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Colorix
01-10-2008, 08:08 PM
Hi, :wave:

I can't imagine that pricing pastel paintings have not been discussed in this forum, but the search-thingy won't spit it out.

As I consider the question, I find that there are many methods to determine what price tag to put on one's paintings. The square-inch method, the numbers-of-hours method, the I'm-pleased/not pleased-with-it-myself method, the equal-size-equal-price method, etc.

My Hubby and another artist recommend me to set high prices, as it is difficult to raise them later. (Why would that be difficult? It is not difficult for other people who sell any item to raise the price...) They claim that a high price shows I value my art, while a lower price would devalue it. (I think a modest price would attract buyers...)

Do pastels sell at a lower price than oils? Or watercolours? Or do you/we teach the public it is *really* a painting by asking the same kind of money as for other media?

I guess this question been posed before. If you know how to find such a thread, please post the link.

If this is a new question, I'd love to learn how pastellists think, and how you determine what to ask for a painting. And do you sell them framed/unframed? Matted and unframed? Matted with glass and unframed? Glassine-packed and unmatted?

How to deal with hagglers? "You can get it unmatted and unframed for a 10% discount", or something similar?

Quite a big question, and there are such things to take into account too as what pastels go for in one's area. (My area, nothing, as there are no pastelists here.)

Thank you for reading,

Charlie

DAK723
01-10-2008, 09:05 PM
Here are a few past threads. The second link has a link to 3 more threads. Hope these help.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=433343&highlight=pricing

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=424183&highlight=pricing

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=377409&highlight=pricing

Don

PeggyB
01-10-2008, 10:18 PM
Hi, :wave:

I can't imagine that pricing pastel paintings have not been discussed in this forum, but the search-thingy won't spit it out.

As I consider the question, I find that there are many methods to determine what price tag to put on one's paintings. The square-inch method, the numbers-of-hours method, the I'm-pleased/not pleased-with-it-myself method, the equal-size-equal-price method, etc.

Both of the above paragraphs have been covered, and hopefully in the links that Don provided.

My Hubby and another artist recommend me to set high prices, as it is difficult to raise them later. (Why would that be difficult? It is not difficult for other people who sell any item to raise the price...) They claim that a high price shows I value my art, while a lower price would devalue it. (I think a modest price would attract buyers...)

Well now I don't agree on the "it is hard to raise prices later". However, it is hard to lower prices later if you find the price you set hasn't sold well because of the pricing. If someone has purchased your work at the higher price, they will wonder if they made a wise choice should they see you've lowered your prices. On the other hand, when they see your prices have gone up they assume you are becoming a recognized artist worthy of higher prices, and they are pleased - often enough so that they will buy another one at the higher price.
There is a very fine line between pricing your work "high enough to reflect the artists self worth" and "loe enough to sell" - and if there is any artist anywhere who knew what that was when they first began selling, I'd be pretty surprised. :) Other considerations are going price for like art in your area, and your own provenance. Have you any academic degrees? Have you successfully competed in national or international competitions? Do you belong to any art organizations that are recognized for excellence? Have you sold paintings to corporations, etc? Every advancement in this regard will raise your prices. However, your first consideration should probably to be just get the work into the hands of clients. The more people who own your work, the more word will spread about you. Maybe you will need to price your work lower than your husband or friend think you should at first, but if it sells well, you can laugh all the way to the bank. Then as you add more sales or other accolades you raise your prices.
I personally use the price pre square inch method because it takes all emotion out of the decision. I add the price of framing on top of that - all rounded to the nearest 100. I once had a major gallery owner tell me that she hated to have artists price their work at anything other than incruments of 100 because in her experience (and she was very successful) if a client was willing to buy something for $175, they'd also buy it for $200. Worse yet to her was a price that ended in cents - such as $199.95 - as though the artist was selling hardware or clothing.

Do pastels sell at a lower price than oils? Or watercolours? Or do you/we teach the public it is *really* a painting by asking the same kind of money as for other media?

It all depends upon who you talk to about this subject. I know professionals who sell in high price ranges who keep the price the same for same sized work no matter what the medium, and those who sell oils for more. This also depends upon where you live.

How to deal with hagglers? "You can get it unmatted and unframed for a 10% discount", or something similar?

Oh how I dislike these people! However, here is one way to handle it. I will never sell a pastel unframed for fear of what someone without knowledge of how to handle the pastel will ruin it, and then the client will want me to fix it! However, I do know not every framing is going to satisfy every client. I will offer to reframe it, but they will have to pay for the materials and my time (or if you don't do your own framing you can have your framer do it, and they pay the framer). If this is a return customer or one I feel may be a return customer, I will offer a small discount if it isn't being sold through a gallery. If it is being sold through a gallery, I have made agreements with the gallery to share in any discount that they are comfortable offering. Since this is money out of they pocket too, they aren't any more generous with a discount than I would be. If I'm dealing directly with the client I tell them my price is for the painting, and the framing is just part of the package. Although in reality I've put the price of the frame into the selling price, I'm not going to tell them that. I've learned if they think the frame is "free" they usually drop the subject. My reason for doing this is not only to hope they drop the subject, but also because I can't always reuse the frame quickly. Some people are smart and work in standard sizes and use "standard" frames. I'd like to say I do the same, but alas, I don't. :o
Quite a big question, and there are such things to take into account too as what pastels go for in one's area. (My area, nothing, as there are no pastelists here.)

Well Charlie it looks as though you are going to be the "pioneer" of pastels in your area. I hope you can come to a decision that is satisfactory to you, and that you do well is sales. :D

Charlie

Peggy

klord
01-10-2008, 10:33 PM
Hi Charlie,

I would like to post a few comments regarding your question on pricing.

FIrst and foremost for me, I believe that all mediums are equal. Yes, there is a long held belief that works under glass and even acrylics take a back seat to oils, and you will run across this particular prejudice out there. However, I have taken the position that my work is as worthy as any other work of similar style/level/quality in any medium, and have thus priced my work based on the going market and what other artists are charging that have a similar resume, based on awards/exhibitions/galleries and again style. Now all that can vary from location to location, but the most important thing is to maintain your price range no matter where you are selling so that when a collector calls you in Sweden from the states to inquire about a piece there will be a consistancy.

In regards to overpricing... it is much easier to climb the ladder than go back down it, so to speak. If you start your prices too high, you can quickly climb out of your market if you exponentially raise your prices 10% every year which is a fair and recommended practice. Better to start a bit lower if you are just starting out building a collector base. That does not mean you give away your work, or under value it, it means be careful where your price points start. If you have some artists in your area that are painting in oil that you feel your work is equivalent to in quality then you can use their price points as a guide to start yours. Remember, you will have more cost into your product as a whole than those that do not have to frame, as oil painters sometimes do not need a frame with those wrapped canvas's. If you over price your work, and the market falls flat and start having to reduce yoru price points, your collectors will look unfavorably on this, as they will feel that they got ripped off.

My best advice to you would be to consider the overall presentation and image you would like to present to potential collectors, and your personal need for sales, when determining whether to sell your work unframed etc. I think I am in the minority when considering selling my work in an unframed manner. Those who do well with open studios, and in galleries that accept unframed work will definately disagree with me here... but I choose to exhibit/sell the paintings that are framed. And I have a LOT of unframed work hanging around the studio!

I do my very best to not discount or have sales on my work. Again, I am afraid that I may be in the minority here. If a collector wants to purchase multiple paintings, or has been coming back for more, then I will definately work with them. But I too have to pay my rent/mortgage and feel that my work is just as important as the plumber who comes to fix the pipes. I can say that, because my husband is a plumber:D

Definately my two cents on the subject! :)

Colorix
01-11-2008, 08:21 AM
Thank you so much!

Feel a bit silly... I searched "price", "money", "cost", "selling", etc, anything I could think of, but I didn't think of "pricING".... duh!

Very good threads, thank you Don!

Peggy and Kim, replying to you below, rather extensively.

Reason I ask is that I've been asked to exhibit in a local church. "Could I persuade you to exhibit in my church, about 25 paintings?" He could persuade me.... once I woke up from the dead faint! It is not finalized yet, there is his church-board to talk to (he's the chairman and driving force), and a time to be decided, but it seems like late April, or early fall. So I have a lot of preparation and painting to do! Figuring out pricing is one of them.

Peggy, thanks a lot!
... However, it is hard to lower prices later if you find the price you set hasn't sold well because of the pricing. ...

That reasoning makes eminent sense to me! Wouldn't want a client to feel cheated. This would be my first show (but not my first sale, and I have made commissions, but that was in oil.) I am largely self-taught, have done classes but not academic level. My academic background is art history. I've taken a 7 weeks long class in the US, learning a form of American Impressionism from a collectible artist nobody ever heard of in Sweden.

I don't beling to any art organizations, they won't accept amateurs in Sweden. I've not been accepted (yet) to the only open-for-all show in my area. I am laying the groundwork for *starting* a possible Pastel Society of Sweden...

This would be my premiere, the start of my "undying fame" and climb to the top... :lol: :D


I personally use the price pre square inch method because it takes all emotion out of the decision. I add the price of framing on top of that - all rounded to the nearest 100.

I'll do something very similar, that is sound advice. I frame cheaply, buying standard frames for posters, and cutting mats myself, as I expect people to reframe, but mainly because I need to keep my cost down until I start selling seriously.

If I'm dealing directly with the client I tell them my price is for the painting, and the framing is just part of the package. Although in reality I've put the price of the frame into the selling price, I'm not going to tell them that. I've learned if they think the frame is "free" they usually drop the subject.

Excellent! That'd work for me too.

I'd like to add that in my area, Stockholm, paintings are sold by the fame of the artist (to ridiculously high prices), and almost all paint in a modern or post-modern style, when it is not purely abstract angst. Only amateurs paint representationally, which I do, and am. The Art Mob is very elitistic, so there is no chance whatsoever for me to get into a gallery (unless it is in a small town far away). I paint for ordinary people who want "normal" pictures on their walls, and I want to show the beauty in light and shadow to them. There is one well known and loved artist who paints in a very high quality naivistic style, and to the great chagrin of the Art Mob, he is so popular he's getting *rich*, while they get prices but don't sell. I love this guy, and he even calls himself a "picture-painter" and not an artist, because the Art Mob decreed he's not a "real" artist. This is the situation here. There is an almost "underground movement" of skillful amateurs I'm just starting to get my foot into. Ooops, seems I've vented a bit... sorry.

Kim said:... all mediums are equal. ..... However, I have taken the position that my work is as worthy as any other work of similar style/level/quality in any medium, ..... but the most important thing is to maintain your price range no matter where you are selling so that when a collector calls you in Sweden from the states to inquire about a piece there will be a consistancy.

I agree, all mediums are equal. It isn't the medium that's fancy, it is the skill of the artist. At my present level, I can't even imagine a collector from the US calling me.... I will get a website, though, and one never knows what happens. Maybe I can imagine it, as I've learned my technique in the US, so maybe Americans will be attracted to it. :)

exponentially raise your prices 10% every year which is a fair and recommended practice. Better to start a bit lower if you are just starting out building a collector base. .... careful where your price points start. If you have some artists in your area that are painting in oil that you feel your work is equivalent to in quality then you can use their price points as a guide to start yours.

10% raise/year, that is a very good point I've never heard of before, thank you so much. I like that. Starting reasonably priced makes sense, as I'm a new amateur. I know what unknown artists ask for, but they do have the education. However, I may have a severe case of megalomania, but I often find their work inferior to mine, technically (I think I'm fair, based on my knowledge of art from the Art History perspective). Technique isn't taught here, I've learned mine from the US. Still, I deem it wise to start out asking for prices in the same level. They are newbies, I'm a newbie, and the buying public will decide what they want.

Plumbers are craftsmen, and we pay for their skill and knowhow, and my take is that artists are craftsmen/women of equal standing.

For shipping, it seems safer to sell and ship unframed, but for pick-ups, frames seems the best protection.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate you all taking time to reply, and to refer to previous threads on the subject.

Charlie

Donna T
01-11-2008, 09:26 AM
Great questions Charlie and thanks so much to Peggy and Kim for the answers you both provided. I've been wondering about the same things Charlie, and am very excited for your up-coming exhibition opportunity. I'm kind of shocked to hear about the art situation in Sweden. How sad to think that art that isn't of the "modern" style is not considered valuable. There is no pastel group at all in Sweden?!! You might just be the person to get one started and begin re-educating the Art Mob. If the people of Sweden want a still life or a landscape for their walls it might just be up to you to provide them with one. :)

Donna

DAK723
01-11-2008, 09:27 AM
Charlie,

I hope everything works out with plans for your show. I know you will do well!

Don

Dot Hoffman
01-11-2008, 10:26 AM
Peggy, you said: I will never sell a pastel unframed for fear of what someone without knowledge of how to handle the pastel will ruin it, and then the client will want me to fix it! However, I do know not every framing is going to satisfy every client.

It occurred to me that one way around this would be to tape the glass/acrylic, mat or spacers, painting, backing board together (covered a while back in another thread) so it can easily be removed from the frame and dropped into a new frame by the buyer's framer without disturbing the painting. But, like you, I don't have many standard sizes, and therefore, standard frame sizes. Oh well....it's a thought.

Colorix
01-11-2008, 11:39 AM
Dot, yes, that "sandwich" technique looks really interesting.

Re standard formats: it is a constraint I'm not entirely happy with, but it really only takes a bit of self-discipline to only use standard sizes. And long for the day when it isn't neccessary anymore. :-) Luckily, photo-frames come in long formats too, so I only have to cut my own mat if I want to do a long flower, or a long horizon. Would like to work bigger, though.

Charlie

DAK723
01-11-2008, 03:01 PM
I usually use standard size frames, but I do cut my own mats, so I sometimes have a little "wiggle room" if my artwork isn't a perfect standard size. I have found that pictureframes.com has fairly inexpensive frames for non-standard sizes. I just ordered a standard metal frame approx. 16" x 11" for about $11. I just have to assemble it myself. Obviously, the shipping costs pump up the price, so you want to order many frames at the same time. Then I buy the glass or plexiglass from a frameshop. Usually, that is not too expensive either. If you don't mind assembling things yourself and buy the pieces separately, it can still be reasonably affordable.

Don

deyo67
01-11-2008, 04:33 PM
Thanks for bringing up this pricing area. I'm a Newbie in that area too. I'm going to spend the next 4 hours reading some of these helpful posts. Good Luck.

John
http://jdeyoungsart.blogspot.com

PeggyB
01-11-2008, 06:28 PM
Peggy, you said:

It occurred to me that one way around this would be to tape the glass/acrylic, mat or spacers, painting, backing board together (covered a while back in another thread) so it can easily be removed from the frame and dropped into a new frame by the buyer's framer without disturbing the painting. But, like you, I don't have many standard sizes, and therefore, standard frame sizes. Oh well....it's a thought.

Dot - and Charlie - this is one solution. However, since I frame only for competition, the mats are either linen or some value of white. Sometimes the client wants "designer" color mats so this wouldn't work in that case because then not only is an unknown framer handling the removal from the frame, but also untaping the whole package! I've also known people who frame "designer" have a client who wants different colored mats so there ya go again..... :eek:

Charlie - my husband and I were in Sweden, and of course Stockholm, in May/June of 2006 when we went to pick up our new Volvo from the factory. All of Sweden is such a clean country! Just beautiful that time of year with all the rapeseed fields in bloom. We went to several museums and galleries in Stockholm, and the only place we saw "real" art was in the palace. We drove through the "Glass Country" and toured Kosta Boda, Orrefors, and many independent glass blowing studios. Even most of the glass is in a modern design. We splurged on a beautiful vase by one of the "Masters" at Kosta Boda. It turned out the one I wanted the most because of the way the colors flowed together was one the Master himself had chosen for display (they put a sticker on the bottom of the piece saying "Artist's Choice" - and we didn't know that until they were wrapping it for sale. :) ) It is too bad snobbery gets in the way of being inclusive in any group of people. I hope your movement of "Picture Painters" takes off big time, and all of you begin to outsell the "artists". :lol:

I wouldn't worry too much about not being an acedemic artist. There are many non acedemicly trained painters who are very successful. Your art history and time spent in the U.S. probably taught you as much about creating the type of artwork you want to do as any university would have. In the end, practice, practice, practice will teach you and serve you very well, and if you get a chance to take a workshop here and there from people you respect so much the better, but not absolutely necessary.

Peggy

Colorix
01-11-2008, 08:54 PM
Peggy, oh, those fields must have been all yellow! It is quite a stunning sight. I'm so glad you know what I'm talking about re the art in Sweden, usually people from other parts of the world (the US mostly) find it hard to believe. Well, some of the modern stuff is very fine -- it is the "cult" of the Art Mob that irritates me. Much of the glass is gorgeous! When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a glass-blower. :-D Two years ago I got to try it, it is a good thing I've played the clarinet, it was *really* hard to blow glass! I made a small vase, which sits proudly lopsided on my windowsill.

I've considered applying to the art school. I've decided it'd be a waste of time, as they don't teach much at all there, they just let the students loose with lots of stuff to make "installations" from. They do Acts of Pure Art, like stealing a visitor's bench from the largest gallery and selling it on e-bay... the famous artist wasn't even fined for this...

The only problem with not being an academic artist I have is that a gallery won't touch my art. And with the whole internet at my disposal, well, it doesn't seem much like a problem after all.

Practice makes perfect sense! Yes!

When I meet other amateurs, it saddens me that most of them have been cowed by the attitude of the "elite" -- they say "oh no, I'm no real artist, not little me, I just love to play with watercolours". I always tell them that if they paint, then they *are* artists, *real* artists. They blush, deny, but get a light in their eyes, and a spring in their steps.

Oh, we have one museum with real art, the National Gallery (Nationalmuseum), with several Rembrandt paintings. :-) A Renoir, too.

Was the car to your satisfaction? They are comfortable to drive, and very safe.

PeggyB
01-11-2008, 10:46 PM
Peggy, oh, those fields must have been all yellow! It is quite a stunning sight. I'm so glad you know what I'm talking about re the art in Sweden, usually people from other parts of the world (the US mostly) find it hard to believe. Well, some of the modern stuff is very fine -- it is the "cult" of the Art Mob that irritates me. Much of the glass is gorgeous! When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a glass-blower. :-D Two years ago I got to try it, it is a good thing I've played the clarinet, it was *really* hard to blow glass! I made a small vase, which sits proudly lopsided on my windowsill.

I've considered applying to the art school. I've decided it'd be a waste of time, as they don't teach much at all there, they just let the students loose with lots of stuff to make "installations" from. They do Acts of Pure Art, like stealing a visitor's bench from the largest gallery and selling it on e-bay... the famous artist wasn't even fined for this...

The only problem with not being an academic artist I have is that a gallery won't touch my art. And with the whole internet at my disposal, well, it doesn't seem much like a problem after all.

Practice makes perfect sense! Yes!

When I meet other amateurs, it saddens me that most of them have been cowed by the attitude of the "elite" -- they say "oh no, I'm no real artist, not little me, I just love to play with watercolours". I always tell them that if they paint, then they *are* artists, *real* artists. They blush, deny, but get a light in their eyes, and a spring in their steps.

Oh, we have one museum with real art, the National Gallery (Nationalmuseum), with several Rembrandt paintings. :-) A Renoir, too.

Was the car to your satisfaction? They are comfortable to drive, and very safe.

Oh yes - we did see the National Gallery too - I forgot that one, but don't know why as it is marvelous! :)

We loved visiting your country! :heart: Neither of us had ever thought of visiting Sweden since that isn't in either of our heritages, but when the Volvo dealership offered this fabulous arrangement of pick up the car in Sweden and save almost $7000 (in our case) we just couldn't resist. We'd go back in a heartbeat because we were made to feel very welcome, the food is fabulous (yes I tried every variety of pickeled fish that was offered, but my husband wouldn't touch it! hehe There was only one variety I didn't care for, but it wasn't awful.) and the scenery so completely peaceful and beautiful we relaxed the whole trip. and yes I LOVE my car - a sportwagon V70R - not seen too often in Sweden as an "R" because that means turbo engine and high test gas. I almost fainted when my husband told me to fill the tank the first time was almost $100!!! - now it is "only" about $45. The gas consumption is the only complaint I have about this car. I just wish it wasn't so expensive to visit your lovely country.

I feel badly for people who feel their paintings are "only amateur", and very irritated at galleries that won't even look at the work. I do like your attitude though - keep telling them how good they are and maybe they will one day believe you. Too bad you can't get together and open your own "Amateur Gallery". I saw so many different qualities of work in Tuscany that I don't think Italy has that same problem.

Peggy

Donna T
01-12-2008, 01:14 PM
Peggy's right, Charlie. You should start your own art group. There must be many people who think as you do about what constitutes 'art'. It's your national duty!;)

Donna