Doing The Right Thing

So here I am at a familiar juncture, after the weekends eBay sale. I never do seem to learn my lesson do I? Essentially a painting I spent longer on than what I started my eBay auction for, yet again...the balance of attracting bidders and not working for silly money is a tricky one. I failed again, totally my own fault, I thought out of the 11 watchers, someone else would bid and I would break even, enabling me to pay bills, like any other person. The chap who won it is not to blame, hes been fantastically supportive always, I am just stupid enough to think people will bid, maybe my belief in my work and people is too optimistic?

I auctioned the painting to see if this style was popular, liked, worth following through? It backfired, again. But I still have one up there, and will try one more...because I said I would, so I'll follow it up.

So this brings me to pricing, there are many ways to price paintings, some artists price per square inch, some by the hour, after costs. I generally go the latter route as larger paintings can end up being astronomical price wise, and often it depends on the level of detail in the piece.

For instance the painting that sold, 'Moon Hop', it took about 4 hours to paint, the canvas cost about £3.00, shipping £4.45, packaging around £1.20, paints, gesso, varnish, special finishes, probably around £2.50...costs £11.15, not including payment for going to the post office, lighting, heating, water, packaging time, from sold price of £31.00 is £19.85, then lets take off Ebay fees of £3.10, and then Paypal fees of £1.25...this leaves £15.50, now divide this by hourly rate of £3.87.

Question is: would you work for £3.87 per hour?

So when I price up my paintings for my website, I go through exactly the same process, and charge between £10.00 and £7.50 per hour as some paintings simply take such a long time (the realism stuff especially), that again, the price would be out the reach of most pockets, so when that occurs from the formula I will lower the amount, just to give people, like me, a chance of owning original artwork, and that is a deliberate choice I make even though I earn less.

Yet still I am met with that my work is too expensive (not the auctions), a comment made only a few weeks ago...I am seriously confused as to what people think I should earn? If you can enlighten me, please do, because I really try my level best to keep my artwork affordable. This is of paramount importance to me, why should owning original work be the preserve of the wealthy? Also times are hard for all of us, and why my prices currently do not account for research, concept sketching, canvas preparation, or drawing of the final design.

It has been suggested that I have different prices for my artwork, a half the minimum wage price, and a 'Doing The Right Thing' price ie a living wage, a fair price for the hours I put in, and see what people choose to do, a bit like pay what you think at these new restaurants.

Or maybe I just stop painting every painting after 3 hours? Leave it painted to the point where the price is about £30.00? I honestly have no answers, and even if this is coming across as churlish (not intended), its something that needs to be addressed, as the next stop is stopping painting.

This again raises its head as a very real option come September, if my personal circumstances do not change, its time for me to do the right thing and go get a proper job, bills are mounting, my son is getting bigger yadda, yadda...lets face it I'd work allot less hours and get paid more! How long do I continue painting, as much as I love it, want to, have the ideas for? 

There has to be a point where I stop kidding myself. Rallies have been suggested, and yes local ones are certainly an option, further afield costs are prohibitive currently as I don't have spare money to speculate. Marketing? Doesn't seem to make any difference to sales if I market the backside off a painting, pay Facebook their BS payments, tirelessly promo on Twitter, they all are pretty eventless interms of direct sales in my experience.

So whats next? In fairness I have no clue...I don't want to wind down to September, after all you wouldn't order your least favourite meal on death row would you?...but rather paint as much as I can till then, go out with a bang, at least give it the best shot I can at making it actually work, or at least see a concrete increase in sales to continue to see reason in struggling financially.

So I am determined to keep on keeping on, doing what I do, marketing the best I can, the odd scooter rally where I can afford to, and have a happy time of it...I work my best then. Somewhere inside I still think; if this, then that, SOMETHING must work, as surely working upto 80 hours a week HAS to pay off at some point doesn't it? I don't want fame, just a fair living for the work I put in, to pay the bills, just the same as everyone else.

A big thank you to all those who continually support me through buying, sharing, hash tagging my artwork better than I do...your support has kept me here this long! Thank you! In the meantime, onwards, theres ideas to capture, imaginings to paint, and dancing to do! KTF xxx

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