Pricing A Painting

Artistic Lines
from Joan Justis
October 2016

Morning in the Mountains As an artist, I am often asked “How do you pick the price for this painting?” A related question is “How long did it take you to paint this picture?” The best answer for that one is “thirty years”. I have been painting longer than that! I am a proponent of Malcolm Caldwell’s 10,000 hour rule—real success comes from 10,000 hours of practice. I am working on that one.
In answer to the question of pricing, all producers of goods consider Materials + Overhead + Wages. The best advice I have had is $6 per square inch. However, when an artist sells a painting, materials include the frame which costs on the average $100-250. Also the gallery owner charges the artist 40-50% of the sale. Therefore some say $6 per square inch plus twice the price of the frame.

“Morning in the Mountains” is an 8” x 10” painting or 80 square inches. 6 X 80 = $480. The frame cost $56. The gallery will receive upon sale $192. The remainder pays for studio costs, materials, travel, and wages. No profit there! I am asking $650, which enables the gallery owner to receive $260 to operate the gallery.

Twilight Geraniums “Twilight Geraniums”
Then if you look at a large painting, 30” x 40” or 1200 square inches, the rule would create a price of $7200. And you have to decide if that is a fair price. A well known artist whose paintings are in great demand, prices paintings according to what the market bears. A local artist considers what paintings are selling for in the region. And then you consider whether you are a novice or a professional.

I like to sell giclee prints of my paintings. The printer and I spend time together making certain that the print has the same colors and dynamics of the original. Watercolor paintings are printed on watercolor paper and it is often difficult to tell the print from the original. Oil paintings are printed on canvas and can even be enhanced with some painted brushstrokes on top of the print. This brings down the cost of the image, but it has no inherent value for the collector.

Four prints of Bear Lake paintings mounted vertically in frame I have a set of prints of four small paintings of Bear Lake. The shop that sells them wants to ask $450. The framing costs $200 and the shop owner asks a 40% consignment fee which is $180. The prints cost me $35. My wages become $35, but the customer sees a price of $450.

So pricing is a difficult task. Please enjoy my new painting and explore my giclee prints on my website

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