The Painting's Done, Now What?

Prepping a Finished Painting For Sale

By Debbie Ainsworth

The last splash of color has been applied. The brushes are all cleaned; the pallet set aside. The painting is done, now what?  A lot of that depends on what you plan to do with the painting. Some artists sell originals only, while others sell prints as well.  Here’s what I do to Prep a Finished Painting For Sale. 

1. Photograph the painting BEFORE applying varnish.

Lights will glare off of gloss or satin varnish. Even matte varnish gives off a sheen. Those shiny spots will look like white paint to potential buyers. It gives them an unrealistic expectation of what the painting really looks like.  I have a makeshift photography studio on top of a chest of drawers with a pair of lamps on top of bookcases. 

2. Scan the Painting, again before you varnish it.

I like to make prints of my original paintings. There’s all kinds of ways of doing this, but I prefer to use a scanner.  Depending on the size of the painting, I’ll make several overlapping scans, and then stitch them together digitally. Next comes the hard part of making the scan and the print look like the original. Everything always prints darker.  

The digital scan has to be tweaked in Photoshop to look like the original. Then the printer settings also have to be adjusted. I’ll need to make a series of test prints until I get all of the settings just right. Sometimes this process goes quickly. Other times it doesn’t.  As I make this post I am working on prints for A Room With a Vieux. So far, I have over 70 test prints and it still isn’t right. Sometimes it’s a good idea to just take a break from a project, just get away from it for a few days, then come back at it with fresh eyes.