Sunday, December 16, 2007

What Happens to Prices?

In my last post, I included a jpg of a small painting of mine, which I priced at £120 plus P&P. But that is not the end of the story with regard to pricing. When I first started, I calculated the price purely on the actual working time. Since I was working directly in the street, I didn't even consider preparation time or time taken selecting my subject, working out my idea, or anything else. This gave me the freedom to sort myself out at my leisure, but is not a practical way of working out how much one needs to make from a painting, simply because the actual painting time is so intense. I certainly could not keep up a 40 hour week consisting purely of painting! However, in reality the painting time is interspersed with the need to sort out canvases and materials, to travel to a specific site, to get set up, to clear away and even for things like eating and drinking! All of these have to be allowed for as well.

The example I gave, "Drumlins near Ballynahinch, Co. Down, N. Ireland" was a particularly simply one to create. The site was close by, the painting very straightforward, expenses incurred were minimal. Hence the price calculated is also a very basic one. If someone living nearby saw it and bought it at that price, P&P would also be eliminated and, with a minimum of inconvenience I would receive a sum of money which, whilst not going to make me rich, would be a useful aid to my general maintenance and well-being. (P&P costs to somewhere else in the world will depend on the type of secure packing needed, carrier costs, insurance, etc. But since I have not yet sold any work in this manner, I have not yet got a clue as to what this entails. Essentially, I will be waiting for the demand to arise before I worry about it!) However, I am also getting together a number of landscapes for a group exhibition in February. Already started, these required me to go out of the way to select my subjects, so some extra time will be added in. Some will take longer than others, so this will also effect the price. In addition, I will have to get the work framed, allow for the commission charged by the gallery and the effort and time involved getting work to and from the show. Some of the work may not sell, so I have to allow for the fact that I will have to keep this work until sometime in the future when another opportunity for a sale may arise. So (a lot of guesswork is involved), here is an attempt to recalculated the selling price required for the same small painting if I put it in as part of an exhibition.

£120 - to cover working time in production
£50 - average cost of framing
£40 - to cover an averaged 2 hours collecting and delivering times (guestimate)
£210 total so far.

Galleries charge differing amount of commissions. A local show might only charge 20% of the final price, but a commercial gallery commission could be 60% of the list price. At 60%, the final list price would be:


Some galleries would charge less commission, but I believe that this sort of estimate gives a ball park figure for the sort of pricing that a painting of this type and size would require in the general art market around here.

But I am still not going to get rich - at least if my work is all sold through galleries on this basis! However, on a more optimistic tone, if substantial amounts of my work start to sell at gallery prices, this will start to increase the value of my work generally. The main advantage of selling through galleries is that my work can, potentially, reach new buyers that otherwise I would not have access to.

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