What is Art Administration?

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in the business of art, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

I don’t know what “art administration” means. Doesn’t it sound important?

Most days, Trail Guy asks me what I plan to do. Often the answer is “paint”; about every two weeks or so I say “administrative tasks”. 

What this means is tending to the business of an art business. Going to lovely places and painting is only part of being an artist full time.

This is what an administrative day can look like:

  1. Find boxes and packaging material to ship two paintings. One is almost right, but where is the box cutter so I can make it exactly right? Wait, I need a ruler too. . . where’s the bubble wrap? The packing tape?
  2. Take all the newly dry paintings from the painting workshop to the real studio and scan painting after painting. Oh wait, that one has a weird green spot in the sky – must have been against one that wasn’t quite dry yet. Set it aside to touch up later.
  3. Wait and wait and wait for a scheduled phone call with potential web designer. He said 10, sent an email that had something to do with The Google that said 6, I replied and said no, TEN, and he didn’t call. Then he emailed at 10:15 to ask if he could still call and say he was sorry for the confusion. Too much communicating going on here, but I kept scanning paintings until he finally called.
  4. Long and satisfying phone call; make some decisions.
  5. Put together a bank deposit.
  6. Drive to town (just Three Rivers, a wonderfully self-contained “village”). Drop by the library first and pick up a book with wonderful photos because that is one of the many ways that an artist trains her brain and eye. Visit with the librarian who happens to room with my niece. (Tulare County is small.)
  7. Go to the Post Office to send the packages, run into a friend who needs to find a web designer and  pass along the (as of yet unproven) web designer’s info to her.
  8. Go to the bank and see a former drawing student/friend/neighbor who asks, “Do you have a website?” SAY WHAT?? I clearly haven’t done enough advertising here in my own town!!
  9. Run into the grocery store and see the friend who encouraged me to design and publish coloring books; her business is now closed, but I was able to encourage her in her new job. (no, not a grocery clerk – she was there repping a product to the store owner)
  10. See a friend on the way home, one I help with her vacation rentals from time to time (so far have painted 3 murals for her in those rentals). Stop to catch up a bit.
  11. Get home to a phone message about a messed up order. My supplier messed up the order, I emailed, and the owner of the company called to ask how to make it right. WOW! That’s rare great service! Longish phone conversation.
  12. FedEx arrives with an order of canvases; I unpacked the box, and began to assign inventory numbers and photos to various sizes. I’ve been waiting for this order!
  13. Put hanging hardware and titles on the backs, begin a few quick paintings, and realize that all the newly scanned paintings need to be entered onto the website.
  14. Blog.

There are more things I haven’t finished, but it is almost quitting time. Really?? I could work until 10 p.m., but that would be rude. Besides, there are statistics about working longer than 9 hours; studies show that productivity drops. I think I could keep pushing, but there is no real sense of urgency, other than answering an email inquiry about a pencil drawing commission, and another about the book I am currently editing. 

Since you made it to the end of this blog post about “art administration”, you deserve a treat. How about an ice cream cone?

Worth It, oil on board, 8×10″, private collection (fancy Artspeak for “SOLD”)


  1. Jennifer Dougan
    February 8, 2018

    Whew, you’ve been working hard. Good job! 🙂

    An email is due you. Coming soon.

    So fun to see the ice cream come!

    Jennifer Dougan

    • cabinart
      February 8, 2018

      Hi Jennifer – nice to hear from you. I worked like crazy perfecting the ice cream cone. It placed 2nd in the dairy category at an ag art show; I was appalled, because it was the only entry in that category! But then it sold, so I didn’t care about prizes because selling is the ultimate reward. (Does it count that it sold to a friend??)


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