Organizing Paint

As the school year winds down (just six more teaching days left for me!), my painting practice is gearing up in advance of my next show. Every year I vow to start early and most years, I still find myself working like a madwoman in the days prior to hanging, desperately hoping I'll have enough pieces to make the show look "full." This year, I basically have no choice but to begin early as most of my previous work for the "Motley Menagerie" theme are on to other homes besides my apartment walls. 

This year, I'm merging the Menagerie show with a subset of creature pieces collectively known as "Sparks of Madness." I'm putting my monsters out on canvas in living, large color. *gulp* I made this decision back in October of last year and my reasoning from that time still rings true:
I think it is time to take a risk and put together an entire show featuring my private passion front and center. Yikes! There is a good chance that this is a fool's errand. Let's face it: monsters aren't as living room compatible as pretty birds and elephants. This is really a matter of authenticity. I love creating creatures. As crazy as it sounds, they whisper things to me as they come to life. They tell me to play, to smile, to laugh, to be bold, to be content with who I am, awkward bits and all. I think it is time for my creatures to speak their truths to a wider audience.
Since I anticipate devoting most of my summer to painting, I've been doing some reorganizing of the studio so I have easy access to my supplies. Previously, all my paints were stored in various baskets scattered throughout the studio. Between the acrylics, the craft paints, watercolors, gouache and mediums, I have too much to really consolidate into a single spot. However, I did manage to bring the heavy body paints front and center.

I have a large corkboard (purchased for $5 at a local thrift store) on one wall of the studio and it's my inspiration board. I decided to devote half of this space to a functional paint display. This organizing system is not an original idea; I found a picture of a similar set-up on the internet. Because I'd rather not pay for a hundred nail holes in my apartment wall, I used a tack and clip system to hang my paint tubes on the corkboard. (Nails would probably be sturdier but there's that pesky damage deposit to get back.)

I hope to add nice big color samples on stickers to the tubes so I can see the colors more clearly but that's a project for a more obsessive day. The tubes are generally organized by color moving from left to right but I'm not going to stress if something gets out of place...those sample stickers will come in handy for replacing tubes where they belong...hmmm....I guess I do need to get on that as soon as possible! Just as long as I spend more time painting than organizing the painting supplies!

Edit - May 26, 2015:
After a long day at work (and being too tired to manage anything else), I took the time to add those color sample stickers to all my hanging tubes of paint. I love, love, love any organizing-by-color system (not to mention swatching) and it was actually both fun and soothing to sit quietly working on this project.

I am thrilled with this system: no guessing at colors while also digging through overflowing baskets of paint tubes. At my last painting session, I shimmied the three feet from my studio table to the inspiration board and selected which paints I needed immediately. Once I was done, I just clipped them back into place; as I suspected, the labels were very useful for remembering where each tube needed to go. Plus, the whole thing looks much cooler with all those pretty color splashes!


Debbie said…
I've never seen paint tubes organized in this way. It's a great idea. I hope it works out for you. I keep mine in clear plastic shoeboxes, by brand. It works OK, but not the best, when trying to decide on colors to use. Of course, I do have color charts for each brand, so that helps.