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Wrendesign is an artist-owned company showcasing about 400 original paintings and also offering a section on illustrated children's stories online which can be downloaded free for single use. This blog is maintained by one of the resident artists. To see our website please click on link above.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Well - that depends!   Why are you buying the painting? 

If it is strictly because you love it then pay what you can afford to indulge your love.  

If it is for "decor" then think of it as a couch or a chair and shop around for a bargain in the color scheme you're after.   In that case it's in the same category as a sofa pillow.

If it is to set the mood of a room, or function as a centerpiece of a room, or draw the eye as a focal point - then you should be a little more careful and be willing to pay a lot for just the right piece.

If it is for "investment" you should know what you are doing - read a previous article on art as an investment.    Your "investment" may go into a safe deposit vault rather than over your couch.

Now that we have that out of the way - let's discuss why paintings cost what they do.   Really good paintings are somewhat scarce.   That does not necessarily mean they are expensive.   Some very good artists are not very good business people - and especially when they are starting out their paintings may be cheap.   But if they do have talent, they will eventually sell their paintings for an amount that earns them a reasonable living (otherwise they will quit!).

The first "cost" of a painting is the materials.    Admittedly this is a small percentage of the cost of good art, but canvas and paints are expensive.     And remember that the artist probably had to paint a lot of unsold canvases before they became experienced and successful.    So don't expect to buy anything any good for $20.00.

The second "cost" of a painting is the labor.   Admittedly this is not always relevant - a good artist may do one wonderful painting in an hour and another of their wonderful paintings may take them 6 months.     Time spent is not equivalent to value.   But, overall, the artist must make a living.    If you judge that a particular artist on average can turn out 12 good saleable paintings a year then each painting is at least worth one month's salary.

The third, and most important, "cost" of a painting is in the creativity.   There is no formula for this.   When the art speaks, it has its own value.    This may far exceed any materials or labor involved.   If you are buying real art this is the ultimate and only criteria of value.    And it can only be judged by the audience - which is you.    (Okay, it can be judged by the market - but then we are back into the investment angle). 

So - first know why you are buying the art in the first place.   Second consider the fair value of the painting just as a product (the labor and materials).   Third, and most important, judge it by the "art" actually there - the creativity.    That is what it is ultimately worth  - with good art you are buying creativity.