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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Only Your Best Gets A Mat Dan

DAN KENT, from Dan's Canvas commented on my Monday's blog, Matting: The Presentation of Works on Paper:
Very interesting and gives me something to think about when the day finally comes to sell my art.


Me too Dan, But I like thinking ahead. Whenever that day comes, I'm pretty certain I'm not going to want to lay out the bucks on a number of pieces, so why not flap-mat my best work as I go along to spread the expense? Then it will be finished, protected and ready for whatever I decide to do with it--sell it online and/or in a gallery--give it as a gift to friends or the kids.

Not all of the paintings we do are worthy of being matted. But after a period of time, we do know which are our best. A good rule might be: if I would hang it in my house, somebody else might like to too. So it should be finished. It should be protected. And it's easier on the budget if you buy the mat when a painting keeps coming back into your head as having merit.

A single flap-mat shipped to my house from Frames By Mail retails for: $26.77. A double flap-mat shipped from the same source costs: $29.04. For the difference of $2.27, I would be a sport and double mat. (Once the decision has been made to be in the art business, and sales are booming, of course, a new source for matting would have to be found. With a business that's got cash flow, I would be interested in buying cut flap-mats wholesale, since multiples would be required).
I don't know whether I would be interested in making my own. That would call for buying a mat cutting machine and stocking mat board and foam board--moving to a studio with room to set up a product assembly station. Money would have to be coming in pretty good before laying out those expenses.

Going into the art business opens up a can of worms. A lot of thought has to be given it aside from "Gee, I should sell my stuff." Or the comment we get from friends, "You're really good. You know what you should do? You should sell your stuff." The idea is great. It's flattering. But implementing it is something else: a lot of research and a lot of work.
Of the florals I've been doing over the last weeks Daffodils is deserving of a mat--as is Daisies. Of the paintings I did in Puerto Vallarta, The Sunbather is memorable and, as such, is worthy. Then there's Ocean Viewand a few more. For now, I'm just going to shell out for a flap-mat as paintings on paper come to mind over a period of time. Building an inventory is not easy or quick. It takes time and judgement. The same careful consideration we need to put together a portfolio--or a web page.

Dan, you can't start too early if selling online or out of a gallery is ever going to be something you want to pursue. You have to poke it around while you're painting. From this poking, I'm thinking I'll mat the paintings I've shown you here over the next few months, (I did think about them while writing this post), but here's a thought: maybe working on canvas is preferable to working on paper? Storage is easy and nothing needs be added to make the painting presentable.


  1. I totally agree with your thinking Linda, 100%.

  2. Linda I agreed with you before and I still do . xx

  3. Succinct Agnes. Succinct Jane. My post wasn't. Honey said it went on and on--as does the list of all the things one has to think about when going into business. The list makes my head spin and takes the heart out of my studio. .

  4. Wow! I've never been in a post title before!

    Well, here are my thoughts - I notice a lot of folks are selling smaller works these days for say $80 or $100 on line. The cost of a mat would need to be either absorbed in that price for a huge cost in profit, or added on which could price you out of the market. It seems that that kind of expense would only be worthwhile for larger pieces which in the market place seem to sell for more (although we all know that size and quality do not equate - the market seemingly does not).

    Anyway, LW (I call you LW, rather than Linda when we are talking business), you will be happy to know that I am in the midst of an acrylic painting on canvas at this very moment! :) Having loads of fun with it - it's quite a challenge - so different from watercolor. I had several false starts with the medium, and finally one seems to be going right (fingers crossed). With any luck you'll see it one day.

    Btw, (sorry, long-winded tonight)I showed my wife your blog and she just loved your work, she went on and on looking at post after post - and believe me she's a tough critic. She expecially liked the bakery paintings. She's one of those who would say, "You know, Linda, you should sell this stuff."

    Anyway, thanks for the dedicated post! Great fun.

    Anyway, thanks for the dedicated post!

  5. LW--it so happens we have a professional mat cutter here in this very house. My dh bought it from a frame shop and he has used it extensively for his photography. He would agree with you, that a mat is vital for works on paper. (I would never be inclined to make my own mats, but he is also an accountant, so he probably "did the math" and decided to buy the mat cutter and learn how to use it. He's cut a few mats for my pastels.

  6. Hi Linda.
    All lovely pieces of Art. There is no doubt that you are well qualified to sell your paintings, but as you say, it`s opening a can of worms. I agree with you there Linda, but go for it. Linda, any chance of adding a photo of what you call a FLAP-MAT? A photo of it would definitely tell us- ME what it looks like. All the best Linda.

  7. Well Dan is was your word WHEN that got me thinking WHEN? --When I figure out HOW without boggling myself down with a lot of busy-ness. Paintings on paper, would be too costly to sell online--which is basically a "catalogue" marketplace.
    Tell your wife thanks for me. I like doing the bakery paintings; they make me smile, but my honey wonders if I've flipped off the edge. I'm headed back that way. Life on the acrylic edge is good. Keep at it--don't think, just do.

  8. Yes CB. I think your husband is right being an accountant who would figure it wouldn't take too many store bought mats not bought to pay for the cutter. My husband, on the other hand worries when I use knives in the kitchen and won't let me get a mandolin to make my own healthy potato chips much less cut my own mats. He wants my hands in tact for designing and drafting building plans if the construction business ever comes back. Another WHEN?

  9. I'll sketch you up a profile of a flap-mat Victor. They sound fancy, but aren't. I learned about them in my graphic art classes. We made them for presenting our projects. There are simpler ways to protect and store works on paper too--maybe a future post? As for marketing my art, I don't know if I really want to give it the effort. As I said, I'm poking it while I just keep on painting, (producing). Yesterday, I decided that work on paper finished right would have to sell for a pretty penny in the online market place--about the price that Dan said. Make your own mats, you'd still have to make back your investment for the cutter and the materials. --Can of worms Victor.