April 28, 2020 at 4:53 pm #978850Harold RothDefault
I haven’t been selling many paintings. In fact, so far this year up until today, I had sold exactly one painting, a small one for $75.
I have a range of prices, sizes, styles, mediums. I didn’t do badly last year, but this year, sheesh.
I have been following a business coach for several years now, an unusual fellow who practices magic but was also formerly in the corporate world. A couple of things he’s said have stuck with me:
a) be who you are, not who you think people want you to be. When the right people find you, they will stick with you and give you money for what you can give them.
b) set a price for your work that will make you say “hell yeah!” when someone goes for it. Otherwise, you will get to resent the work, and it will show.
I’ve certainly seen the validity of the be-who-you-are thing, but the hell-yeah price is a lot more scary. We’re all so trained to compete with each other and join the race to the bottom.
Meanwhile, I’ve been working lately in surrealist style, which is really helping me let go. I think my painting is much improved, but I also think it is much more peculiar. Still, it’s much more me. I feel solid in it.
So even though I hadn’t sold anything all year except that one little painting a couple weeks ago, I decided to raise all my prices on the basis of “hell yeah” and also due to the fact that I am now painting with a lot more detail, and so my paintings take a lot longer to complete. I jacked up some prices 50%. Most from 10-25%. That takes a lot of confidence–certainly a lot more confidence than I usually have. It is like dancing by yourself. You feel like everyone is going to look at you and judge you, when in fact most people don’t care and you can have a lot of fun.
I raised my prices across the board when I finished the painting and put it up on my site. It was a bit larger than my usual, so my price was larger too–$850. I thought geez, I sure do have brass ball bearings to ask for these prices. All the while dreaming about the day when I could ask at least twice as much.
Still, the other side of me felt down, like I must be deluding myself. Isn’t that what artists do? You have to be nuts to be an artist anyhow. And I still have so much to learn. I thought, “Nobody’s going to buy this thing. Just get ready to do the next one.” And I did, assembling some reference photos and taping down some paper on gatorboard, ready to draw (and this is another new thing–drawing first).
And within 24 hours of me posting about that painting, someone bought it! And wants more. And yes, it is a real buyer.
This sure does come at a good time. For the past 9 months I’ve been supporting myself by teaching classes online about stuff I’m interested in, but the virus had me scared I might not get enough signups to get by. In the end, I have gotten enough, surprisingly, which is reassuring.
But this extra money sure is a boost not only financially but in terms of confidence. And makes me feel like I am going in the right direction in my art.
Am I going to sell more of these oddball paintings? Yes, I think so.
Just encouraging folks out there to be who they are and set “hell yeah” prices.+6April 30, 2020 at 11:43 am #979441Anonymous
Wow, that is so encouraging!
Thanks for sharing….and CONGRATULATIONS+2May 1, 2020 at 9:36 am #979440RobinDefault
Harold, I have heard that advice over and over and I disregard it out of fear.
Maybe it’s time.
My Oil Painting Pet Portraits: https://robinzebley.com+1May 14, 2020 at 6:47 pm #1279517
Hi Harold. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the site. I really liked your post here.
I don’t know about the “hell-ya” basis of pricing, but low pricing is not great in my opinion. I’ve always encouraged artists to up their pricing based on how the buyer sees the value of both the artwork and the artist. Once an artist establishes a start in their collector base, they can start upping their prices over time as they build their resume, be it exhibitions, or what kinds of collections they are selling to. If you win an award, exhibit more often, get someone of importance to buy your work, get repeat collectors, then keep upping your prices over time. Eventually, you fetch what people are willing to pay to collect your work and they see the value in the investment.
This is just my opinion, of course. It’s how I built my career over time. I still have work available that is very affordable: editions, prints, small drawings, and things like that. I haven’t priced out of everyone’s budget, but I will sit and wait for a major piece to sell for what I’ve sold for a similar one. I may discount things at times, but maybe only to past collectors, or for limited weeks.
I think your work is of high quality and you should always get a “hell-ya” price for your work. I hope you continue to get what it’s worth!
During the slow times, I know it can be difficult, but do your best to bear down and fight the good fight (if possible). Or try to come up with creative ways to survive through it. Do you do editions? I’ll have to check out your new stuff.+2May 14, 2020 at 7:50 pm #1279560Harold RothDefaultMay 14, 2020 at 8:10 pm #1279573
Hi again Harold. I went to your site and it’s great how you have the detailed descriptions of each painting. I have that too and I personally think it helps with getting people interested in the work. The piece you recently sold is amazing and filled with lots of detail. I love it. The colors are stunning too.0January 17, 2021 at 3:26 am #1374679RihanaRDefault
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