|SWEETNESS ACEO by Sea Dean - 2.5" x 3.5"|
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PRICING YOUR WORK
Pricing seems to be a very difficult choice for artists. It's probably the most common question I get.
The challenge is that when an artist is starting out they are probably much slower and go through many repaints and adjustments before they consider a painting complete. A more mature artist spends far less time fussing and adjusting because they've had a great deal more practice. Beginner professionals and hobby painters can't hope to come close to the rates that mature professionals are charging and must consider the number of hours they have spent part of the learning process, because you can't make a customer pay for your learning curve.
In the beginning it is probably best to forget about time altogether and for the first year of so focus on covering the cost of supplies. A canvas may be $10, paint and medium $20, wiring $2 and so on. Stay away from expensive framing and choose a narrow or deep gallery wrap canvas instead.
After you have painted at least 100 marketable works, you can set a price scale with a riser every year. By this time your work should be acceptable to juried exhibitions and galleries. I covered value and trust in a previous post and it would be good to read that blog before setting your prices because it is crucial to your standing as a professional artist.
It took me a long time to settle on a pricing structure that was simple for both myself and my buyers. I started with small works which take a lot longer to paint per square inch than larger works, but are my bread and butter. What really helped me was a local exhibition called UNDER 100, where all the work must be under 100 square inches and under $100: I saw paintings flying out of the doors and decided I wanted a piece of that action. It stood to reason that if I could optimize the time and the material cost on each piece and use maximum knowledge and technique, my work should also sell fast at these affordable prices.
So I set the standard of 100 square inches for $100 which is $1 per square inch.
Miniatures are $3 per square inch with 10 - 100 square inch paintings somewhere in between.
Larger than 100 sq inch paintings are approximately $0.60 per square inch.
These prices work for me in my market, but you may need to tweek them a bit for your market. The important thing is that once you have set your prices you must honour them regardless of where you show your work. You can decide on the increase each year in collaboration with your galleries and advisors, but it is never advisable to drop your prices and alienate your patrons.