pear platter, prints, & tips on licensing artwork

Marian ParsonsArt, Artistic Endeavors, design, Oil Painting36 Comments

When I first started painting, I wasn’t planning on selling my original works or prints.  I just didn’t think my work would be “good enough.”  I figured it was something I would do for my own enjoyment, as a side hobby.  Well, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I have a knack for weaving just about any creative endeavor into my business in some form or fashion.  It is a trait that has allowed me to pursue things I’m curious about and include them as a productive part of my day.  Painting has become another part of my business and I’m excited to share that some of my prints and products are hitting the market!  I also wanted to share some tips on licensing for those who are curious about the process or interested in licensing their own artwork.

The tricky thing about licensing your work is that you’re not always 100% sure where it’s going to be sold, especially if it’s picked up by a wholesale company.  Several of my still life and landscape paintings have been picked up by Creative Co-op and Deny Designs.  Deny sells at TJ Maxx and HomeGoods and Creative Co-op sells to retailers all over the place, including small, local shops.

The painting that has made the biggest splash is the pair of pears…

impressionist pear | miss mustard seed

It is available in a shadow box print in a metal frame, but it was also made into a lovely platter with a gold rim…

hand painted pear platter | miss mustard seed

hand painted pear platter | miss mustard seed

You can buy the platter HERE on Amazon, but it’s been featured on Antique Farmhouse and readers have shared it at some of their local antique and gift stores.

hand painted pear platter | miss mustard seed

And, one of my readers found my paintings sold in TJMaxx and HomeGoods on their website!  You can find this framed landscape HERE

art print | impressionist landscape | miss mustard seed

…and this one HEREimpressionist landscape | miss mustard seed

That is the landscape I did for our first art class!  You can find that class HERE if you’re interested in trying out some oil painting!

So, how does the licensing process work?

impressionist landscape | miss mustard seed

 

artwork tip no 1. | make sure it’s right for you

The most important thing is to determine if licensing your work is truly right for you.  I know some artists feel very strongly about only offering originals and limited edition prints.  Others are enthusiastically in favor of licensing and the extra income it can bring along with the exposure.  For me, I saw licensing as a bonus.  If people wanted to buy the originals, great!  If some of my works were picked up and sold as prints or on products, that would just be gravy.  I don’t make a living solely off of my art, though, and I don’t have any sort of reputation as a fine artist selling out of a gallery that needs to be considered.

mini original oil paintings | miss mustard seed

licensing artwork tip no 2. | it’s a long process

My paintings that recently hit the market as products and prints were submitted well over a year ago.  The process is long and slow and it’s not going bring in immediate income.  It’s important to note that if you’re planning on licensing your work as a key part of your income as an artist.  Until your work hits the market, plan on selling originals directly to your collectors and making prints available through a site like Society6.

impressionist still life painting | windfall apples | miss mustard seed

licensing artwork tip no 3. | create from a place of authenticity

When selling anything to anyone, it’s easy to start creating with a mindset of what you think will sell or what’s being requested by your buyers.  I can’t tell you how many things I’ve created that weren’t “me” at all but were what people asked me to create.  And you know what?  Those things never sell as well as the things I create out of an authentic place.  This was true of furniture, hand-painted signs, and all of the other things I’ve created and sold over the years.  Create what you love and what naturally flows from you, so that your unique voice is represented in the market.

licensing artwork tip no 4. | you do give up some control

It’s also important for me to note that when you license your work, you do relinquish some amount of control over how your work is presented.  I do get to see samples, but it’s often after the work has been presented at a market for retailers or the item is already in production.  I’m sure this isn’t always the case, but it’s been my experience.  My paintings are on coasters, pillows, wood panels, shadow boxes, and platters to name a few!  I never would’ve guessed they would end up in all of those forms!  I can see that being a concern for some artists who are very particular about how they want their work to be represented.  I would suggest just making your expectations clear upfront.

still life blueberries | impressionist still life painting | miss mustard seed

licensing artwork tip no 5. | work with a licensing agent

I was fortunate to already have a licensing agent for home decor product design, so when I started painting, she watched my progress and was ready to present my work to clients as soon as I felt ready.  Well, ready-ish!  I don’t know if I ever feel 100% ready to release something in the world!  You do have to pay a percentage of the income from the licensed work to the licensing agent, but they offer so much.  They have contacts and experience in the industry to know the best clients for your work.  They negotiate contracts on your behalf and also protect your work from being produced without your permission.  A home decor company copied one of my hand-painted dresser designs down to the smallest detail and she was able to negotiate a payment for my design.  I love that I can just create and she can take care of all of the behind-the-scenes work.

If you’re interested in getting a licensing agent and you don’t know where to start, I would suggest two things.  First, put your work out there!  A licensing agent just might find you!  They are always looking for artists who have marketable work and a fresh perspective.  Having a public gallery and a loyal following, specifically on a social media platform like Instagram, shows that there is a market for your work and can be a compelling reason for someone to represent you and your art.  Some of my pieces were even picked up because they were posted on Society6.  Second, ask around.  Ask artists you know who they work with and if they will introduce you to their licensing agent.

Make sure you work with someone who really believes in you and your work.  They know the industry well and can encourage you to submit work that you might not have considered.

One more note about licensing your artwork…  It is so fun to see your work in stores!  It’s not the end-all, be-all, but there is some validation in it and it’s rewarding.

impressionist landscape | marsh painting | miss mustard seed

Now that some of my other projects are winding down, I have a bit more time for painting.  I am starting a new series in order to focus my time in the studio – Nice View.  It’s sort of a follow-up to the 100 meadows project that got me started in oil painting.  I’m going to paint 100 8 x 10 paintings on nice views…mountains, fields, lakes, beaches, villages, etc.  The painting above is actually no. 1 in the series.  I asked for submissions on Instagram and have been flooded with all sorts of gorgeous photos!  I’ve been so inspired and excited to dive into the project…

pear platter, prints, & tips on licensing artwork

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36 Comments on “pear platter, prints, & tips on licensing artwork”

  1. Thank you for such a useful and interesting post! I have family members that need this info! I would LOVE to find one of your paintings turned into a home decor object. That pear tray is just wonderful.

    1. This is wonderful, so happy for you! I will be looking for your artwork next time I go to TJ Maxx.

    1. She put a link in the post just below the platter that shows you where you may purchase it (Amazon).

    2. Yep! You can purchase it from Amazon. The link is in the post or you can search “painted pear platter” and it’ll come up.

      1. How heavy is the platter? Do you think I could attach some sort of hanger on the back of it to hang it on the wall?

  2. Marina, Would you, or have you already considered submitting some of your Rabbit artwork?
    I just adore those Rabbits you have painted!

    1. I have submitted my rabbits and they weren’t picked up, yet! I am going to work on a series of animals after my landscapes and maybe they’ll get picked up if there are more.

  3. WOW!!!!!

    Well I think that pear platter is about one of the neatest things ever. I adore your pear paintings.

    You are so talented. In the weirdest way – seems strange to type it – but I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. Blogging has really changed some blogger’s lives. I am glad for you and your family.

  4. I love your platter. I ordered it that day off Antique Farmhouse website and I have to admit photos don’t do it justice. It sits in my hutch with my ironstone and fits in so beautiful

  5. Did I miss something or I am not clear what was the 100 meadows project? Can you please clarify, is it some sort of project you made up for yourself or was it part of a group thing you found online or in a book?? inquiring minds want to know ’cause whatever it was it was a fantastic process. Also when did you ask for submissions for your next project Nice Views I couldn’t find it on your Instagram?

  6. I was so happy when I got my new Creative Co-Op catalog and saw your adorable fruit paintings. I knew it was you the minute I saw them and I included them in the most recent order I placed for my store. I agree with Jodie. Please submit some of your rabbit pictures. I think they would be great!

  7. How wonderful for you. For what it’s worth–I love Society 6. I found it when I was looking for a bedspread last year to update my artsy daughter’s room now that she is in her teens. I’ve purchased that as well as a few fun masks and have been pleased with the quality. I can get lost in a rabbit hole when I go to that site. Marian, I’m sure your advice will be handy for all the aspiring artists out there (not me!).

  8. Hello
    I was so sad to find out that the pear platter cannot be shipped to Canada. Is there a way to get this in Canada?
    Love your style Marian. Your truly talented!

  9. Congratulations! What a success! It must be something to discover a talent in the middle of your life. Maybe you knew before but didn’t have the time, but you have created some real beauties people can have in their homes. I’d love you to paint villages. I was in Provence last year and every town is so charming.
    Thanks,
    Eileen

  10. The platter is just beautiful!!!! Is it for decorative use only or can it be used to serve food? Love it.

  11. Your advice on creating from an authentic place is priceless. You can never go wrong doing what you love and what feels right for you.

  12. You are just magical. It has been so fun to follow you long before your paint line, and see the success you have had. So happy for you.

  13. I just saw that beautiful pear platter and fell in love with it. Just wanted to say that it’s on the way to me from Amazon.
    Congrats on the new licensing lines. I love all of your work and so wish I could take a painting course from you. Your style is what I love.

    1. I have received the pear plate I ordered from Amazon. It came much earlier than expected and was wrapped and boxed extremely well to prevent breakage enroute. I want to say it is so beautiful! I love all of your style and works. Thanks for making my day!

  14. Congratulations on your success Marian…all of them! I see you as being one that finds it easy to let go see where things go~ Thank you for sharing the process of getting your work to the world of retail. I remember a post about your
    “LAUNDRY” sign that someone shared with you she had seen it somewhere. It’s fun to live vicariously through you!

    I zoomed with Minnesota friends today and it was snowing like mad…beautfiul like a snow globe even though a bit early!

    Happy Fall Marian!

  15. I just absolutely love your landscapes! I’d own every one of them if I could! They speak to me and I find comfort in them. They just bring me to a peaceful place! I’m so honored to have two small original pieces by you and they are my pride and joy!

  16. This is so exciting! Congratulations! I love how you share your work, your talent, and also empower others who may be interested in pursuing a creative income. Even though this wasn’t mentioned as a step, your reminder to stay true to yourself and what’s in you, and not just produce what the masses are asking for was a needed reminder for me. I’m a little fish in a big pond, but have had success in my corner of the world. Recently have felt like I’ve been treading water. Some of that is due to expanding other parts of my business and the needed time and energy it takes to do that. And some of it is catering. And it’s showing as a stagnation in my sales. I needed that reminder! It echoes what you said in the “what’s out in 2020” post. No matter what, we all need to be true to who God’s made us to be, and what we love.

  17. I just purchased the pear platter from amazon today. Please think about painting a series of various fruit dinner plates for fall to go with the pear platter. I would love a set for my Thanksgiving table. I love your paintings and your creative spirit.

  18. Wow! This is wonderful. I credit you for inspiring me to paint (almost!) every day. I’ve enjoyed every moment of learning from you and know that this is a hobby that I will enjoy for years to come even if I never license anything or sell one painting. Thank you and God bless you always. xo Lillian Amplo

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  20. Will you ever have the windmill picture available as an art print? Or digital to have printed on canvas? Thanks! 🙂

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