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Want to sell your paintings through galleries? Like to see proof of artists selling paintings successfully on ebay? Is it possible you could be earning good money doing something you truly love? I reveal the little-known professional stratagies used by top selling artists. Having sold many of my own paintings down the years, (since the age of 13), I hope that I can pass on some tips tricks and useful insights that may be of help to others. I have bookshelves full of remarkable books on art ,and have studied other artists careers. I have learned much about how to sell paintings., and I also deal in art, which gives me further insights as to what people want or buy, and why. Whether you are young or someone wanting to earn extra money in retirement, you should find some helpful information below. Okay, not everyone wishes to turn pro, some may simply want to make some useful money spare-time, and get extra income to afford more holidays,or a new car, home improvements, or just obtain a better standard of living. If you struggle to sell your art and make decent income as an artist… then this lens is for you…
1. Selling Your Paintings Through a Gallery:
Fancy seeing your work in the window of a High Street Gallery? This is the most obvious place to sell, but there’s more to this than meets the eye.How do you get in? How do you sell? and for how much? who will buy it? To get you started, the best option is usually to sell through a local gallery, or galleries in your area. (More on this follows in this lens) Painting subjects local to your area can become a good way to get your foot in the door of local galleries who may have a good market for such works, especially if local subject matter painters are thin on the ground, and there might be a gap in the market waiting for you to exploit. Potential income? Allowing for commission + tax, you will normally end up with approximately 50% of the retail selling price. But of course the gallery can ask far higher prices for your art than you normally would, given their prestige and setting. Building a good rapport with a gallery owner is key, and together you can hopefully make things happen. You might also progress to do solo exhibitions. Choose your gallery wisely, if you are just starting out, you may need to try less prestigious galleries to begin with, and gain a foot-hold first. Obviously it would take a book to give all the vital basics and professional tips required to prepare yourself for success in this endeavor. Thus I recommend a great book on this topic called “Starving to Successful.The Fine Artist’s Guide to Getting into Galleries and Selling More Art”, which I review later in this lens. Gain insight into what a gallery owner is thinking as he or she reviews your portfolio. Understand why the most common approaches artists make to galleries are largely ineffective. Learn what most artists fail to do when preparing their artwork for sale.
2. Earning From Painting Commissions:
This is usually easier for an artist with established status. Word of mouth is often the way commissions are gained – as your reputation becomes known. (Once you’re famous, you’ll probably be turning them away) However, to get started initially you can advertise locally, or even online, and work to your customers requirements. I have done this and arrived with just a few good examples of my work, and usually got a commission, after discussing the exact requirements of the customer. NOTE: It helps to target well off areas!! I once turned up to see a woman regarding a portrait of her beautiful young daughter, but was instead given a commission to paint her pet budgies!! After her satisfaction with this, I did the portrait. Another client commissioned a painting for his apartment, then later wanted me to paint a portrait of his mothers cottage set in the New Forrest. (England) for a special birthday gift. (A good market) You may be wise to offer your services in a specific niche. Specializing can be helpful, and “Property Portraits” can be lucrative in some areas. I’ve often found that many customers have gone on to commission further works if delighted with the first, so remember you can get more than one sale per customer, and these customers also have friends and neighbors! Try to look reasonably professional, (Remember “first impressions”) and take some of your art in a portfolio case so you can show a few examples at first contact. Keep your pitch focused on what the client wants. (Important word there). Remember to pitch a strong price at first, and see what the response is. People don’t normally expect to commission an artwork for peanuts. You can always negotiate from that high point, and throw in some sweeteners, such as a special deal on framing etc. Some of my customers lived in wealthy areas, with a Bentley in the drive, so it would be silly to charge a low price. They would think there was something wrong, or that I must be an amateur! The same applies to Portraits, below.
3. Painting Portraits:
Portraiture. The portrait business can be very lucrative, – if you have a genuine talent in this area. People will pay good money for beautiful portraits of their loved ones. What better loving gift? Personal contact is recommended. Online business is possible, but there seems to be a lot of low price competition, and the buyer is taking a pretty big chance not knowing the artist personally or seeing the work in the flesh.. Online portraits usually means working from photographs, which can be very difficult, especially if the photo is dire! Your best advertising is often word of mouth recommendations. And personal contact is a big plus for this type of work. Taking some good quality photo’s of the sitter yourself is far better, and essential for obtaining good results, when a number of personal sittings is not practical. For more advice, see “commissions” above.
4. Painting Pet Portraits:
Paint Pet Portraits. Do you love animals? Another spin on the above, but people love their pets, and dogs etc can make for good art. People spend a lot of money pampering their pets, and hold them in great affection, especially dogs. (Some big auctionrooms for instance dedicate Specialist Sales to Dog Pictures!) In the 19th century wealthy farmers would commission artists to paint their prize cattle, pigs, sheep etc, – all in the name of pride – whereas they would’nt usually think of doing the same for the wife! Dogs seem to be the number one hot market. To start, you need to do some “sample” dog paintings to command attention of potential customers and advertise your artistic services. However you should obviously choose animals you are most happy to paint. Get known as an animal painter. If you have a skill in this area, dont overlook this as a great way to make money. Obviously a love of animals is quite essential.. As with all these concepts, your reputation will grow as time goes by, and your experience will grow too. Practice will inevitably mean better, more accomplished paintings. This evolution means bigger prices can be realised and justified.
5. Painting Local Scenes:
Painting Local Views. If you have acquired the skill and ability to paint to a high standard, with attractive style, you are virtually certain to be able to sell LOCAL views in any area of outstanding beauty. If you live in (or near to) a prime location, with a lot of seasonal visitors, there is a ready-made hungry market, and this is obviously something easily exploited by the savvy artist, and most artists throughout history have earned money from this lucrative activity. Well you have to pay the bills… and eat!. However, don’t fall into the trap of producing virtual “picture postcard” scenes,. Instead I would suggest painting local related stuff and local images of interest that take your fancy. Two markets normally exist: A/ Local people who proudly love their locality. and B/ Visitors touring the area, especially those who return again and again. Prints of these can also be sold, – and be can quite lucrative, – if demand looks good. (See below for exciting options) I have even seen swift line and wash type watercolors of a location turned into affordabe little prints and postcards, – which is a further possible sideline.
6. Selling Your Art as Fine Art Prints:
Publish Your Art as Prints! (Self-publishing) Why sell one picture when you could sell a thousand! Yes, with the advent of new Giclee Printing technology, you can get your art privately printed far cheaper than previously possible. You can do very small limited runs, then sell to local galleries etc, and keep all the profits. In effect, you become a wholesaler for your own Fine Art products. Galleries will often handle the framing. If you wish you can produce (signed) “Limited Editions” to add further to collectability of your prints, and add further perceived value.Seek Giclee printing sevices in your local area. Get quotes. But be sure there’s a market for your work first. If originals don’t sell, then prints may not. Conversely if demand for originals is good, then prints should be viable and profitable.
7. Getting Your Work “Published” by an Art Print Publisher! (For Bigtime Income!):
Get Your Art Published! (Via a Fine Art Print Publisher) Can you imagine your art in many thousands of homes worldwide? Art Publishers are always looking out for new talent and opportunities. Once you become more established and enjoy some success, you are in a good position to approach art print publishing companies. Even if you haven’t had any significant success, you have little to lose by approaching them on the off chance that they like your style, and they see significant potential. It’s a throw of the dice. However, you will need to be able to back it up with a portfolio of similar works, to suggest you have some commercial viability in their eyes, and are not just a one-trick pony. Publishers are always on the look out for new artistic talent. Simply get in touch by post or email, providing some good photo’s of your best work. But only if you believe it is truly commercial and similar in substance or approximate style to works they already promote and sell. Search the internet for Publishers and also Art Market Magazines. Only approach Publishers that generally suit your work and content. Shop around. Royalties vary, as does the amount of promotion given to new emerging artists. Needless to say, if you get lucky your work will be sold by the thousands.
8. Selling Your Art Online:
There are many good ways to sell art online. A good variety of online galleries exist which will sell your art for you. Some charge listing fees, others charge commission on work sold, others a variety of the two. Nevertheless, they normally offer you the chance of selling work at minimal outlay. Remember, selling through most high street galleries costs you 40% or more from each sale. So there are always costs involved when selling. Get used to it. Obviously we want to minimize cost where possible,especially when starting out. So shop around, and find the online gallery that suits your particular requirements. My personal favourite is Yessy.com which I feature below in some considerable detail. There is a link if you wish to visit or join, or better still, enjoy a free trial. Another option for selling art online is to try Online Auction sites. Some are dedicated to selling artwork exclusively, others, like EBAY, (which I cover in detail later) have a section for selling art from “self representing” artists. For a top selling ebook on the subject of selling your art on eBay.
9. Teaching Painting Part-time:
Teaching Art to Others can be an enjoyable way to earn extra income. Comes a time when you have gained a lot of valuable experience and have learned much about painting and art, and thus have a huge store of knowlege to pass on to others. (Especially if you have invested in books and videos or art courses over the years). Many of the best known professional painters we know of earn money from teaching, and some also teach through video format too, as we all know. (not to mention ‘painting vacations’ or holidays on exotic locations). Most enjoy passing on what they have learned, and helping others enjoy learning a new skill or improving on what they’ve already achieved . Whether you consider offering private tuition, (one on one) or perhaps can obtain an opening within your local community, you may get an opportunity to teach. Setting up a workshop to teach those that want to learn a new skill or hobby, (perhaps in their golden years), may be quite worthwhile and rewarding, and not only in terms of money. For reasons of credability, it’s favourable to have had some reasonable commercial success beforehand of course.. Another lucrative spin on this is to offer Painting Vacations, whereby you offer tutoring plus accommadation to small groups or parties, which can be quite profitable if one lives in a great location for painters. A minibus for exploring is also a good idea for such a venture.
10. Getting Paid to Write About Art:
Writing About Art: Most successful (current day) artists you could name have probably written a book or two on art, or at least earned money from contributing articles to Art Magazines. Well, if you have the knowledge and some reasonable writing skills, this could one day be an option for yourself. Find a niche angle and write about some approach or method or techniques you commonly employ, or some other subject that’s not too ubiquitous, along with your paintings at various stages (well photographed) to demonstrate each topic you cover. You may need to buy a good book on writing, but it could become a part-time career. Approach a Publisher, or many. Don’t hold breath. With persistance you may get lucky. Tip: First Build your reputation submitting good articles.(Such articles can sometimes lead to book offers). Promote yourself in various other ways perhaps with squidoo, an artist’s blog, etc, – and via online galleries such as Yessy. Such writing can earn you money, but also quickly magnify your ‘fame’ or public recognition – and will also act as a showcase for your art to be seen in hundreds of book stores! ( Priceless advertising for your brand!). I’m sure some artist’s write illustrated articles mainly to showcase their work . And why not. (Especially as writing articles isn’t exactly highly paid). One needs exposure!