I can't possibly remember where I saw an image in a magazine nine years ago, that relates to a painting I am working on today. I receive many art magazines and any one picture in a stack of forty art magazines might as well be buried in the back yard. I don't have room to keep all the art magazines to which I have subscriptions . So here's how I deal with both of those problems.
Every couple of months I cut out all of the paintings in the magazines that interest me . I have a little plastic table easel on a ledge in my studio, I throw all of the clippings onto that. Then I can look through them and find the ones that interest me. Often times, I am looking to find the way an artist I admire, solved a problem with which I am confronted.
About twice a year when my little plastic easel is too full to receive any more clippings, I put them into my files. Here's how I do that. I have about ten three ring binders that are kept on my bookshelf. I have a different binder for various categories of images. I have one for Metcalf, I have one for Waugh and one for the California impressionists. I have about three for 19th century painting, divided into Hudson River school, Tonalism and impressionism, and another for Inness. You get the idea.
I trim the images neatly on a mat cutting board with my razor knife and a ruler, being careful not to trim my fingers. The razor knife is the most dangerous tool in my studio. Then I paste them down onto both sides of ordinary printer paper with a gluestick. I might consider acid free archival paper but, I am fifty seven. Besides the pictures themselves are printed on non archival paper. When the sheet is filled with four or more images I slide them into plastic sleeves and put them in my binders. The plastic binders I use come in boxes of 2oo from Staples and they are the medium weight.Then I know where any given sort of painting is anyway.
The binders usually allow you to slip a clipping down into a space on its front. I stick in an image that is typical of the content of the folder.
I don't just cut up magazines I plunder gallery catalogs, auction catalogues and even the occasional postcard. I have many hundreds of images at my fingertips and because they are in the plastic sleeves, they can hang out around my easel with out being damaged by flying paint. I routinelyl sit down with one of my binders and leaf through it, its almost like a stroll through a museum.