Outside of being a reputable artist, there is no established method to pricing an artists paintings. The only information you will find on the web is the accepted “pricing paintings by size.” Basically what the artist will do is calculate the size of the painting in square inches. Multiply the square inches by your dollar amount per inch. (Say $5 per inch). Include your materials costs for framing, canvas, paint, postage, etc and Double it for your price.
Though this is an accepted method, I have found that it doesn’t work for me as I can spend 120 hours painting a 30×40″ canvas or spend 120 hours on a 5×5″ canvas. The same work, two different prices? I keep my art affordable, so I keep the buyers cost down to a minimum. In my method, I calculate the cost of materials and keep track of the amount of hours I work on a particular painting and base the price on the total hours work I put into it
I think it varies from artist to artist and their personal process.
there are numerous methods to pricing, but I think it ultimately comes down to what makes the most sense for you and your work. I’ve attached some different options that seem to be most common amongst some of the artists I know.
*Cost based = figuring out your actual cost to make the work and basing your price off that so you cover your costs and margins. (this can be tedious to work out for each piece if you use a wide variety of materials- so you have to keep a very accurate record of your material prices and also could result in inconsistent pricing)
*Competitive pricing = this is just comparing your work to other artists who are similar to you (this includes style, career point, size…etc) it just requires you to be realistic in regards to who you’re comparing your work to
*Variable based (As mentioned in the post above) = this is usually based on the size of the piece (this pricing method seems to be the most common amongst the artists I know because it makes pricing consistent and easy to determine) the basis of this is a set $ amount per square inch and multiply by L x W.
An alternative to variable pricing could be to have an hourly charge- but this will also result in inconsistent pricing.
Overall I think as long as your pricing is consistent, and you make sure that you cover your costs, you should be fine.