View Full Version : What do you do with your paintings...?

10-18-2003, 04:07 PM
Hi all...

Not sure that this should go here, but I'm still finding my way around here, so here goes...

I have a growing pile of pastel paintings (of varying degrees of quality...!) from the last two or three years that very few people ever set eyes on. Doesn't bother me too much, but they're beginning to take up space.

Because they're pastel and need to be framed behind glass, and because they're quite big, it's going to cost a small fortune to get them all framed.

I don't really care for selling them - too expensive and too much time and hassle spent away from the easel - and I don't want to give them away as freebies (especially considering I'm still going to be the one paying for the framing :eek: !)

So the question arrises: What do you all do with your unsold dust-collecting paintings...?!

Love to hear some reactions!!


10-18-2003, 05:19 PM
they're in my room, on top of my collection of newspapers I kept for one reason or another.

10-18-2003, 08:38 PM
So far...I sell everything

as a matter of fact, I was out of things to sell last week and had to get busy


Many folks will buy your work unframed


Eugene Veszely
10-19-2003, 05:25 AM
I have mine stacked up against the wall. Nothing worth trying to sell yet.

Keith Russell
10-20-2003, 12:05 AM
I frame all of my paintings behind glass, too. Yes, it's expensive, but I won't exhibit my work if it isn't presented well.

So, everything is framed, everything is exhibited, and--eventually--everything gets sold.

(Until it's sold, my wife and I have my art hanging throughout our apartment...)


10-20-2003, 11:49 AM
I give all of my stuff away, or swap it. It isn't really of good enough quality to sell...

However, I do donate some stuff to my reptile club to sell and raise money... but i don't get any proceeds from it. Maybe if and when i improve, I might think about selling... I dunno...


10-20-2003, 06:00 PM
Framed and sold...if it is not good enough for that, a piece gone wrong, I remove the canvas and recycle the canvas stretchers...

10-22-2003, 11:24 AM
all of mine are sold on ebay - if they don't sell the first time around, i relist them...

the ones that i'm really not happy with at all, get put in the bottom of my art materials closet for "recycling" - i use the back to try stuff out, or i use pieces of them for cards, nametags on presents, or notes to my mom...interestingly enough, i get a lot of compliments for those cards, even though the painting was junk :rolleyes:

the ebay thing only works well, if you are willing to go the whole way of processing orders immediatly, packaging very well and keeping up with putting paintings up for auction. ebay is a very fast moving marketplace - if you're not present for a week, your customers will move on to the next merchant...

i have gotten quite a few commission jobs from ebay customers, so that is an "added benefit" of ebay for me.

however, all that said, ebay customers also have a VERY large merchant base to choose from - that's where you'll have to determine if your work is the same as everyone else's (and you'll be sharing customers with all the others) or if you have something unique to offer (which is where you'll have to spend more time and money, waiting for the right customers to come along).
it is also a question of effort vs. monetary reward: the buyers on ebay don't neccessarily know or care about how long it took YOU to paint that painting - they are only going to pay you what it is worth to THEM.
i am often amazed, that paintings that i thought were really good and that were a real "labor of love" only fetch low prices and others, that i put up for auction "just to see, if maybe someone "unknowing" got out of bed to buy something on ebay" get prices that i myself would never pay for that particular piece.
so, i guess, you just never know...
might be worth a try for you...go for it, and see what happens!

10-22-2003, 11:18 PM
Thanks for all that.... have toyed with the idea of ebay, but was put off my the huge number ofgood quality stuff that never got a single bid. Put off too easily, I suppose :o !


10-23-2003, 01:08 AM
hi paul,

time is a big factor with ebay - the auction should end at a time, when the most traffic is happening there, i.d. evenings.
also, sometimes it is better to start with a low starting price, to get things going - however, there will be times, when those paintings go for a "too low price".

i guess it just depends, on who is on ebay, seeing your picture, and wanting to buy something exactly like it... :)

(or, as my grandmother used to say:"every morning a fool gets up - catch him, if you can and make him give you money!" - that's pretty much my philosophy on selling most of my paintings...:rolleyes: )

10-25-2003, 12:27 AM
hey paul,

saw a really great mosaic work the other day that was made up of squares of canvas that a girl had painted and not sold. the piece was huge, about 4 x 5 feet and it was really intricate because each one inch square had so many diff. colors in it that it enabled her to make some really great detailed areas.

just an idea, perhaps you could work smaller and do the same thing? paper is much easier to do this with than canvas anyway... you could "fix" the pastels with some kind of fixative perhaps?

just an idea.... use the ones you really don't like....

i always just gesso over the old canvases and repaint on top myself. nothing like a nice "free" white canvas to start a new painting on. and i didnt have to leave the house to get art supplies.

Keith R, i can relate to having a housefull of art.... kind of nice in a way tho... who else has 30 or so original works on their walls? hee hee.

10-25-2003, 10:33 PM
Fortunately for those of us who 'collect' pastel paintings, they stack up quite nicely since paper is so thin.....unlike my canvases when I painted in oils so much!

I, too, sell on Ebay and it's been great for the past couple of years. The income has provided for many workshops and trips to paint, new supplies and my daughter's extra college expenses! The past month has been slow, but I've been taking a break, too, from listing so much. Right now, I'm concentrating on getting into some shows and a gallery! (have a show planned for next May!!) so I've been busy marketing in other avenues.

But, for those paintings that don't make the cut....it's Ebay time!

Ron van den Boogaard
10-27-2003, 11:00 AM
Paintings first get hung on the wall, later as time progresses they get stacked against the wall. Eventually when the stack gets to big they go up in the attic. Work on paper (acrylics, pastels and colour pencil) go in large folders, doesn't take up too much space that way.
Stuff only gets framed when needed for a show. But as I sometimes paint faster then i can show, loads of stuff is just sitting there.
They make nice birthday, diner of no-reason-at-all gifts or they get swapped for various stuff if people are interested. (someone welded me anexcellent easel extension in turn for a pastel)

The only thing I never do is throwing them out.

10-27-2003, 01:36 PM
and my reasons for doing it.

First, I photograph everything I do, good or bad. That way I always have a record of what I've done and how far I've come.

Second, ones that I deem "good" get sold, entered in competitions, exhibited, or put in a gallery ("good" meaning I wouldn't mind them being known as a part of my overall body of work). Once in a great while I will give a "good" one away as a special gift.

Third, ones that I deem "bad" I destroy in one way or another. If it's an oil on canvas, I'll rip off the canvas and recycle the stretcher bars. Then I'll cut up the canvas.

Basically, I don't have the space or inclination to save EVERY painting I think is "bad." Those that were significant learning experiences I'll keep, otherwise off to the trash with them. Remember, I photograph everything I do so I have a record of the ones that get destroyed.

I recently took a workshop with Matt Smith, a gifted plein air artist from Arizona. He put it this way: An artist is eventually known by the body of work that he or she produces. Do you want your really bad pieces coming back later to "haunt" you? Do you want them to be representative of your body of work?

I don't, that's why I destroy everything I think isn't successful.

My 2 cents :)


10-27-2003, 02:18 PM
Originally posted by nrynes
I recently took a workshop with Matt Smith, a gifted plein air artist from Arizona. He put it this way: An artist is eventually known by the body of work that he or she produces. Do you want your really bad pieces coming back later to "haunt" you? Do you want them to be representative of your body of work?

I don't, that's why I destroy everything I think isn't successful.

My 2 cents :)


You bet...I don't want any less then savoury pieces haunting me later..;)
Welcome to WC by the way!

Ron van den Boogaard
10-28-2003, 08:11 AM
It took me along time to learn not to make any judgement on my work. neither good or bad.
this spring i showed a pievce that wasn't really uip to par and it was sold. the lady who bought it was probably the happiest customer i have ever seen and she still regurlarly sends me emails telling me how happy she is with it. So who is to say what is good or bad. I just stopped worrying about it and that means a lot of energy i can put into something else (like making the next piece.
Also the body of work over time is really what it is about to me personally. The body tells me something of my life, much more than a single piece can or will ever do.

10-28-2003, 09:15 AM
It is either hanging up about the house, hanging up at my wifes office, stacked in the corner of my studio, or if it's crap, it is primed over and the support re-used.


Eugene Veszely
10-28-2003, 09:32 AM
I was thinking of chopping them up and rearranging the pieces into an abstract :)

11-04-2003, 10:25 AM

I, like you, have a ton of pastel paintings stored up. The ones I think are good, are on my walls in my art room. I put up large pieces of poster board to protect the walls and attach each painting as I finish it. When people come over, they look at them on the wall, unframed. Someone just bought two that way and framed them herself. Also, I have a HEPA air filter going in the art room because the pastel dust is toxic.

The ones I don't have on the wall are protected in sheets of glassine paper (available from art suppliers). The glassine is the best thing to protect unframed pastels that I know of. You can frame much cheaper by going to www.framesbymail.com, where frames are much cheaper. I like the metal frames myself. I buy the glass locally from my glass company to fit the frames, as plexiglass isn't too good for pastels. Hope this helps.


Ron van den Boogaard
11-05-2003, 08:57 AM
Originally posted by Shari
I put up large pieces of poster board to protect the walls and attach each painting as I finish it. When people come over, they look at them on the wall, unframed.
I just drill holes in the wall. Canvasses need a bit sturdier way to hang. Some walls look like the screws and plugs came out of a shotgun.

11-07-2003, 11:11 AM
I work mostly in oils (on canvasboard, generally), so I suppose it's a little different. I can use just about any frame and need no glass. Sometimes I purposely paint on 8 x 10 canvas panels because 8 x 10 frames are 2 for 5 bucks U.S. some places.
I try to display works around the house. Many are framed. Canvas on stretchers can actually hang on the wall without a frame. (As they do in "artsy" places)
For pastels, of course, things are different.
I've seen many pieces sold at art fairs and the like (charcoals or pastels) whereby the piece was simply matted. At the gallery I belong to (Colonie Art League's "Local Color Gallery")we shrink wrap matted pieces in watercolor, pastel, charcoal and pencil, and let customers cruise the bins. Many pieces are sold this way, and a matte is only a couple bucks compared to a frame. I think people are comfortable with buying matted works and supplying their own frame. Sometimes when I see nice (but pricey) works, I think half the cost of the piece is the expensive frame! (Sometimes the work is great and the frame looks like crap, or is too gaudy for my tatse, making me wish the piece was offered unframed.)
I also buy $2 paintings at garage sales if the frames are the sizes of my works, discarding the existing print and using the frame.
I like giving works away as gifts, and for the no-reason here-ya-go. I'm most likely to do this if the work is admired.
People understand that I don't get rich off my artwork. They are also very excited to have original art! So, often I'll say: "Here, you can have this piece if you wanna buy a frame for it."
People are delighted with this. They could go and spend $30 on some mass-produced print from China, or for the same $30 (or less) they can buy a frame and have an original oil!

I'm not real concerned about my earliest works, or their being seen. Some are pretty rough. Others may say "Oh, I like that.", to which I respond "Oh, please! I only kept that 'cause my wife liked it!".
As a songwriter, I have songs (and recordings of them) that go back to the age of 15 or 16. I don't feel that they are as good as my best works, but they are part of the me legacy, part of the me process, part of the me I am now. I don't think anyone expects my earliest works to be gems in any genre. Imagine how we would feel if we could see VanGogh's fingerpaintings from 5th grade, DaVinci's sketch of his treehouse at age nine, or Frost's first drafts of Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.

At the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, I looked upon a young, unknown Kris Kristofferson's scribbled and scratched-out original draft of Me and Bobby MaGee.
Far from shattering my vision of Kristofferson as a professional, I felt it gave me an intimate glimpse into the real person behind the star.

That's how I feel about my old work. Truly below-grade work I cover-up or destroy before it leaves my sight.

11-07-2003, 11:26 AM
There are fund-raisers everywhere that would love to have an original artwork donated for sale or auction.
Public TV and radio stations frequently have auctions of this type.
Giving your works away in this fashion not only clears your space, but benefits others as well.

At my gallery, we are all making original art holiday cards which we will hang on a tree in the town hall.
All proceeds from these sales go to our "Art Angel Award" program, which we use to provide awards for amateur shows and to provide small grants to youth groups for art-related projects.

11-13-2003, 04:41 PM
I've also thought about this - on what to do with all the artwork
that I've accumulated over the years, including the ones I did in
I just started to sort them, deciding which ones to donate to charity, give as gifts to family & friends, keep for myself, and which ones to sell.
Before, I work mainly in gouache. I've only recently transitioned
to watercolor. I work fulltime and paint in my spare time.
Hopefully, in the future, I would be able to paint fulltime.