Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The cost per lb... per piece... per inch

Sweater Girl is a 12x12 open studio oil by Shirley Fachilla.

Most artists price their work by the inch. It does seem quite prosaic, sort of like selling carpet or produce.
The per-inch method is often justified by asserting that larger takes longer to paint and therefore should cost more. Trouble is unless the larger size is really bigger, like a wall-size mural, it usually doesn’t take that much longer.
At 12x12, Sweater Girl is four times the size of a tiny 6x6. But I often labor all day on such a tiny one and when faced with a deadline, finish a 20x24 in less than half of that. So it isn’t the time, it’s just that other pricing techniques make even less sense.
Ask any artist, often one’s best painting takes the least amount of time. And the piece the maker thinks a masterpiece might seem less than wonderful in the eye of another beholder.
To read a very funny essay on the subjective nature of art pricing, visit Canadian artist Robert Genn’s blog, A Rough Day on the Board. It’s so funny but so true lots of readers missed Robert’s tongue in cheek and thought it was fact not fiction.


  1. Wonderful comments on pricing. Beautiful painting, Shirley.

  2. You have caught the relaxed pose of your sitter perfectly, great painting.
    I know what you mean about pricing, I have the same dilemma, not knowing how to price my work so I go by size plus cost of frame, I haven't come up with a better method yet.

  3. this is just outstanding shirley! the sweater is just amazing, everything is. i love this one. and i needed the comments and link on pricing, thank you!

  4. Hi Shirley, thanks for the comment on my blog. I don't comment much but I should because it really means a lot to know people are checking in. I love your blog and your paintings and follow it regularly. Welcome back to facebook,too. Thanks again for all your "teaching" moments. Very helpful.

  5. Great color in this painting. Had to laugh at your pricing comments, which are right on. I too read Genn's piece--hilarious.

    (This is Don Gray. For some reason I can't post with my Blogger account, so sending it as "anonymous"--sorry.)

  6. You have such a beautiful feel to your paint and mood.


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...