PA Conference for Women 2014 Theme: The Year of YOU!

The theme of this year’s Pennsylvania Conference for Women:  The Year of You!  It was announced earlier today through their January eNewsletter.  Here is a link to that eNewsletter if you have not seen it: Additionally, this eNewsletter contains the topics for future eNewsletters such as Success & Leadership, Communication Skills and Innovation.

Please feel free to use and share the Conference’s resources, like those included in the eNewsletter:
-2013 Session Podcasts: 
-Keynote Speaker Videos: 
-Speaker Articles: 
-And More!

There is a wealth of resource information available to you thanks to the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. smART business consulting is proud to be a sponsoring partner of such an important and informative event!!

Ready to take the plunge?

Ready to take the plunge? It’s the end of the year. Time to evaluate where you are and plan for the future. Are you satisfied with your status? Want to do more next year? What are your top 5 goals? Be specific!

If you want help reaching them, contact me and we can work together to be sure you reach them. Whether it is tweaking your presentation package (artist statement and bio, better images, elevator statement), getting your website in order, smART business consulting can assist- either individually or in small groups.

Contact us today!! Small groups are forming in January.

Pricing Your Art

The first step in trying to price your work involves visiting galleries on a regular basis to determine where your work fits in to the current art market. When going to galleries, study the price lists of artists whose work is similar to yours stylistically, as well as in size and medium. Ask to see the artist’s resume… how does the career level compare with yours?


In general, I recommend artists price their work as low as they can possibly bear to start out. Remember, it is more important to cultivate on-going relationships with dealers and consultants than to sell one piece. Low prices will attract their interest and encourage them to take a risk on you until they test their market. Ultimately, it is better for the work to be out there than sitting in your studio. I believe art is a process, a verb, not a noun. And, part of the process necessitates that the work be exhibited, purchased and appreciated by others. By the same token, I don’t want you to price the work so low that you will regret selling it and resent the process. For artists just starting out, try playing this game with yourself to help you determine what prices feel right to you.


Pretend a collector walks into your studio and sees a piece they like. They offer you $10 for it. Would you be willing to let them take it home for that price? Probably not. What if they offered you $5000 for it? Feeling pretty good about that? Okay, somewhere between $10 and $5000 there is going to be a price that makes you feel like you can let that piece go. You may not be totally happy about it, you may feel the piece is worth more, but it is the lowest possible price you can live with. Now, double it. Congratulations, you have just established the retail price of that piece. Assuming that any gallery or private art consultant will take 50% of the sales price when they sell it, you now have come up with your net price. This price should remain stabilized until you have one or more of the following: increased sales, increases in the number of exhibitions you participate in, increase in the number galleries that represent you, or inflation. To use this formula in pricing your other work, adjust the pricing by size. We simply figure the square inch/foot cost of what was established and apply it to all the work.


Remember, this is just a starting point. If you are fortunate enough to have a gallery representative, they should work with you in helping to determine a realistic price for you work. Ultimately, your prices will establish themselves as you start showing your work and getting a reaction.    



It is also important to remember that the same painting cannot be sold for one price one place and another price somewhere else. Regardless of what percentage the venue is taking, the price must be consistent from place to place. Anyone who bought your work at Gallery A for $500 will  not be happy to see a similar piece in Gallery B for $400. Every January, go through your sales from the previous year and see if you have sold enough pieces to increase your prices. Check your costs- framing and materials have gone up. Decide on what price you will charge for the year for the various sizes ad media you have created. Maybe prices will stay the same or increase 10-20%. Do not price your self out of the market, but do not give your art away either.


As in other areas of business, the law of supply and demand mostly determines pricing. Most artists typically have a big supply and little or no demand. Using this most basic principle, an increase in price is only justified when this balance shifts…either the demand increases, or the supply decreases. Although artists and galleries try to set prices based on the law of supply and demand and what the market will bear, there are always extenuating circumstances that contribute to the final price. Where the artist is, in his or her career range, is probably the most important and also the most difficult to quantify. Medium, size, complexity, cost of production and previous sales history, also play important roles in determining the final sales price. But the bottom line could just as easily be determined by how much an artist is attached to a particular piece. Although I never recommend artists pricing works of the same size, same medium and same series differently, based on their attachment to it, it sometimes does occur. Artists need to realize the unconscious message this gives to the collector…”I value that piece more than the others.” As a professional artist, it is your responsibility to pre-screen all the work you create before it ever sees the light of day.


Therefore, the work you present publicly should all be of the highest caliber and of equal value. If you are particularly attached to a particular piece and want to price it twice as much as the other work in the show, it is better to just mark the piece sold and keep it for yourself until your work increases in value to a point where the price you want is justified.





Body of Work- Harder than It Seems

The first step to professionalizing your making art into an art career is taking care of your body of work. You need to look at it with critical eye, weed out the older favorites that have been seen once too often, figure work that is over 3 years old is passe and not ready for prime time any more. The rest should be cataloged into some system where you know what you have and how much you sell it for, when it was made and what materials were used. This information is required for most exhibition applications. Having it in one central location will help you immensely. Your body of work should also include groups of 6- 8 pieces that hang well together since, when you apply to some shows, jurors look for a cohesive body of work. As the years go by, you will be reevaluating the work, changing some out and adding new work into the list.

There are two major aspects of your body of work- the work itself and the presentation. Of course, you have made quality work with the finest craftsmanship possible. Now it is up to you to present it to the public in a professional way that enhances your work and makes it look  its best. Framing can make or break a painting or print. I personally choose natural wood and a cool white mat because I want the art to be front and center. I do  not like heavy handed frames. Gallery framing is different from designer framing. Use only white mats! We are not framing to match someone’s sofa! Your work will fit into a gallery with other artists’ work and look professional.

Now you are ready to show your work… where? Stay tuned for the next blog post!

Making Art A Career

It’s not easy keeping track of all the activities needed to be a working artists especially since all you really want to do is paint. Most artists are not suited for the day-to-day practical aspects of running a business. Making art and making an art career are two different things. A lot of artists are already pressed for time trying to fit art-making into their daily lives that already juggle family and work and other commitments.

But each artist has to know that when looking at the whole picture of being an artist as a career, the actual making of the art is only one piece of a very complicated picture. Artists need to be willing to devote at least 30- 40 minutes a day or 3 hours a week or at least a certain amount of time every week consistently and diligently to the business side of their art careers. Your career will experience better growth opportunity if you start early and remain constant.

In the next posts we will discuss some of the key, very important points of the business side of art.

When you are a professional artist you are a small business!

Most artists do not want to deal with the business side of art; they just want to create their work. Unfortunately, once you decide you want to sell your work and be in the public eye, you must be a business person as well. You have already worked on getting supplies and dealt with getting your work into shows or galleries. Maybe you need help doing it more efficiently or upgrading your venues.

It is recommend that you spend 10% of your time working on the business side of your career. We are here to help you with the parts you cannot do or need help setting up. Check out our website to see what services we provide. We work with you to help you reach your goals and your audience!

This blog will focus on issues to help you with the business side of art, helping you reach your goals and your audience!

Getting Started

You’re an artist with a passion and desire to create. You love to draw, paint, work in clay, sing, dance. You have since you were a child… but now you want to do it as a profession. Now you want to change and make it not a hobby, but your focus, your life. You need to make it your life.

You want it to be your business. But you don’t know how. That is where we can help you. smART business consulting can work with you as a coach, or consultant to help you reach your goals and your audience.  From step one, part of the way, or all the way, on your journey to success.

Most artists are great at the creativity, but need help on the business side of art. We will be using this blog to help you plan and execute the steps you need to take to reach your goals on the business side of art. We’ll offer assistance and guidance on various topics to help you reach your goals and keep you posted on our activities which may be of interest to you.

We can be reached at or 610.649.3174. Contact us for a FREE 30 minute intial consultation!