Organizing My Art-Making Time

Organizing My Day By Priorities And Eight Art Show Tasks


A friend of mine recently asked me how organizing my art work day.  My friend is looking forward to retirement and thinking about painting.

In my head, I started going though organizing my mundane daily schedule: coffee, exercise, breakfast, get to the studio, etc.  Then, I started thinking about whether or not there was a better way to describe the work routine of an artist.  Or, rather, at least this artist.

Organizing My Art-Making Time


Then, I wondered, do I have a routine?

It is true, my daily routine is broken up by coffee, exercise, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And coffee.  In between, I use my time to work on my art.  That is unless I have to do things like go grocery shopping and other “must do” errands.

Additionally, the tasks involved in making art include things like marketing;  framing; preparing for art shows; inventories; and etc!

Organizing by Priorities And Deadlines.

Once I started thinking about it the more I wondered, how do I organize my time?   I would describe my work routine by saying I work based on priorities.  And, then, I make sure I draw and paint daily.  

That is, I don’t have an hourly or daily routine.  Instead, I end up organizing my work based on priorities and deadlines that I set.

Project: Deliver One Painting To Local Art Show.

As an example, I’d like to outline roughly eight tasks I needed to complete recently in order to submit a painting to local show.   The show is the Rogue Gallery and Art Center‘s Annual Members Exhibition with a theme, coincidentally, of “Time”.

Come to think of it, these tasks might make a good checklist to make sure all is ready prior to delivery date.

One: Create and complete a painting. 

Perhaps the obvious first step is to create and complete a painting.  When considering artwork for a show, I work best when the painting is completed well in advance.  

Organizing My Day: Artist Inventory

Two: Photograph and add the painting to my inventory database.  

  • This is something I do for each painting prior to it being introduced to the public.
  • If it hasn’t been photographed and entered into our inventory database, it doesn’t get shown.  
  • Fortunately, this task was completed a week in advance.

Three: Mat and frame the painting.  

  • Preparing the mat and frame can be done ahead of time or concurrently with completing the painting and inventory.
  • I do the measurements for the matting, glazing and framing needed for the painting in advance.  
  • Early is better in case I need to purchase matting, framing or glazing.   
  • I cut my own mats and mount the water media painting once its in the inventory.  
  • For some of my paintings, I use my own custom frames.  This is another task that needs to be done ahead of time to allow the frame to dry.
  • Final assembly includes cleaning the glazing and assembly.

Four: Prepare entry forms.  

  • This particular show requires an entry form and title card.  The requirement is standard; it just needs to be done.  It usually takes me an hour or less if all goes well.
  • If I’m doing my own show, I do a more extensive inventory list and prepare my title cards.  This task can take several hours.  It is important to get this task just right!

Organizing My Day: Title Card Example

Five: Transportation.  

Fortunately, with this particular exhibition, I can just drive my painting to the gallery.  No special packaging or crating needed.

Six: Marketing.  

  • I’ll want to let people know about the show and the fact that I’m in it.
  • Writing a narrative about the painting and show is important.  In this way, I let people know what’s special.  Then, add an invitation to friends to attend receptions.  
  • For this particular show, I’ll use this blog and social media.

Seven: Receptions.  

I figure its a good idea to attend receptions, especially if they include my artwork.  This isn’t always possible because of time and distance.  However, since this particular exhibition is just a short drive away, I’ll plan on stopping by!

Eight: After the Show.  

Pick up painting and do any follow up correspondence, particularly if a piece has sold or earned an award.

So, these are the eight major tasks for getting one painting to one show.  The tasks are similar for all shows, though, naturally, there are variations based on show requirements.

Organizing Time: Framing

Organizing Tasks; Managing Time.

Back to the subject of organizing tasks and managing time.   The tasks associated with getting a piece of art into a local show are a sampling of the kind of work I fit into my daily routine.  And, I still need to draw and paint.

Put another way, those few hours between breakfast, lunch and dinner are important!

Better Is Writing Things Down.

How does one stay organized?  Truthfully, I tend to use my memory.  That is to say in the back of my head I have a sort calendar of events, projects and tasks to do.  

However, when I have lots of projects, its a better idea to write them down.  That’s when I pull up my spread sheet and add them to my working calendar or project spreadsheet.  This is especially true for more complicated projects.  As time gets closer, I’ll want to track progress.  In that way, I keep from procrastinating or doing things at the last minute.


This article ended up being a way for me to review how I manage my time.  I realized that I organize my work day based on projects and priorities.  Then, I fit my daily tasks between coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner!

How about you, do you have a daily routine?

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