All About Prints

You might have noticed that several of my paintings are available as prints. All are Giclée prints. Most are Limited Editions on paper. Some are Limited Editions on canvas. Some are Unlimited Editions. It’s possible that none of this makes sense to you. It’s also possible that it makes sense, but due to some innovative selling going on in the print market, you still aren’t sure what it means.

Let’s start with the basics.

Paraphrased from Wikipedia, the word “giclée,” (zhee-clay) as a fine art term, has come to be associated with prints using fade-resistant, archival inks (pigment based, as well as newer solvent based inks), and archival substrates such as watercolor paper and cotton canvas. Giclee prints are generally produced on large format ink-jet printers.

A limited edition of giclee prints is restricted in the number of copies produced, whether large or small. A limited edition is normally hand signed and numbered by the artist, typically in pencil, in the form (eg): 14/100. The first number is the number of the print itself. The second number is the number of overall prints the artist will print of that image. The lower the second number is, the more valuable and collectible the limited editions are likely to be, within whatever their price range is. A small number of "artists' proofs" may also be produced as well, signed and with "AP", "proof" etc.

An unlimited edition is open ended in the number of prints that can be produced from the original artwork.
An artist proof is a print that is made during the color correcting stage of printing. It may or may not look exactly like all the rest of the prints in an edition and the number of these prints seldom exceeds 5% of the total edition.

An artist enhanced print, which is generally sold in limited quantities, is a print which has been individually enhanced by the artist painting directly on the print or sketching in the border.

Depending upon several things – the edition size and the fame of artist, among others – purchasing a limited edition print could be considered an investment. The print can be re-sold in the “aftermarket” often for much more than its original price, particularly when the edition has sold out.

Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, some very well-known artists irreparably damaged the concept of the limited edition print by creating huge editions in multiple sizes, marketing these editions as collectors’ items which would increase in value. It is my thought that no one should buy art for its potential to increase in price, but because they like the piece they are buying and want to enjoy it in their home or office.

All About MY Prints

I’ve been marketing and selling limited edition giclee prints of my artwork since the late ‘90’s. The largest edition is 950 copies, but most are fewer than that. The prints are sized within fractions of an inch of the size of the original painting and I only print that one size. In a few cases I will print one edition on paper and a second, much smaller edition, on canvas – both the same size as the original piece.

Besides the fact that a giclee print is created with archival inks and substrates – the piece should last for at least 100 years with no fading – it offers me the advantage of printing an edition over time. I generally print between 5 and 20 copies, sell those, print a few more, and so on. I track each print sold, either directly or through galleries and print shops, so as never to exceed the number of the edition. Each group of prints is “proofed” to make sure that the quality is identical. I do sell these artist proofs on occasion, but since sub-standard prints are thrown away, the artist proof really has no extra value to it.

Each of my limited edition prints comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, stating the size of the edition, whether paper or canvas or both, the number of APs being produced, and the type of ink and printer used.

I would love to think that someday my prints will be sold in the aftermarket, but really I just want people to enjoy living with them now. They are priced in line with the cost of production (giclee prints are quite a bit more expensive to produce than lithographs or photo copies) and most can be matted to fit nicely in a ready-made standard sized frame.