One: Archiving

archiving, photos, full spectrum light, pins and masking tape
My handy pin board

Archiving one’s work ranks as one of the most important aspects in the life of a professional artist. Over the years I have discovered some practices which reduce the time needed for this chore. As I deal with various materials and supports, the tricks vary somewhat.

Taking photos

In the beginning I tried to follow the advice of the professionals. Some suggested special lighting. I bought special lighting. Others suggested the shadow side of a building on a day with relatively thin cloud cover. I managed inconsistent results. Consequently, I will forever be thankful for the invention of digital photography and iPhoto. Photoshop Elements is a marvelous tool as well.

Full spectrum lighting

Installing full spectrum florescent lighting in my studio has saved my day. Not only do I have consistent lumens, I no longer need to install the special lighting. All I need is my camera, a tripod and an easel.

A pile for archiving

DEVENIR has created a whirlwind of activity in my studio lately. I love the challenge of creating a painting a day. Now that the challenge has come to an end, I feel the need to continue, although at a slower pace, perhaps. As a result of all the painting, however, I had a pile of paintings needing photography.

archiving, pins, masking tape, screws
Pins and masking tape

Screws for small stretchers

My years with watercolour gave me a singularly useful tool in the form of a pin board. Using a half sheet of half-inch plywood, I covered the surface with a sheet of cork. Over the cork I installed a neutral piece of gray fabric. This gave me a surface into which I could insert hat pins holding the watercolour paper in place for the camera. I also use this board for smaller pieces which I hang on the screws at the top.

archiving, DEVENIR, photos, mixed media
One of forty-two

Same size easier

With the 30 Day Challenge, I not only had the thirty paintings which needed archiving. A dozen “mistakes” could be included as well as the latest two in my new series “One”. Most of the paintings were the same size, eight by eight inches. A much easier and quicker proposition.

Masking tape corners

I set up the tripod and camera, placed the pin board on the easel and lined up the first painting. Making sure I set the camera at the lowest setting I proceeded to take several shots knowing what I saw through the viewfinder may not be the result I sought. Ideally, I fill the lens as much as possible, so cropping is kept to a minimum. Masking tape gave me the borders of the next painting. It did not take long to go through forty-five paintings at five different settings each.

Turning it sideways

Archiving canvases requires a different approach. Removing the pin board, I put the first painting on the easel. Since it is square, it only needed a level to determine if it was square to the camera lens. Several shots ensued as I moved the camera where the image filled the photo. The second piece is rectangular. I find it easier to place the painting on its side rather than finding the apparatus to change the camera to a different angle. However, I cannot simply hang it on its wire. Using a clamp, I secure the wire to the easel and proceed with the photography.

Archiving made easy

Now iPhoto completes the preparation for archiving the images, cropping colour adjustment and renaming. Once this is done I file the photos on my computer in folders for easy access and then I add them to Artwork Archives, a tool I highly recommend.

archiving, cropping, mixed media
Ready to crop

Upcoming events

Finally, don’t miss the latest show at VASA in St. Albert. Always a good time.