It costs how much?

explaining the cost of art

One of the things I truly dislike about being an artist is telling potential buyers how much my art costs.  I am often glad that I am hidden behind my computer screen.  This being said I wanted to explain why art directly from an artist costs more.

  1. We are not mass producing our art.  Yes, you can go to Kohl’s, target or an online store and buy art much cheaper.  But when you do this you are purchasing something mass produced.  Something that is not unique.  Something that millions of other people have in their home.  Stores can sell their art so cheap because they buy in bulk.
  2. Art supplies are not cheap.  Big box stores get discounts on their ink and other materials.  I watch for sales on canvases at my local art store, and purchase my paint online.  I try to offer options other than framing, to help with cost, but overall my supplies are very costly.
  3. Shipping isn’t really free.  I put in a reasonable amount in the price, but if I sell across the country, I lose money.  Yes, I could make shipping a line item, but how many purchases do you make when you have to pay for shipping?  I skip items that charge for shipping too!
  4. Time…. I don’t even calculate this.  Some times a painting flies off my brush, and then there are times that I am pulling my hair out.

How do I come up with my prices?

I use a formula given to me years ago.  Then I tweak it to make it more reasonable.  I try to keep the same prices for each size, as how would you feel if you hear that others got your same painting for much less?

I do sell some older paintings at a reduced rate…..sometimes its about it getting the right home.  Usually if they don’t sell, I paint over them.  But some paintings I just can’t bring myself to paint over, so I wait patiently for its owner to claim it. I do also offer other options, such as prints for those that really love a piece but just can’t afford it.

So the next time you see a painting for more than you expected, I hope you will remember the reasons behind it.  And if you decide to purchase the painting, you will be making an artist very happy.  It takes a lot to create, and continue trying to create.

And think of how you would feel if someone came to your job and offered you less for your work. Or scoffed at you.  This is my job.  I am trying to pay for my supplies, and make a living.  Not get rich, but make a living doing something I love.

Thank you to those that understand and purchase art for their home.

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The art of brush strokes

Brush strokes within a painting create art

Have you ever studied a painting?  I am sure you have looked at a painting…. but have you ever looked close at the brush strokes that created the painting?  Probably not.  I am not finding fault, I did not look myself, before I started painting.  But now I certainly do.  Because from afar you are just enjoying the painting, and maybe don’t realize the work that went into creating that painting.

Let’s think about how that painting was created.  An artist picked up a brush, dipped it in paint, and swirled it onto a canvas.  Sometimes they used a large brush to cover more of the canvas, and sometimes they used a smaller brush for detail.  No matter what the size of the brush, it was an implement to get the paint on the canvas.

blooming-flowers
a closeup of some flowers.

While the artist used that brush, she also stepped back from the canvas, to see what it looked like overall.  To see how the brush strokes blended.  If they were creating what the artist intended. Because up close the strokes don’t always look like much.

bloomingshrub
a closeup of some shrubs

So hopefully you now realize that it is a little harder than it looks.  Sometimes it works well, and sometimes we have to start over.  Either way, its a wonderful thing to create, and I am so thankful that I get to work these brushstrokes to create art.

blooming
Overall painting with areas shown above, available in my etsy  shoppe

 

 

Sometimes its all about the home

Its not always about the money, but about the home.

 

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“Glorious” a glorious tree in my Town.

 

 

When I started this journey, almost 5 years ago, I was so green! And naïve. I did not realize the work and disappointments ahead of me. I have learned so much over these 5 years and have grown so much.

At first I wanted to make money. Isn’t that usually the goal? I had made a good salary at the job I was laid off from, and was hoping to continue this with my art. I have become more realistic as time has passed, and it has become more about the art and getting it a good home. I will, and have, reduced my art at times if I know the person truly loves the art.

 

 

lemonade-most refreshing drink-sm
“Lemonade, that most refreshing drink…”  which almost did not make it home.

How I came to this conclusion is when one of my first paintings was sold, and shipped to California. Somehow FedEx did not scan my painting once the whole way across the US! I contacted them and they had no record of my painting! I was heartbroken. Not about the money I was going to lose, but that my painting was lost somewhere between Connecticut and California. Luckily, I knew the buyers address from the online gallery, and I wrote him a letter apologizing for the painting being lost. I gave him my email in the hopes he would contact me, and he did! He let me know that the painting had arrived safely and he would contact the online gallery so I would receive payment. That painting being misplaced made me realize how much I cared for the paintings that I create.

I am always nervous to tell people what my art costs. Some don’t blink an eye, and some right away tell me that the painting is not in their budget. Its so hard to compete with major box stores. I also enjoy seeing the at art in these stores. But honestly, they are killing artists. A lot of the time, I cannot even purchase a blank canvas for some of the prices of the art in these stores. But I do not want to get into cost in this blog, that’s a whole other subject!
So back to my paintings……You will notice that instead of saying a painting is sold, I say it is going home. Because that’s how I feel. That a piece of art that I have pondered over, painted and painstakingly packaged is now going to a home to make the recipients happy. And that’s a wonderful feeling. When sending art home, I place a certificate with the painting, explaining what inspired the art, and how to take care of it, and thanking the recipient for purchasing my art. Because I am grateful they did. Recently my cousin received a painting, and she said the certificate was like an additional gift. Which made me so happy and proud to hear!

 

I am generally a fast painter, and one of the bad things about that is that I accumulate a lot of paintings. This means I need storage for them.  Most of you already know how handy my Dad is, and he has made me two awesome boxes that hold paintings in my cellar. One is for drying, and holds paintings waiting to be varnished, or varnished and waiting to dry. The other box is for finished art, and frames.

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Sometimes I sand paintings down, and “gesso” over them. Which basically means, I brush white paint over them so I can reuse them. Sometimes I just cannot bring myself to do this, and at this time I will try to find the painting a home, or save it for a long time!
With the holiday season upon us, I have decided to give a painting away. There is a lady who has bought a ton of prints of this painting, for all her family. She has fond memories of her family in the house, and told me all about the tree that I painted and admired. No one else has shown an interest in this painting, and I know that the painting is out of her budget. Especially how she has bought everyone a print of it. So to me it was an obvious choice. Let the painting go to a home where it would be loved as I love it. And isn’t that what it is all about?

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Grateful

Grateful for those that trust me with their visions…..

This is a season for being grateful.  And I am grateful. I love to create.  I truly do.  When asked to do a commission, I think about the people or place I am painting, and am always wondering what else I can do or add to painting to make it even more special.  I believe that art has meaning, and I am always grateful to be asked to do a commission.

Remembering loved ones

One of my very first commissions was for a family friend.  She requested a portrait of her father in laws farm and then her own home.  She had a few requests.  Her daughter, dog and maybe a few robins in remembrance of her beloved grandparents. The resulting painting was well received, and installed in her living room so she could see it often and enjoy the memories it brought back for her.  I put a lot of time, thought and effort into creating a painting and I can tell you it is incredibly rewarding when the recipient is thrilled with their art.  From visiting the site, painting and delivering, this was one of my favorite pieces.  It also has a lot to do with the recipient taking a chance and commissioning me, as these were my first commissions.  I am always thankful that she gave me the opportunity, as her confidence in me also gave me confidence.

 

finished
Tetreault Homestead

 

Remembering our youth

My family has commissioned me probably the most.  Most have moved down south, so they request local places that remind them of their childhood.  Even more thoughtful, they have commissioned me to paint paintings for each other.  I have painted the family cottage three times, as it is very popular in our families memories.  Rather than painting it the same way for each cousin, I have painted it differently so each painting is unique.  Besides the family cottage, I have painted many other subjects for my family, and am even working on a big one right now as a Christmas present.  They keep me busy!

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Memories of a wonderful vacation

This is probably my favorite subject.  Who doesn’t dream of getting away?  And then when you are finally lucky to do it, its over so quickly!  A painting of a photo you took while in paradise, painted and installed in your home, brings back the euphoria of being there.  Of course one of my favorite places is Disney World, but this can be anywhere that makes you happy.

 

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Good day, drying, will be listed soon

 

 

Creating a commission is an honor, and I treat it as such.  Its not an easy thing, as usually the person requesting the commission already has something in mind.  So it is my job to make that thought come true, and I work hard to accomplish this.  I just sent out 3 paintings to a cousin this week and she called to let me know they had arrived.  She was thrilled with them, and wanted me to know. What a wonderful feeling to know I succeeded with my art!   It is fuel for me to continue creating, and that’s a wonderful thing.

So thank you to those that have entrusted me with their visions, there have been quite a few and I wish I could include them all in this blog.  From a commission of a home with all its flowers in bloom, a Grandmothers house, beloved pets, and even motorcycles, I am thankful to those that trust me to create something wonderful for them or their loved ones.

Thank you!