Friday, March 1, 2013

Art is Hard Work-And Thank God I Have a BSBA

(Be sure and check out my website gallery if you are interested in seeing more of my work at

Art is Hard Work-And Thank God I Have a BSBA:
I'm sure that many people believe that to be an artist means that you are spending hours in a studio, covered in a variety of paint colors and being a bit on the loopy side from hours of inhaling solvent and turpentine fumes. I mean why else would Van Gogh have decided to rid himself of a certain appendage? It had to be toxic fumes and lead poisoning, right?  While that might be some of the perception, there is actually a great deal more to it than just painting.

Once the painting has been created, I have to come up with a name.  This can actually be harder than you would think.  For example yesterday I reworked a piece that I had finished as part of a lesson several years ago.  The changes really improved the piece so I have decided now to add it to my available inventory.  Yes, I consider my available completed works as part of an inventory and I have created an inventory worksheet in Excel to keep track of each of them.  Speaking from an accounting perspective, I don't care if my inventory is LIFO (Last In,First Out) or FIFO (First In, First Out) just so that there is inventory going "OUT"!

I include the name, dimensions, price, date completed and location for each piece on my spreadsheet.  When you are actively displaying your work you can find that you can forget that you have pieces displayed and so it's important to keep a record of where each piece is, including the date that you have to pick it up.
"Lazy Daze"- This is my reworking of the original painting lesson- My own style added and a good measure of my improved painting skills

My original painting done as part of my online lessons with Tim Gagnon

Back to naming a painting...This morning I was creating price cards and certificates of authenticity for each of my paintings and of course I needed to come up with a name.  This slow flowing river, tall grass and young pine trees made me think of a pleasant summer day (Thinking about pleasant summer days is all I can really do because there is no such thing as pleasant summer day in Las Vegas) so I decided that I would name it "Lazy Daze".

After coming up with a name I then must set my price for my piece.  Currently, I set my prices based on the size of the canvas.  In theory, the larger the canvas the higher the price because the longer it took me to paint it.  That isn't always the case but that is my logic right now and I feel it is important to have logic when pricing your paintings.  I don't know how other artists set their prices but this is the way I have decided to do it for now.  The goal of course is that I will be able to command higher prices later but right now I feel that my pieces are worth $75-$300 range.  And while I can't attest to lots of sales at this point in my early career, I feel that this is a fair price, especially if the piece is framed.

In my example of "Lazy Daze" I have set a $200 price as it is a 20 x 20 gallery wrapped canvas.  Galley wrapped means that I took the time to paint the outer edges of the canvas so that the piece doesn't have to be framed.  Now that I have the name, set the price, added the painting to my inventory and printed out the paperwork to attach to the painting, I then need to photograph the piece with our nice camera. I often take a quick picture with my iPhone so that I can talk about the painting on Facebook but this doesn't provide a high enough resolution photograph for future use.  If you want to create giclee prints later for promotion or to sell you need as high a resolution as possible.  You can always decrease the size of a file but it isn't very effective to try to increase the pixels and if your piece is sold you have lost your chance to get a photo later.

Finally, I upload the file to the gallery page of this blog and then I go to my website at and add the file to the gallery page there. Here I have created Paypal buttons for ease of purchase.   I also have to come up with an interesting promotional paragraph about the piece.  I think it is important to explain what inspired you to paint it.  If there is history or a personal story that goes with your inspiration then this a very nice addition and will hopefully touch the potential buyer and makes you more personal as the artist.

That is a lot of background work just to get the piece ready to show it to the public, not to mention packing and transporting the painting.  Of course a business degree isn't a requirement but there is an element of organization that is helpful  to the overall success of your business.

Getting Ready to Take This Show on the Road- Portable display stand made from 2 easels, (2) 1 x 2's and a sheet

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