Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

In the studio

This and that in my studio.

Literary littles

Also doing several little guys for this series. I'm using my cappuccino add espresso cups as models. Happily, I've got plenty to choose from. And then there's my mother's teacup collection as well!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

New series in progress

Here is the test ruin for my new series. Book pages stained in tea, gouache, watercolor, pencil.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why Are Paintings So Expensive?

 Peacock, 12" x 36" $200

Why Are Paintings So Expensive?

This is a tricky question because there is no set price to artwork. Every artist has their own pricing method - be that sentimental value, past sales record, sense of entitlement, mathematical algorithm, or any number of other methods for attaching a monetary value to an aesthetic work. Honestly, I find a lot of artists dramatically overprice their work, especially novice painters.

So how do I price my own paintings?

I have developed a price per square inch algorithm developed based on my expenses, time, and past sales record, while taking into consideration that I want fine art to be affordable to everybody. For example, all of my 8" x 10" acrylic paintings cost $50. It doesn't matter what colors I've used, how long that particular one took me to finish, or how much I like or dislike it in comparison to others. 8" x 10" acrylic paintings are $50.

Does that seem expensive? Let me explain.

Materials are expensive. Canvas, paint, gold leafing, and gesso all get used up. Brushes wear out and need to be replaced. I do my own reference photography - which means driving to interesting places, paying entrance fees, trying to get good photographs, looking through the photos at home and printing out the best ones, doing sketches, reworking the design, doing practice paintings, and then the final painting of course. And I've got two little kids which means sometimes I have to pay for babysitting in order to work in my studio.

In the most simple of terms, I generally "make" up to $15 per hour. Assuming I sell all the paintings I make. I do sell most of my paintings, but not 100%. Which means that while I can say around $15 per hour, I'm not actually getting paid for all of the hours I work.

And that's just the gamble of being an artist. You put in a 40 hour work week at most jobs and you get paid for 40 hours of work. An artist puts in 40 hours of work and then people decide if they want to pay for any of those hours or not. Maybe nobody likes any of the paintings you spent your 40 hours on and so you don't get paid - even though you put out all the capital it takes to make those paintings. So you're in the negative. Or maybe you get paid for half of those hours. You're probably going to break even in terms of materials, but at least you have merchandise to continue trying to sell. Artists know this gamble and accept it. Maybe that's another influence on pricing.

But wait! That brings us to another aspect of pricing. So far, I've just been talking about my hourly wage just getting to the final painting. I haven't even considered the time I put in to advertising and trying to make the final sales.

Let's use the show I'm putting on in June for an example. I will have put in around fifteen hours preparing for the show (that's because I've been doing these for five years so I don't have to put in as much time anymore). I will spend 17 hours "open for business." I will hire and beg some babysitting for my kids. Assuming I can sell all of my paintings at this show...

I'm making just under $7 an hour for my acrylic paintings.

So maybe we've shifted from "You're so expensive." to "You make less than a teenager flipping burgers!"

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014


I'm not really into babies. I never ask to hold other people's baby nor do I ooh and aah. I don't cherish the fleeting newborn stage.

And now I have two children.

That's a plural that now applies to my life. Weird.

So yeah, now I have two. An almost two year old and a two week old. I can't wait for the next 50 weeks to fleet on by. I know I'm in the minority here. Lots of people write about making sure to take the time to experience the newborn and baby moments with the second or third child. "Because they'll fly by so fast and you'll miss them."

But I cannot have a conversation with my two week old. She can't control her body or hold her head up. She needs to nurse about every two to five hours, day and night. My body is flabby, but I can't work out yet.

Compare that to my two year old. He is learning so much every day, exploding vocabulary and comprehension. We are starting to talk about ideas, albeit basic. We are having reflective conversations. He helps with dishes, laundry, and cleaning. He loves to take walks, make observations, read books, practice letters and counting.

Terrible twos? Nope.

Yes, he is also having to learn to control his emotions and coping skills. But those are such important lessons he'll use for the rest of his life. And there's so, so much going on in his brain right now. It's fantastic.

So I'll have to wait patiently until my little girl gets to be a year old and starts to get more interesting and catch up with her brother.

What does that have to do with creativity? I am shaping the creative minds of my children. I am responsible for their early brain development, creating an environment where they learn to love learning, exploring, adventuring, and creating.

I was poking around some blogs a month or so ago, looking for other moms who did not really relish being moms. Not that they didn't love their kids, rise to the task, find things to enjoy about child-rearing, but other women who weren't gooey about mom-ness. I found a blog post by an artist. She wrote about the difficulty of setting aside her art to raise the kids, not having time to create, feeling that sense of loss that goes with an artist who cannot make art.

But then she started to realize that having kids was potentially the most creative thing she could ever do. It's a very different sort of creative. The "creation" has such an interactive part of the process. And you don't finish up in a month and stick it on the wall. Ongoing creativity. Fluidly adjusting to changing needs and growth.

And that cheered me up. If I can channel my need for creativity into my parenting, I'll be a happier mom and artist.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Currently being a mom

Cappuccinos and chocolate

Newborn sleeping in spurts

So sleepy

Even Patina is sleepy

Big brother also sleeps, but not as much as the new sister