- Firstly there's the cost of the materials. This is not as straightforward as you might imagine – mind you, is anything ever straightforward! Paint brushes will be used-up over many paintings for example. I need to recover the cost of paint brushes (and everything else) if I'm to afford to replace them when needed and continue to paint. So I need to assign a cost to each painting for them. There are many things like this.
- Then there is my time. Properly recording how much time has been spent making an artwork can be challenging when the piece is made over a long time. How do you ensure all the preparation work is accounted for in the price of a painting? For example: the trip which resulted in the initial sketches two years ago, that prompted the quest to make the big painting that needs a price on it?
- I've benchmarked my prices against other artists. I've surveyed other artists prices extensively, choosing professional artists making similar work to a similar quality, though none are exactly the same. I've trawled through lists of their work for sale, entering their prices and the size of the art into a spreadsheet in order to see what the range of prices is, that is being asked. Then I've picked a price point in the middle and checked it against the above costs.
Buyers can be confident that my prices are appropriate and sensible prices which properly reflect the effort in, and quality of, my art.
So I'm not the most expensive, but somewhere in the middle for my paintings.
A note about my linocuts
I make linocuts which have between four and five colours to them. This is unusual as most printmakers stick with one or two colours. The reason they do this, is because making linocuts in two colours is much quicker and easier than making them with more colours. Ensuring every single colour prints exactly where it should over the top of the previously printed colours is challenging – each colour has to be printed separately you see. With every additional colour, there is more opportunity for things to go wrong, especially as this is a traditional handmade printmaking method which does not use plugs, on/off or 'print' buttons.
They are as a result very small editions, mostly around 25 prints only. This means I have less prints over which to split the cost of producing them.
For the reasons above, to those who don't understand, my linocuts can appear expensive next to the single and two colour prints.
There is also the new kid on the block... the digital art print. These are made by pressing a 'print' button and going for a cuppa while the print is printed. For this reason they are a lot less valuable than something handmade and are priced accordingly. They are also usually in far bigger editions, meaning there'll be 250+ copies floating around rather than only 25.It's not always obvious which is which – a digital art print can be in a style which looks similar to my linocuts. Labelling can be incorrect too, even in places that should know better, sadly.
Each print in a lino print edition is considered to be an original – not a reproduction. It's why they are classed as 'original prints'. Each one has been individually printed. All my linocuts have much individual character to them which is one of the reasons why many collectors seek out original prints.
Since the rise of the digital print in the last couple of years, my sales of original linocuts have been affected, especially when they're displayed alongside digital prints.
For this reason I'm considering a "can't beat, so join" approach, once I've established a painting collection. Watch this space. My linocuts may well become very rare indeed as a result.