Jul
18
2010

The REAL KEYS to PRICING YOUR ART by M Theresa Brown

Art of the Carolinas 2010 Banner

On one of our several nationwide art marketing forums recently, the question posed was,
"Theresa, I'm in the dark as to how to price the pet portraits. I don't know anyone around here who does pet portraits to see what they are charging. After you figure the cost of the surface (canvas or panel) and the paint (not much) do you charge by the square inch or by the hour? If it takes me 5 hours to do an 8"X10" at $10.00/hour plus the panel thats $55.00 or should I charge much more than that? I know that it is an investment for the purchaser but I'm still in the dark as to where to start."


This was a great question and although I have addressed it before in a Splatter Blog,  "Help Me Sell my Art!"  the answer is important to all artists.  Most of the replies to this post mentioned coming up with the "formula" method that many artists use or try to use. And although you cannot price your art to sell, neither can you accurately base a price on a formula of just time and materials the way everyone was doing.  My fellow marketing  artist and husband, Steve Filarsky had the best logical reply to the question of pricing and "paying yourself by the hour."


He replied,
" I don't advocate pricing by time and materials, price is so much a part of the perceived value of art and that has to be taken into account. But if you decide to go that way you need to take into account all expenses and time.. You need to know how much it costs to pay someone $10 an hour.  


FIRST: If you are figuring it takes me so long, at such a price per hour, and materials are this much, you are pricing the cost of manufacturing. So double that for the final price. (This is what you would give to a gallery etc to market, advertise and sell your work.) If you are doing this, you will need to get paid.


SECOND: Your overhead; studio rent, utilities, heat and ac , phone and internet. (Even if your studio is in your house, you will be spending money to light and heat and cool it when working there which you wouldn't if you were out working somewhere else) and equipment depreciation. You will have to replace that computer, those brushes, upgrade software ,  Vehicle, cost of use and insurance etc. Insurance, health insurance. (No one has offered me free insurance yet). PO Box rent. the list goes on. Paper for the printer, postage and envelopes.


THIRD:  Time, how much time is spent working but not creating, Bookwork, research, picking up supplies. Delivering work. If you are doing commissions, you can include meeting the client under marketing markup, but time photographing clients, sorting photos, time spent cleaning your studio. Janitors get paid too. Answering phone calls. etc etc.


FOURTH: Downtime: Don't forget the days that you get sick or can't work...You need to bring in enough when you are working to cover when you can't........


So 10 hours at the easel with a twenty five dollar canvas and ten dollars of paint doesn't add up to the price of creating your piece of artwork."


Steve's summarization takes in all the factors of coming up with a "real" price for what you create.  Don't randomly paste a price on your artwork based on vague factors such as "5 hours of time and $8.00 worth of canvas and paint" or "$3.00 per square inch should do it."  Proudly acknowledge to yourself  TWO things when you establish a due diligence price for your artwork.


You and your art are worth every dollar of the price you establish!

You will recognize an actual (not guesswork)  profit on the art you sell!

 

 

Jul
5
2010

No Painting is Safe! by Deb Bartos

No painting of mine is safe, that is, until its hanging on someone else’s wall. There are just a few, actually, that are sacred, for personal reasons, and I will never touch again.
However, there are quite a few of them that go in the “gosh, there is just something not quite right with that work” pile and with time, I see what it is. The biggest factor, I think, is in learning more problem-solving skills that help me to get past whatever block I had the first go-around. The eye-connection learns faster than brush-connection. Vincent Van Gogh said at one point, “I no longer stand helpless before nature.” I have remembered that since the beginning of my struggles to get something I like on canvas. I think the best advice is “keep on painting.” It really does solve a number of problems. The more you paint, the better paintings you create. And you really can salvage stuff that has been waiting for you for years! Here are some before-after photos with discussion.

 

 

It was not enough color for me in version 1, even though the flowers really were white.

The orange/yellow seemed zingier, and I may even add more deep red. I changed them to roses.

 

 

This one of the little shepherdess was competing with the background. I love fall colors, and yet it seemed way too busy and unbalanced. I changed the scene to a greener cast, and the background seemed to recede more, as cool colors do. I wanted the shepherdess and the sheep to take the interest first, and not the foliage. Sometimes, I think, “it was better before I started to mess with it again,” and that is always the risk you take. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes the collector likes work from my “not quite right pile” just the way it is and gives me a new perspective.

It’s interesting that art (and life) is so subjective, but the satisfaction of problem solving with a more experienced brush is very rewarding. I have heard of several famous artists (you would recognize the last name alone) who have come to their shows before the opening with brush and paint in hand for final revisions. This makes me feel better, as validity of my processes is always appreciated. So, keep on painting, (and sometimes re-painting!)

Deb

Jul
3
2010

In Memoriam by Jacob Joubert

"In Memoriam" is a massive undertaking of twelve 10x10 feet paintings, one for each major conflict of the United States military. I am painting one line for each United States service member killed in war, nearly one and a half million lines in all. The project was started on Memorial day and is expected to take six months working at least four to five hours per day, concluding on Veteran's day.

This project is designed to provoke thought.  These paintings are anything but polite.  Using the simplicity of a single line repeated, slashing like a machete into the canvas, I want to reveal with a simple abstract gesture the cost of war on America.  Just as the deaths blur throughout our country's history, these lines blur as the viewer is shuttled along at great velocity within the canvases.  The juxtaposition of the work will allow the viewer to come to terms with the sacrifice, life, death, and cost of freedom.

Unearthing a specific subject in the work would be a slippery task out of context.  I'm not using this series to lecture about a specific idea but instead to provoke thought.  My desire is to guide the viewer toward a certain kind of imagery that ultimately encourages them to connect with the often ignored subject of war.  In this process I allow the viewer's curious mind to investigate further and uncover their own meaning upon and about our culture.

As human beings it is difficult to conceptualize large numbers.  The underlying goal of the "In Memoriam" project is to help people process the sheer magnitude of what has been sacrificed and force them to question the value of a single life.  Often times it is easy to relegate the lives lost to history, forgetting the impact they have on us today.  My goal is to create a piece of work that forces the viewer to come to terms with the massive amount of lives lost to warfare and to feel that loss on a personal level in the way loved ones feel when a single life is lost. I don't want the viewer to see lines, I want them to see sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbors, and friends.  I want them to see heros.

 

 

 

 

 

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