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  • helenwilliams84

Thats a pretty penny!

When I set to painting again in 2020 I gave no thought to what it may lead to. It was just something I had to do, as undeniable as breathing. Here I am in 2024 about to open a solo showing of my paintings, created over the past 4 years.

This website came about in 2022 following my ventures into open calls and submissions for exhibitions in other venues. some online and some in person ones. Why? My feeling is that my work is to be experienced, seen and felt, by others. I learn about me by painting it, you may learn about you by spending time with it too. So, I let it out to the world, and that has a cost.

Many places that offer a physical gallery showing, ask for a non refundable fee just to submit a painting for their consideration. No guarantees on being selected. Some are free to submit, and charge a fee if you are accepted. There is also likely to be a commission charge on top of that too, which can be as high as 50% plus VAT. Yeh, I get that they need to make a living, that the costs of having a building or supporting an Institution like the Royal Academy has cost and there is a kudos if accepted for the Summer Open. Yet, this is where the conundrums start and mis-perceptions are reinforced from times past.

Art, as in a 'proper' hand painted, heart created image is expensive for the likes of me. The perception. Up until recently my only experience of 'proper' art is that hanging in museums. the reported on masters that sell for millions in auctions. Held in private collections. Those are the rarified ones. The academically acclaimed ones of old or the more recently feted ones that have come to the fore and are considered investment pieces. The Hurst, Hockney or Hamblin of our time.

I have come to see that there are good, accomplished and skillful, 'work-a-day' artists out there that aren't going to be of celebrity status, yet are awesome creators, trying to make a living. Hoping to pay their bills, doing what they love and are very good at doing. For me now, being an artist isn't a profession as much as a calling. A vocation. I can't not do it. it is as important to me as breathing, it gives me a life of joy. Priceless!

The difficulty then is how to price! Where to look for work similar to mine to get some sort of guidance for pricing. Putting a price on my creativity isn't easy and for me it took a lot of examining of my feelings within about money. My childhood is where I had to start. Our parents responses to money is perhaps our first education. We weren't well off, nor were we starving. There was sufficiency. Yes, there were 'hand me downs' to be worn but there was always food on the table, a roof over head. Back in the 1960's life was perhaps simpler. No TV marketing nor gadgets and gizmos to want. My playground was the Nature on my door step. Free.

Yet, in that childhood was a losing of self-worth. A lacking of feeling valued or wanted and that had a deeper and unknown impact than I ever realised, until recently. To be told that there isn't money to go to a school trip, or that what money there is isn't to pay weekly subs for a longed for club activity. Even that they can't spend the time to run you there or pick you up later. That can feel harmful, and chips away at self esteem and worth.

My researches into pricing brought up the paradox of the possibility that not charging enough actually stops people from valuing what the artist does, because the artist doesn't value themselves. Charge too much and that too, puts people off. So, like art itself, the price is subjective. For some £50 is easy to spend, yet for others it's hard.

I paint with lots of layers and textures and of a large size. Many of these don't easily translate into prints. Even very good quality prints, don't quite hit the mark.

Should you buy one of my paintings it should be for you investing in you. Buy it for the love of it and it will serve you well your whole life. It will be a place that you can find ease in every time you see it. It will make you smile and warm your heart each and every time. 24/7, 365.

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