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Why pricing is important to artists - part 1/3

I've been moved to Blog about something I think little about when I do it, but I understand how others might well be completely at sea over the issue of pricing their work to show.

Recently I have experienced artists exhibiting, or have work for sale on their websites, at best at unrealistic prices. How do I come to this conclusion? Mostly, I know them personally and or I am aware of their work through my professional practice.

Still life with white roses by Max Hale

Pricing is not an exact science but there are elements you can use to help you. This is not only my opinion but a consensus based on years of working with artists, galleries and exhibition venues feedback, even the public.

Pricing is a problem mainly because artists are unsure of their ability, quality of their work and how they fit into a broader network of prices for the art they practice. Then of course, there are the practical issues such as pricing for different sizes alongside the non-tangible such as exhibition demands or your modesty.

The dilemma starts early in learning to paint when a friend kindly says ' That painting is great I'll bet you could sell that for loads of money'

The seed is sown and from that day the artist becomes confused.

Pricing art in my view can be, in the emerging stages, relatively easy as the value is much more computable than the developing and mature artist, Also as emerging artists or hobbyists we are looking to feel good about our creativity and perhaps cover the outgoings of our art and that is enough. We don't need to make much of a profit and each exhibition is a one off experience.

So I recommend in the early stages it is easy to try to work out what you've spent on materials. Watercolour will be likely less than acrylic or oils. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Then calculate any other costs such as framing, mounting. Then time spent on doing the work, I would use £20 per hour.

This will get you close to a price, then round it up. If it's a small painting you might need to raise it a little more than a larger one say over 25 x 30cm as small painting pricing can be a tougher due to perception. Larger paintings must be more expensive than smaller ones but it isn't in my opinion based on size alone. I will discuss this later in my three part series

In local art group shows even modest ones, the public expect to pay at least £50 for a framed original. Also take note of what is selling and your peers pricing. Don't alter yours but keep an eye.

Pricing then becomes tricky as the journey begins. How quickly we develop and what we expect from our art.

Look out for part 2

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