.....So that is why I am advising you to create a system for your art from the beginning so you don't have the ginormous job that I have right now.




First step: I numbered each box and stored the art by size.

Second Step: I made a spreadsheet for each box, one I put in the box, one I put on the clipboard in the closet, and one in my notebook.


THEN, yes, there is more. Third Step: I took pictures of each piece of art and uploaded them to a file named by its Box numbers. (Box #1) On the back of each piece of work I have, labeled each piece of art with its own handy dandy number, name, and size.



If the art is framed it is stored on a shelf and for art too


big for a box it is also stored on a shelf. All these art pieces must be either in a frame or a mat with a plastic sleeve for protection. These shelves have numbers and spreadsheets as well.


If you are just starting this will be easy to do. You could even do it by hand, but if you have a computer it makes it so much easier. Here is a BIG TIP, if you are buying plastic storage containers watch out for slopey bottoms.....a SQUARE is very important and seems to be a little harder to find, and of course clear and stackable is also a good idea. (Not to say you can't use what you have if they are slopey in the bottom...but a piece of foam core in the bottom to make it flat.)


Start NOW!...because if you, like me have many paintings it does become a big project, but once done it will make an inventory of your Artwork a whole lot easier.

There may be a Fourth step: upload all the photos to a hard drive..or some safe place where you can find them correctly and easily.


If you are starting from scratch, you may want to label each photo (jpeg) with all the statistics of the painting.

Name, Media, Size, and its story. (that is another blog....)


Now you have lots to think about, but if you start now, you will be so happy when you need to locate #18-25...Roses ...because someone wants to purchase your beautiful Art!


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