The Business of Art

The Business of Art


We have been painting on cave walls since we could create fire (...caves are dark). We have used the right side of our homo sapiens brain to document, communicate and express ourselves to others. Do we take it for granted that we are surrounded by art and that we are actually getting something out of it? So, why do people seem confused when we talk about the business of art? The cliché of the starving artist is getting old.  

Cost of a Painting – Just the Facts

 The Supplies

 To create a painting of any size, an artist must have an inventory of basic supplies.

$ 120.00 for Artist quality acrylic paint $ 12.00 per tube (x 10 minimum colours)

$30.00 for Glazing medium

$20.00 for Palette

$120.00 for Brushes $10.00 per brush (x 12)

$150.00 for an Easel

50.00 for China markers, pencils, sketch pad, rags

$490.00 Total


The Substrate and Frame

 $10.00 to $100.00 for a gallery-wrapped canvas with high-quality pine frame.

$150.00 a stock frame (if supplied).

$200.00 Total


The Artist

The artist’s time involves many stages of different work. Even the most organized artist puts in many extra hours to ensure a painting is planned and executed professionally. The data below does not include the hundreds of hours and dollars spent on workshops, studies, and professional memberships the artist pays for to improve their skills.

$50.00 for an hourly rate for an artist to charge market price for a painting.
(NOTE: A ticketed plumber makes about $75.00 per hour)


The average painting takes about:

2 hours to research the subject matter

1 hour to create preliminary sketches or a small-scale study and commission form

1 hour to plan and sketch the actual painting and apply the underpainting

20 to 40 hours to paint the painting

2 hours to prep the painting for varnish and varnish the painting

1 hour to frame the painting

1 hour to wrap the painting for transport

1 hour to prepare the invoice package with hanging instructions, thank you card, shipping address for client

$2000.00 Total

 $2690.00 = the average cost that goes into a painting (of any size)

 "When you buy something from an artist, you're buying more than an object (or a video, or a book, or a story). You're buying hundreds of hours of errors and experimentation. You're buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You're not buying just one thing, you are buying a piece of a heart, a piece of a soul. A small piece of someone else's life."– Thaddeus Howze



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