Valuing my art work is very difficult for me. As a photographer it was relatively easy. I decided how long it would take and meticulously catalogued the hours I spent (my wife would argue the meticulous part), then multiplied it by my hourly rate and added expenses. Now that I knew exactly how long it took, I could decide what I needed to make (or thought I deserved) and increase or decrease my hourly rate accordingly. The hourly rate itself wasn’t quite so simple; I sampled my peers and placed my hourly rate somewhere in the middle. Not at the bottom since I wanted to make a little more than that, and I didn’t want to look like the cheapest alternative and not at the top because I simply wasn’t that good.
As an artist I can command whatever my customers will bear. There is good reason for doing this. If I sell too cheap and sell everything I produce, then I’ll have nothing to show. If I sell everything I might think I am making good money but if I charged a little more I would make more and have something more to sell. I want to charge enough so that my work takes a little time to sell. I have an attic! When a work is finished I put it in the attic, now it’s somewhat difficult to get, so I’m not tempted to put it back on the easel for a little touch-up (there is no such thing).
The compromise I have come to is to simply ignore the price. If it sells great. If not much is selling I’ll consider reducing the price. I don’t take commissions so I’m not in the position of having to work with clients. I consider myself lucky in this respect. As far as coming to the price in the first place I add the height and width then multiply it with a number that gets it to an amount that seems OK. That way size is taken into account and the prices seem consistent. If I need to sell more or less then I can decrease or increase the multiplication value. I can’t lay claim to this idea, I read it on the Web but it works great for me. The huge advantage here is that I don’t have to agonise over what a work is worth, I just go through the pricing process and voila I have a price.