View Full Version : What works for me.

02-10-2002, 02:46 PM
Recently we were discussing auction sales strategies. I said no matter how you
word your auction sales page, the bottom line is the actual painting that you
are trying to sell. You can have the best advert ever, but if the picture is not
what the customer is looking for, then it's all to no avail.
I don't profess to being an expert at this, because I have only recently
started selling on eBay, and up to now have only sold a dozen or so paintings
there. So, in the short time I have been selling, I've come to the conclusion
(in my case only) that it's not the traditional work that people are looking for.
It seems to me that it's the wild and whacky stuff that generates the most
The picture below will show you what I mean.
The funny thing is, I did post the top few images in some of the forums for
critique and a few people humoured me and said how "nice" they were and "I
think I can hear your nurse calling you for your injection" ;) etc, and I thought
Oh well, let's get back to my roots. Then I painted the bottom two images in
watercolour using traditional techniques and put those up for critique. Well the
response was quite different. Lots of comments; I love the way you've captured
the glow through the trees and the way it takes you into the distance etc. etc.
Right, so I thought, I'm on to a winner here bang them onto eBay and get ready
to go into semi-retirement.

Well, you can see the results. The only conclusion I can come to, is not to take
too much notice of what your fellow artists think when it comes to knowing what would
be a marketable picture. Because an artist likes a picture, doesn't mean it is
going to sell. Artists look for different things in pictures which the public at large
are not aware of. Artists look for balance, economy of technique, use of colour etc.
etc. The public either like or dislike a picture without really understanding why.

Well, I've found what works for me by trial and error, and I think we all have to
go through that experience. I wouldn't take my word for it though, I'm only an artist
not a marketing guru.

PS. I recently posted a picture on the watercolour forum called Life-cycle and it just
dropped completely dead. It is not traditional, It is not a still life. It's whacky.
I have also put it on eBay. I'll let you know if and when it sells and for how much.


02-10-2002, 07:58 PM
You may be on to something there Salmon. I've noticed too that a lot of weird stuff gets bids and a lot of nice stuff doesn't. But I'm not sure you can generalize because I do know that a lot of nice paintings are selling. But I have to agree with you in that 'if it's not what the buyer wants, it won't sell'. That is quite true in my opinion, not matter how well done or not. :crying:

02-11-2002, 12:01 AM
You have some fun stuff there Salmon! Another thing that I noticed about selling is that we as sellers worry about pricing paintings. We lower prices thinking trying to second quess the buyer and that may be the reason people aren't buying. Pricing is a consideration for buyers of course, but does lowering a painting $5 or $10 make the painting more sellable? I think it goes back to what you and Sumafra said 'if it's not what the buyer wants, it won't sell. However, lower pricing might get the bids going, so it could be a marketing strategy..... ooooh, here I go again trying to figure out buyers!

02-11-2002, 05:49 PM
In my experience, my landscapes have sold best. My abstract or odder work (ie. my real work) doesn't sell well at all on eBay though it doesn't stop me from trying. My Scottish and Cornish landscapes always sell, though they may need a relisting. I think the key is pointing out the landscape as a specific country that is popular - Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall (okay, not a country), Italy maybe? That sort of thing. My Scottish landscapes sell pretty evenly between americans and scots.

I think you're on the right track though - the colourful works draw more attention. My landscapes, while I call them traditional, are actually still modern. I just have a difficult time categorising them alongside my usual work. :)

(If I may say, the paintings you marked as sold are far more interesting. Aside from the difference in style they just look like you enjoyed them more, had more love and creative energy maybe. :))


02-11-2002, 09:05 PM
Those are great samples. I've heard over and over of buyers looking for funky work, or something unique.

I agree, the bottom line is how the customer reacts to the image. I've been able to sell traditional works and abstracts I never would have approached a gallery with.

I can't always tell ahead of time what will sell. Things I thought would get the most attention have sold for minimum prices, and things I thought might lie out there and die have attracted lots of bidders.

I agree, the only way to know for sure is to go through a period of trial and error.

02-11-2002, 10:53 PM
Just looking at your work....I'd say that buyers love your more personal unique style that really shows in the first group of paintings...wish I had that whacky landscape!

The landscapes of the trees are nice and they do have great artistic qualities...but seeing them next to your other work...they just don't have the same punch. No pow! and when buyers see a painting and like it, they do check out all the auctions that a painter has up.

True, you can't really outguess buyers, but they do recognize uniqueness when they see it! Stick with your own style! If you want to paint other landscapes that are more traditional, go for it, but I'd list them all together when I wasn't listing my other work.

02-20-2002, 10:00 AM
Oh well, that's my theory blown to bits.
I've had this on eBay for the last ten days. I got plenty of hits to
view the work but zero bids. It was priced at just under thirty pounds. (ridiculously low price)
Maybe I've gone over the edge on this one? I don't know.
I must admit, things do look quite slow at the moment, so it may
not be all down to me.
Oh well, back to the drawing board. (Literally).


02-20-2002, 12:00 PM
Well, I know you didn't ask for a critique of your painting, but this composition seems like a big departure from any of the works in your first post.

In all the first compositions that sold so well, you used similar elements to the latest one: colored forms separated by a heavy white line.

The white lines to my eyes, create a strong separation between the colored forms. In a composition dominated by a recognizable element such as a face, you get a really interesting tension between the recognition the faces evoke and the pulling apart of the abstract elements.

The tension goes away in this last piece, leaving the various elements strongly separated, with no central element to pull it all together. I wonder if you really need that kind of tension to tell the kind of story this composition is telling. I think black lines might serve to lead the eye around and emphasise the subtle changes the colors are making from form to form.

Again, sorry if critisism is out of place here, I just think this piece could wind up being your strongest one yet. Keep Going!


03-09-2002, 12:48 AM
The painting you posted which didn't sell is IMO a very successful painting!

03-22-2002, 04:24 PM
Just to keep all those that may be interested informed.
I made a couple of value alterations to my last picture
that did not sell last time round and put it back on eBay
(but this time in the uk self-rep category) along with a new one. For some reason, unknown to me the counter has gone mad.
Last count 414. I used to only get 40 max. It now has 5 bids
and looks like it's going to do well.
Funny old world. Isn't it?

03-22-2002, 07:36 PM
The work is awesome! Glad to see things moving along... :)

03-22-2002, 11:28 PM
It goes to show that you just never know. It's a matter of finding the right audience at the right time. Congratulations on your success.