PDA

View Full Version : Paper Question. Help, please


Tom Behnke
02-19-2006, 01:15 AM
Hi:

I just got what might be two commisions for pet portraits. I was in a store, and the owner had a really sweet doberman. I just drew a Rottweiler to use for my business card, and showed her the painting, which she loved. The painting is 16 X 20. She just bought a new house and wants her dog done, but she said she wants the painting 'twice the size' of the Rottie I did.

Now, my question is this. I have only used Canson, and Wallis and Colorfix (and of course the Strathmore general purpose drawing pads). I need something good quality in a larger size that will take the pastels well.

Any suggestions? I know I have seen posts with people using WC paper, but I am completely unfamiliar with it.

Any help would be much appreciated.

By the way, the second potential commision came from a customer who came in while I was showing the Rottie pic. She has a Bichon Frise she wants done. All of a sudden I am getting busy, LOL.

Thanks,

Tom

Khadres
02-19-2006, 02:33 AM
Well, first, congrats on the potential business! But is she SURE she wants her Doberman done 32X40? That's going to be seriously larger than life, even for a doberman. Be that as it may...if you can't make her happy with 24X36 which is a standard paper size (you can get that size in Wallis, if not Colourfix), I THINK your only option is to buy a roll of Wallis and cut it from that or some other than pastel paper altogether. I may be wrong...I'm sure if someone else knows of an alternative pastel paper in bigger sizes they'll let you know. Is time of the essence here? As in...is she is a great hurry? May take a little while to decide on and to find the paper. BTW, if you're going to do something that big, you're going to require a fairly expensive frame and should allow for that in your price.

Tom Behnke
02-19-2006, 02:46 AM
Thanks, Sooz:

Yeah, that is going to be a BIG dobie, lol. She said "oh, that size (16 X 20) would get swallowed up by my mantelpiece."

I was thinking about the framing costs. I originally quoted her $250 for a 16 X 20 (just starting out, so I figured I go a little lower than the $1 per sq. ft).

I may just tell her if she wants it that big, that I can give it to her mounted, but not framed and she can frame it. Because, you are right. Framing costs would be astronomical, and if I factored that in, we are talking quite a lot of money.

It may be lack of confidence (not that I can DO the painting, but of the VALUE of it) but when I thought 'twice the size, twice the price' and was thinking $500, I kind of cringed, lol. I didn't quote her a price on the big one, saying I had to check out paper sizes. I am going back to the store in the near future to take some photos of the dog with my digital. I hope to have a paper answer by then. Time not really 'of the essence', although her housewarming is in late march, and that would probably be a great time to 'unveil it.' I work fairly quickly, so once the photo and the paper are in front of me, I am fairly confident that I could finish the painting in three 'days' (I work nights, and paint while at work. Usually four or five hours a night.).

Anyway, I will see what the Wallis rolls are going for (CRINGE!!!!), and maybe try to convince her that the biggest Wallis sheets will be big enough.

K Taylor-Green
02-19-2006, 03:18 AM
I would charge her at least $700.00 for a piece that size. Especially on Wallis, cause a roll is fairly expensive, and I don't know of any other paper you can get
that size. Forget the framing!
And I am going to be nosy, and ask what you do at night, that you can paint while at work.

Tom Behnke
02-19-2006, 03:29 AM
Hi Kate:

Read your post on Diane's thread about where we want our art to take us (Tahiti? India? or like Jose' said, 'the wash basin", LOL).

I promise to post in the scumble soon.

Ok, here is how I actually get anything creative done.

It is a bit complicated because it is third shift, but Mon-Fri (which technically starts SUN at 11pm, and ends FRI 7am), I work for an alarm company. I monitor burglar, fire, and medical alarms. In an eight-hour shift, on a BUSY night, I might get ten alarms, each taking maybe, MAYBE, ten minutes each, if I have to dispatch fire or police. I average between four and five alarms. So that leaves me about seven hours free time. And the company has no restrictions (within limits, of course, we ARE on camera after all, LOL) on what I can do with that time. They have a big screen tv, DVD, etc in the monitoring room. I play guitar, I write, and of course, I paint. Have a makeshift portable easel, a drop cloth for the rug, and lots of time.

On Fri, and Sat (and where I am as I type this) I work at a hotel from 10p to 7a. Can't draw here, but I usually can mat or frame if I have something done.

$700! Oh god, I would just die if I made a sale like that!

Khadres
02-19-2006, 08:03 AM
Hey, if she wants a biggie, she'll pay big...at minimum, unframed, I'd settle for the $500 as long as she doesn't get too "creative" with how she wants the background, etc. to be. I really prefer selling unframed when I can...people have very differing ideas of what makes a good frame for a particular painting and there's no sense spending a fortune trying to outguess what the buyer wants. All this is just my personal opinion, of course...
Kate may actually have the right of it in that this will be a commissioned work, not one you did just for yourself first and to sell later; I've known several artists who actually charge an extra built-in fee for commissions since those are often of subjects no one else is apt to want if the client winds up unhappy with it. Makes a weird kind of sense, I suppose?

Bringer
02-19-2006, 01:46 PM
Hi Tom,

I don't know how you get along with Colourfix for animals.
I've tried velour and like it alot, but as far as I know it's not availlable on that size, unless maybe by special order what would make quite rather expensive, I think.
Anyway, here's my idea : if you get along with colourfix, buy their primer and apply on a surface that you find adequate, like Masonite (R) for insteance.
I think that you might use Gatorboard (R) and aplly it over it ?
You can also prepare a board with acrylic gesso/primer and pumice (I guess the best mesh is P240) but Dakota sells pumice for pastels.

Best regards,

Josť

Kathryn Wilson
02-19-2006, 01:57 PM
One thing I would discuss with her - does she know it has to be framed behind glass and that could cost her big bucks - beyond the price that you are quoting her. Some people don't realize how much a frame, mat and glass will cost.

PeggyB
02-19-2006, 03:03 PM
More considerations Tom - The weight of glass that size is pretty considerable & if you follow Jose's advise and use something like massonite well that just makes the weight even more. Now everyone, don't get your britches in a bunch on my next statement - LOL - I have a painting that is framed to 24 X 40 and it is under plexiglass. Yes plexi, and there's no problem with the static. The surface of the artwork is about 3/8 of an inch from the plexi, and it is cleaned only with static preventing cleaner. That may be something you consider suggesting to her.

However, trusting such a large piece to some unknown framer may prove to be quit a headache for both of you. I've written this before, but don't remember the thread so bear with me those who've read this before. If the two of you agree that she will have the framing done herself, be certain to put in writing your directions that include the info that the framer is not to spray fix the surface of your work, is not to trim the work in any way, and how you suggest that the surface of the work be recessed from what ever glazing product they choose by at least 1/4 inch if it is glass more than that if it is plexi. Then include in the written insturctions that you will not be responsibe for the repair of any damage done to the painting once it is out of your care nor will you refund any amount of the sale price. In my area of the country, framing such a large pastel painting in a professional manner with double or triple matting, conservation glass, and a medium value frame could easily be as much as $500 - $700. Gulp! You may suggest to her that she do some investigative shopping for framers and get an idea of just how much it will cost her to have this done. The jump in price from 16 X 20 to 32 X 40 is incredible even if you do it yourself. The frame and matting will be ovesized. That means if you put a 4" total mat on the painting, the mat size is going to be 40 X 48, and that means the framer has to order a mat that is 40 X 60 so there's even more expense. Look on line and you'll see this for yourself.

As for the price of your work, well a dollar per square inch (not sq ft) is going to be a lot more than $500, and it should be. 32 X 40 is $1280... even if you go to a little under that formula, $500 is too low in my opinion. Your original quote of $250 for a 16X20 is a factor of about .75 - be consistent and your clients will appreciate your professionalism.

You can get Wallis at 18 X 24 (*$350) and 24 X 36 (*$650)
or Art Spectrum at 19.5 X 27.5 (*$400) and 27.5 X 39 (*$800)
* Your fee for this commission. Which btw you should have a nonrefundable deposit of at least 1/4 the price for your time and trouble should she not want it in the end. I can't emphasize enough that you need to have a contract if you are going to be happy in this endeavor. It leaves nothing to the imagination of either the artist or client and protects both of you. (and my lawyer daughter would be so proud of me for remembering to include this info. :) )

I suggest you take some cardboard and tape together these sizes + add about 4" all around to show her how big it will be with just the artwork and mat. Then tell her a frame sufficient for all of this should be at least 2.5 to 3.5 inches in width on top of what she is seeing. I'm betting when she has a good visual of what the size is going to actually be, she will be content with one of the standard sizes of these two papers - and the prices will be less too. However, if she still wants 32X40 she won't be surprised at the price ($960) or size, and that's without mat & frame.

Peggy

dlake
02-19-2006, 03:13 PM
Hey, have you ever tried the rough watercolor paper??? It's quite nice for pastels. I do alot on those and really enjoy them. You can get single sheets really close to that size at the craft stores and I'm assuming the art stores.

Deborah Secor
02-19-2006, 11:45 PM
Tom, this is great! I hope you can work large and please the customer, which could pay off in the long run even if you don't make enough for this one!

You might consider asking her if she is thinking of a finished and framed painting that's 32x40", which is a lot more do-able. Seeing a 16x20 image unframed may look small, but once framed it would be more imposing--maybe 24x30"-ish?

I would also suggest you ask her for a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit to begin work on the painting. I routinely ask for half up front as my 'creation fee.' This means I'm not spending endless hours creating a custom painting that no one but the one who commissioned it is likely to buy and not receiving any pay for my time. In the end, if she should reject the painting for some reason (hate to tell you, but this does happen), you have your time covered. On a bigger painting I usually make a couple of studies of the animal, often in the 16x20 range, to help the customer visualize different backgrounds or expressions. If worse comes to worst, one or both of them may sometimes satisfy the customer whose eyes are bigger than her room, so that no ugly 'refund' battle ensues.

Free advice, worth every penny you paid for it--but I hope it helps. :D
Deborah

Tom Behnke
02-20-2006, 08:17 AM
Thanks Everyone:

Peggy and Dee, GREAT advice and input. And Diane I was wondering about rough watercolor paper, especially since I love the texture of the Wallis and Colorfix, but still haven't found a way to blend large areas without taking the skin off my fingers, OUCH! The chamois seems to remove more than it blends.

Anyway I will keep you posted on how I work this out.

Khadres
02-20-2006, 02:37 PM
Peggy, I'd be interested to see a standard commissioned art contract. I agree wholeheartedly that a contract is essential, especially when you get into the big bucks arena. I also think it would be a good idea for even pre-done by the artist paintings to have a disclaimer clause attached concerning handling and responsibility for damages once the painting leaves the hands o the artist...too much can happen to a pastel between your hands and the framers and the living room wall!

I'd also be interested in another run-down of pricing guidelines, including charges for "extras" such as matting, framing, allowing for commissions for galleries, etc. The whole thing can get incredibly confusing and I'm apt to miss something so a check list would be way cool! Maybe we should develop one specifically for pastels?

jackiesimmonds
02-20-2006, 02:52 PM
GREAT advice from Dee. I would like to bet that she has not even begun to think about framing costs, and certainly hasn't factored in the size of a mount (matt to you) and frame, which could increase a Wallis sheet 24x36 to another 4-6 or even more " all round - I regularly use mats which are at least 4 or even 5" wide, so that would add another TEN INCHES to the width of the picture. I suggest you go have a look at the place she plans to put the picture, and measure the size out for her. Then, you can work backwards from the overall size. I have done this in the past, it works much better than just to do it and hope for the best. Clients usually fail to factor in the size of a frame - you can get really wide ones - and the mat or mats.

Taking a deposit is really important too. You need to be paid for your time, even if she rejects the image in the end. I have had this happen twice; people seem to think that an artist's time is irrelevant; it is only the end product that counts, and if they change their mind, it doesn't matter. She has seen your work, she knows the standard to which you work, so it should be no problem for her to give you a down payment deposit.

Good luck with this piece
Jackie

Donna A
02-22-2006, 10:38 PM
Hi Tom,

I don't know how you get along with Colourfix for animals.
I've tried velour and like it alot, but as far as I know it's not availlable on that size, unless maybe by special order what would make quite rather expensive, I think.
Anyway, here's my idea : if you get along with colourfix, buy their primer and apply on a surface that you find adequate, like Masonite (R) for insteance.
I think that you might use Gatorboard (R) and aplly it over it ?
You can also prepare a board with acrylic gesso/primer and pumice (I guess the best mesh is P240) but Dakota sells pumice for pastels.

Best regards,
Josť

Yes-----and----if you want a more velour surface, you can sand down the Colourfix a bit for that more suede-like surface! Donna ;-}

Donna A
02-22-2006, 10:47 PM
GREAT advice from Dee. I would like to bet that she has not even begun to think about framing costs, and certainly hasn't factored in the size of a mount (matt to you) and frame, which could increase a Wallis sheet 24x36 to another 4-6 or even more " all round - I regularly use mats which are at least 4 or even 5" wide, so that would add another TEN INCHES to the width of the picture. I suggest you go have a look at the place she plans to put the picture, and measure the size out for her. Then, you can work backwards from the overall size. I have done this in the past, it works much better than just to do it and hope for the best. Clients usually fail to factor in the size of a frame - you can get really wide ones - and the mat or mats.

Taking a deposit is really important too. You need to be paid for your time, even if she rejects the image in the end. I have had this happen twice; people seem to think that an artist's time is irrelevant; it is only the end product that counts, and if they change their mind, it doesn't matter. She has seen your work, she knows the standard to which you work, so it should be no problem for her to give you a down payment deposit.

Good luck with this piece
Jackie

Jackie is so right about taking a deposit!!! Many artists will require 1/3 upon beginning the project---or with a composition sketch, 1/3 mid-way through and the last 1/3 upon completion.

And the artist will often act as an advisor for the framing. Nothing is so frightening as seeing a lovely commission framed horribly!!! Does not make for good word-of-mouth messages when we totally leave it in the hands of someone else. I had this happen to me early on. Not fun!!!! Often, an artist will have an alliance with a good framer and will have a bit of commission for bringing in the work---and taking part in the selection. Just something to think about. Very best wishes!!! Donna ;-}