May 17, 2013

How much for this watercolor?

The Neighbor’s House, 7x10" watercolor
People often ask, “How much?” For a watercolor this size, anywhere from 6x8" to 7x10", I charge $115. I like to present small watercolors like this in a clear sleeve in a white 11x14" archival mat with archival backing. The price includes the mat and packaging. When I am asked to do a special piece, which was the case for this painting, the price goes up to $172.50, one and a half times the price of a piece I choose to do on my own. I’ve found customers don’t like to hear that their special piece is more costly than that which they might find in my inventory or in one of the galleries that represent me.

Commissions mean I’ll be doing custom work, and most often, that I am going to do a painting based on my customer’s inspiration, not on my own. I prefer not to work from photos unless absolutely necessary, so it may mean a special trip to a specific destination. If someone asks me to paint a famous landmark like the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop at Peace and Person streets in Raleigh, or like the Old Well in Chapel Hill, and they don’t have an urgent deadline, then the price is $115. Selling an iconic landmark is relatively easy. For a piece like today’s painting, however, a piece that may be of interest only to someone connected to this home and not to the public at large, the price for me to paint it is the commission price, $172.50.

I’d love to receive knee jerk reactions to the statements I’ve made above regarding pricing. Please email me or comment directly below. Thank you in advance.


  1. What do you do for the weddings? It sounds interesting. My daughter will be getting married. Do you paint the portraits or what? Someone mentioned getting an artist to "do the wedding" but I'm not sure what that means. She said someone told her that it is a new thing for people to hire artists to work at the wedding.

    1. Most of what I do at weddings can be seen on my wedding watercolor website. Please go to
      and click on Portfolio. For information regarding fees and expenses, I can send you a breakdown of how I charge and a sample contract if you'd like. Thank you for your inquiry.