Airy Mountain, January, Acrylic on Panelboard / 52 in. by 39 in. /1995 / Private Collection

acrylic painting of Winter Light

January 14,1995, was a very cold day in the Slocan Valley. I headed out with a large panelboard and set to work capturing this frost laden landscape. The paint froze within seconds of application but I kept dashing down the impressions of colour, light, and form.
I headed home after thirty freezing minutes.The painting started to melt and change appearance once in the house. The top right mountain held it’s own and I used that section to steer my course for the rest of the picture.
Going to the edge will always give weight and magic to your creative effort. Comfort is the fuel for mediocrity.



  • Watercolour
    Mountain Spring

#21 Mountain Spring – Watercolour – 13 in. by 11 in. – $250

Spring is very welcome in the mountains. The birds return and the landscape starts to change. This is what it looks like in March as the air warms up and the first ‘sugar’ snow appears.


The Pricing Game and How It Is Played

Many Galleries with a physical address really do work hard at generating sales for their artists and for themselves.

Some Online Galleries  link to Physical Galleries and really do work hard at generating sales for their artists and for themselves.

Many Artists who operate their own Online Gallery really work ‘very’ hard at generating sales for themselves.

Now, Let’s take a look at how each determines their ‘Pricing Policies’

Physical galleries charge a 50% commission for two dimensional art (paintings). they charge 30% to 40% for three dimensional art and photographs. This is a fairly standard commission rate across the board. When a gallery takes on an artist they price for profit. Wall space and floor space is real-estate. Prices have to pay for their space and generate income for the artist and the gallery! Worth is determined by how many works are selling. Prices are adjusted yearly in an upward direction if sales are consistent … artists are dropped if their sales do not generate profit. It’s a fair market plan that has a bottom line: No sales means no commission!

The Pricing Game For the Physical Gallery is a real game with rules and procedures. To be a player you have to play by the rules and there will be no whimpering and whining if you feel you are losing as the artist involved. Here are the basic rules of engagement that the artist must comply to if they are to be represented by a physical gallery as well as the rules for clients purchasing a piece of art.

  • A consistent ‘style’ in an artists work sells better than a ‘style’ that is developing or changing. The artist’s work must be recognizable as their own or of a popular genre.
  • Standard sizes are easier to price and frame. Most pricing is calculated by the square inch which makes ‘size’ and not ‘preference’ the bottom line for worth. The Mona Lisa is 30 in. by 20 in. An expensive piece of real-estate even if it’s just a little piece of property. The Game runs smoothly when pricing has no sentiment or preference .. just size.
  • Established ‘money makers’ rarely  sell studies, sketches, pencil drawings, or rough drafts of their work while they are alive. Prices usually start at at $300 for an 8 in. by 10 in. painting at an established mid to high end physical gallery. To sell at anything lower than $300 will not cover the cost of the ‘real-estate’ factor
  • Lots to look at and lots to choose from. Inventory needs storage and storage is real-estate,which has to be paid for. A typical physical gallery will have a few paintings on display for each artist they are representing and the back room will carry the bulk of the inventory. They also will have a virtual gallery that can display their artists right in the physical gallery if additional work is to be seen that they don’t have on hand.
  • The most important rule in the price game is that the gallery representatives are the rule setters and the major players. Sales are generated by their knowledge and expertise. Consumers listen to the sales representative and in most cases are directed to a choice that will fit their understanding of what is good and fine in the work they purchase. It is easier to trust someone else when purchasing art than to trust yourself, given most people’s limited knowledge on the subject of art. After all, that is why you visit several physical galleries … to find someone you can trust and let them lead you to a safe and satisfying purchase.

Older established artists are easier to sell than mid career or new artists and the prices are always higher for the former. It’s a simple fact and rule of marketing; Cut off the supply and the demand is greater …  and the price escalates. Canadian painter, Emily Carr died in 1945. Heffel’s Online Auction  sold Carr’s, “The Crazy Stair” (the Crooked Staircase)  43 3/8 x 26in circa 1928 – 30,  for $3,393,000. I know that Emily got very little per square inch for her efforts 84 years ago. This is the Hidden Rule – The art that is rejected becomes the cornerstone of commerce. 

The Pricing Game For Online ‘Virtual’ Galleries  is taking shape and in some cases is taking it’s lion’s share and establishing  a set of ‘new rules’. One example is that it is not wise to charge less for art sold online than for what it would be sold for in a physical gallery. That would be against the ‘new rules’ that are being established worldwide with the advances in technology and consumer confidence for online art sales. Let’s take a look at some of the new rules.

  • Original and creative art is allowed to be represented by the online market. The old rule of ‘conformity and ‘sellable style’ is not as important as personal  artistic growth and experimentation beyond the borders of conformity. That is the new horizon that is in front of us as creative people. Of course you will find the same old, same old on many sites, as is the case in physical galleries also. The potential of online art sales is definitely being carefully considered by those adhering to the old rules.
  • The guiding rule of online success is ‘Educate, Educate. and Educate.  Answering the questions that clients need answering is the single most important function of an online gallery. Most of the answers should be provided within the online gallery setting with clear visuals, up front pricing, and a substantial amount of text that addresses the issues at hand when purchasing online. Videos of the artwork and the artist at work build the client / artist relationship,  providing a personal interest in the  material that is being presented. Viewing countless ‘stills of paintings’ is not a pleasant or productive experience. The average time spent looking at a piece of art is 6 seconds in an art gallery. Knowing where the art has come from and understanding what the artist is presenting will encourage more looking instead of clicking to the next image.
  • The virtual gallery is a self directed tour. Relax and enjoy the the artwork stress free, with no interuptions or interference. See what the artist sees. Choose your favorites and feel some wonder. It’s art. Its meant to be enjoyed.
  • Online art sales must be delivered on time, with return options and insurance in place.  Shipping should be free. The final service rule is the availability of personal contact with the artist or their representative.
  •  Artists are allowed to value and sell their own work. This is actually an old rule that is coming back as Claude Monet,1840-1926,  prime mover of the Impressionists, sold out of his home when few dealers would represent him. I believe he would have had a virtual gallery that would have provided him with a steady income from painting, especially during his mid-career when he sold paintings to buy more materials.
  • The ‘Hype of Fame’ and the ‘Hall of Shame’ have no place in the ‘Virtual Gallery’. We are here to create art, sell it. and create some more -not to play the get rich and famous game. ‘Unknowing experts’ have invariably chosen the wrong horse to win in the ‘Gallery Game’. Auction houses are full of ‘rejected cornerstones’ that didn’t suit popular taste and now are selling in the millions. Worldwide auction sales are now in the ‘Billions” Steady income … steady work … steady progress…this is what we as committed artists are looking for and this is the rule of industry that we are starting to live by.

Responsibility Rule – Support an artist and feed a culture. Art reflects change. Art develops culture. Art educates. Art inspires ingenuity and invention. Art moves us inside and out. Don’t ‘rule’ out art from your life … bring it into your home and let it do all of the above and more.

#12 Outdoor Painting / Watercolour / 9 in. by 12 in. $225

Painting with watercolours, open air sketch in watercolour,

A quiet spot by the bend of the ‘Little Slocan’. October colours saturate the Landscape with golds and violets.

  • The Slocan River swells to near epic proportions in early April and I feel I am back on the West Coast in a tidal landscape.
    Watercolour of early Spring river scene in the Slocan Valley B.C. Canada

#13 Outdoor Painting / Watercolour / 12 in. by 9 in. $225

An early morning sketch in the Spring is a tonic for life. This is the Bird Sanctuary along the Slocan River about 45 minutes from home. We get there by mountain bike along the Slocan Rail Trail. Pinch me … it’s too beautiful and I’m getting spoiled. Watercolour on 140lb. cold pressed arches paper.

  • The DomeL Slocan River

#14 Meeting Place – Watercolour – 9″ by 12″ – $225

The confluence of the Little Slocan and Slocan Rivers is a magical spot where I sketch through every season.There is an enormous bench along the Rail Trail that you can perch on and feel invincible as you wield your brush at the majestic landscape before you. Each painting of this scene is unique as the mood and colours are always changing with the seasons.

  • Whoosh!!! and he was gone.
    Summer sketch down by Kootenay Lake. Kayaker flies by and is captured in a moment with a few

#16 Outdoor Sketch / Acrylic on board / 10.5 in. by 6.5 in. $150

Bold, Brave, and Abandoned

You do not have time to do anything but react to a swiftly gliding Kayaker cutting through the pristine waters of Kootenay Lake on a cool summer morning. Take a look at the water dripping from the right tip of the paddle, the red helmet producing the subtle shadow over the face, and the deft red strokes that complete this sleek little craft. All is dwarfed by a bold ‘slash and dash’ landscape of rolling mountains and sky. Completed outside in 2007.

  • Medium Acrylic /Take a 'Close Look' at 7 great pictures
    Spring Run
  • Small Watercolour
    The colours of Fall are  splashed all over this
  • Medium Acrylic
    Spring, Little Slovan River
  • SOLD Medium Watercolour
    Twin Birch, Winter
  • Small Watercolour
    Paul Lake, December
  • Medium Acrylic
    The Dome,Winter
  • Small watercolour
    Old Pine

#18 – Ink and Wash Sketch – Sombrio Beach 8″ by 11″ – $40

Small sketch for sale

Ink and wash. Sombrio Beach. 8 by 11 inches.

  • Spring has come ... at last!
    Acrylic painting done inside the forest  in May.

#19 Collectable Acrylic / 1995 / 12 in by 12.5 in. $600

Outdoor Painting Completed In Forest

I spent a lot of time painting outside during the 90’s. The kids were growing up and the studio was not a place I could hole up in for hours on end. Happy home, happy artist, meals on time, mortgage paid, food in the fridge, and a host of other obligations to be met…ah the life of an artist. My excursions to the river and forest proved very productive especially in the early morning when most were still asleep. The outdoor paintings of this period were very responsive and natural. I would bring the same picture to a spot at the same time of day for 3 days in succession and finish everything in  natural light. At the end of the 90’s I still had about 10 paintings not sold and it was then that I decided to start ‘collecting’ my own art. You can imagine that even 100 days painting outside in a year would produce at least 30 paintings, if each took 3 days to complete. I have continued to collect my own work and ‘hold back’ pieces that could be worked up in the studio to a higher level of ‘polish’ or left as is for future sales. I do not have a barn full of paintings as ‘culling’ is an integral part of an artist’s duty. Quality over quantity is still very very relevant to an artist’s production.

How Do You Purchase A $22,000 Painting Online ?

Which painting do you think is the $22,000 painting?

       This one …

Master work 8

… or this one


Image size is crucial to choosing art online.

Additional visual information is needed

Let’s help you with some more information about these two paintings. Below is a close up of #1 painting. It shows a detail of  1/12th of the painting at about 75% of actual size on my 36 in. wide screen monitor. As you can see more visual information is the key to fitting the right work of art with the right client. Actual size of this Studio Masterwork is 8 ft. by 2 ft. It’s framed to museum standards and is one of my largest works.

common mistakes by artists


By now you have guessed that painting#1 is the right choice.

colour effects in landscape art

View Through the Trees of the Little Slocan River. 8 ft. by 2 ft. Acrylic on panel, Studio Masterwork 2008 – 2011


An 8 foot by 2 foot Painting is impossible to read on your ‘pocket device’. Driving to our gallery is out of the question if you live on the East Coast and we live on the West Coast. You can view it on your big screen and get a decent impression of it’s appeal to you. Colour calibration on your big screen may give you a mis-read on the colour harmony. What you need is a ‘true image’ of the  painting. Here is how we  make your purchase satisfying and stress free. The time is almost upon us when 3-d imaging and 360 degree digital zoom cameras will give you all the information you will need to inspect and approve your purchase.

 A Photographic Print with ‘true colour’ is sent to the prospective buyer which provides for more visual information.

A short film with ‘true colour’ is loaded into ‘Ron Mulvey Vimeo’ for viewing by prospective buyer.

Details on method of payment and insured shipping are worked out and agreed upon.


How much time do I have to purchase a painting that I like before someone else tries to buy it?

First come first serve is our policy. Consideration is always given to the ‘time factor’ involved with making a decision. After 30 years of arranging purchases for clients we will put all our experience to work in keeping you informed about making timely decisions in regards to your purchase.

The following report will give you a thorough education in regards to online art sales and market trends. If you have never purchased online this will settle you down and increase your confidence for purchasing with a click.  

Framing Your Artwork For $25 to $250

A frame protects, displays, isolates, and invites.

Consideration #1  Custom framing simply means the frame is assembled by a trained framer. They measure, cut, glue, clamp,assemble,tape, and give it to you ready to hang. Good framers will use acid free materials only! Total cost for let’s say an average 10 in. by 12 in. watercolour, including a mat and frame would be from $120 to $250. Now we might pay $150 for a great little sketch and then add $145 for framing. your total would be under $300. If you choose to go with the custom framing you will be assured that all the criteria will be met as stated in the title of this post.

Consideration #2  Do it yourself is very economical and will meet the criteria for sound framing. We supply acid free tape, free of charge, with our watercolours and sketches on paper. You have to  purchase a small sheet of acid free backing paper at a minimal cost to protect the art work from acid bearing papers in your mat or frame backing. Then you can pick up a ready made frame and mat from your local “out of the box store’ and assemble it yourself at home. Total cost about $25 to $40. Ten minutes on utube will give you all the pointers you will need. I have found that more stores are using acid free mats with their ready made frames. You will still need the acid free backing paper.

Caution: Artwork on paper needs a Mat and Glass. Plexiglass ( a little  pricey ) is the best as it will not damage the artwork if it falls off your wall. Otherwise hang frames with glass ‘securely’ to the wall. Artwork done on 300 lb. or more paper, using full bodied paints, can be varnished and do well without glass.

west coast Vancouver Island

Simple black frame / no mat, no glass / available at any mall or online / $13


Left is an Ikea acid free mat and pressed wood frame with glass / cost $32 Right is custom wood frame with acid free mat and plexiglass / cost $235

Framing cost / $30 / includes acid free tape and backing paper,

Framing cost / $30 / includes acid free tape and backing paper,                                                                                                       

Why we do not ship our artwork framed ?

Glass breaks. Frames are heavy and double shipping rates. You will enjoy picking out your own frame more than settling with one we pick out. You save money. We save time and shipping headaches.

Why should you contact us when your ready to buy ?

When one of our ‘children’ leave home we do want to know where and to whom they are going. We want everything to go smoothly and have all your questions answered, even if it’s a $40 sketch or drawing. Professional artists keep inventories of where their artwork lives. Many buyers purchase more than once and a friendly professional relationship works to everyone’s benefit. One of my greatest collectors was Don Flood, who left us in 2014, his collection totaled 52 works. His love of all fine art was the mark of his greatness. I was encouraged by his patronage for over a 20 years. This virtual show is dedicated to all true patrons of the arts.  Don Flood Video can be viewed under Thoughts on Landscape Painting.

Arranging shipping does need some particulars answered  to make it all work smoothly. The safest and most cost efficient means will be chosen depending on where you live. Returns rarely occur but rest assured our policy is 100% satisfaction and no questions asked if a return is needed. Work with us before you purchase and all will go well.

How Do We Determine The Prices For Paintings

Does a high price mean the artwork is great?

For myself the answer to this question is easy. A high price means a ‘great’ deal of work went into a painting and this produces the high price. A ‘Studio Masterwork’ is a labour, a struggle, and a joy to complete. Mastering the techniques that are necessary for a sustained effort in the studio do not come easily. The requirements are study, practice, patience, and inspiration. Digging deeply into your ‘whys’ and discovering the ‘hows’ that make it all happen. This all takes time, dedication and purpose. The result is always the best that you can do…and then you move on with a fresh attitude and eager anticipation to the next work.

The pricing of ‘major studio works’ is always considerably higher than the work that is done outside, gathering impressions, moods, motifs, forms, and colours from nature to make the outdoor painting. These ‘outdoor sketches’ are the connection with nature that forms a visual and emotional memory for the sustained effort in the studio.

Is the work ‘great’? Time and taste will determine the pedigree of greatness. The artist does their best and the price reflects their effort and confidence in the paintings merit.

West coast picture of boulders in early spring, Crescent Beach

Magic Realist painting from early 80’s. Spring is just coming and the tufts of beach grass are starting to push through last years growth. Studio Masterwork in acrylic on canvas 24 in. by 20 in.   SOLD

colour effects in landscape art

View Through the Trees of the Little Slocan River. 8 ft. by 2 ft. Acrylic on panel, Studio Masterwork 2008 – 2011


Does a low price mean the artwork is less valuable?

I was setting up to do some ‘search sketches’ on  the West Coast of Vancouver Island in 2011, gathering first impressions of a pale violet grey cloud-bank that was rolling in from the east, gazing out and out and out at the dome of nature and then dashing at it with a black pen and finishing with a tonal wash of West Coast greys and blues. Fifteen minutes later I started a small watercolour of the same scene, having explored the mood and flow of the landscape with my 8 by 10 in. ‘search sketch’. Each drawing is leading to the next painting, be it big or small, it is the culmanation of a process that started with the ‘quick sketch’.

Rembrant threw out his brushes. They had no value to him. Many artists stash away drawings and studies. They hold little value for them.  Art Dealers and Museums are always looking for these little gems  – usually 100 years later.  They value them. A low price still can have lot’s of value. If it’s valuable to the artist it will be valuable for you. After all what’s wrong with a little cash for a quick dash.

Small sketch for sale

This is a quick searching sketch which opened the door for the following painting in watercolour.

Vancouver Island Watercolor painting for sale

Outdoor painting in watercolour 2011 Vancouver Island

I am now working on a large Studio Masterwork ( shown below) based on these two outdoor works. All three works are valued by the artist and all three will be for sale at different prices.

West Coast Clouds

The process is always tumbling, always changing, and always completing. This painting is now  moving towards completion …. how long ? …. when it says, ” I’m done.”

West Coast Clouds ( work in progress )       24 by 36 in.      acrylic on linen canvas

How much is too much for a ‘Munch’

Edvard Munch’s iconic painting sold for 119.9 million at auction. Mr. Munch could have used an advance on this sale at the time of it’s painting since it was painted on ‘cardboard’. He didn’t have the resources  to purchase a canvas. The artist has to do what they do and many have day jobs to support this inner passion. At times it really does get frustrating  and yet we manage to push through and get back at it. Was 119.9 million too much? Hard to answer that one but I believe Edvard Munch could have used some of it!

The bottom line should always be the same for every artist. What is the value of this work? Not how much is it worth? For myself, I put the greatest value on my Studio Works. They are my teachers and they tell me where I am going. They instruct me as to what to do next and at times they give me a lot of homework. My next value is for the Outdoor Paintings that capture a certain something that was beyond my expectation or perceived ability … in short a ‘breakthrough’. A selection of these are brought into the studio and developed without losing their ‘freshness’. The others are left as is and say, ” Do not touch me!” The last value is for the quick sketch that keeps the flow of it all going. Even though it is first to be done it is last to be valued. All three ‘value levels’ are worthy of worth. Some more than others .

Does the Artist demean their ability with a low price on selected studies,drawings, and quick sketches ?

I think it’s fairly obvious that if you are willing to pay $40 for a ‘pseudo print’ why not pay $40 for a genuine piece of art ? As Mr. Munch would advise us, “Sell the little ones and get materials with the money!” Ego Ego where do ‘I’ go. The only shame in a low price is when it’s a shame you didn’t share it for a little cash to someone who wants some real art on their walls and can’t afford the bigger bucks. Be willing to price all your work and have something for everyone … even if it’s just to get them started.

original sketch for purchase online

One of three studies for a Studio Masterwork completed in 2012

Below is a ‘Detail” shot of the finished painting ‘Broken Birch” from 2012. the above sketch in ink and wash started it all. Completion from start to finish was 3 years. Process is movement over time. Inspiration is a moment of time. Take the first bus and get going …transfers are always available.

From sketches to finished Studio Masterwork .. all is a process ... all has merit.

From sketches to finished Studio Masterwork .. all is a process … all has merit.

If someone in 1935 offered to sell you Picasso’s shopping list with a little scribble drawing on the back …at a reasonable price … would you have bought it ???

Pen and grey wash on mat board. A fine little sketch that is 'reasonably' priced'.

Pen and grey wash on mat board. A fine little sketch that is ‘reasonably’ priced’.

Prices as of 2015-16 will now be posted on individual Sketches, Drawings, Outdoor Paintings, Collectable Paintings, and Studio Masterworks in the’ Virtual Show’of Landscapes by Ron Mulvey. Browse through the website and find what you need to start or add to your collection. Thanks for the time you have spent browsing, looking, and learning about Art on this site.

If you want to do some ‘homework’ visit and you will start to discover a very BIG WORLD … the WORLD OF ART … find out how to get quality art for your money!

Evening Light / Crescent Beach B.C. / Studio Masterwork / 1980’s


Soft and glowing is what this time of day is all about. Although there are no strong, vibrant, colours there is a ‘luminous’ quality to the image that captures the lighting on this marshy landscape.



Acrylic painting using luminous colour techniques in a Magic Realist  style.

Luminous landscape of West Coast evening.

Most of the paintings done in the studio during the 80’s were in a ‘magic realist’ style. The term ‘magic realist’ has changed since then and today has all sorts of meanings and representations. In the 80’s it was a style of painting realism that elevated the ordinary and gave it a ‘magic’, a feeling, a mood, an elevated perception. In my case it was giving the paintings a luminosity that made them glow. Faber Birren’s colour theory was my main course of study at the time and I put his principals of ‘luminosity’ to good use.

Tidal Pools / Crescent Beach B.C. / Studio Masterwork / 1980’s

Acrylic painting of West Coast  beach scene.           st

Early 8o’s ,when puddles were all the rage with young painters. Great reflections and sand texture.

Boat At Ward’s Marina / Studio Masterwork / Mid 80’s

magic realist painting in acrylic, art online, buy art online,

Harmony in blue, orange and green. A strong composition that holds you in the painting as you look around at all the details

Crescent Beach, October Morning / Acrylic on canvas / Studio Masterwork / Early 80’s

West coast lanscape  at low tide in acrylics.

Soft West Coast greys and earth tones saturate the landscape of a typical October day at the coast.


#15 Collectable Acrylic / 1995 / 16 in. by 11.25 in. $750

Painting in acrylics, how to paint river scenes, virtual art show,

This is now a collectable work as it has been kept tucked away for over ten years. A painter is always moving towards something new and always exploring new methods. The older pictures are a statement of the fact that they have been ‘on the road’.

#66 Outdoor Sketch / Watercolour / 5 in. by 7.5 in. $85

paint in watercolour, virtual art show, online art for sale, mountain picture,

A little gem that captures a big mood.