How to keep on track with record keeping and preparing for exhibitions.

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142nd Blog post

Sad empty pages 🙁

I am going to start by being completely honest with you. I have not done as I said I would by now, I have not done my tax returns. To be fair, I have been so busy with the funerals and the legal stuff surrounding the deaths of my father-in-law and father that many, many things have slipped. In allowing the journal/record keeping to slip, I have found myself to be less productive as the bits of paper go missing and so the record of what needs to be done has simply disappeared from my head. Not good! This week I am back on it as we are about to move house and if I don’t have everything I need to achieve written down, things will get so muddled and complicated that nothing will get done.

I have simply written off the past two weeks in my journal. I am not beating myself up about it, but I am getting back on track from today. In hindsight, the two things I have really missed are the weekly brain dump and the daily gratitudes. The brain dump is not unlike writing a diary. I put my thoughts and problems down on this page and in doing so I let go of them and move on to the more positive stuff. The gratitudes page reminds me how lucky I am and how much I have to feel grateful for, even when there are difficult things to deal with.

Even if I don’t achieve what I have set down in writing for each day and so have to mark things to put forward for the following week, having the weekly reminder means that it is possible to move things around to allow time to achieve the more difficult items on my list.

I just stapled the weeks together and started again. And that’s OK 🙂

At the end of this month, I will be running an art exhibition at Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking, Surrey. I normally run a couple of these events each year but haven’t done one since March 2020. I have a section in my journal for running exhibitions which includes things like booking advertising, ordering a banner, printing off information sheets etc. etc. There are so many things you need to remember when running these exhibitions yourself. Apart from getting all my artwork and admin stuff together, I need to be aware of the needs of the other exhibitors and the venue we are hiring.

I have a tick list which I will share with you here which is slightly different to the one I use when I’m just exhibiting, which I will also share. The list is fairly obvious, but the change of clothes is there because at some events setting up can be a dirty business and no one wants to buy quality artwork from someone who looks a mess.

Some of my exhibitions involve setting up throughout the day for a private view in the evening, when clean clothes and make up, hairbrush etc. are essential. This list now lives at the back of my journal but is printed off every time I am involved in an exhibition so that, hopefully, I won’t get caught out.

Some of you will know that I am about to move house. Thankfully, we are getting packers in to do most of it. My husband has worked from home for the past nine years so has his entire office to move. I work from home, too and have my office and all the clutter that goes with having an art studio to move and whilst both my children have left home, a lot of their stuff has not!

My husband has taken on the job of contacting all the utilities, banks etc. There are 80 companies on the list and counting. My job is to think about the layout of the new house and what will go where, why, and how.

My journal will come into use when I am deciding what I need to get rid of, what I need to buy and what I can re-purpose. I am even considering having a separate journal just for the new house and all the things which need to be thought about.

The point of me telling you all this is that if these things are not written down, we forget and the older I get the more I forget. By having a system like a journal, compartmentalising the journal for family, business and now for moving home, it allows or frees up space in your head to consider other possibilities.

For instance, I have this fancy idea about painting the new downstairs loo (restroom for my US friends) gold on the ceiling, navy blue on three walls and using fancy wallpaper with flamingos on for the other, plus brushed gold taps and handles. This information is written down so that I don’t need to think about what I want to do but I can now focus on where to source those items and note down comparison products and prices for when we are ready to do that work. I also have a Pinterest board if you are really interested where I have recorded ideas I like, do take a look here.

Now, you may think I don’t need to do that, but when you have a whole house to redecorate having decided what I want, I don’t need to revisit that, other than to note prices. As I said, I do forget and when I forget one of my helpful family members will push their opinion and I finish up not getting what I want. Believe me, this happens all the time.

I have friends who are gardeners and taking up journaling has really helped them to remember which plants to order for next year because it is so easy to forget what you want. I have a chef friend who uses his journal to record menu ideas when he is out and about and another who is an accountant and who uses her journal to note down all the little client expenses she used to forget so that she remembers to charge them for everything. So, get that journal back out, start making use of it in whichever area of your life needs order. I promise you if you use it you will benefit.

Below are the lists of things I take to exhibitions plus the extra stuff I need when I am putting on the exhibitions myself.

Exhibition Check List
My work
prints/browser works
greetings cards
business cards
marketing leaflets
card racks
browser rack
tables etc. as needed
Marketing for next exhibition
picture hooks
hanging system
small hammer
spirit level
small steps
Stationery box
artwork price labels
cash box
cash float
receipt book
index cards of art displayed
visitors book
rubber, sharpener etc
Blu Tack
red dots
bags for card sales
bubble wrap
bubble wrap bags
picture hooks
Electronic stuff
mobile phone
card reader/s
charger for phone
charger for card reader/s
For me
wet wipes
formal clothes
book to read
artwork to work on
makeup and face mask
index cards for bank details
event cash book
first aid kit
hanging supplies
hanging wire
insurance documentation
picture bumpers
picture hooks
receipt book for tfr cash to artists
spare tablecloth
picture tape

Please feel free to copy this list and add to it to make it personal to your needs.

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