from a dad's view

emBARKED on new watercolor!

DriftwoodTook a break from the fantasy painting in order to complete this black and white wash this weekend. I love black and white photos and have requested my photog blog friends to post more of their black and whites. So, I decided to do a mono painting, and the flow of this driftwood entangled with each other caught my eye. It’s a 12″ x 16″ watercolor on hotpressed board. It took about 4 hrs to complete and was for sell, until my wife decided she wanted to keep it. She wins… all the time! So, it will be framed in a modern black frame, but I’m not sure on matting or not. The seam down the middle is a scanning mark, because I had to scan in two separate scans and pieced it together.

I was wondering, what would be considered a fair market price for a painting similar to this one? I usually give or sell my paintings to friends and family at a discounted or free, usually free, so I’m not sure what to ask when people contact me to purchase a painting. I’m not a crazy artist that gets offended by remarks or comments on my art. For one, I realize, all people have different taste, in music, art, looks and material things. So I don’t expect everyone to love my art or want to own one. But with the international market opening up for me, thanks to the internet, I have been contacted by several people wanting to buy my art, and  I’m not sure of what price I should be selling my paintings for. Do you go by the time put into the painting? Or is there a standard price for an unknown artist piece of art?

Help me out, all you pro’s out there, if you have any suggestions please leave a comment.

16 responses

  1. metaphase

    I’d say look around Etsy to see what other people are selling their similar sized art for. Great job!

    October 5, 2009 at 8:06 am

  2. Love this monochromatic study, Ryan. I don’t blame your wife. The composition is really nice with that diagonal branch and where you placed the darks. I’ve had the same problem deciding what to charge. I’m in the same boat as you. I have looked around Etsy and such and see all ranges of prices for all different sizes.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:56 am

  3. What a beautiful watercolor. The black and white is so dramatic! It’s realistic and abstract at the same time. Really, wonderful and your wife got a bargain!

    Unfortunately I can’t help you with prices, but will suggest that you give it a nice large white matt with the black frame so that the image stands out.

    October 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    • Thanks everyone for your compliments and suggestions. Definitely a black frame, but not sure if I will use a white matt with a black core or white core. I will have to see it before I’ll know.

      October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm

  4. Hi
    Wow- I can hardly believe you did that in just 4 hours!I love the swirling crossed over composition & your use of light & dark. It’s really strong.

    About pricing I ask myself the same question. I guess in the end it’s what people can afford to pay. You could get someone that really likes your work but how can they allow themselves to buy it if basically there’s nothing left after buying food,paying the bills etc.
    On the other hand someone else might think it’s ok to pay for a cruise,pay someone to clean their house, buy new clothes every week etc & yet not be prepared to pay you a decent amount that they themselves would expect to earn as an hourly rate for the same time of work.

    I tend to think to think I’ll base prices on the time it took but that’s worrying me a little as I seem to get more & more involved with each painting & recently have been taking somewhere between 30 & 40 hours though i can’t be precise. Then I realise that would add up to a lot & then who will be prepared or able to afford them?!

    So in the end I think it may be a compromise between this & what they mean to me & at the end of the day what people think is reasonable.

    October 8, 2009 at 10:44 am

  5. I cannot comprehend how difficult this would be to paint – and in only 4 hours *shakes head and whistles*.

    It would never occur to me to paint something like this – nor would I think to use only black and white. It really works though and I like the depth you’ve achieved. I imagine it would be easy to get confused with all that texture, but it’s very clear to see what the subject matter is. Really well done 🙂

    October 8, 2009 at 11:54 am

  6. I do work fast, because of boredom, but also being a graphic artist for the last 20 some years, I have had to learn to design and complete quickly. Your customers don’t want to pay for hours of design, they just want the design now! A lot of artist don’t agree with hurrying a painting, and I don’t feel that I rush, That’s just the pace that I draw and paint. I have to many unfinished artworks in my closet because they were taking to long to finish and I put them aside.

    October 8, 2009 at 6:07 pm

  7. Beautiful work in a very tricky medium, the line work on the tree is fabulous!

    October 28, 2009 at 8:33 am

  8. wheelerart

    First, thanks for checking out my blog! I love this mono piece and don’t blame your wife for wanting to keep it. With watercolor however, I would always use a mat and frame. In my opinion, pricing is really about what the market will bare. Go by gut but don’t underestimate yourself or your work. Giving art away only perpetuates the “staving artist”. This piece is very nice and if it were mine and I was a beginner at selling my work I would probably price it in the range of $150.00 to $200.00 unframed. I also think it’s important to add the same mark up (30 – 40%) that a gallery would.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:51 am

  9. Your work is beautiful and I hope your friends and family appreciate what they’ve been given!
    To start pricing your art, you should look around at those whose work is somewhat similar and who are at the same stage in their art careers. Look at more than one artist. Work out what they are charging per square inch of painting, and use this to calculate what you should charge per square inch.
    Another way to figure out what to charge is to pay yourself a reasonable amount per hour for the painting, add in all the materials that you used in painting and framing, then pay yourself for marketing and selling the painting (i.e. what wheelerart was talking about, 30 – 40 % markup). Start modestly, and as your paintings begin to sell, add value to the amount you pay yourself per hour, and to the marketing, accordingly.

    February 23, 2012 at 5:06 am

  10. this is amazing, absolutely amazing work…i was so surprised to read you did this in on hotpress no less…awesome work! i hate the stuff to be honest…

    and also thank you for liking my post on synesthesia … it is very much appreciated that you stopped by.

    i would not have any idea how to price artwork.. iyour wife is a smart woman to insist you keep this one. i love she wins “all the time”

    March 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    • Thank you Linda,
      This is one of my favorites and would like to do another painting similar, but make it a vertical canvas for a set. And you’re right… my wife always wins!

      March 14, 2012 at 4:36 am

  11. This is beautiful. I used to live on the West Coast and I loved the lines of the driftwood. This captures it perfectly!

    April 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm

  12. Gorgeous, that’s exactly how I felt today, missed black and white. Thanks for stoppong by blog so I can discover your beautiful works.

    June 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm

  13. I would start at $500.00 unframed. And the amount of time involved in making a work of art is totally irrelevant. It took your whole life to get to that point to create the work that you did. It’s more important the value you see in the work. Obviously your wife makes good judgment calls. A suggestion on framing: I would try looking at it with a large white mat, perhaps with a black or warm gray under mat that shows about a quarter inch around the watercolor ~ I hope that makes sense. I have had my mind up on how to frame work in the past, but after talking with professional framer, the results are so much better than my previous thinking. Usually the best way to go with framing any art work is to go elegant and subtle.

    July 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

  14. Wow, this is stunning. You know I can see bodies entwined in the abstract shapes of the wood. For that reason alone it’s with more than one may originally think. Give it meaning and story and the value goes way up 🙂

    July 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

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