Tag Archives: Contemporary Art

New Small Abstract Works

‘The Twins’




Both pieces are 8″ x 10″ x 1½ deep”  (or 20.5cm x 25.5cm x 3.5cm)

Acrylic/metallic/oil paint, substrate of concrete and contractor’s caulk on stretched canvas.


Textural detail




Marketing of art and ascribing value to a piece

All things are relative. That’s the first point of reference, I find, when it comes to putting a price to a piece of art. It ISN’T about supply and demand either, as many marketers would have you believe. It’s about concept and connections.   Many pieces of mediocre art are sold at astronomical prices because the artist or artwork itself, has generated some controversy, fame or following – not because of the scarcity of the work (limited edition prints for example) or physical output of original work by the artist.

Coming to a point where an artist can accurately gauge the hard currency value of his or her piece of work, rests solely on historical feedback and constant manipulation of the selling price. There is no magic formula. Pricing a work cheaply, does not guarantee that it will sell – in fact, it can very often have the opposite effect and actually result in work being perceived as sub-standard or below par; or that the artist is naïve and does not understand the intrinsic value of his or her work. Under-valuing a work of art, I believe, is the single biggest mistake that emergent artists make but how do you avoid this pitfall? Yes, you can assign some crazy value to that oil you just did (that took you all of ten minutes to create) in the hope that someone with tons of money will walk past and offload the cash in your direction – you are very lucky indeed if that happens! Or you can sit down, carefully and examine:

  1. How much your materials cost.
  2. The length of time it took you to produce the work.
  3. Comment from your peers, as to the work’s artistic merit, originality and individuality of the artist’s voice.
  4. Feedback you may have received since the work’s creation, from interested parties – such as galleries or private collectors.

The first two points above are relatively easy to put a value on.  Especially, if you have a clear idea of how much you want to earn as a professional artist on a monthly basis, then you can reasonably calculate what your hourly rate is. So adding up the values of the first two items on the above list, will give you your base line, your ‘cost of sale’. Assigning a value to the mystical ‘artistic’ worth of a painting is where you hit the big problems.

It is sometimes valuable to look at work that is being marketed at local galleries (if you are hoping to attract interest from your neighbourhood gallery owner) but that can be a constraint in itself. Just because Joe Soap’s Gallery down the road markets abstract works of a similar size to your pieces at 20 to 100 pounds a painting, doesn’t mean that this price range applies to your work.  So how do you (the new artist on the block) come to a realistic selling price for an original piece of art?

I decided to do something a bit daft on this blog and put a picture below of one of my recent works and ask commentators/followers/ visitors to this site to give me an idea what they believed the work was worth – not what they’d pay for it, what they believed it was worth (these are two entirely different values :))   So please would you participate for a bit of fun?  You can be entirely anonymous in your comment.

Windy day at Caister-on-Sea

Acrylics, collage (silk material), effect paints on stretched canvas.

24″ x 18″


Work-in-progress …

I read a report in our local newspaper a week or so ago about an elderly couple who killed themselves in a pact that they made 30 years ago. The man was 72 and his wife was 66 – they had always said that they did not want to go into a nursing home when they became old or ill and that when the time came they would take their own lives. When the wife’s health began to deteriorate they got their affairs in order and sent hand-written letters to all of their friends, some of whom they had known for three decades or more.

One of the friends realised that the couple had or were intending killing themselves when she received her letter and alerted the police. The local Sergeant arrived at the couple’s large house, to find the door partially open.  The couple were fully clothed, holding hands lying next to each other on their bed.   The post-mortem examination recorded that the medical cause of the couple’s death was drug toxicity – they had taken an overdose of the husband’s medication.

Yellow ‘post-it‘ notes were left on certain items in the house, explaining that they had been washed and cleaned. The couple had made sure that all their bills had been paid and had even put money aside for the window cleaner.

The pathos of this story goes very deep in me. I found it incredibly moving and sad but also so beautiful, proud and strong! In this day and age, we allow women to abort a foetus, we should also be allowed to end our own lives with dignity when we feel that the time is right.  This couple knew that each could not live without the other, so they chose to go together, calmly, in their sleep.   I had been dwelling on these thoughts and the story of these two people for a while before I started working on this piece and my mind was consumed with this story the whole time I was applying the paint.   I did not set out to pay any homage, or create anything with obvious symbolism, metaphor, icon included in it – this is just how the emotion of these feelings came out (for me) in the creative process.

Preparation of canvas
Preparation of an old discarded canvas – with newspaper cutting and glue
Preparation of canvas2
More preparation of sub-strate
First strokes
First strokes of colour – using water-soluble oils, acrylics and irridescent gel medium
emotion coming through
Emotion starting to come through, more application of paint with a knife and brush

Close ups of textural detail

Close up detail of newspaper cutting
Newspaper cutting showing through the paint

Textural detail Textural detail2 Textural detail 3

Might be the final result, not sure …

FInal painting