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How do you keep track of all of your art?

in Art

I get this question a lot... OK, one day, another artist asked me this but I am sure that others were thinking the same thing... They say that for each person asking a query there are at least ten more thinking the same thing - maybe more...

There is a science and analytical side to my nature. Personally I think it complements the artistic side. Others might think it makes me odd. The science side does assist in keeping a trajectory of my art. I am currently up to 1920 paintings since I started keeping records in 1967. I was 14 at the time with no clue as to where the art and life might lead. Seems like decades ago because it was.

I taught myself Visual Basic programming in the 1990's in order to do Performance Measurement for Environment Canada. This VB code allows one to do almost anything on a Home Computer. In my art coding I have several very important Excel files and vital VB routines that keep everything up to date. I have written tens of thousands of lines of code and I am still learning. I have interconnected HTML art files completed up to 4999 paintings in which “Name####” is the surrogate for the title of each new painting and “####” is the unique number of that painting.

One program keeps me from placing the same name on different paintings. It gets challenging to come up with different names when you paint so many sunrises and sunsets and clouds. I am not into using numbers for paintings as they are all individuals and deserved a proper designation. Another program keeps me informed of where and when I posted a painting on-line at for example. The red numbers on the image above are for images that have been posted on Pixels. I try not to post an image twice. Yet another program keeps track of paintings that have sold. A year end program keeps track of what I have painted during the previous year in terms of number of paintings and even square inches of canvas.

I have long contended that some record keeping work is important to keep track of the memories. For me, art has always been about recording memories and of course, trying to get better at doing so in oils on canvas. If I don't write those memories down, they are lost because even I forget. If I should peruse one of those files again even 50 years later, a few of those simple words is all it takes to bring those memories back. Those diaries surge to the top of the grey matter from where they were buried deep by time and the other stuff that makes up a life.

When I go to the big easel in the sky, all of these memories would have been lost without these records. They might make interesting reading someday. There is a lot of natural history and science along with the art. These memories are important at least to me... and that is all the reason that I need anyway.

Others think that keeping records is important too. Check out the work of François Lareau of Ottawa Ontario. He has developed a List of Canadian Artists ( - many of whom I call friends and even more who I wish I could have.

Without the arts and record keeping, society would be very much the poorer. Wouldn't it be nice if the arts were taught again in schools ... but that is another soap box that I need not step on now... 

Warmest regards from Phil the Forecaster … keep your paddle in the water…

PS: The best complement ever recieved.. Van Gogh Meets Thomson

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