How to Make Art that Sells—3 Tips for Fine Artists

Hello my art friends,

Today I want to talk about making work that sells. And before you call me a sellout for wanting to make a living for my work—and wanting you to make a living from your work—know that all of my tips should feel really good to you, not like you’re catering to someone else’s idea of what good art is. And if you don’t like one of my ideas, then ignore it

OK. So I’m assuming you’re here because you selling or are about to start selling your paintings, and things aren’t flying off the shelves. You’re wondering if maybe your art isn’t good enough or if there’s something you should be doing differently.

My first tip on making your art more sellable is to make it different. People respond to things that are new and exciting, things they’ve never really seen before. It makes them feel a little more alive, and they want to bring that feeling home with them. So what I mean by this is not that you have to go and invent a new genre of painting thats never been seen before.

But if you paint landscapes, what is it about your landscapes that make them different than every other landscape out there. Is your color palette really unique? Do you apply the paint in an interesting way? Do you have a special technique, or incorporate sand or scraps of leather. The actual thing that you do is less important to me than the fact that you’ve created a thing that you love and makes your artwork more yours. This should feel so good to you once you’ve put in the work to develop this aspect of your art. And potential collectors will notice.

The second thing that will make your art more sellable is paying attention to the way you finish your art. Again, you just need some time experimenting with various mediums and varnish until you find something that you love. Maybe you love an ultra-shiny resin style finish. Maybe you love a super matte chalky finish. Or maybe its something in between. Whatever it is, that finish is going to make your work look and feel more professional and considered. And, ultimately more sellable.

As part of finishing your work you need to take a look at your presentation. If you’re painting on gallery wrapped canvas, you have the choice of either painting the sides of your canvas or putting it in a beautiful frame. Either choice works. But if you’re painting on ¾” canvas. you really should present it in a frame that compliments your art. The same goes for work on paper, it should at least be presented matted or float mounted. But framed in a gorgeous frame is even better.

My last tip on making your work more sellable is probably the most controversial. But I’m going to suggest you really evaluate your color palette. Knowing that most people buying art are buying it to live with in their homes, you want to create art that is enjoyable to live with. Now I’m not suggesting you only paint blue paintings (although pretty much everyone loves the color blue). I’m suggesting you think about your own home, your own life, the colors you want to live with, and create what you want to see on your own walls. If you love to live with bright colors, great! Plenty of people do. I myself tend towards neutrals, sometimes with a pop of something weird. That’s the palette I like to live with. So take that advice with a grain of salt and just think about what you want to live with.

And that’s it my friend. Hopefully that advice is leaving you excited to get back into the studio (or back to your kitchen table) and just level up your art in a few small ways. If you’re wondering how to build an audience for this beautiful new art of yours, check out my free download here.

All my best,


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