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I just got an offer to buy out all my canvas pieces.. all 23 of them. I have no idea what this buyer intends but I get the impression its for resale. I tend to sell on the very inexpensive side (30x30 canvas acrylic for $90 and 48x60 for $140)... so a single transaction for $2500 sounds good, but something about it feels wrong. My next art festival isn't until last weekend of August so I'd have time to do more pieces, but I can't decide if this is a blessing or a really terrible idea.

I'm only painting and attending 3-4 art festivals a year as a hobby and an excuse to spend a day or weekend outside, so the dollar amount is not important. I'm not attached to my artwork, but I'll get more joy out of seeing a lot of happy people walk off with my art then I will watching one guy in a van driving off. 

How far can I interrogate this potential buyer - and do I have any right to anyway? I just redid my website ( and was also considering upping my prices by double on canvas pieces, but he got pricing already...

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It seems to me that you are torn between creating/selling art as a hobby vs. selling art as a business. Is that your hesitation? I think I previously read that you came upon the canvasses for free? And from a hobby perspective, it's a $2500 windfall so you should be happy with the result. You were able to sell the paintings quickly with little 'holding' time.  I'm sure that money will be helpful toward your family.

From the business perspective, your model may not be sustainable. For example, I just bought a 48x48" blank canvas with a MSRP of $100.  So you probably have $1500-2500 worth of canvasses to begin with. And the paint value applied is probably a couple hundred$. So if you subtract that from the sale and divided by number of hours you spent painting, you'll get roughly your hourly rate. So going forward when you have to buy canvasses, your customers might be in sticker shock because you had to raise your prices so significantly. So if this is something you want to pursue as a business, then you'd want to price your work for sustainability and growth. Good luck!

It's a hobby - but I want it to be a hobby without losing money, or much money. The first set of canvases was donated to me by a retired local mystery artist, but I have since bought some wholesale (about $12 per 30x40 from so I'm pretty frugal. I really don't think my art will ever get the point of being worth what many on here seem say we should be selling it for. I am about ready to make a big adjustment in pricing, creeping to oil paintings and oil is not inexpensive. 

Maybe I should try this: 30x30 $140, 36x48 $200, 48x48 $250, 60x48 $350. 

You are painting with the intention of selling your work and have decided on a price. If someone local wants to meet your price and pay cash there is obviously no scam involved and you are getting exactly what you wanted. You cannot go back and ethically raise your price for this transaction if you have already stated a price...but you sure can take this a a sign to raise your prices for future creations.

You need to inform the buyer that you own the copyrights to all your paintings and that means they cannot copy your work. HOWEVER, you can sell them the copyrights along with the art (for an extra fee) and then they can do anything with it.

The only concern is if you believe the price you offered is too low. But you can’t retroactively raise it for this buyer, you can just decline the deal. You already sell your work for such a low price - $2500 may be fair once you subtract your travel and booth fees. Large lots tend to sell lower per piece. For all you know this person will put your paintings on display in businesses or on a film set. I would photograph all pieces sold and put the copyright sign with your name inconspicuously somewhere on the art.
Remember lots of businesses rise and fall every day and could want a lot of themed art for a setting: a restaurant, hotel, bar, etc.your work looks commercially accessible.

I wasn't going to raise the price on this buyer, that was already set in stone. I meant after i did this, if I did this.

I'd pay for a serious artist review... i.e. someone that does successfully take a look at my current work, evaluate it, give me some realistic values, and tell me how I can better present my pieces. I've asked a few local galleries and none do this as a service. When successful artists just tell me I'm doing this wrong I do feel bad. 

The person is local and paying cash and you are having a problem with that? I'm speechless. Well, not really.

You need to make this sale. You can't raise you price. That would be amateurish. As someone said, they may be going into someones hotel or hospital rooms. They may be reselling them in their gallery. There is nothing wrong with any of this. If it is a gallery, use that to raise both your retail and wholesale prices. I used to do the ACC wholesale show in Baltimore. The gallery owners were pretty knowledgeable about what they could get for someones work. Many times if someone priced their work too low, at wholesale, the galleries would swoop in like vultures and place way too many orders. If that happened, the artist would need to raise their prices. It sounds like you are an amateur. Let the market determine your prices. If it is a gallery, then, you want to know what they are selling your work for. That would be more in line with what you should sell your work for.

The Main Street booth fee is around $800, not, $8000. You have to be really, really good to get in, except for a few locals who seem to be grandfathered in. Before you apply, and especially if you get in, make sure you know the real price of your work. It does you no good to do it, sell all your work and realize you could have grossed more money.

Main Street Fort Worth is not $800.. (this is pulled from their site): Commercial space costs are $8,000 for a 10′ x 10′ booth, $15,000 for a 10′ x 20′ booth and $25,000 for a 20′ x 20′ booth.  Thats the biggest one around here. A lot of the art festivals in Texas range from $750 for 10x10 to $3,500. Why would I lie when its easy to look it up? 


For what it's worth, I think you may be confusing the 'artist booth fee' with the 'commercial booth fee'. I will attach a link for you but the artist booth is $750. If this show is close to you, might be worth a shot?

Holy cow I'm stupid! I would have done Main Street this year if I had understood this. I'm just not good at organization. I think I need to turn over that part of my art life to a level headed woman that understands my lack of focus )

Thanks Loc Tran and apologies to Barry. 

You are not stupid just a little inexperienced which is why you are here asking. It was only a mistake, We all make them. Learn and move on. Don't be so hard on yourself and I can see you have some conflict to resolve with yourself but first this deal.

I read all the comments and you did your research on the buyer so that's good.

1. Be professional always, hobby or not. Thank them for their offer and conduct yourself like you and your work matters because it does.

2. You can and still should ask their intention even if you think they might be selling it on Etsy: Business is business and there is nothing wrong with doing that. The cash price has been established so that's done UNLESS they plan on selling prints. Then the price changes as Sure Kroll and I think someone else mentioned.

3. Know your numbers: Before you meet with him/them have a number you are comfortable with ALREADY in your head if they plan on selling prints/reproductions provided you are ok with that. If that is the case don't hesitate. Say "The 2500.00 is a one time sale price for the originals where I retain all copyrights. I would be willing to sell the originals AND copyrights for $____." Then don't say a word and wait for their response. The ball is now in their court and nervous chatter will make you sound like an amateur.In business concise and clear is better. (A third option, you keep the originals and the rights and they sell reproductions but that doesn't seem to be the case here).

4. Get it in writing: Conflict comes when either party is confused or claims to be and you don't need that in your life. A contract should be written in either case. If you sell and retain the rights it should say that. If they buy all rights it should say that. Each item should be listed in the contract.

You can have both ready which will make you look professional, use theirs (but read it carefully) if they already do this with others or agree to meet later when a contract is drawn up. Now everyone knows what is expected of them and what is allowed.

5. When done thank them again (eye contact and firm handshake) because it could lead to more in the future.

Your conflict. From what I have read here you treat yourself and your work like its a hobby and you are an amateur or at least you have not yet decided. I don't care how much you do or don't do this. STOP calling it a hobby if you plan on making any $ at all from it AND you want to be taken seriously. You have been approached with an offer (BTW, congratulations!) so take it and yourself seriously.

You already do shows so thats it. I know many artists who have jobs or supplement their income some other way or have 2 income households (spouses) and still refer to themselves as professional artists because they are. A profession can be full time or part time and still be professional. People do it all the time.

People/buyers won't take you seriously the moment you say the word HOBBY.

If you are not sure what that means yet due to lack of experience welcome to the club we all have to start somewhere. "Fake it till you make it" and get advice here or from other local artists or ones at shows.

Pricing: I don't recommend doubling your prices in one fell swoop. Anyone who has already bought your work will stop. Even if you started low creep them up over time. If you currently have a short sales history you can get them more in line to what they should be but not too high all at once.

I also looked at your website and your work does not look amateur or hobbyist.

Money tight? Check out "The Brush Guys". Good quality for good prices. I am hard on brushes (in oil at least) so I rarely buy expensive brushes. I have bought from them at Laguna Art-A-Fair so I know their brushes are good.

In the meantime,

Keep painting...


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