Pricing Dolphin Painting too Low Bites Back

A funny story from my last art fair involves this painting, Life Under Water.


I was an artist participating in the Celebration of the Arts in Avon on June 15th.  Early in the day, a woman was staring at this dolphin painting for a long time, gushing over it,  and said she loved dolphins and she’d be back to probably buy it.  Of course she never returned.  This happens at art fairs all the time. Other people admired it throughout the day but didn’t even ask the price.

Later in the day, another woman stared at it and called me over to tell me she was interested in the painting and asked what the price was. Since it was the end of a long day, I thought I might quickly sell it if the price was low enough.  I threw out a random number — “A hundred and twenty five.”  The woman stared skeptically  at me, which unnerved me somewhat, so I then added, “But it’s negotiable if you really like it! ”  She looked at me with narrowed eyes for a second longer and then said, “No thanks” and walked away!

What had I done?

Even at the moment I had to laugh.  Obviously I had majorly botched that little interaction.  I thought about it later and wondered what I had said that was so wrong.  Someone later told me that my price was probably too high for her, completely out of her range.  ($125?)  Or maybe, I thought, it was far too low.  Could it be she thought it was worthless because it was only $125?  That’s a very low price for a painting anywhere in the world.  And this is a good painting that looks more lovely in person (don’t they all) and several people had admired it that day.  So I decided my price must just have been far too low.

Regardless of the motives driving the women’s behavior,  I have decided that this nice painting, in acrylic, can now be yours for the very fair and relatively low price of $250.  (framed)

I hope to show this painting in the library show I have coming up in August, so it will not be appearing in any more art fairs until possibly October, if I still have it then.