Category Archives: Blogging & Art tips

How to price your art

How to price your art

I got a text from a lovely friend today, asking how I price my artwork. This has got to be the TRICKIEST thing about being an artist. EVER. Putting a price on something you love doing feels … well … really weird. One of the hardest parts to get your head around (and I guess this is because of self-doubt) is that you have to put a price on your value. It is hard. But the most important thing to remember is to never ever undervalue your work. You’re unique and so is your art, brand and everything else!
I decided to do a bit of investigating on the subject – I interviewed a few artists (including myself!) with one question… “How do you price your art?”. Check out their answers and blogs/sites/Facebook pages below…

Fleur Woods Art
Fleur Woods
Fleur Woods Art
‘I use a formula to price my art: materials (including framing) + studio costs (internet, power, accountant etc) + time (hourly rate) + commission + applicable taxes = Price Sometimes the price after all of these factors isn’t appropriate for my market (emerging NZ artist), so I sometimes have to reduce my hourly rate to make the costings work. When you look at the cost of an original piece of art it often appears inflated, but if you consider this formula it is clear that the artist is only being paid for their time & costs, just like any other business. As my experience grows & the value of my work increases it will improve my hourly rate. Just as you would expect in any other profession.

Larisse Hall
Larisse Hall
That must be one of the most common questions artists debate… My work is priced by my history (previous sales and development). I remember enjoying artist Tony Allain produce an amazing 15 minute pastel work and when asked to justify his price he commented that it was not accounted for by that 15 minutes, but the 45 years previously that enabled him to produce a work in 15 minutes. I think pricing is relative and individual to an artist’s work / history.’

Nester Art
hmmmmmmm? How do I price my art? This is the aspect of my work that I find harder than anything else. I must admit that the answer is I am still learning. Right from the start I wanted it to be affordable so that someone like me could afford to buy it, but if I do that then after the gallery has taken their cut (which is absolutely necessary for them), of sometimes up to 50%, you as an artist are left with very little indeed, aaaaggghhh! Then there is also the issue that the public may not value what you as an artist believe gives value to a piece. I am a lino print artist, so I can reproduce each work, but I set the number as a limited edition. Each is hand printed and thus unique, taking a lot more time and failures than you would imagine. Yet not everybody out there recognises that there is a big difference between this and a digital print (often termed a giclee print). As another example take the coloured print of a titi pounamu, which has only 12 copies in the edition, and is a complex 4 or 5 layered reduction print, which involves cutting away more parts of the same lino block for each successive colour layer, and the tedious job of getting the registration of the paper precise. In my mind I have been hugely underpricing this series at $140 each, compared with my Tui Harakeke, a simple black and white, in a larger series, which I charge more for. I do this because………..why do I do this? hehe, because I still do not have enough faith in my own judgement. Ask any artist, I’m sure they have similar dilemmas. I think as I become more and more experienced these inconsistencies will iron themselves out. If anyone is reading this hoping for some clear directions or rules, I’m sorry, I’m not sure they exist, if they do please share!

Jessica Lindbrom-Brice
Jessica Lindblom-Brice
I’m quite new to putting a price on my own work and I do find it difficult. I take into consideration how long I spent on the picture, materials used and how well I feel it turned out. I also think that it’s a good help to keep an eye on how other artists price their work. That’s the only time I think it might be helpful to compare your work with anyone else’s!

Roseanne Kibblewhite
Roseanne Kibblewhite
This is one of my personal nightmares…I hate pricing my work. Its not something I focus on while making my pieces but always must be dealt with when eventually, no matter how long I put it off for. I had a wonderful art mentor that I worked with about 5-6 years ago and he said he generally follows the rule of 5 x Cost – add up all your costs (every little thing required to make that particular piece, include framing costs, any freight used, pencils, erasers, electricity) – then multiply this by 5. He also said you’re best off not trying to charge for the individual hours a piece takes, as some work may only take an hour to make but thought processes, research and time sourcing of materials would also need to be taken into account. While another piece may have taken many hours of work but would in turn price it out of the market, also larger pieces should always cost more than smaller works. I have used this guideline for starting my pricing, and it also makes you very much aware of what its costing you to create an item. With some of my larger pieces I really struggled with my pricing, after working out my costs etc I felt I was going to be asking too much. After an exhibition in which I was doing painting demonstrations, but not actually there to sell anything, I was approached by an art collector who made me a private offer for one of my oil paintings – which more than covered the 5 x cost rule.
I have since used this as a basis for pricing for my larger works, and altering to include gallery charges. The hardest thing for me at the end of the day, for some pieces, is to get past the emotions that one has put into a piece and let it go for someone else to enjoy!

Bec - Clouds of Colour

And from me… To price my original art, I base it on an hourly rate & how I feel about the outcome. I find this a good way to get a rough idea of price – making sure I add in all the costs involved – art materials, framing etc. My work is slightly different as I have prints available on most of the pieces. If there aren’t prints available on a piece then the price increases.
To price my prints, I scoured Etsy for similar artists to me and slotted my work into the range I found. When starting out, I found this to be the best way. It gave me an idea of where I fitted into in the industry. As my art grows and I become better known, I will increase my rates.
Remember! If people love your work they will always pay the price for it. xobec

A new look

Bec Brown - summer fields

Its happening. A fresh new look for 2014 on Clouds of Colour blog.
I have had the same header on this blog since starting it 2 years ago – its been amazing but part of blogging is it changing as you do. So I’m excited to be stripping back the overall layout and look of Clouds of Colour. With more black & white, space, easier navigation and a bigger focus on the content of art & photography.

Its so cool how a change like this can make me even more excited about creating new content.
If you have a spare moment, I’d love to hear your thoughts on a few questions:
♦ What are your favourite posts on Clouds of Colour?
♦ What would you like to see more of?
– Art, DIY’s, Photography, New Zealand, Etsy & Blogging tips
♦ Do you like seeing the inspiration behind artwork?

Thank you so much beautiful readers!

Etsy photography – things to consider!

Bec Brown Blue Peacock A5 Notebook 4 Cactus_pots1

I have a lot of people asking me why my photos are the way they are, on Etsy. With plenty of white, soft tones and bright pops of colour and similar background textures/colours.
Before opening my shop, I researched which images stood out for me and, most importantly showed of my art beautifully. After experimenting, my conclusion was simple – white!

Etsy Photography tips -shop

For this I have two main reasons:
1. Shop layout.
I love having a consistent and interesting design as soon as you visit my store. I want the overall look of my store to feel as though you’ve just walked into a little Clouds of Colour boutique.
My 3 main points I keep in mind when photographing my products is white, clean and with enough space around them so that when they’re cropped for my front listing image, they don’t get cut in half.

Below is an example. See here you can crop the image for the front page viewing? By having alot of white space, the image can be cropped and the product still all in view.

Etsy Photography tips - cropping

2. Treasuries
I get so many views and sales from being featured in Etsy treasuries that it’s worth considering them when you’re photographing your products. Have a look through the treasuries and see which ones you like and why. I particularly love ones like the one below –  with a mixture of products, white space, beautiful photography that focuses on the product.

Etsy Photography tips - treasuries

Things to consider!
What products catch your eye when your viewing Etsy stores?
Do you have a favourite background colour or texture that compliments your products?
Find 5 treasuries you love and write down why.
Test out the negative space around your product. Once the photo has been cropped for your shop front page – is half of it getting cut off or featuring your work perfectly?

I hope these tips have helped in some way! Do you have any favourite tips for photographing products?xobec

Discovering your unique art style

Discovering your unique art style 1

This post is a little bit about how I found my own art style and developed it into the art you see today.
I took painting classes all through school but what I found was that you got taught how to think – your style had to be for the school marking schedule, to eventually look like everyone else’s work – otherwise it was wrong.

It wasn’t until I left school that I started testing different art styles and breaking down those conformed school ideas, that I could find my own style.
I went through many phases and wanted to share them with you today to show that it took years of experimenting. Years of exploring and playing, until I found a style that just…fit with me.Discovering your unique art style - Bec Brown art 1Discovering your unique art style - Bec Brown art 3

I remember when I was going through my ‘stages’, I’d be having fun doing them but the joy would fade. It wasn’t until I started using watercolour (I’d never used it before and am self taught) that something deep down inside me felt satisfied by the results. I felt a deeper connection with what I was doing. It felt like more than putting a paintbrush to paper. And this was when I realised I’d discovered my own art style.

Discovering your unique art style - Bec Brown art 2

To summarise!
– Analyse art books & see which interests you.
– Start painting different styles of art. Try landscapes, abstract, portraits… and explore different mediums to find your faves – oil, charcoal, collages, watercolour, acrylic – there’s so many!
– Have a goal in mind for each phase. For example I’d create a certain number of pieces or have a time frame in which I’d test the style.
– Have fun! The more barriers you break down while exploring, the more likely you are to find a style of your own.

Blue Butterfly Drawing 3 Peacock drawing Bec Brown 1

Keep going until you feel a connection with a style. You’ll know when you’ve found it! Every part of you will feel a love for what you’re doing.
And if you need any help along the way – I’d love to hear your questions or queries,xobec

Blogging tips: Hosting


Recently I have had a few bloggers ask me questions about my blog and how I run it in terms of the behind the scenes weird and wacky coding and back end stuff. I’m not a pro at any of it. If you’d asked me a year ago what a widget was or even what my sidebar was, I wouldn’t have known. Everything you see on my blog is purely from googling questions and a lot of trial and error.
Some questions I get asked a lot (and I know how hard it is to investigate on WordPress forums) is what the difference is with self hosting, how you go about being self hosted and how I find it. So today I’m sharing this knowledge with you. Keep in mind this is only my experience.

What is the difference between being hosted with WordPress and being self hosted? Well, when you initially sign up to WordPress you are automatically hosted through them as well as using their admin platform. The positive of being hosted through WordPress is that it’s cheap, they do all of the admin stuff for you including spam, SEO (search engine optimisation), security, and backups. All you have to do is think of a blog domain name and start posting.
The negatives are that you are restricted when it comes to various theme changes, having paid advertising on your blog and sponsored posts.

Bec Brown

After a year of blogging I started getting approached by companies that wanted to send me free items in return for me promoting them, and also wanting to have adverts on my sidebar. Because I was hosted with WordPress I couldn’t do this and it came to a point where it was obvious I needed to switch.

There are a few good hosting sites you can use here. I use hostgator and love them. They have a 24hr chat line to help you with anything.

So when I decided to switch over I thought I’d be clever and do it myself. For any of you that have followed my blog for awhile, you may remember the day when it completely crashed and 2 lines of coding came up on the screen. I almost died. Talk about stressful! So unless you know coding, I don’t recommend doing this. WordPress offer a ‘guided transfer‘ which I highly suggest. They do everything for you on a day decided mutually and it’s done perfectly. They also help you out with any questions for 2 weeks after the transfer.

Purple Flower

Initially being self hosted was tough as there was a lot to learn. And I’m still learning more every day. Google is my best friend. Any question I have relating to anything on my blog, I ask my buddy google. Sometimes it takes hours to find an answer but its totally worth it. The plus side is I have a lot of freedom and control over my blog, how it looks and what I can do with it. There are things called ‘plugins‘ (which would be better explained in a whole other post!) – and there are 1000’s of them. This is how I can add things like Instagram to my sidebar or ‘you may also like’ at the bottom of my posts. There are still lots of things I want to change on my blog but it takes time working out how to get them there & looking perfect.

At the end of the day, it depends what you want from your blog. For some of us it’s perfect for sharing some creativity or views on life and others want to make a living from it as well.
I hope this helps some of you out. And if you have any other questions I’m always happy to help where I can!xobec