Painting How To: Storing Your Artwork

Once you take on art as a career, you’ll start cranking out artwork.  Over the years all these paintings can end up anywhere… all over your home, studio, or where ever you might exhibit it for whatever period of time… hopefully many different places and forever!  But, of course, don’t forget those paintings you’ve sold or gifted to family and close friends… those hundred or so paintings that already belong to people who admire your work.

Your inventory of artwork will begin to grow, as will also the need for a place to keep paintings you want to exhibit… and sell.  In the beginning this most likely will be your home, your attic, maybe the garage… as it was for me.  But eventually you’ll outgrow these places, or they’ll no longer be safe and secure. Some people might consider adding a room to their home. But most likely you’ll start looking for some other place to store your artwork.

Piendra Creek Vineyard Painting, Piendra Creek Vinyard

Click Picture to Purchase: “View of Piedra Creek Vineyard, Edna, CA”

Early in July of 2008, I was laid up with a case of the flu. This gave me time to really think about how to address this problem of where to store my paintings. It was becoming a nightmare. I considered raising the roof over our living room so I could add a studio and more storage space. Since I was an architect, I was able to figure out how to rearrange everything, visualize how this might look, how long it might take to get the work done, and even how much it might cost. I had plenty of time to think about these things while I was lying in bed. When I recovered from the flu, I came to the conclusion it made more sense to simply move my stuff somewhere else, but not too far away from home.

I needed a safe, adequate, accessible place where I could spend some time with my paintings, with other artists and their artwork. But I already had such a place, right under my nose… Summer Studios Arts Academy, where I was teaching watercolors. I simply had to ask the boss if there was some place at the studio where I could store these paintings. We talked about this and came up with an agreement.  I began moving my artwork, a dozen or so paintings at a time from my home to the studio. It took time to organize everything, make up lists of paintings, write down their names, sizes, and prices so I’d have something that I could subsequently refer to for insurance purposes, potential exhibits, but also potential sales.

painting of a pond, watercolor pond painting

Click Picture to Purchase: “Quarry Pond at Hornblende Farm”

In the process of doing this, I had to examine all my framed paintings. Some needed attention. I decided to repair those that needed attention. I was also forced to set into motion a plan for changing the hanging apparatus on the backs of certain frames. I had to type up a list and put numbers on the frames so I could identify them for future exhibits. And I had to arrange them so they’d fit in the storage space available at the studio.  Lots of work!  But oh what a relief when I got it all done! My next major solo exhibit proved I’d done things right. I was able to draw up a list of paintings, find them, and move them back and forth from the exhibit venue very efficiently.

Douglas Stenhouse also wrote a book about watercolor painting.

“I decided to write about how I paint, not only to share my observations with others, but also, frankly, to do some self- examination. I wish I had done this earlier in my life! But then, how was I to know I’d benefit from doing so, certainly at a time when I had no aspirations of becoming a professional artist.” 

To learn more about Doug’s Watercolor Painting Book, click here. To purchase a signed copy, use the link below.


Douglas Simms Stenhouse, watercolor artist, transparent water color art, watercolor painter, painting with water colors