Saturday, May 17, 2014

Organizing and Storing Art Magazines

How many of you have tons of art magazines stacked all around the place or in boxes, and you don't have any idea what to do with them or how to store them? You don't want to throw them out or give them away because they have great articles, demos, tutorials, and pictures that are incredibly inspiring. So, what do you do?

I struggled with this question for years, but I finally figured it out. I got some of those plastic stackable milk crates (the long kind that are about 12" x 12" x 17"). I have a lot of magazines of many different titles, so I needed at least five crates. I divided up all the magazines by title, then put them in order by date. I put the heaviest ones in the crates on the bottom such as International Artist, Art Collector and Western Collector. However, as I feared, magazines are so heavy, you cannot stack the crates directly on top of one another or the crates will collapse. As you can see in the photo above, the crates have warped and started to collapse. That was before I came up with the idea of putting wood in between the crates to add support.

However, what I really want to do now is build a six-cube case so I can fit six crates inside (one crate per cube), and then I don't have to worry about the weight of the magazines. My friend, who built my custom closet shelves for my studio, is going to help me build it. In the meantime, this method is working beautifully.  The wood is adding just enough support to keep the weight evenly distributed across the crates and helping them not to collapse.

Now, if I need to go looking for a particular title, or specific magazine, it is at my fingertips. No more cramming the magazines into boxes (have you ever lifted a box full of magazines?) and having to go through the entire box before finding the one I want - right at the bottom of the box. I am so happy with this method, and it looks so much neater in my studio than magazines (or boxes) everywhere.  Try it, you'll like it!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pencil Storage

I am currently working on three different pieces, all in pencil, but neither are ready for a "work-in-progress" article yet, so instead I am continuing on with my little series on how I organize my studio (as per request by one of my readers). Today I am covering how I organize and store my pencils.

My favorite piece of storage equipment is my 120 pencil display by Prismacolor (in the photo above to the right)! I actually got that from an Ace Hardware Store. I used to work at one in N.C., and they do have art departments. Well, not all of them do, but I have heard of some that have huge art departments! The store I had worked at were cutting down on the number of pencils they carried, so they bought a new Prismacolor display with far fewer slots for pencils and so did not need the full size display any longer. I was able to buy the display complete with all the pencils in it that they could not display in the new case (about 300 pencils total) for only $30.00. Now THAT was a deal!

There is an Ace hardware on the Outer Banks that carried Carb-Othello pastel pencils and I loved to go there and restock my supply. I went one day and found out they were no longer going to carry pastel pencils and did not need their pencil display anymore. The manager actually gave me the pencil display - free! That's the little display case in the middle (to the left of the Prismacolor display). Unfortunately, no pencils came with the display. The store had pretty much sold out of their stock of pastel pencils, so no more pencils to buy.

All the drawers to the far left, next to the Carb-Othello pencil display, have more colored pencils as well as my watercolor pencils (Inktense, Neocolor II, Prismacolor, and Derwent), charcoal pencils, tinted charcoal pencils, and Graphitetint pencils. I have a little container of Prismacolor art sticks and some battery operated pencil sharpeners on the table top. On top of the drawers I have a few more pencil sets, such as Lyra Skintone colored pencils, Walnut Hollow Oil colored pencils (great to use on wood), and a woodless colored pencil set. In addition, I like to try new colored pencils to check their quality. I have a complete set of Soho colored pencils (which is a brand made especially for Jerry's Artarama) and Dick Blick colored pencils. The Dick Blick colored pencils are pretty good, though not  buttery soft like the Prismas. They're really more like Polychromos and they have a pretty good lightfast rating for most of the pencils. Jerry's brand I'm not as keen on. What I need to do is use the three primary colors of each brand and create a whole picture, then compare them side by side. Also, I have a few Pablos, and many Polychromos that I love to use, and the complete set of Derwent Coloursoft colored pencils. However, my favorite is still Prismacolor with Coloursoft and Polychromos a close second.

Finally, I have three pencils easels, each one carries approximately 125 pencils. One is for Prismacolor colored pencils, one for Polychromos and Derwent colored pencils, and the third for Derwent pastel pencils. These pencils easels are a great way to organize and keep your pencils, especially for quick and easy access. The easels are also very useful for travel or for plein aire drawing.

So, that is my pencil organization and storage! I hope this is helpful for some of you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pastel Station

One of my readers asked if I could give tips on how I store and organize my supplies. So, in response to that request, here is the first of several articles concerning what I have learned over the years about organizing and storing my art supplies.

The Pastel Station

First is something I am rather proud of. It's my pastel station. It consists of a tool box that has three flat drawers on top and two shelves underneath. I have converted it into a place to store my pastels.

In the top three drawers I store my pastel sticks, including soft, semi-hard, and hard sticks. I try to keep them separated by hue first, then within each hue family separated by values. I did not have quite enough room to store them all, however, so some of them are stacked on top of each other.

I wanted some foam padding to line the drawers with so the pastels would be protected, but had a difficult time finding some except for in large quantities, which I did not need. Then while walking through the Dollar Store one day, I saw contact paper and in with the contact paper was some black foam-like padding that was perfect for the job! It came in smaller quantities and was very inexpensive. So, I measured it out, cut the pieces, then doubled them and laid them in the drawers, placing my pastel sticks on top. Worked like a charm!

In the bottom section, the two shelves, I have two sets of small drawers that hold pastel pencils and other small assorted pastel supplies, plus a wooden box that holds a complete set of Derwent pastel pencils, several boxes of small Rembrandt pastel sets, a small set of Richeson semi-hard pastels, a full set of NuPastels, and several pan pastels.

On the very top of the pastel station I have a full set of Conte pastel pencils and a lazy-susan type of device that holds my pastel powders. Long before pan pastels were developed, I was grinding down pastels into powders to use in artwork. It's not the exact same thing as Pan Pastels (my powders have a bit less pigment), but it's close and works fine for me. It's also a lot less expensive!

So there you have it: The Pastel Station!  You'll also notice that it has wheels, so I can move the entire station conveniently and with ease to either my drafting table or to my easel so all my pastels will be right at my fingertips. I love this set-up, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I get many more pastels.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Studio - New Work

My studio is beginning to come along nicely. I actually got to spend some time in it today.As promised, here are some photos of my new studio:

Here is my new computer desk, still unassembled

Here is the studio after a lot more unpacking and more furniture added.  Here's my drafting table, taboret, bookcase, and other assorted things. Of course, the Toot had to pay a visit and check out what I have been working on all afternoon. 

Here's my computer center. You can see some of the scratchbord panels in the rack above, but what you can't see are all the pastelbords on the second shelf and on the floor right up against the right side of the desk.

 This was supposed to be my cutting table, where I could cut paper and frame pictures, but since I can't seem to find one of my tables, it has turned into a place to put some of my pencils and pastels.

 And one must always have some storage space. A friend of mine is going to put some custom shelves in the closet so I can have more organized storage space rather than just stacking stuff up. 

The backgrounds I worked on today are these (sorry for the glare on the blue one). I have been waiting for this moment to try to figure out the background for my Cowboys for Christ painting so I can finally begin on the painting, and I have pretty much figured it out. These are simple backgrounds, but it's my first time making anything in acrylic, nevermind a background. The colors in the photos aren't as bright as they are in real life unfortunately.

The green background is a possibility for a dog portrait. 

I'm SO happy to have a studio again and be back to work on my art ..... FINALLY! Have a great day everyone and keep on creating!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Settling In

Work-in-progress of a scratchbord of Treat, my beautiful long-haired tortie.

I'm still unpacking all of my art supplies and "stuff" and organizing my new studio. Very excited over finally having my own studio space!!! I really need to get some photos taken in the next day or so. I don't have too much left to unpack, but quite a bit to still organize.

I'm having some custom shelves built into my closet space for additional storage space. I also got an idea for another way to store and organize my art magazines, of which I have many dozens to organize and store. I want to use those plastic crates a lot of people use to put kids toys in. I thought I can put stand it on it's side, stand my magazines in there, by order of date and particular magazine.  I am hoping to be able to use two of them and stand one on top of the other. Don't know if it will work though since magazines in bulk tend to be quite heavy.

I'm also trying to come up with ideas for new articles to write for my blog. Having lived in a tiny travel trailer for almost the past two years now, I haven't been able to get much artwork done. So I need to kickstart my creativity. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Is there anything you would like to learn more about? Let me know please and I'll see what I can do about putting together an article on the topic.

Must go for now. Will try to have pics for next time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Website Redirected to Blog

 I have recently realized that "SiteKreator" has completely taken my website down due to my not signing into sitekreator for six months. Thus, I have redirected my website to right here, my blog, until I can get it straightened out. Hopefully I will have the issue resolved in a few days. I apologize for the inconvenience and hope you will visit my website as soon as I get it straightened out.

*EDIT: It is taking longer than I thought it would to get my website back up and running. I have two different computers now and have to figure out which computer has which photos.  I have to rebuild my entire website all over again.  

~ Nancy