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RTT
10-18-2006, 11:36 PM
I've just finished reading a good thread in this forum from earlier this year on pricing. I'd like to throw out a related question which was just touched upon by some of the responders to that earlier thread. I saw $1 per square inch mentioned on that thread as a pricing guideline. I've seen the same figure mentioned in discussions about the pricing of paintings in acrylics or oils. So...
For those of you who create (and sell) works in different media, how do your prices for similarly sized works compare? Does the relative fragility of a pastel on paper compared to say, an acrylic or oil on canvas come into your pricing equation? How about the costs of materials?
I guess I am assuming that one artist working in two media would still have similar styles, subject matter, levels of details, etc.and be selling to the same market - if not let us know.
Thanks,
Randy

VictoriaChampion
10-19-2006, 01:01 AM
I sell all other media besides oil paintings for exactly half of what I charge for my oil paintings. The main reasons being: oil paintings take me longer, take very long to dry, and people are willing to pay more for oils. So besides that one variable of oil media, I do price everything according to size, example $1 per sq. inch, regardless of time, materials, or media.

Jo Castillo
10-19-2006, 02:03 AM
Randy, I charge the same for all media. I disagree that pastel is fragile. I had 12 paintings at a restaurant that had a kitchen fire. They estimated the temperature in the dining area was over 1500 degrees. The acrylics melted to nothing. The oils looked like burned leather. The watercolors had crumpled and singed paper. The pastels .. well, the glass broke .. they smelled some of smoke, but after airing and reframing, they were fine. The pure pigment protected the paper and all is well. This happened 3 years ago and the pastels still look fine. I believe they were on Art Spectrum paper. I always tell people how colorfast they are. With the additional expense of framing with glass, I think they are well worth the same as my oils.

I'm sure some folks don't agree, but.........
Jo

Katherine T
10-19-2006, 09:18 AM
I have to agree on the fragility aspect.

I've seen far too many oil and acrylic paintings that have started to have problems with cracking and delayering - due to problems with the original media or the way in which it has been applied by an artist who maybe knew a little bit less than he or she needed to know about the media which they were working with.

The only fragile thing about pastels is when the paper is not covered (and then it's the paper which is fragile not the pastel) or when somebody gives them a great big bang by accident.

PeggyB
10-19-2006, 04:28 PM
Yup! I agree with those who state that the other mediums are far more fragile than pastels in the long term. Any pastel properly framed & and exhibited will far outlast any of the others. As for pricing I know it depends somewhat upon the region one lives in, and I work only in pastel (can't stand waiting for paint to dry! lol). However, I do have friends who work in more than one medium including watercolor, oil and acrylic and many of the professionals among them charge the same price, and get the price they ask for in all of their mediums. As I said though in the beginning, it depends most upon the area of the U.S. they live in. and btw - $1 per square inch is just a suggest price. Depending upon experience and provenance, the price may be lower or higher than a dollar.

Peggy

Bringer
10-19-2006, 04:57 PM
Hi,

Independently of many aspects, I do think that the quality of the work itself is the major gauge (is this a correct word ?).

Best regards,

José

RTT
10-19-2006, 10:08 PM
Jo, What a great example of the strength of pastel paintings. I am sure I will retell this story to others that may have concerns.
I guess though I am still concerned with less catastrophic events. I'm thinking that if the picture fell off the wall and especially if the glass broke, the painting would never be the same.
Really I'm not too worried personally about these things but I was more interested in what the art buying public may feel. As long as they (in general) aren't worrying about fragility and are wlling to pay a comparable price to other media... that's great with me!

Randy

johndill01
10-19-2006, 10:20 PM
I have a portrait of my grand-daughter that is pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes that is ready to go back in the frame. The glass was broken while being moved and the portrait was removed from the frame and then left laying exposed. It required about five minutes to retouch the messed up areas and is now ready for the frame again. Pastels are much tougher than most people think.

John

Deborah Secor
10-20-2006, 01:14 PM
True, pastels are tough and beautiful, and our job as pastelists is to let people know, to educate them about the longevity and quality, but the fact is there are plenty of folks who don't want to buy any art under glass because of the 'reflections' (and my belief is that gallery owners and art reps, not to mention artists, have really educated them to that point of view, without their even recognizing it...) That's affected prices for years.

Oil paintings do take a lot longer to paint--that's a fact--and the buying public is a suspicious lot. Witness this: how many of you professionals out there have people ask you, "how long did it take you to do this painting?" When they ask that I think they're sort of figuring out the hourly wage you're earning... "Hmmm, let's see...an 8x10" painting for $500 means she's getting..." You get the picture. Underneath it all they're a little suspicious of paying lawyer's prices to someone who is perceived as having FUN at the same time, a payback in itself. "The least they can do, if they're gonna enjoy their work is get paid peanuts!" Couple that with the training that they've had to undervalue paintings 'under glass', and you get a mindset that's only willing to pay so much for a pastel.

On the other hand, the buying public being what it is, if the artist is very successful and desirable, and looks like a winner who's value is only going to increase, they'll pay quite a lot, whether the painting is under glass or on canvas. Success sells. (I could mention an artist's name right now and you would all nod in agreement, but let's not go there, okay?) They'll fool themselves into thinking they're making an 'investment' that will pay back. They've seen Gustave Baumann's paintings from 1950--within their lifetime--selling on The Antiques Road Show for $30,000! I had a very amusing experience at a street show in Oklahoma one year. It's a brutal six days in the sun, and my show wasn't going particularly well, when this lady came in and bought a painting. She gave me a certificate and told me, "They're all cattle. They'll buy your work because I did..." I had to laugh--but she was right. (Not my favorite way to sell things, but who would argue?)

So get out there and let the buying public know the value of pastels! Point to the successful artists. Tell them the prices they're getting. It will make a difference in the long run, because that lady may just be right... mooooooo.

Deborah

RTT
10-20-2006, 01:51 PM
Thank you John for another good example. I am certainly getting that impression from the responders to this thread that yes, pastels are much tougher than most people think. So I guess it is our responsibility to educate those people.
Randy

RTT
10-20-2006, 02:04 PM
Thanks Deborah. You make some good points about the public's perceptions of pastel works, which I guess was my key issue in starting this thread.
One thing which I think I am hearing is that yes, some of the art buying public may undervalue pastel works but there is enough of a market of educated buyers out there so that we should not need to (and shouldn't on principle) have lower prices for pastels than for other media.
And of course, again, educating the public is required and probably always will be.
Randy

vrashton
10-22-2006, 08:32 PM
I actually sell my pastels for more than my acrylics. My pastels take me a little longer to produce & I have to frame them. My acrylics, on canvas, I sell unframed. The acrylics are an easier sell though, not because of the price but because not only the public but galleries believe they are fragile.
Val

Trilby
10-26-2006, 05:22 PM
Pricing is always a conundrum. The $$/sq in. is a starting place. I price my oils and acrylics at $1.50/in and adjust up or down for complexity and time in production and, of course, quality. My pastels and water colors are also $1.50 per in but have framing and glass added in, my scratchboard art is currently selling for $4 to $5 a sq in because of the time it takes and the complexity, also because I'm developing a following for it. Recently I was accepted for representation by a terrific new gallery. Their commission had to be figured in. I went to every gallery in the community and took down the medium, size, complexity, quality and price and inquired what was selling then figured a kind of average per inch per medium. I ended up raising all my prices by about 30% and have sold 5 paintings in 9 weeks with a lot of interest shown in the others. I'm not seeing a lot of bias towards one medium over another in this region nor a bias towards glassed vs unglassed. I have a choice of matting and glassing my scratchboard pieces or simply framing them unmatted and unglassed. They look better to me under glass, somehow classier and I have no trouble selling them. I have framed some pastels without mats but under glass, again I think it just looks better, no trouble selling there either. I think like any marketing, research is essential and a fairly ruthless self examination and self honesty as well. Presentation counts big. switching from artist to marketer counts as well. It also depends on your market region. Some areas don't see many pastels and go ga ga over oils or water colors, other regions are very supportive of pastels. I think demos and classes are a great educational tool to draw the public interest and an opportunity to increase demand for pastels or any other medium.
TJ

Bringer
10-26-2006, 08:14 PM
Hi TJ,

Tell me something.
When you don't put your scratch works under glass, do you varnish them ?
I don't know if it's varnish that is used to protect the surface.
You have enumerated (does this word exist?) the reasons for pricing your scratch works higher than others. Besides the mentioned reasons, is the fact that a scratch work is usually smaller (maybe I'm wrong), you put the price per sq. in. higher ?

Kind regards,

José

P.S. and when are you going to have a website ?
I don't know anything about webdesign and already have one.
And it's free.

RTT
10-26-2006, 10:06 PM
TJ,
Thank you very much for your input and general confirmation that pastel works should sell in the same range as oils and acrylics. I also appreciate your description of how you set your prices through good research - it just makes sense and its sounds likes it worked for you. Thanks,
Randy
p.s. I am curious about your scratchboard art. I am not familiar with it in general - can you suggest a reference to some examples?

LEIGH RUST
10-27-2006, 03:28 AM
When I am pricing works I work from these variables: subject, medium, size and time. As I specialize in wildlife the work I do with this subject has a higher value than my seascapes which in turn are more valuable than my still lifes. My main medium is pastel and this is the medium my collectors predominantly buy. Therefore that influences my pricing too. I've never really broken my pricing down to price per square inch, normally working off these variables.

fio44
10-27-2006, 11:03 AM
Witness this: how many of you professionals out there have people ask you, "how long did it take you to do this painting?" When they ask that I think they're sort of figuring out the hourly wage you're earning... "Hmmm, let's see...an 8x10" painting for $500 means she's getting..." You get the picture.
Deborah

Hi Deborah,

I think the moment somebody enters an art show, they receive this question. It seems to me that I've been hearing it forever. My answer to this question has almost since day one been…"long enough to get you to stop and look at it" The viewer usually chuckles and if they're serious, they'll ask more questions, if not, they'll just walk away.

PeggyB
10-27-2006, 01:55 PM
Hi Deborah,

I think the moment somebody enters an art show, they receive this question. It seems to me that I've been hearing it forever. My answer to this question has almost since day one been…"long enough to get you to stop and look at it" The viewer usually chuckles and if they're serious, they'll ask more questions, if not, they'll just walk away.

Oh Jeff your answer is much better than mine! My response is, "Oh about 30 years of experience." That will either get more questions or they'll walk away too, but usually they ask more questions.

Peggy

Donna A
10-27-2006, 04:40 PM
I've always priced my pastel paintings the same price as my oil paintings, or acrylics---of the same sizes---and the same price for any subject matter in the size range. I have "stair step" levels of prices based in a range of sq. inches (since I do some square compositions and others that are 2 to 3 in proportion. That is why I use a range of square inches to find similar size with such different proportions.)

I"ve seen some artists pricing purely per square inch and the prices can sound pretty ridiculous and even petty! And terribly unprofessional. $473. and $624. and so forth. Not even sure the cents were just .00!

I think arriving at a strong concept, a great and solid, flowing composition and then painting the various shapes of colors in whatever medium takes similar creative considerations as well as time in general---for any size, for any subject matter, for any medium. Now size----larger definately will want more $$$ than a small piece by the same artist. I'll charge less for a 30"x40" (or a 28"x40, etc.) than a 36"x48" (or a 32"x50" or a 40" square, etc.)

Some paintings seem to flow quickly (in whatever medium) and others offer a bit more "time resistance!" And then there are the absolute "wrestling matches" with the occasional painting! Argh! :-) So---does not seem for me like an issue of mediums. It's all the same pigment! Just different "delivery systems."

And pastels have got to be a more expensive medium, from expenditures on the pastels to begin with, as well as for the added time/expensive of framing with the glass.

If someone is using the pastel as a sketching medium----for which we can also use oil or acrylic, then that needs to cost the buyer less. Seems more like "intent" of sketch or study vs. a "finished" painting is the deciding issue there, for me.

And I NEVER want to tell "a civililan" how long it took to do a particular painting! Never altogether the same time period per size, anyway, it seems to me----and I usually have a number of paintings going at once. And I do always say something like,"I often work on a painting over a month or so." And that is very true. But I do love even better Jeff's answer!!! YES!!! :-)

For me, if there is one painting that fell into place in a day or so, it is not any less valuable than a painting that took me a very long time to arrive at what feels like it works as I want it to. Yes, we do also need to count in alllll those years of learning/experience that let us paint as we are now, fast or less so! :-)

For a study or demo, I will share the time it took---because it is also usually a "one-shot" event and I even KNOW about how much time it took. :-) Take good care! Donna ;-}

fio44
10-30-2006, 05:52 AM
Oh Jeff your answer is much better than mine! My response is, "Oh about 30 years of experience." That will either get more questions or they'll walk away too, but usually they ask more questions.

Peggy

Thanks Peggy!

I like yours as well. Sometimes I think the unexpected answer brings in the best results.

I hope all is well, and as always send my best.

chewie
10-30-2006, 01:44 PM
mm, good ideas there. i just hate that' how long did this take' question, cuz like someone mentioned, they are standing there, doing figures in their heads. ugrh! i often have said 'longer than i planned to'. or 'you really dont' want to know!'

and for the toughness of pastel--i had a framed painting on an easel in the bank (local bank lets me dispay there), and someone walked by and BAM, it went crashing to the floor! face down, right onto the hard tile. absolutely NOTHING was wrong,, not even a smudge! i re-glassed, calmed down the tellers!, then hung up again.. as i did, i said, to those panic'ed tellers ''and you thought this was a fragile painting!" in fact, if it had to happen i was mighty glad it had witnesses!! i doubt anyone will be putting down pastels in front of them!! lol!!