Who can put a price on a painting? Well we have to do it, but sometimes the price can bring with it some psychological hang ups.
Have you ever had that feeling of let down when you get your 50% commission check for a painting and you feel like a deflated balloon. You think, "Wow. I should have gotten more for that painting." or vice versa, "Man I really got paid too much for that one. It was so easy."
THE PROBLEM is we can remember how much or how little time, effort and struggle we put into that painting and perhaps we are left feeling that the compensation is disproportionate to our efforts. I know for myself there have been times that I have put in 2 days work on a miniature 6"x8" that I will receive $200 for and I put in the same amount of time for a 16"x20" that will yield 5 times that amount.
HARD TRUTH: People don't care about how long it took you, how hard you worked, the stumbling blocks, that it was a breakthrough painting for you or that you got up at 5:00 in the morning to paint that painting, yadda yadda yadda yadda. ( I know - ouch) There just wishing you would shut up. What they care about is the RESULTS! So it really doesn't matter how little or how long it took you, if they LOVE the painting they are going to buy it. Why do you want to put your story onto them? Why not leave them with anything else than pure love?
Sometimes your price tag on a painting can limit how much sincerity and effort you might put in. You may be working on a miniature and your thinking of that check that's going to come in for it....and you may pull back. You might think it's not logical for me to put 4 more hours into this painting (even though it's not working yet), I'm going to make minimum wage at the rate this is going! Ha Ha. I'm speaking from personal experience here.
Again, here's the HARD TRUTH: You're not being paid by the hour, your being paid by the value that you are creating for others.
If you're like me and you are still trying to shed the old middle class, paid by the hour, money mentality you were trained to have and you want to step away from the large majority and aim for EXCELLENCE then I have a little trick you can use to psych yourself out. Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you sure your ready? (Okay sorry, trying to insert a little drama into this)
Okay.....here it is......PAINT UP!
PAINT UP- it means pretend like you are going to get paid double what you are going to be paid. I do it all the time and it really pushes me to dig deeper and put in all the time that is needed for that painting to be as excellent as it should be. (No not always - I'm not perfect....yet). Because here is another HARD TRUTH (can you tell I like hard truths) - if you don't do this you will actually limit your future compensation, you will imprison yourself in a price tag. So if you want to move up in your price tag, you've got to move up mentally and give the customer more VALUE then and only then will the opportunity come that you can actually receive more $$$ for what you have made.
Now it's time to "Shut up and paint".
Here are two paintings that I put the same amount of time into (8-10hours) and both sold for very different price tags:
"Terracotta, Cotton and Corn" - 16"x20" -oil on linen - $2400
"Orange Pieces with White Blossom" - 6"x8" - oil on panel - $450