Thursday, May 30, 2013


Two paintings were painted over for new works.
I photo documented and digitized the paintings.
Business of Art - Visual Artists in Canada, 4th ed. 2012

Most established artists in any medium have accumulated a backlog of their art stored in nooks and crannies of their life. My motivation to do something about it is both physical and psychological. As in life, letting go of one's backlog of art requires the ability to make a decision. Whether visual or digital media artworks, it's not because its bad art that it remains in storage. It might be that the aesthetic no longer represents what this artist is doing. Before making any decisions, check that photo documentation exists of all the artworks. If not done immediately after creation, this is a good time to do so.

Here are suggested steps to get started.
1. Bring all the artworks together and organize them into categories and subcategories. For example medium, practice exercises, portraiture, landscapes, size, framed and unframed, media works for digitization.
2. Identify which artworks may be appreciated in categories of those for sale and those for donation or gifting. For example, family portraits to family.
3. If donating, identify organizations that have some meaning to you where you would feel good about your art being owned and shown. Knowing which pieces go to whom and why makes this easier.
4. If donating, make a proposal. If accepted, provide a letter of appraisal for fair market value. This can be obtained from galleries where it has shown. Or, show proof of sale amounts for similar size and medium that indicates the fair market value for a tax receipt.
5. Decide which artworks are for recycling. Categories may include those with materials that could be used in creating a new body of work such as good canvases and stretcher frames, or sculptures to be melted down, or art installation electronic or furniture elements for selling.
6. Seriously consider which pieces are to be thrown out as something you would not want anyone to see or have. Then do it.
7. For matted and framed works on paper, deconstruct into categories of frames and glass by size, mats, and the artwork. Create appropriate archival storage for the paperworks being kept. Either give or throw away the rest. Decide which frames and mats to keep, and which to either sell or give away.
8. Works on paper may also be recycled into new artworks, greeting cards, etc. Packaging them in a mat and plastic protector bag makes them more affordable for potential purchasers and easier for storage. Storing framed works on paper does not guarantee protection. Better to store flat with archival tissue separating each piece.
I've found once I was on a roll with letting go it got easier, and in fact was a liberating experience.

For more information on all aspects of the Business of Art - Visual Artists in Canada, the fourth edition is hot off the press and available for purchase at

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