I've started moving my canvas prices up from below dirt cheap ($40 to $125) to bargain prices ($125-300)... and believe me getting $300 recently for an original made me feel both great and nervous... so now in order to keep the slow price increase going I want to improve the presentation of each piece. I generally only sign pieces very small in the lower right hand corner, and sometimes its just my initials (smaller pieces). 

Below is a list of things I think I should either start doing or do better. I'd like to get feedback on the importance of each. 

1. Certificate of authenticity on back

2. Artist Bio on back

3. Sign art both front and back

4. Name each piece on the back or on the canvas edge

5. Paint edges of canvas with a "signature color"... like a custom mixed dark gray. 

6. Use good quality Varnish, maybe more than one coat (currently just spray a little matte)

Thanks in advance. 


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  • You don't mention it above, but are you using 1.5" edge gallery wrapped canvas?  People expect to pay more when the canvas is more professional looking.  And I agree with Larry about painting the edges a signature color.  I've done that with a few early paintings, but found that customers really would rather have a continuation of the scene wrap around the sides.  And definitely varnish more coats!  I usually apply at least three coats to my works.  Spray is ok to use, sometimes better depending on the size of the work, but you want to have a good layer of varnish to both protect from UV rays and to protect your work while you're moving it around at shows!  I do name my paintings, but I often do not write the name on the painting itself - that lets me change the name if I think of something better latter, lol.  I'll have a little name tag made up with the price for a show, and often include a little bio sheet with info on the painting and myself.  I print off similar sheets to include with the prints I package and sell.  With the prints, again, I feel it gives it a more professional look.  Pricing is hard, for sure, and I have also been accused of charging too little.  Just a little story, though - at a good quality show, a fellow artist came to view my work and was interested in some pieces.  They asked me why I wasn't charging more, saying prices in their booth were almost three times higher than mine.  He beautiful stuff, and had even won first prize in category for this show. Then they said they wanted to come back at the end of the show to buy a particular piece if I hadn't sold it.  At the end, though, he did not show; but I ran into him while packing up.  Sheepishly, the artist said while he loved the piece, he had dismal sales and hadn't made any money.  I did ok that show; was it the price point?  Who knows? 

    • You and are probably twins, I have been accused many times of charging too little (even on this site and in person at shows). I buy all of my canvases used and 70% are 1.5" gallery wrapped, people do like those, but if the canvases are over 36x36 no one seems to care (lighter canvases are easier to hang). I recently bought a lot of 48"x60" canvases for $9 a piece and I've been painting those and selling them for $120 to $150 but I'm trying to get up to $300 each for that size. I've sold as many as 70 pieces in one day (2019 art festival, sales mixed between canvas and paper) and watched as artists close to me sold zero to 3 pieces (one guy had art from $3000 to $11,000). It does feel great to sell a lot and see people just thrilled to find art they like and not at thousands of dollars. My art is not professional, its a side hobby and I tend to rush thru most pieces and I can't stay focused, so internally I don't value any of my art much - and thats my justification for low prices. This weekend I'll finish 4 commissions and I'll peek over the 100 pieces sold since January 1st and that would never happen If I tried to make a $$$$ each. 

      I definitely don't want to fall into the mindset of "all art is unique and worth a lot"- there is an artist locally that puts paint on a canvas and then throws a cat on it, the cat scrambles to get off and smears it. She prices a 16x20 at $715. I'm an amateur and my prices reflect that. But I would like to migrate a bit.  

      • The cat get thrown on to paint! How cruel!

  • I had the same thing happen recently, lady came back with a diptych I did and had me sign them. The naming issue has popped up when someone emails and says "hey I bought "Myriad" from you and I want one similar to it" and I couldn't remember which that was. Thanks. 

  • Seems like some good things to do but #5 might be a bit gaudy. I personally don't like naming my canvases. Customers might like the work and not the name. A negative. I have had customers drive 100 miles to a show and had me sign a previous picture that I forgot to sign. Seems crazy to me but a signature is very important I guess.
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