Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Paintings Under $500

I've added a new page to my website that combines all of my paintings that are under $500 and you can view this page HERE. All of my drawings are already under $500, so this new category only exists under the "paintings" link. Several people have asked me how I price my paintings. I keep a log of how many hours I spend on every work of art that I make. I spend thirty hours a week actually creating art and at least 10 hours a week working on my website, photographing my art, or promoting myself in various ways. Since I'm only actually getting paid for 30 hours of work per week, I have to charge $20 an hour to make some sort of living. If someone commissions me for a painting, I charge $500 per square foot. This usually equals right about $20/hour because I spend a lot more time on commissions to make sure everything is exactly how the client wants it. Lately, I've tried to develop a faster painting style without losing any quality. I am beginning a new series of acrylic flowers, so check back later to see those. I have finished three new paintings and two new drawings, but I haven't been able to photograph them yet. I am waiting until this weekend when I will be able to solicit Jeff's help during the hours of the day when the light is best so check back on Monday for new work!... I might try to put up a picture of a painting in progress on Thursday.

12 comments:

argos said...

many of the successful painters I have come to know use a square inch price and do not keep track of hours. Every year they up the square inch price according to their progress and sucess. Your $500/sq ft price is $3.47/ sq in. making a 16 x 20 priced at $1,110. The sq in price creeps downward as you go up in size, but its one way for galleries, and you, to have some order regarding pricing FYI. I am around $2.50 right now, making a 16 x 20 worth around $800

Windy Lampson said...

Thanks- That's good information... especially in knowing what to tell a gallery my average prices are. The reason I've begun to charge by the hour is that I've found that that's the easiest way to keep my prices cheaper. It almost always ends up being less than $500 per square foot, and it keeps me willing to try new things. Sometimes if I'm charging by the foot (or inch), I'm not as willing to try something new because if it doesn't work and I have to repaint it, and it's lost time that I'm not getting paid for. I only charge by the hour on paintings that aren't commissioned, because most people would rather hear a price per foot/price per inch cost. $500 seems rather expensive, but I want to be willing to change whatever the client wants me to, and sometimes clients get very picky about things, which isn't a problem if I've got that price just a little higher. It helps to cover those extra hours, plus, I do a lot of extra modeling in the details of my paintings and as a result, many extra hours go into them. But I like the idea of charging per square inch... It sounds like less money, and is probably a much better marketing strategy.... Thanks!

Windy Lampson said...

I might actually try to move it to $3.00/square inch and see how that works out for me...

spigo said...

ooh, looks like we're having fun with math. ok, let me try. um, $500/sq ft would be $0.54/sq cm, making a 13x18cm priced at $126.36. but if you change to $3.00/sq in, then that would be $4,650/sq meter, making a 1x1km priced at $4,650,000,000.00. that's over four and a half billion dollars! that would be awesome. of course if it takes you 25 hrs to do 1 sq ft ($500/sq ft / $20/hr = 25 hr/sq ft), then it would take you about 30,698 years, 6 months, 2 weeks, 5 days, and 1 hour to finish. so you'd better get to work.

and you can check my math, if you like. i'm pretty sure it's right.

Windy Lampson said...

And how much time did you spend figuring that out when you were supposed to be working? Hey, I'm not complaining- I feel honored that you would devote so much time to posting a comment on my blog :)

argos said...

I have an appreciation for the "high math" but, personally my fear is that you'd spend say, 26,483 years on the painting, then it would mis-behave is such a way as to cause you to abandon the behemoth thing. This would be quite aggrevating.

Plus, is one really "painting for the market" as it were? Just how many buyers, save Mr. Gates, Mr. Buffett, et.al., would be interested. Of course, they'd have to LIKE it too.

I say stick with the small stuff. That goes for you too, Spigo.

stacy barton said...

i enjoyed your artist tete-a-tete quite a lot. i am a writer and if i were to get paid by the word...well then i'd be charles dickens. as it were i charge by the hour.

thanks windy for stopping by my site and for leaving the comment. now i have an online spot where i can buy art. cool. i'll check your stuff out as well as the folks on your links! stop by again...

himavant said...

hi windy! nice art and nice discussion about pricing. i run two art shops and sold paintings in the past. i made rough estimation by size too, but then not easy to answer client's Q when artwork is too simple >> less time to make. then i priced by "interpretation" :-) it's fun!

thanks for stepping by and leave comment on pampering! ha ha.. it's artist's problem (bubbling mind). i just started to try my arty talent :-)

see you again!

andrea said...

I enjoyed looking through your website and blog. I think you should do more like Villefranche!

As for pricing, by the square foot is tricky because it makes the small ones too cheap and the large ones too expensive. Some artists use the universal foot method: H+W so that a 16 x 20 would be 36 u.i. and the price is per universal inch. The problems with that method is that the small ones are too expensive and the large ones too cheap! I use a combination/set price for each size.

Art is not like building contracting or the law; how long you take on a piece is mostly irrelevant to the purchaser/gallerist/whoever. It's the final result that counts and let's face it, highly detailed work isn't *better* because it took longer. So a standard size method is the most dependable and the one used by most artists who sell their work.

Windy Lampson said...

Wow- lots of info.... I totally agree with the comment about more detail not necessarily meaning better... but I like my own particular style better when I spend more time modeling things, which is odd because I tend to gravitate toward more gestural work when looking at other artists' paintings. However, I would like to develop other styles that I've been itching to try, and some of them take less time. If I charge a universal price per square feet for all my paintings, then I'm charging just as much for something that didn't take nearly as long, plus, it probably won't be as good- since I haven't spent as much time developing myself in other styles yet. This all can be so confusing. I appreciate everyone's advice.

spigo said...

perhaps you should sell your art by the volume, as opposed to area, or andrea's suggestion of perimeter. you could simply submerge each work of art into a filled container of water, and measure the amount of water that's displaced. it would be art by the ounce (that of course being by the "fluid ounce", rather than the "dry ounce", which, of course, would be a measure of weight, rather than volume, ha ha ha). that way, if you felt you worked a little longer on one piece that is the same area as another, then you can simply make the more time-consuming piece thicker, thus making it sell at a higher price. this would not be any different than the method that chevy uses to price their automobiles.

spigo said...

oh, and i think argos has a point. perhaps rather than working on one 1x1km painting for the next 30,000 years, you should just make 1,000,000,000,000 (trillion) 1x1mm paintings that you sell for half a cent a piece. that should still make you 5 billion dollars, but if you screw up a few, no big deal.