Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Unwritten Rules and Self-Limiting Beliefs

As I am feverishly preparing for my first ever "art hanging" starting next week, I have found myself both excited and scared.  I am feeling the fear but am doing it anyway.  Over the weekend I dove into creating a lot of art, knowing that I need to provide a variety of sizes and price points.  But I am finding myself focusing mostly on small canvases while avoiding the larger ones.  Why is that?  What is it about those larger canvases that is just so darn intimidating?  As I have pondered that, I have continued working on many smaller pieces. 

Also, I have been reading up on the business side of the arts (shout out to the lovely ladies on the Blissfully Art Journaling Yahoo Group for turning me on to some great resources and providing support and motivation to keep going).  One of the hardest things for me has been around pricing art work.  After reading information from a variety of sources and getting feedback from numerous people, here is what I've learned so far:
1)  There are numerous ways to price art and it is very subjective.
2)  I seem to hit a self-built wall as I think about trying to sell anything for more than about $200. 

What is that all about?  I have found lots of information on the web and know that I have a formula that is fair and meets current trends for pricing for my ability and geographic area.  It "feels right" for all the smaller pieces, but as I consider using that same formula for a larger piece it becomes an issue for me.  I sit and I look at that number in my cost sheet and I just can't bring myself to accept it.

So there it is.  Apparently MISS THERE ARE NO RULES has some unwritten rules and self-limiting belief around size (aka my sense of my capability? talent?) and price (aka how I value my work? self-worth?).  An overall self-limiting belief that I am not "ready" for the big time?  Not good enough for anything over 12x12?  Or anything over $200?  Um...this does not work for me.  This must change.  But how?  How do I get around the wall?  Or better yet...how do I destroy it?

I will have some pieces that are larger than 12x12 and will have some that are listed at a price higher than $200.  I just have to do that for myself.  If for no other reason than to show myself that I can.  It feels weird and scary but I am going to do it anyway.  If nothing else, I will fail forward.

As an example, here is a mixed media piece on 5"x5" gallery wrapped canvas.  I think something like this could be stunning on an oversized canvas (4'x4') but I have been hesitant to go for it.

What are your current/previous unwritten rules and self-limiting beliefs?  What have you done about them? 



  1. Felicia, I don't sell art for a living, but I do own and operate a business. I charge a lot for my services because I feel that my work is worth a lot, and therefore other people understand that. It's not for everyone, but I'm not trying to work with everyone - just people who value my work as much as I do. When you put a price tag on your "product," whatever that product is, you are telling people what you feel you are worth. Don't be afraid to go high. I repeat, don't be afraid to go high. And don't worry about whether you sell anything on your first time out. You will, eventually.

    1. I don't sell art either but came across this post as I too have a limiting belief around worth / pricing.

      Teri your comment just completely flipped my perspective. Thank you.

  2. Well, of course there are rules. They are either set by others or by ourselves. I think the point is not to try to "abolish" the mind set of "following the rules", but rather to recognize what rules we/they have set, to choose which rules we agree with, and then set the parameters for that event. The rules you set for yourself today can change by tomorrow and that's OK, I think we just feel more comfortable when our agenda is out in the open. Find what makes you feel good for this event, but don't feel that answer is set in concrete. Good luck!

  3. If only the 'doing it anyway' could come without fear! I guess it takes a lot of courage to price things at an acceptable level. I know I would find it pretty scary.

    I have not great advice to give you, but wish you wisdom and the best of luck. And yes, you should price your work for what it's worth, that much I do know.

  4. I don't have any great advice either, except maybe to look at it as something that doesn't matter (as in ignore the fact that it does!) Do it - make it huge, tell yourself that if it looks awful, ti doesn't matter, you don't have to use it, you don't have to sell it etc. - tell yourself whatever you need to get it done! Once it's done, it'll be much easier to use etc. I think the pricing thing will be easier after the first time - if (and I'm sure that should be when!) your first hanging goes well, you'll feel more confident to charge more! As for me, I need to try and start pushing my collages again, starting by actually doing some new ones...! Good luck!!

  5. I can't help but think of the advice, "GO BIG OR GO HOME!" When I think of a piece of art, I want it to make a statement on my wall--in my room! That can't be done with a 12x12--that's for a scrapbook! Which is a convenient segue to my own business, which is custom designing wedding scrapbooks for clients worldwide. When I was struggling with my own price point, I figured out what it cost me to create a 20-page scrapbook. That known, I determined how long it took me to create that scrapbook. The next task for me was determining my hourly rate. But, beyond that, how much is your talent worth? I think this is the point at which you now sit. What I did was to search the internet for people doing the same task and at what price. Some were ridiculously low, others, I felt, ridiculously high. I settled at a point somewhere above the middle. Looking at your pricing as a business issue rather than an emotional one will help you arrive at a price which is both fair to you as the artist and to the consumer. I wish you well! If you wish, you can reach me at kayandruss@yahoo.com.

  6. You are all such dolls. Thank you so much for the kick in the pants. Being able to vent/share the fear is super helpful as I process where I am at. I'm feeling much more confident today and I am ready to take on the world. Thank you!

  7. Congrats on your first showing! I am curious about the Blissfully Art Journalling group -- I couldn't find it searching Yahoo groups. I'm looking for a group that has practical advice (like your blog! I just discovered it, it is great!)

  8. Wyethia, try blissfully_art_journaling its a great group and I learn so much there!