True Cost/Perceived Value: Flowers & Art

Words by
Fiona Chandler
Illustration by
Fiona Chandler
| September 29, 2014

Flowers and art sound like dream jobs. Grow some flowers, paint a picture, surround yourself with beauty. But how much is a bunch of flowers, a painting? Each of these industries is a calling. It’s a love. A love to be shared with the viewer and buyer.

With flowers the enjoyment can be fleeting. A bunch of peonies. Stunning, and lasting up to a week. Someone planted the seed. Cared for the plant. Lay awake and worried about the weather. Watered them. Woke up early in the dark to pick the best of them. Set up at the markets always taking care of the blooms. How to price these? The beauty the grower would like to share with many. Not all bunches can be $10 or even $20. They are showstoppers. People come from afar to admire and then buy a more economical bunch. Brides desire them all year round. It can be ranunculus, lilies, and  crabapple blossoms. All grown, tended. A labour of love.

For a painting a subject is chosen, given or evolves. The media is governed by the immediacy of the idea. Acrylic, oil, watercolour. A feeling on paper or board. Sharing of the spirit, idea or desire. Exposed. Inspired. Work, indecision. Hours alone unseen.

With art and flowers the creator hopes to lighten the viewers heart, to open them up to ideas, a hint of a smile. Unbridled joy. Attainment. Ownership. Possession.

How to price this, then?

The ideal for my art would be to let the buyer decide. Does this attract the viewer or confuse them? Maybe a breakdown of cost like at a restaurant? Framing $200, paper $50, 20 years of experience and the buyer fills in the amount. I would like this. To discus the dollars is difficult. Most galleries and indeed artists enjoy the discourse. The ideas and reasons. Florists know more than the arranging. Ask them about the growers or the looking after of your purchase. The little bit of water needed for the hairy legs of poppies… If only more buyers of art and flowers knew. These worlds are not closed, only open to a select few. Ask a question, introduce yourself…. You will both be the richer for it.