art_sale_paintingAs a professional artist, having a sale on original art can be a tough decision to make.

On one hand, artists want to respect the patrons who have spent good money purchasing their art and don’t want to under-cut them. However, having a sale stimulates buyers to spend and can help build a new client base. I’m a sucker for a sale.
I was pondering the question and sent it to Lori McNee on Facebook. Lori has a wealth of useful information on her blog, Fine Art Tips. A terrific smattering of replies to the “sale or not to sale” came from FB friends with wonderful insight on the topic.

Lori McNee stated that in times of economic downturn, it is acceptable to lower prices by 10-30%, but she also said not to make a habit of it. She also explained that self-represented artists have more flexibility here, of course because they aren’t under-cutting the galleries or agents who represent them – and regard for your gallery relationship is key.
In the interesting thread on Lori McNee’s Facebook page, Lori Woodward pointed us to her recent blog on the topic where she states:

“…collectors are telling me that they think it’s perfectly fine for artists to lower their prices by 10% to 20% during an economic downturn. I asked these collectors if that made them angry because they paid more for the art in the past, and know what? I got an overwhelming response of ” NO, I buy art because I love it, not as an investment, and if the price is lower for a time, it means that I can buy more of it.” In fact, some went on to explain that their art budget is restricted right now, and that lower prices gives them incentive to buy before prices go back up again.” ~Lori Woodward

Armed with this new information I decided to put it to a test.

I had a sale.
The 24 hour 20% off promotional was set for a holiday (Martin Luther King day), mainly because I felt more people would be at their computers on this day. I simply posted a note on Facebook and Twitter telling people about the sale and asking them to share the information with a link to my website ( and asked any buyers to contact me if they were interested.
Within half an hour I received an email from a patron asking about several paintings on my website. She couldn’t make up her mind so she decided to send me a $300 advance on a future painting (locking in the 20% sale).
Later that day my niece threw a little surprise birthday party for my daughter and invited friends. I walked away from the party with a $1,000 commission because a new client saw my promotion on FB and wanted me to make a special gift for his wife. He wanted a work of art tailored to their home, something that tells their story for their anniversary add a hand painted vintage frame and the sale increased by $250
Not bad. The next day, I checked my Twitter feed and had another small sale at $150. Every penny counts…that paid my electric bill.
My 24 hour sale yielded $1,700 with the table still open.   My website hits increased by 800 and money had been deposited in my Paypal account within a few hours.
I’d like to continue my experiment here with this article…buyers, mention Lori McNee and I’ll give you 20% off. Go to and take a gander.
By guest artist/author  Kelli Bickman
Congrats to Kelli! You might like to read more about Kelli, #PowerArtist Interview with Muralist and Community Activist, Kelli Bickman  and her other popular guest post, Tips for Selling Art on Facebook: A Success Story
I also hope we can meet on Pinterest!  TwitterFacebook and on Google Plus! ~Lori 🙂

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