This is a subject that stirs up deep emotion and a large portion of frustration in any artist. It seems to me that if an artist is to create without interruption or outside influence the price of that particular painting or sculpture should be the last consideration. It doesn’t matter what kind of art you create this is an issue that every artist faces no matter his status or his skill set.

I remember I was invited to enter one of my paintings in my first gallery showing and I was very excited. I took the time to put together the best painting I could find in my collection and had it framed professionally. I even went to the trouble of making up a very nice little plaque with a bio and title on it to go on the wall. The painting was of a leopard very intense looking with bright colors of green I was very happy with what I had done. On the day of the show my painting was placed on the wall with all the others but looking around I seem to be the only wildlife painting in the show. Yikes! well the show ran for about a month and during the show we were told there was going to be a best of show prize given to the artist with the most creative and interesting peace. What do you think happened they selected someone who did a piece that can only be described as simplistic. It was a large cinder block placed in an obscure position on top of a white pedestal and oddly placed was a piece of rebar shoved through the center of the cinder block. And yes, you guessed it this is the piece that won best of show. Ironically enough my painting sold and best of show did not I digress. Unfortunately, I didn’t price my painting correctly and ended up only profiting about $50 not so great.

When you get started sometimes you have to swallow your pride and take the art show or gallery event no matter the difficulty. This was a show I did during the height of the Covid crisis, and we had exactly three visitors. The Roaring Wildlife Art Collection

Instructor John J Catalfamo

Trying to price your work based on how you feel about it or what you may personally think it’s worth is a major mistake. Believe it or not there is a very simple technique you can use to price your work as a beginner, or an advanced artist let me explain.

The first step is a good measurement height width and depth it’s very important to make sure you measure all three because it’ll become very important at the end of this process.

  1. To start with let’s say or painting is 18 inches by 24 inches which would give you in total of 432 square inches. For a beginning artist a dollar a square foot is a good place to start for the more advanced artist two or $3 per square foot.
  2. Next, we have to consider the type of canvas there is cotton and then there’s linen. cotton is the least expensive of the two and you have to keep the price of your canvas and preparation in mind. Prepare your Canvas for a Finished Project
  3. Next, we have to think about the thickness of the canvas because some have tucked edges and more advanced tightening while others are plain and do not offer additional tightening. This is important for the long life and the durability of the final product.
  4. A simple calculation example below we’ll show you exactly what the output of this process will be.

take $432 add to it the difference in canvas type I usually adds an additional $20 to the price that gives us $452 plus your preparation labor which is 2 hours on average. that’s an additional $220 this depends on what your labor rate is mine is 110. So, your final total will be $672 for the final price on the painting. Now Google Play has a great app you can use but the price may be to high for new artists but you should still check it out. Google Art Pricing Calculator

In the case of a sculpture no matter if it’s clay metal or whatever material to start out I would base my price on labor and material costs and then mark up the object 100%. So, if the sculpture costs $300 in materials, then the final price would be $600. It’s good idea to keep in mind the cost of shipping creating and delivery which would add any additional fees.

When it comes to pricing anything it’s very important to keep in mind who your customer is this is not to say that if your customer makes more money the price should be higher. The idea is to keep in mind who you’re selling to. let’s say for example you’re selling and delivering a new painting to our customer in Florida. While the location alone may not seem significant in fact there is a difference between let’s say Florida and a New York City customer. People who live in Florida have a longer warmer climate which can affect the condition of the product especially if it’s done in acrylics whereas folks in New York this would not be an issue.

Another example would be how you create your product if for example you’ve just finished a sculpture done in ceramics. It’s about to be delivered to California this is a very long trip no doubt it would be handled more than twice so creating should be very well done better handled by a professional. This would affect the final price of shipping and receiving. These things can play a big part in the final price. As a beginning artist it would be a very good idea to keep all of your business dealings within the United States shipping overseas takes some experience and a good deal of money on hand.

Now in the case of a painting whether it’s in oils acrylics or watercolor you have to keep in mind the final finish. I’ve always used clear leveling gels or some kind of clear coating on acrylics and oils but nothing really on watercolors. But the biggest consideration at the end here is going to be the frame, with paintings framing is always a bit of a frustration for most artists as they start out. I always say do what you do best, so the best way to handle this is to outsource the framing. There are framing companies all over the place it’s just a matter of finding the right one I suggest you find someone who’s of a larger size like Michaels Framing, someone who can provide you with samples for your customers to see on your website or in your shop or studio.

Your journey as an artist is very important the world needs more artists and makers. Take the time to learn as much as you can to be the best you can be in the art that you create. I hope that this article was informational give you something to think about or enlightened you in some way.

Here’s a great online art course for beginners or advanced artist to help you on your way. Wildlife Art Course