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An Artist’s Tips for Organizing Your Art Inventory

As The Rickie Report sends out Calls To Artists, we imagine you checking your inventory which includes not only jpgs but actual art pieces.  If you have been creating for a long time, sent art to galleries or entered other exhibits you need to know what you have on hand.  Marilyn Salisbury aka “Bobbin” is member of the Wellington Art Society.  She shares her inventory system with our readers in this article.

An Artist’s Tips for

Organizing Your Art Inventory

Bobbin is busy teaching classes in her home, at Jerry’s Artarama and at Art & Sea Living Studio in addition to creating her own work.  She teaches mostly watercolors, but has a few acrylic students who are learning the basics of painting.  
"Water Lily" inspired by Bobbin's visit to the NY Botanical Garden Monet Exhibit

“Water Lily” inspired by Bobbin’s visit to the NY Botanical Garden Monet Exhibit

She also teaches “fun” art with her, as well as ATC (Artist Trading Cards) and Altered Journal books.  In her “spare time”  she is writing and illustrating children’s flash cards, a book, and writing in her Sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Co-op Library.

"Fractured Palms"

“Fractured Palms”, A form of negative painting that Bobbin creates

TRR:  Why should artists be motivated to do this?


HOMEWORK for the Summer…..MAKE your own or use my System….JUST do it, you will thank me later….and you will be organized and professional from the beginning.  I know some of you already have a system and it works for you. I never thought I would be retired and able to paint every day and have so much art work.  It is easier to have a system in place and stick to it.

“Roots” A tree of Bobbin’s mind.  She shares, “Our roots run deep in my family and eventually I may use this for a family tree.”


TRR:  What is the first step?


As a beginning artist I decided to just number the art and keep a list of the numbers and names.  Then as I began to sell some work and kept adding to the inventory…things got a little out of hand. 
SO I added a card file, and alphabetized all the paintings…including their number…… Sound GOOD?  Well for a few paintings it was okay………….BUT not for hundreds. Mind you,  not every painting deserves a show, but every painting deserves and needs a name and number.
AFTER lots of trials and errors.  I came up with a system that works for me. I hope this will help all of us be organized and professional.

“Boats” From Bobbin’s trip to New York and the boat dock in Matauck

TRR:  What supplies do you need?


  • Three ring binders one for each year (or use one for all your work and start fresh with 2013)
  • 3 ring hole punch
  • Page protectors
  • Tape
  • Camera
  • Photos of work 
  • Page dividers
  • FORMS ( you can make your own, which is probably best as you know what info is important to you and your work)
I love forms……so I make them, not sure why but I think I feel more organized. 
  • Every ART piece needs a name and a number, once I name it I get the Individual art piece form and fill it out.  Do not file until it is complete…..check your CHECKLIST ( only need 1 of these)
  • List on INVENTORY list (only need a few of these)
  • Photograph the art work.  I do a 2×3 on computer of work- with & without the frame.  I also make real photos (CVS, Costco, etc).    This is when I use the page protector.  If it is a work that I plan on showing,  I will need all the photos, application, etc in this page protector


  • IF you are savvy on the computer you can do it all there.  I do some on computer, ie: I keep the photos and their # and name. I like the visual of the book.
  • When the Page is complete you file alphabetically by the name of the Art.  I use Alpha page dividers.
  • The Inventory List is placed in the front  of the binder. Since I have a large inventory, I have Volumes 1 & 2 which is everything before 2013.  Now you may not have that volume so you may want to just divide by years or a binder for each year. 


This is just my system, there are numerous ones out there for you, but you need to find one that fits your needs.  Don’t find yourself in a mess when you need to locate something and you don’t have some kind of system in place. 
I also have lots of pictures on- line, on my web site and on Fine ART America, so I have listed which are on what site and the date.  After a certain amount of time you may want to change it up and if you know where and what you are doing it makes it easier.  
If you show in lots of different places at the same time you may not remember where  each painting is.  For example, you have three pieces in City Hall, 2 pieces at the  Community Center, 1 at the Airport and 1 at Crest Theater, and 6 at Art & Sea Living. An “At a Glance” form maybe.


Date Posted     #        Name                 Size:                   Price  of  Original       Frame:







At a Glance – What & Where

#                    Name                                       Where                              Date Pick – up










To reach Bobbin, please email her at: and visit her website  and check out her paint party at

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


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