All of these elements play a part, and roughly in the order they are listed. SUBJECT--The buyer won't even give the painting a second glance if the subject is not appealing. It's what first "hooks" him or her as a viewer. PRICE--I don't care what anyone says, money represents a piece of the buyer's life. He or she has trades a few hours of their existence on this planet for a few dollars and in even THINKING about buying the painting they indirectly consider whether they are willing to trade that which is so dear for something even dearer. Thus before a painting is purchased, the buyer must establish an emotional bond with it...fall in love with it...decide it will enrich their lives sufficently to trade a small part of their past or future life for it. MEDIUM--If the buyer is not a watercolor type person (somewhat passive, refined, sensitive), or not an oil/acrylic canvas painting type person (bold, active, demonstrative, agressive) then considerations as to wether to purchase a work or not, often dead-ends at this point. STYLE and COLORS--Does it match the decor? Will they be embarrassed by their love of the work. Can they "live" with it? Will they grow tired of it? Is the work TOO powerful? Will it be a distraction in their daily life? SIZE--Does it match the decor? Do they have room to hang it?
Now, on the other hand, the artist has two choices in attempting to sell work. One is the "rifle" approach...a single medium, a single style, one or perhaps only a very few subjects, a few standard sizes, and a price range of no more than a hundred dollars or so. If this sounds limiting, it is, but it also "works" as a marketing method for some artists. The other I call the "shotgun" approach--a relatively large number of works comprising a few canvas paintings, a few watercolors, some prints, framed drawings, and maybe a stoneware bowl or two left over from that ceramics course you "had" to take in college. Add to this a variety of subjects, in a variety of styles, prices, and sizes and what you have is breadth, though often very little in the way of depth. Sometimes the display becomes more PR than sales outlet--a sample display case. But the lack of off-the-rack sales may be more than made up for by commissions resulting from the fact that the artist has demonstrated his versatility and consistency, thus instilling confidence in the buyer that he will not deliver any unpleasant surprises at the unveiling.