Career Management


Documenting your work:

The photography has to be the best possible. The image should be centered, in perfect focus, and represent the true colours. There should be nothing in the image area but the painting itself.

If the image does not fit slide dimensions, mount the work on a black background. Any black background areas showing are acceptable. The jurors do not want to see your sofa or the mattes and frames. The best material to photograph your finished work against is black velveteen. It doesn't show wrinkles and marks can be covered with black magic marker. 

Record Keeping:

Use a card file or other system to keep track of and document each piece: image size, when it was painted (for your info alone), if it is framed the framing costs and framed size, price, when and where it has been exhibited, who bought it and where they live. Several divisions can help: Sold / On exhibition / Given away / Art rental / Landscape / Still life / Figurative / Abstract.

Setting prices:

Setting a price for a painting is difficult for all artists. If you over-price, you may not sell anything but if you under-price you may not recoup your expenses or be taken seriously. Don't price your work too low. if you don't value it, why should a potential buyer?

Work out a formula for pricing your work based on time, labor, material costs and overheads such as electricity, studio space rental or model fees. Use a reasonable hourly rate to calculate your time. In an ideal world you might be able to cover these costs, but it is wise to see what other artists are charging in your area, or what your fellow pastellists are charging for paintings you feel are of similar quality. Price primarily for your local market.

Galleries charge commission so if you are putting your work in a gallery, check how much your gallery charges for commision before setting prices. Adding the full commission may put the price too high - you could think of the difference as the cost you're paying for the exposure and promotion.

Self promotion:

Self promotion is about connection with people. Hang out with your peers, attend gallery openings and go to art fairs. Talk to artists: ask them what they are doing to promote themselves. Collect their promotional materials.

  • Print business cards and flyers for any event you are associated with.
  • A mailing list could be your most valuable resource. Add everyone you know and meet to your mailing list and, of course, anyone who has bought one of your paintings.
  • Join any local art associations, pitch in to help and get to know everyone, and participate in their exhibitions.
  • Establish a web presence. If your art organization has a web site, arrange to have your work shown or create your own website and include content that will interest your visitors and bring them back for repeat visits. Write a blog relating your recent art experiences such as workshops or shows. Describe techniques used in your artwork or show or step-by-step stages in the development of one of your pisntings. And don't forget to submit your URL to any art site that offers free submission.
  • Keep one or two high-quality photos of your artwork that can be sent by mail or via email.
  • Put a CV (Curriculum Vitae) together with current biographical material listing art education, exhibitions, solo shows and any publication that your work has been published in.
  • Host an event and post fliers everywhere: laundromats, college campuses, lamp posts, telephone poles, coffeehouses. Ask your friends to help.
  • Get educated - attend workshops and seminars given by art associations, community colleges and art institutions. Study other artists' websites to see where and how they promote themselves, the shows they participate in and clubs they belong to.
  • Keep an eye out for Calls for Entry and enter juried exhibitions to get your work seen and your name out there - see below for advice on how best to do this.




Posted over 8 years ago
If you are having an exhibition, drop some flyers off at art supply stores.


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