Selling Your Work

When I first took up painting and drawing I never contemplated selling any of my artwork.  After all, I was only a beginner and just learning how to do things.  Most artists whose work I see online have been to art college and have been making things for around 20 years or so.  If it takes 20 years to hone your craft, then I might start selling my work in my 70’s as that is about 20 years from when I started.  It probably takes about that long to develop one’s style too.  My style is eclectic to say the least, but at least I am getting closer to the halfway mark on the experience front.  Though I recently met a woman who didn’t make any art until she was 60 and is selling things 10 years later.  So I am actually feeling more positive.  The interesting thing that has come up over the years since I first tried painting is that people have asked me if I sell my paintings.  It didn’t seem to matter to them that I had only just started.  I suppose it is more about what people like and what they are willing to pay.

In saying all of that, I see artists selling work who have no formal training, and that have not been working that long, selling loads of work.  Some of them do not even use artist’s quality materials which do not make them archival, nor do they follow acceptable print guidelines.

Is there really a line to be drawn between experience and talent?  Who decides that?  I am bringing this up and asking these questions as a friend was at my house over the weekend (not a close friend) and asked me how much I was selling these prints for:

Collagraphs-002

She really liked number 3 and 6.  To be honest, I had only recently signed and numbered them and was thinking about how to present them before I thought about any price.  I told her that I didn’t know as I hadn’t got that far yet and asked her what she would pay for it.  She either wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me (or probably hoped I would give her one for free).  She did admit that I couldn’t be giving things away all of the time, but I still didn’t get a straight answer from her.  I might have given her one if I hadn’t already given her something this summer, or if she was a really close friend or family, but my instinct said no.  It was a principle thing.

I put the question about pricing to one of the Facebook groups I joined and the answer was to see what other people at my level were charging and go from there as people will pay more for an established artist.  Although on one level that makes sense, a part of me did not really find that comment really helpful and is easier said than done.  Although there are many artists that live in Eastbourne, it is very difficult to find out who the print artists are or where they sell their work.  We don’t have galleries here that sell current artists.  If I have to search county wide, that will almost be like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Finding people at my level!  Where to start?

Eastbourne is having their Artists Christmas Open houses two weekends in December, so I might actually go around the houses to see what other people are doing.  Also, the Eastbourne Society of Artists are having an event at the Town Hall next weekend, so I will go to that.  Maybe that is a start.  And in the process of writing this post, I now know what I can probably ask per print based on what people were selling theirs for at the print fair that I went to recently.  There were many people there who hadn’t been making prints for 20 years and still they sold items.  There were so many different styles and methods.  There were students and established printmakers.  There were very simple designs to very complicated works.

So, although I don’t paint or make prints to make money, it would be nice if I could sell some to pay for my materials and make room in my small house and put a little piece of me out there in the world for someone to enjoy.

Any thoughts or comments about this topic would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for stopping by!

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The Dew Pond – Monoprints

CollagraphsHere are the before and afters of The Dew Pond collagraph that I printed with Hawthorn ink.  The original printing process did not go according to plan and I am not sure that this is a very successful collagraph to print from, however I am persistent and have not totally given up on it.  I decided to embellish my prints with water soluble pencils.  The print on the lower left was embellished with Derwent Inktense pencils and the one on the right with Derwent Graphitint pencils and a little Inktense.   Although the prints look better, they will not go into an edition, although I may label them APs and frame them for myself as I am emotionally attached to them being my first print babies.  I feel I still have a lot to learn  with working with the water soluble pencils and won’t try these again until I am more confident with using them.  These were the first prints I made on the Xcut Xpress and I have learned a lot about ink and paper since then (only a few weeks ago!).

I made a few adjustments to the collagraph plate by adding carborundum to the cattail heads and added extra linseed oil to the ink to make it easier to wipe.  I also purchased some inexpensive stencil brushes to use for painting the ink onto the plate.  It was a bit hit and miss, but as I wasn’t expecting much, I managed to  get some reasonable prints for embellishment later.

Collagraphs-001I used the Caligo Safe Wash inks in Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Black and Burnt Sienna (all the colors I currently have).  I was able to take a second print from the Black and Yellow Ochre.  I used an acid free, mixed media paper in white (A4).  It actually takes water quite well, so I am looking forward to adding a little something extra to these above with some watercolor and creating a small EV (Edition Variable).

As I was scanning and looking at my prints, I had an idea to make a further adjustment to the collagraph plate, and if it works out I may have another small, but different, EV to show you.

Underwater Dreams

I finally got around to embellishing the monotypes that I made on the gelatine plate.  These were printed with Artist’s acrylic paint and then painted with Artist’s watercolors.  I used the 8×10 gel plate on Saunders Waterford Hot Pressed 140lb paper, 11×14 inches.  I was looking through my paper stash and wanted to see how this would turn out.  I completely forgot I bought Hot Pressed paper as most of the watercolor paper I have is cold pressed.  This is what they looked like before painting.

I really liked painting these with the watercolors, especially as the paper is so nice.  I cut the rest my Saunders Waterford in half so I can try it out on the Xcut Xpress and also use it on the smaller gel plate.