Haven't posted much this month. I have been real busy painting and getting ready for this coming weekend's showing and next weekend's juried art show. I promised you a rant in the title so here goes....
People who complain about art costing too much have no idea the amount of work that goes into being an artist. I think most people think artists just happily paint for a few hours everyday and that is it. We also collectively have this idea that to earn lots of money we must be working extremely hard at something we hate.
I wish that all I had to do was paint, but that alone would still take up a big chunk of my time. Each painting I do takes me anywhere from 12 to 40 hours to complete, depending on size and difficulty. This is usually spread out over many days, painting anywhere from 3 to 6 hours a day. Once a painting is complete I have to varnish, wire, and sometimes frame. Varnishing alone can take me hours to do, as I seem to have bad luck with it and often have to go repaint things I messed up with the varnish. I do all my own framing and this is by no means easy or quickly done.
The other time consuming aspect of being an artist is the copying of your work, or taking photographs, scanning, etc. I spend a lot of time photographing my pieces. I have to do it outside on a good weather day. This can be challenging at best. Then I have to edit all my pieces in Photoshop to make them as close to the real work as possible to post online. All of this can take me anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to do, on just one piece of art. Next you spend time uploading art to all of your websites where you sell prints, Etsy, Red Bubble, etc. This can often take up an afternoon.
Next you have making prints, packaging prints, shipping prints, making other things to sell like pendants (this takes up lots of time). So if you add all this up we are going over 40 hours of work a week.
Pricing your art is one of the hardest parts of being an artist. What is it's value? That is a hard question. We certainly do not get paid for our time. Just to make a nice round $10 bucks an hour we would have to sell a $400 painting a week, every week. Then there is the obscure question of how good is it. We all have seen artwork that sells for thousands that we wouldn't pay $10 for, and ones that sell for $100 that seem to be worth a lot more.
My pricing is random and somewhat based on how much I am attached to the work, and the size of the piece. I am usually flexible though, and willing to hear offers of course.
Okay, that is about it for my rant, although I haven't even mentioned the high cost of art supplies. Most of you reading this are artists too, so I am probably preaching to the choir. But many of my friends that are not artists, even my own husband, have no idea what I do all day. Somehow I have to fit in cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and taking care of my kids and myself in all of this. Oh, and I left out the self-promotion on the internet time....like this blog....there is another few hours a day, just trying to get your work out there and seen (advertising).
Okay, on to my current work in progress. I have been experimenting with different surfaces. This one is small because it is a sample that I got from Raymar of one of their polyflax cotton canvas panels. It is a very nice surface that I will definately try again. It is also what sparked my rant, because it is only 9x12 inches, but I have already put about 12 hours into painting it and am still not totally done. Just because it is smaller than many of my other works does not mean it is worth less. I am also really loving it, it has changed a lot already from this pic I am posting now.