Friday, January 14, 2011

Art Income

I met with fellow artist and friend Carolyn Kimball the other day and she was telling me about her financial goals for 2011. I only have a rough idea for my own, so I was very interested in seeing her breakdown. She also knew the figure for art sales in 2010 and even though I have a vague estimate for my own sales and freelancing, I haven't gone in and added them up despite my fancy cataloging software. I'm also in need of setting up a method for tracking art expenses for 2011. If you keep track of yours, I'd love to know what you use--pencil/paper, accounting software, receipts stuffed in a shoebox (my current method).

On another note, I re-watched Ken Burns' Shaker documentary on Netflix play-it-now last night while I was sketching out next week's one-piece-a-week project. (I was inspired to watch it again after getting hooks up in every room for my Christmas present--the Shakers loved pegs and they had dozens in each room. To the left are Keith's hooks in our bedroom, topped with a Julie Speed.) Interesting factoid: Shaker-Sister, Tabitha Babbitt invented the circular saw. Shakers are also responsible for the modern clothespin. They were big into farming, being the first to package seeds and sell nationally. They knew in the winter months that their neighbors would steal some of their crops for food. So what did they do? They planted more crops. They planted "some for them, some for the thieves, and some for the crows. After-all, everyone needs to eat." It's worth a watch.


Alison said...

Hi Cathy,

I came across your blog via Alyson Stansfield's Art Biz Blog..and I love your work.

To keep track of my own expenses, I use an Excel spread sheet. I've got my various categories across the top, and simply plug in my amounts under the corresponding column.

I have formulas set up to automatically total the individual category expenses as well as give me an ongoing total for the year so far. I can see instantly how much I'm spending.

Hope that helps.

Cathy Savage said...

Hi Alison, Thank you so much for your comment. It seems so easy to keep it on Excel with the formulas, and honestly I had considered overdoing it by creating an Access Database to track expenses. You way makes so much more sense, it's easy to do, and it does the job. Thank you! I'm curious as to what your categories are, supplies, mileage, postage, misc?

I enjoyed checking out your work on your website and like your work! So fun that you found me via Alyson. I think she's great and I hope to meet her soon at a possible workshop in Austin.

Alison said...

Hi Cathy,

Thanks for visiting my site,and I'm glad you liked to my work!

My spreadsheet categories are:-

- Advertising & Promotion
- Art & Framing Supplies
- Auto Expenses
- Copyright Fees
- Competition Fees
- Office Supplies
- Printing
- Postage & Courier
- Research & Development
- Memberships & Subscriptions
- Trade Show Fees
- Misc.

If you'd like me to email you a blank copy with the formulas let me would be my pleasure.

Cathy Savage said...

I can tell you are much more experienced at this than I am! Thank you! This will help me get started. I've been so lax in recording this information and haven't claimed any expenses on our joint tax return yet, but if I'm determined to make money doing art, I know I need to step up and create a business model that's going to be effective. A copy of the formulas would be great!! I'm at csavage at

Alison said...

Done. It's on it's way. Just add or delete columns that fit your needs.

It's challenging juggling making art and taking care of a family, but like you, I'm determined to make 2011 a success for my business.

Email me if you have any questions. All the best.