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  • Tips on Tuesday, Keep Track as You Go

    Book keeping nightmare.

    I’m late filing my business taxes this year.  Why? Because I saved all the figuring until the end of the year.  I saved receipts to track expenses, but didn’t add them up month to month.  That means I had to get them all added up in the month of January, with my husband’s help I managed.

    The Department of Revenue wants a lot of detail.

    Then there was income, some sales through etsy, some through the co-op, some independently, some parties/classes through the studio, some independently.  Etsy keeps a good record for me, the co-op told me how much I made through them, but didn’t divide it into sales and classes, which I need to know apparently.  The wonderful bookkeeper  for the co-op is looking into it for me, and soon I’ll know what I need to know.  You see, every painting I make and sale has to be reported as “manufactured goods”, every sale I make through etsy or independently has to be reported as “retail sales”, every sale I make through another entity such as a consignment shop or co-op, my share of that income gets reported as “wholesale”. On top of that I need to know which of the sales I made myself apart from the co-op were made locally or out of state, through etsy.

    This isn’t for income taxes, this is to pay the sales tax on the items I sold at retail in state, and the Business and Occupations tax, and the out of state sales have to kept track of separately in order to not be charged sales tax on them.  Income taxes will be another monster to tackle down the road, but getting the report on taxable income from this first business filing is necessary in order to file my income taxes.


    A Ledger would have let me know what I could afford.

    Another thing that keeping track as I go would have told me is that I was spending too much.  I thought maybe I had actually shown a profit this year, but I didn’t.  I spent far too much on supplies.  Now, a lot of those supplies are still usable this year, so maybe next time around I’ll see a profit… but if I started keeping track month to month, I could try to make sure that there was a balance happening, and curtail spending when a profit wasn’t likely.

    So that is my tip for this Tuesday, keep a ledger as you go!


  • The Three Most Important Steps to Preserving Acrylic Paintings

    How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations. Click To Tweet

    How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations.

    If you’re an artist and you are anything like me, you want to see your artwork last.  You want to know that if your great grandchild is one day looking at your painting, it is still going to look as wonderful as it did the day you finished it.  This art tutorial post will show you the three most important to steps to take to make that possible.
    Now, I want to make clear though, that if you’re an artist and you don’t do these things, it doesn’t make your art any less valid. Some art doesn’t last, some artist do elaborate carvings in ice, knowing it will melt, and their art is still valid as art.  However, if you do want to make your paintings last, this post will show you three important steps to preserving acrylic paintings.

    1. Get the best paint you can afford.

    I’ve met a lot of artists who buy the cheapest paint they can find, and still manage to create very beautiful works of art, so why would I recommend buying pricier paint?  Well, its an unfortunate fact that when you paint with cheaper craft or student grade paints, even if the paintings looks great when it is finished, time will eventually show the difference.  Cheap craft paint or cheap student paint will fade a lot more than artist paint, and the painting will lose its vibrancy.   I’ve also seen cheap paint peel right off of a canvas when it is applied thickly, and this happened when the painting was only a few months old, cheap paints are also more prone to cracking and flaking.  Artist quality acrylic paint though, adheres to the canvas, can be applied thickly or thinly, and really resists cracking, peeling, fading, and flaking.

    In addition to not preserving as well, cheap paint often uses impure pigments, or mixes of cheaper pigments to imitate the look of the pricier pigments, and when you try to mix your own colors you often get inconsistent results and muddy colors, but even if you do manage to get the look you want, remember that it isn’t likely to maintain that look several decades from now.

    2. Protect your paint with an isolation coat before varnishing.

    Most acrylic painters know that it is a good idea to varnish a painting in order to protect it, and yes, varnish is a great way to protect a painting from soiling and fading, but it should never be applied directly on the acrylic paint. An isolation coat creates a non-removable, physical barrier between the paint and the removable varnish. The purpose of an isolation coat is to protect the pigmented paint from the solvents used to remove the varnish if it becomes soiled or discolored. The isolation coat also seals any absorbent areas of the canvas, providing an even, uniform surface to apply varnish to.

    How to mix and apply an isolation coat.

    To make an isolation coat, mix 2 parts soft gel gloss acrylic medium to 1 part water, mix well, and allow it to settle until there are no bubbles in the mixture, then apply it with a brush that you use for no other purpose, not even for the varnish.   The isolation coat will appear milky white when applied, but will dry clear and glossy. Do one layer brushing one direction back and forth across the canvas, let it dry, and then do a second layer, brushing back and forth across the canvas in the other direction. Later, if you wish to have a matte finish, just use a matte varnish, and the glossy appearance will go away.  (Note, I prefer Golden brand soft gel gloss, but any soft gel gloss will work, also I am not being paid to promote Golden, I just like the product).

    3. Finally, protect your painting with a fine art quality, U.V. resistant removable varnish.

    After the second layer of your isolation coat completely dries, you can apply your varnish.  I prefer the Golden Brand polymer varnish, but other brands will work as well.  Just make sure that you get a varnish that is intended for fine art acrylic paintings, and that is U.V. resistant, since this will further protect your painting from fading.  Mix the varnish according to the directions on the jar, and apply it with another brush that is used for nothing else.  With the varnish, you’ll want to apply it gently and somewhat quickly, avoid over working the varnish because that is how you get brush strokes and bubbles in it.  Like the isolation coat, you’ll want to do one layer brushing on back and forth one way, let it thoroughly dry (for varnish this will take about 12 hours), and then apply a second coat brushing it on the other direction. Another option is to use a spray varnish, just follow the directions on the can, spray it on, let it dry, and repeat to make sure you have full coverage.

    Now if your painting becomes soiled, for example if some irresponsible person spills coffee on it and doesn’t tell you about it, so that you find it after its dried on, or even if over time dust just becomes too hard to fully remove by just wiping the canvas, you can remove the varnish using household ammonia diluted with water. You can do so knowing that the ammonia solution will never touch the actual paint, because you had the forethought to apply an isolation coat.  Then after you remove the varnish, rinse all of the ammonia off, and apply a new coat of varnish. Whatever was on your painting will only be in the varnish, so when you remove the varnish, you remove the stain.


    My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.
    My wonderful blessing of a husband and myself atop the Space Needle.