I am occasionally asked why original art is so expensive. Before becoming an artist, I wondered the same thing.
I would like to share a little bit of what I have learned.
In today's post, I will cover the cost of some essential materials used in a painting. In subsequent posts, we will look at the costs associated with learning to paint, setting up a studio, producing a single painting for sale, start to finish, then what is involved in trying to sell a painting.
The average oil painter uses a palette of a minimum of 6 colors plus white. This bare minimum usually consists of a warm and cool version of each of the primaries.
A small 37ml tube of professional quality paint averages a price between $8.00 ( alizarin, a cool red) and $19.00 (Cobalt blue)
So, on average, most painters have spent $ 100.00 on paint alone. ( my current working palette has 15 colors plus white)
Decent quality canvases vary in price, but , to do 12 small, 9x12 paintings on an average quality cotton canvas, you can add another $ 80.00. Oil paints and canvases need to be purchased continually.
To purchase 5 quality oil bristle brushes in different sizes ( again, a bare bones set up) , an investment of perhaps around $50 can be expected. This cost can be stretched out over a longer time, but brushes need to be replaced not infrequently.
The painter also needs mineral spirits, paint medium and varnish.
Then there is the initial cost of setting up a dedicated studio area including an easel. This will be covered in another post.