Tuesday, 2 February 2016


(Party Hearty)
6" x 4" Mixed Media on Strathmore Postcard

Leading up to the  most romantic holiday of the year I am going to share a series of heart paintings. I intend trying different ideas for blank greeting cards. I've never actually created a series specifically for duplication, so we'll see how this goes. 

The heart cards will be available for purchase on my website in due course. See more of my Art Cards, postcards and merchandise here

This heart painting has liberal amounts of liquid gold which looks amazing in warm light, but is impossible to do justice to in an image. You will just have to trust me.


For this series I will also be introducing you to some blogs on my reading list and giving some useful tips.


I've been engrossed by an interesting discussion at the Red Dot Blog here. The question is "Do you have year end sales, why or why not?"  Pricing is such an important aspect of selling your art and there are so many points to consider. Jason at the Red Dot sparked a lively discussion on the topic and many professional artists jumped in to give advice and talk about what works for them. Read the comments on Jason's blog when you have time and I would love to hear your take on the subject in my comment section below.

The general consensus is that discounted sales don't move art, but sometimes attract buyers that purchase something at full price. Here are some great ideas that have been put forward.

1. Offer free or discounted shipping.

2. Add incentives like some free art cards rather than discount.

3. A silent auction of older work.

4. Reducing the size of your paintings so the price is lower.

5. Offering an unsolicited discount will devalue a brand.

6. Build excitement with a game like painting 150 paintings in 150 days with each framed painting selling for $150. Buyers can follow the game online, see the finished work each day and put their name on a list for an opportunity to purchase, but cannot buy until the Grand Opening. etc.

7. Only have sales on merchandise like Art Cards, small prints etc. Do not discount originals.

8. Offer free delivery and hanging locally.

9. Do not discount or have a sale but if sales are slow just reduce the price tags for one event. Only tell customers they are lower prices than usual if they say "I'll think about it" at which point say that the prices will be higher after the show.

10. Never offer discounts on your whole body of work. Select a few paintings for this special treatment.

11. A professional artists' duty is to their collectors and to ensure that the work on offer is of the highest possible standard. That means no bargain prices of sub-standard work released on the market. This will keep your prices high and build value. Various artists work of the same general standard will have roughly the same value. If art is good quality and appropriately priced it will sell without the need to discount. (This one really gives food for thought). You are better off to burn the duds to keep your standards high.

12. Artists that don't sell may have to rethink their pricing. Perhaps the proposed sale price is the correct value for their work. That is not to say that they can't raise prices slowly over time, just that the price doesn't currently reflect their skill.

13. One of the few good reasons for having a clearance sale is if you are moving away or relocating your studio some distance.

14. If you sell your unwanted work at 50% off and you sell twice as much, you are making the same income.

15. Keep a record of the hours spent creating the painting and charge the number of hours times the amount the buyer earns hourly. This puts art in the hands of those who can't afford more. I've always thought about this personally and can't see how you could make it work. After all how many people would tell you the truth about their earnings.

16. If you're worried about making space in your home or studio, many famous artists reused their canvases, even Monet.

17. There are some arguments for storing older work rather than discount it, because as your reputation builds buyers will be more interested in retrospective works. There is also the value of having a record of your growth as an artist. 

18. Rather than discounting, offer a payment schedule so it is easier for the customer to pay full price.

19. If you have moved to a new area, an Introduction sale will promote you and your work without detracting from your regular prices.

20. Offer special perks to various club memberships. Perhaps the free delivery and hanging locally or something like that.

21. Work you client list. Call or email and offer tailor made incentives to previous customers for a limited time. This is a method used in large commercial galleries and it works.

22. Have an exhibition in your home or studio with finger food and wine or fruit punch. Vanilla pot pouri simmering on the stove, fresh batches of freezer cookies as needed. Homely parties work well around special events like Valentines, Solstice, Strawberry Tea etc and tightly limited time (2pm - 4pm etc.). If the painting they choose is the last in a series or over 3 years old, offer a lucky dip prize chosen from a pre-wrapped selection. When a sale is made, ring a bell and offer everyone a surprise token like an Art Card for the next 15 mins at half price. The whole idea is to create excitement and shared pleasure. It doesn't just work for that moment but the memories of a good time will keep you in mind for years to come.

23. One artist donated out dated paintings to Goodwill and had lots of feedback about how they were appreciated by the buyers. This is a feel good idea, not a money making idea, but the warm glow it would give you lasts forever. I've noticed that many charity shops are now doing silent auctions of their prized items and perhaps you could stipulate they do this when you donate.

I hope that these ideas have helped you with your discount dilemma. Please add any I've missed in comments below.