Letter to an emerging artist on how to price her artwork
Congratulations on having someone interested in buying your work. The first thing you want to do is get good photographs of the piece. Then you'll still have the work in your portfolio, even if it's in someone else's living room.
Pricing is difficult, and I cannot give you an exact figure. Art isn't something you price according to the cost of materials (although you can usually set a higher price on anything that incorporates unusually expensive materials) or by the hour (although you can usually set a higher price on anything that's obviously labour-intensive). The price of art is market-driven, and that's about expectations. People expect drawings and prints to cost less than paintings. People expect small paintings to cost less than big ones. People expect student art to cost less than pro stuff. People expect art by unknowns and outsiders to cost less than work by Famous Artists. People expect art-in-the-park to cost less than gallery work. People expect to unframed work to cost less than framed work.
If your buyers are new to art-shopping, they may have some unreasonable expectations, too. A surprising number of people expect original art to be priced similarly to mass-produced posters, but you can't afford to be in a price war with IKEA!
Where did the buyers see your work? If it was in the company of other work that was clearly priced, you will be able to set your own price in that context. Is it more important to you to make a sale or to make money? If you'd like to make that first sale, set the price low. If this is a valuable piece to you, set the price high but be prepared to lose the sale; another buyer will come along. Friends and family get a deal for supporting your career, but it's okay for you to ask them to keep the discounted prices confidential.
The most important advice I can give you on pricing your art is to imagine how you will feel after the sale. Set the price high enough that you will think, "I'm proud that my work earned enough money to buy that bag of art supplies," rather than "I still resent those people for having my great painting for so little money." Set the price such that, if someone actually antes up the money, you won't feel cheated.