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I am gearing up for doing my first art show this summer. Original watercolors. Currently, I am matting up my artwork and am considering selling this way rather than framing. My thought is that I'll have to ask for a higher price to cover my cost of the frame. Matting only can make it more affordable. Also, will this have any bearing on how the judges view my work? I am very selective when choosing a mat, I want the color to compliment my art. Thoughts anyone? TIA and so far, loving this online site & its members!

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People think matted means reproductions. Make sure to label them properly. And you’ll need frames for what hangs in your display.

For a few years I decided to only sell matted (photography) so I priced the framed on the walls work as if they were unframed and specified on the price tag that they were only available unframed. I also had a bin of unframed work with more of a selection. That worked for me with photography.

Don't know if it work with original paintings. Have you walked enough shows as a consumer to see if anyone else was marketing like that?

Larry Berman

Thanks for responding! I like your suggestion that I go to some shows and see what other artists are doing. Since I'm just now getting back into this, I don't want to go gangbusters with spending, I'm already adding the tab on getting into my first show. Entry fee, space fee, etc, in addition to my current expenses (art supplies,etc).

Some shows I have done, requires 2D artwork to be "ready to hang" for the customer. This meaning framed with hanging hardware attached. "Framed" can mean Gallery Wrap, mounted etc. also.

This pertains to the pieces hanging in your booth. Not the works the bins.

We frame our pieces and ask a much higher price for the art. For example, if the piece is $200 unframed, the frame (wholesale) costs us $50, we have a retail price of $350 or $395. It raises the amount of profit for the piece. You should not make the mistake of only raising the piece by the cost of the frame. 

always best to have different sizes and price points but the problem with small matted watercolors is they can look like greeting cards.  Be sure your display and signage highlight how special these are.

Yup. Do both. Adjust prices and see what sells. OR show them all matted and offer on the spot framing (have some inventory) for the additional charge. Good luck


where is my reply?

3/2/18 UPDATE: Again, thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. I love this site!! I was not selected for the show I wanted to do, but instead of stewing over it, I am choosing to learn from it. I emailed one of the organizers of the event and she said she would try to find out what the jury's comments were in regards to my work. Turns out, the images I sent (on a CD) were NOT a good quality and that is the reason I was passed over. She then gave me suggestions for future applications, what works best, etc AND she said she would add me to their Call To Artists list for their Fall event. After all this went down, I had heard of a "first time" art show in my hometown in May, pulled up the info and saw that it was accepting ALL artwork (no need for a approval process) AND no "space fee", I just paid my entry fee and I'm in! AND this will be a judged show!  Even better: the art show will be right across the street from my Church, and I had recently sold a pc of artwork to my Minister!! :)

Good to hear the update, and good luck with your show, photoraphing your art, and showing it in great frames! WOOHOO!


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