I did not charge nearly enough for this painting. After I started painting “for real”, a friend commissioned me for a large painting. This was the largest painting I had ever done, 24″x48″. She wanted a stylized white peacock, to match some decor in her home.
I wasn’t used to charging for my work, and it felt uncomfortable to name a price, as though I was asking a friend for money. I gave a ridiculously low price, less than half of what I should have asked. I pushed through it, but I was less motivated than I would have been had I charged a proper amount. I ended up treating the experience as more of a learning opportunity than a “real” piece. Listening to other artists and artisans, my experience seems to be a common problem, especially when they don’t have much recognition. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to do work “for the exposure”.
You’re probably thinking, “What if you ask for an amount that’s too high?” Well, sometimes they tell you so. And it sucks. Sometimes they’re rude about it. People today are conditioned to always look for the discount, and sometimes they forget that your work is done by a real person who has to put food on the table. Sometimes they walk away, but that just means you can spend the time you would have spent on them working on something that could benefit you more. But lots of times, you get just what you needed, which will motivate you to do a job that’s worth the money you charge for it.
(PS: Occasionally, someone has the opposite problem. If you’re comfortable with the amount you charge, but you’ve gotten no buyers, you may want to change something. Whether it’s your work or your prices, I don’t know, but be honest with yourself.)