Organizing a Window Painting Gallery

Wireless Fusion Window Paintings 2015

Wireless Fusion Window Paintings 2015

A Window Painter’s Portfolio

My work as a window painter in Fall and Winter takes months to organize. The seasonal paintings I create for holidays are documented step by step as the designs are created and the finished product is detailed. The images stack up to hundreds of picture files.  The task of organizing a gallery and photo journal takes many weeks and months to create order out of chaos.

Often, I do pencil sketches from these photos and set them aside in a portfolio binder. My best work is then printed and added to this folder. The digital images are processed in a different manner. My current image galleries number in the thousands. That is a lot of images to sort through when looking for a particular image or design piece. But how do you organize and find anything in all of these images?

The first question you may ask is why do I take so many pictures? The images are study material. They are examples of my work and content images for my writings. Inside each photocell are the results of painting trial and success over decades. They are the process of the art. The photo is the documented history of an image that will only linger for a few weeks and be destroyed when the holiday is over.

Photographs are the only way to preserve this type of art. Eventually, these images will be applied in acrylic on canvas for permanent pieces and in gallery displays of talent. They are studied for further enhancement and are the markers of this artist’s history. A photo journal of this type needs to be categorized and images titled and tagged for optimum organization.

How The Galleries are Organized

Organizing a computer photo gallery is tedious work and time-consuming. First, a file folder is created for the subject matter – in this case, window painting. The file is then divided into assorted images that are similar or that were taken in the same period. I keep a record of individual clients I have painted for and divide that into separate holiday works. and the year created.

A copy of each character, scene or holiday icon is transferred to a file for the best images of the project. Snowmen go in snowmen folder, wreaths go in the wreath folder etcetera, etcetera. A “best of file” is created for not only the best-painted image but best photograph. This file is dual purpose. It is a quick access folder for images that will be saved to CD and preserved against computer failure or deletion. I have lost many a favorite photograph through a hard drive crash or corrupted motherboard. I would like to hang onto these images.

This “best of file” are images that represent my highest quality window painting artwork. It is my digital portfolio. I can use them on flyers, in demonstrations for students, and for just plain showing off my talents. They will be printed as 8″ by 10″ glossy photographs and framed as well as stored in a portfolio binder. They are the ones I show my new clients and with these images in hand, I can create new images using the details of the designs I have already produced. They help me evolve my paintings and increase the quality of my artwork.

These screen shots below are the processes I use to organize and sign each photo. There is a back file in each picture that contains details that allow for the image to be fetched in a general search. Tags, titles, and notes may be added as well as author name and other information. Right click on any photograph in your picture gallery and you will see what I am talking about. It is possible to title and tag several photos at the same time by selecting them and using the box at the bottom of the screen insert the information and save.

Organizing Individual Photos for Search and Signing

Open your pictures folder and right click the mouse button any image and a drop-down menu will appear. The properties option will be on the bottom of this list. Click on this selection and a box will open. Properties are the specific characteristics of the file.

Image Properties Screenshot - snowman - properties arrow

Right-click an image for properties menu


Next, go to the top menu and find the Details tab. (PLEASE NOTE: I do not change anything on this front page in properties. Doing so might interfere with the security of the file or the ability to share or edit the image.)


Properties Box

Properties Features


From the Details Menu, a variety of information is available for editing. The camera used will show as well as other information. Change what details apply to the image and sign it with the name of the photographer. Remember to add information about copywriting in the notes section. Add something like All Rights Reserved. It is important people know this is your work when the search engine shows them your picture. It can also help you find the images you have already edited for search optimization.


Propeties Detail Image

Properties Details – Edit Choices

If you look at the bottom of your folder gallery, there is a strip of information. These are property values of the folder itself and its contents. There are options for changing titles and tags and the author and subject here. Use the control button on your keyboard and click carefully on several images at the same time. The author name and other details can be changed in bulk at the same time. Again, do not forget to hit the save button. If you click back on the screen the information will undo itself. Save, save, save!!!

Properties Lower Strip Details

The Lower Properties’ Strip


How All This Information Applies to Search Assistance and Copywriting Photos

For a quick reference, if I want to find snowmen on my computer, I need only type that word into my search engine box and the images that were tagged properly  will populate in the search area. I pick the one I need to work with and get on with my project. I do not have to find the folder or photo and spend valuable minutes on a wild goose chase or a null result. The computer will do that for me if I have properly edited the image.

This process helps me also copyright my images. For the record, I would highly appreciate it if my artwork is not copied. It is years of painstaking study and inspiration. I am kind of selfish that way. This is the purpose of my book. If I teach the process of creating your own images and scenes, maybe artists won’t copy mine… anyways, thanks for reading. I have about a thousand more photos to edit and organize.


For more on my work and window painting, in general, see the following links:

the essential window painting guide book cover

The Essential Window Painting Guide




My First Day Painting Holiday Windows

It is an interesting hobby, this window painting.

My business started over 30 years ago and it is still a large part of my life even though I don’t paint as often.

Over the past couple of years I have worked on getting my portfolio organized and resetting my themes and images so I can go tackle Christmas and other holidays with my paintings. The economy has hampered my business tremendously but I hope to call on more clients in the near future.

In a story I wrote you will read about how I got started window painting. My First day painting windows was when I was 14. The details are in this lens on Squidoo. It was a great day for me as you will find out why:

A Day In The Life Of A Holiday Window Painter

Image: M Burgess

Painting tips 101 ~ Tempera

Candle and Poinsettia Design

Candle and Poinsettia Design


For Holiday Art I recommend *Tempera Paint.

Tempera is non-toxic and as far as I believe it is biodegradable. Having a *Green* substance to work with is important in this day and age.  Though there are other mediums to work with such as acrylic and lacquer, I have found the Tempera to be the easiest for me to adapt my art from. It is great for glass paintings because it sticks well and it is quite durable. 

I use the student Tempera from Dick Blick Art Stores and have been happy with the results for years. The range of colors is wonderful and there are sets of primary colors available for just starting out. Yellow, Red, Blue, White, and Black are a good foundation. For ease of not having to mix tints and colors go ahead and get Green, Brown, and a few smaller bottles of whichever color strikes you for details and highlights. Buy large bottles of the White, Red, and Green because those are the ones you will get the most use of.

*Tempera (not to be confused with Japanese Food TEMPURA)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium (usually a glutinous material such as egg yolk or some other size). Tempera also refers to the paintings done in this medium. Tempera paintings are very long lasting, and examples from the 1st centuries AD still exist. Egg tempera was a primary method of painting until after 1500 when it was superseded by the invention of oil painting. A paint which is commonly called tempera (although it is not) consisting of pigment and glue size is commonly used and referred to by some manufacturers in America as poster paint

Paintings I have done ages ago on private home window glass are still bright. The few colors with dark pigments do tend to fade if exposed to sunlight as most paints will disintegrate. 

Applying Tempera is simple and the clean up is quick. It doesn’t have any harmful or vaporous chemicals in it and it can be removed with water and rags or in a razor scrape method where you strip out sections of the paint and wipe the scraps onto paper towels. This has been the easiest way to get the windows back after the holiday is over. 

When I paint using  Tempera Paint  I can get either a cartoon fill effect or I can layer colors and achieve realistic style images. It depends on how I apply it and the brush I happen to use. You can use it thin or thick. I prefer it to have a consistency of gravy for the Holiday windows. Any thicker would have it cracking and chipping off. Thinly diluted Tempera can be used as a stain over other colors to mimic shadows or light effects as needed. Sprinkle in a little Holiday Magic and you have a very interesting piece of temporary art!

Cleaning up after doing holiday art is EXTREMELY important if you want to keep a client. I have lost accounts because I trusted a window cleaner to take care of that for me and they left a nasty mess behind. Paint splattered on windows, ledges, and sidewalks do not make a good impression. 

When you go back next season you would rather them remember you for your artwork!

For additional information and some fun images see:

More: So, You want to Paint Holiday Windows? 

Website: Holiday Window

Facebook Page: Holiday Window Painter

Thank you for viewing!