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Creating a body of work

Stephen FilarskyArt Career Experts white logo

When you decide that you want to sell your art, one of the first major hurdles you may have to overcome is creating a consistent body of work. If you have been creating work in a consistent style for a period of time, congratulations. You have already taken a great step on the road to your art career.


In my case, back when I was painting "for myself" my work went everywhere. Watercolor still lifes, charcoal life studies, pastel portraits. It would have been hard for me to come up with ten paintings that looked like they were created by the same person. For a number of years I painted commissioned watercolor portraits o people and homes. While painting watercolors I was also enjoying painting plein air landscapes in oils.


When I decided that the oils were the way I wanted to go, I was faced with the dilemma of not having enough work to show what I did and not having enough inventory to sell. So I had to amass a body of work in a short period of time. Luckily, since I was painting outdoors, most of my painting were small. The largest was 16 x 20, which is about as large as an artist can go when painting on location. Most were 8 x 10 and 9 x 12 and an occasional 11 x 14.


Painting these smaller works solved a number of problems. I was able to complete a large number of works in a shorter period of time. As I completed more and more paintings, my work improved at a faster rate than if I had been working on a few large paintings for days and weeks at a time. When it came to selling them, they had a number of benefits for both me and my collectors. For one, they were easier to sell. Framing costs were less on my part. I was able to sell them for a lower price and the common comment from prospects about having no wall space to hang it was moot. Collectors would buy multiple paintings. They would buy them for themselves and the affordable pricing allowed them to buy them to give as gifts. When I display these paintings, I always have a couple of larger works 18 x 24, some 16 x 20's, sometimes a 24 x 36. While the large paintings attract attention, collectors have fun looking at all the smaller works. The smaller works priced in the hundreds are quite a bargain when they are displayed next to the larger paintings priced in the thousands. Shipping small paintings is a snap. You can get free Priority mail boxes from the post office. They will even deliver them to you.


So here's what I am going to do next. I have bought some 5 x 7 and 4 x 6 canvases. Even some 3 x 5 panels. I think that might be the size limit for me, but hey, who knows?


So create a consistent and large enough body of works in a style/medium that you enjoy! By working small, in a short period of time you will have created enough paintings to satisfy not only your collectors but also the requirements of interested Art Galleries.



Stephen Filarsky is a working artist, currently making a living and paying bills by selling his paintings.

The Paintings
The Plein Air Life


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