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How Do You Know When Your Painting Is Ready To Sell?

It’s difficult when you’ve just finished a painting to take an objective view; you’ve just put all that hard work into it and you feel that you deserve for the painting to be finished. It’s the first time you see it complete and everything is still fresh.

Is your painting ready to sell?

Don’t even consider this question until you’ve taken at least 24 hours away from it, ideally more. You need to get some emotional detachment from the art – you can still be proud – but if you want to sell, you need to see it as potential buyers would see it.

Once the time has passed, it’s time to view your art objectively. Ask yourself:

About the drawing:

  • Is the underlying drawing strong?
  • Are there any unintentional flaws in the drawing?
  • Do any parts not fit in with the rest of the painting?

About the composition:

  • What grabs your attention first – is it a colour or a shape – is this what you want?
  • Are there visual lines which take your eye in, out or around the painting – do they support the flow of the painting?
  • Do all elements work in relation to each other?
  • Is the perspective correct and consistent?
  • Are the light sources and the associated shadows consistent?

About the entire piece:

  • What does the art remind you of?
  • Would you put this art in your house?
  • What parts of the art do you like best?
  • What parts do you like least – do you need to work on them?
  • Does the colour palette and texture support the the mood that you’re trying to portray?

Put your painting in different rooms with different light situations in order to answer these questions. Also look at it reflected in a mirror.

Look at your painting from a distance, if space is limited, take a photo of your painting and look at it in various sizes on the computer. I promise you’ll see things that you didn’t see when looking at your art in real life.

Now, once you’ve done the above, do the final crunch test:

  • Am I proud of this piece?
  • What is my first reaction when I look at it?
  • Have I achieved what I wanted to achieve?
  • Would I be happy to present this as a stand-alone example of my art?
  • Can I explain to people what my painting is about?
  • Can I explain to people why I painted it?

The technical questions are important to check with yourself that you’ve done the best that you can, but the last questions tell you whether you’re ready to sell.

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