The Story Behind My Pricing

This post might sound un-professional to some of you, specially if you come from the accountant world and you tend to calculate and measure everything. It also might sound crazy to some of you while to others it might feel familiar and comforting. I am all right with what ever you might feel towards it- it’s your thing.


I decided to tell this little story because it is a tender heartwarming story. It commemorates my friend Blanca Orozco, it is a story about sisterhood, and empowerment. I truly feel this story might encourage other women artists to find their own way and authenticity when it comes to choosing whatever in their life, but mostly – their own worth.

This story is not a financial advice what ever, it is the description of a personal experience, and for a good reason it is titled “My Pricing”.

Liona & Serena Strings, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

It all started when the music...

Not long after I first started painting dot mandalas, I was invited by my friend Blanca to perform in her studio. I am a singer and together with my band, Serena Strings, we were just working on our second album “Sefarad”. It is an album of our own interpretations of Sephardic music and we are very proud of it and of all the magic it brought to our lives since it came out (will defiantly write about it one day).

Blanca Orozco in her studio, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

Helping friends

At the time, we decided to take the brave step and open a crowdfunding campaign on the internet which was about to take all my time and attention for the next few months.

I was writing to all our friends, family and fans, asking them to take part and purchase our album in advance. So Blanca, an amazing woman painter, a good friend and now an angle, offered us to come and play at her little studio in Tarifa. She painted a beautiful painting inspired by a song we recorded for the album and offered to raffle it among the audience. She even gave the option of purchasing a ticket to those who couldn’t come to the concert but were interested to take part in her painting raffle.

Blanca´s painting for the raffle in our concert, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

The offer

A few days before our concert while I was talking with her on the phone to see how the ticket sales were going, she suddenly said to me: I know you paint mandala stones, I saw the photos you shared on your Facebook and I thought you should bring some and sell them after the concert.

I must say I was surprised, not by the fact she had offered it, but because I wasn’t even thinking of selling my art.

Don’t get me wrong, 15 years before that life changing event in Blanca’s studio, I owned my own little art company with employees and management. A company I created that produced little artsy hand-painted home accessories, regularly selling them to more than 250 gift shops all over Israel. I wasn’t dealing with the managing and sales of the company but I was the creator of it and was responsible for development, design and production.  After a couple of years the company was running, we went through difficult times caused by political syrcumscances  (a story for a whole other post) and shut down the business. I remember it as a painful traumatic step, specially because I had to fire people. As a result, for years after, I refused be responsible of other people’s lives and income.

Although I kept working as a painter, I now worked by myself and mainly offered mural paintings and special patterns for walls. I was enjoying being alone with the walls, and with time I have stopped painting, moved to Spain and turned to music. It wasn’t as profitable as painting but it healed my soul.

An open window in Blanca´s studio, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

Your worth

When Blanca offered to sell my mandala stones in her studio, I suddenly realised I had no idea of how to price them.  I was so surprised and overwhelmed by the idea of selling them at all. I told her I’d think about it, and asked her: What do you think I should charge for them?

Blanca laughed: You created them, you are the only one who knows what they’re worth. In other words, what she said was: You are the only one who knows YOUR worth.

I can remember the feeling of warmth going up my body.

It was an A-HA! moment. I don’t think Blanca realised what I was going through at that instant. It was a fabulous mental quantum leap, one super-gift, that a simple, innocent sentence had offered to the ignorant I was.

Blanca and I arranging the stones for sale before the concert, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

Stone talk

That very same night, as I was sitting at my painting table (at the time, I only painted at night), I looked at my finished pieces. I only had a few of them- those I didn’t give as presents. I took one mandala stone in my hand and carefully looked at it. If I should know my own value, maybe my art knows its own value… What’s your value? I asked it. 10 euros, it answered. 

Yep. The stone answered. I swear I heard it. 

I quickly put it aside and took another one. How much money are you worth? – 15 euros, I heard the stone’s voice in my head. Or was it my voice?

I decided not to argue. After all, people might think you are crazy if they saw you arguing with a stone.

Now seriously, the number I was hearing in my head, wasn’t a random number.

Holding the stone, looking at it,  all the parameters included in its creation were suddenly clear – the time spent, the material, the outcome, and most important- the love and soul poured into it.  It wasn’t really a measured thing, but it was an obvious one, an intuition based on the actual process that took place while creating that certain piece.

Our concert at Blanca´s studio, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

The event went so well!

Blanca helped us raise 500€ to help with the costs of the production of our new album. Her name is proudly featuring on our album’s libretto and a picture of the beautiful painting she raffled that night is the middle page background of the libretto.

Our audience and us after our concert at Blanca´s studio, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

Blanca died of cancer on February last winter. 

I am full of gratitude towards her beautiful soul. She always helped artists, specially musicians, with her generous, giving spirit. I know she is now watching us all from the heavens.

Detail from Balnca´s studio, photo by Tomoyuki Hotta.

listen to my stones

That night I sold the few stones I brought with me. Those were the first mandala stones I ever sold.

Since then, the level of my painting improved, my stones continue to tell me their value, just as they tell me what colours to use and what pattern to paint. The whole process is intuitive, including pricing.

Moreover, a few months later, I was already selling on the internet. I remember looking at a stone which I thought was specially beautiful but wasn’t selling for a while, I wondered – why aren’t you selling? Suddenly I heard: It’s because you priced me 110€ and I am 132€.

I listened, changed its price on my Online Shop. An hour later the stone was sold.


I don’t argue with my stones and if I am not calm, I postpone pricing until I am. Then I smile at my art, thank muse for using me as a tool to manifest it and ask it for its price.

Next time you are not sure what is your creation’s value, just ask it!

I’d love to know your experience – please share your thoughts in the comments.



Leave a Comment

    Vibha Jivan
    3 Apr 2020

    Wonderful…I remember you telling us this story in the Live Session. It’s always about trust…in this case you trust your stones to price themselves.

      3 Apr 2020

      Yes dear Vibha, and mostly trust yourself that you know!

    3 Apr 2020

    You’re simply wonderful and so inspiring! Thank you!

      3 Apr 2020

      Thank you Oksana, So happy you enjoyed it.

    3 Apr 2020

    I love this perspective Liona! I am often asked if I sell my art – I keep refusing & they pile up. I have felt uncomfortable pricing them because I feel like no one would buy them for what they are worth in my heart. I have sold a few to beautiful people that refused to not pay but have mostly gifted them or given them away as kindness projects. After reading your post (& watching your live session) I think I may dare to be greater. Thankyou x

      4 Apr 2020

      Dear Theresa,
      It is a step to make, a step that might seem and feel more drastic than it actually is, but until you take that step you dońt know it. Also, remember- creativity is an energy that must move, and Inter-exchange in order to continue exist, so once you separate from a creation finished, the space created invites a new creation in. When you sell your creations you can provide the conditions for more to come- you are able to purchase material and tools to grow your artistic surroundings and to sustain it. I wish you lots of luck and courage too!

        12 Apr 2020

        That is so true & a wonderful way to think of creativity. Your friend Blanca sounds like she was very insightful & wise soul, we certainly are fortunate to catch a glimpse of her wisdom through your story.

          12 Apr 2020

          Thank you Theresa,
          She was a very unique person. I am lucky to have known her.

    Ajita Ratanjee
    4 Apr 2020

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story Liona. We put so much thought and love into our creations, they should definitely be sold for what they are worth. Anything done with the right intention will always prosper. Thank you for this wonderful blog.

      4 Apr 2020

      Thank you Ajita, for your insight, I totally agree. take care.

    4 Apr 2020

    Hi liona ,
    You always keep inspiring me in some or the other way❤️.
    Ahhh pricing is the part where I always get stuck. It took me one month after registering to start my Etsy shop because I was not able to fix the pricing of my art. I am lucky to have people around me who always appreciated my art n always helped me to justify my art while pricing. Now I am better in pricing my art.

      4 Apr 2020

      Thank you Sweety (still in aw with your beautiful name!), It is something all of us are dealing with and we have to face it if we wish to sell. Try my way, see if it fits you. who knows, it might just be easy suddenly:)
      Love to you!

    5 Apr 2020

    Liona, if you knew you would kill me (LOL). I normally calculate the materials I used, the time I spent in the whole process. Then I compared the math result with the different price markets on Etsy and make adjustments as necessary. LOL. You approach is very interesting. I like the word “worth” more than “value” or “price”. Thanks for sharing. I will consider that next time.

      5 Apr 2020

      Oh dear, I know how it feels, but let me tell you a secret. A little after publishing this post I got a privet message from an accountant who is also a dotter. Guess what she said? Well… she couldn’t agree more with what I wrote. I have to tell you I never looked at other people’s prices, and even if I did see them I tried not to be affected by them. I have sold stones from 10 euros to 500 euros, it really depended only on the worth of the particular stone.
      give it a try, it might just surprise you 🙂
      Love to you!

    Kelly Buchheit
    6 Apr 2020

    Hi Liona, I have been struggling with putting prices on my creations of dot painting, I look at others creations, and see the beautiful work with color & design. I’m inspired by many. I have painted on rocks, vinyl, canvas, & Cd’s. I look for all the little mistakes on my work that no one else would even know there was a mistake. Than I say its not good enough to sell. My friends, coworkers, & family say I am crazy for not putting my work online to sale.
    Am my own worst critic. I have a Etsy account & eBay which I have been selling vintage/antique
    & etc items since 2006. I love your work very beautiful always my favorite. Thanks for sharing your story.

      6 Apr 2020

      Hey Kelly,
      I so understand what you are saying, believe me Iv’e been through every step of what you are describing, and sometimes I also fall in the traps of perfectionism and comparison. But… I already know how to get out of there very quickly and centre myself again.
      I suggest you visit another post of mine that is talking just about that – GREAT DOTS I think it might be able to help you!
      lots of love to you!

    20 May 2020

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and pictures, love the art studio!

      21 May 2020

      You are very welcome dear Justine. Thank you for taking the time to read.

    Helen Grimshaw
    21 May 2020

    What a truly beautiful post Liona, written from the heart with pricing from the soul… I just love learning to dot with you, I knew it would be a journey. Intuition, being and feeling is so important in art. It is such a healer and s great therapy. I love that you bring it to your pricing as well. Thank you for sharing x

      23 May 2020

      Thank you dear Helen,
      Yes, it works every time. If you only let your intuition open up and then listen, it works! It is the beauty about it.
      So happy you can relate to it too.
      Love to you.

    Ashwini Sethuraman
    23 Dec 2020

    Thanks Lions for sharing this. I’m deeply inspired by this story

      24 Dec 2020

      You are welcome! so happy it inspires you!

    29 Dec 2020

    I agree with you on the art speaks to you. I have had such a hard time with it though. Nobody but you knows how much time & love goes into your art. I have lived in a small town my whole life. And mostly sold to that small town. Creating small inexpensive pieces that cater to that small town budget. So when my art has changed and I am creating more elaborate pieces. People don’t want to spend that much money. It has been hard on my ego I guess. I need to let that go and start selling outside my small town. Your story inspires me. It is sad, but you have over come that.

      30 Dec 2020

      Hello Brenda,
      I can definitely relate to this – non of my clients or students are neither from my town nor from my country.
      There are many ways to sell your art out there to the world now days and it is only a matter of having a computer and investigating a bit.
      Shops like Etsy or even facebook shop , and platforms like Teachable, Kajabi etc., are the perfect solutions to sell our art and lessons. It does take time to make nice pics of your items (or in my case make videos of lessons) and this means time investing, but it is worth it.
      You, feeling its time to grow, is the best sign to actually do it!
      If the size/price tag/ amount of people/ mentality feels too small for you, find ways to cross over to a wider field of clients.
      I wish you all the success and fulfilment.

    Alexandra Makri
    20 Jan 2021

    Dear Liona, your story about pricing was just to the point! While i was reading it i felt again this uncomfortable question ”how much can i sell it? too much might be expencive… less… might people dosent want it because they have in their minds that if something is cheap isnt good enough. Your wonderful story open my mind and stopping me to wonder if my art worth enough. Every single piece of each artist is so unique and it has its own value and signature. If we evaluate as we believe our art we respect ourselves. Many thanks for sharing such a good story. Truly Sorry for yr friend. (By the way all photos are exceptional nice)
    Alexandra (BlossomDrops)

      31 Jan 2021

      Dear Alexandra,
      I have decided not look into my client’s bank account, decided that this is not my business, I cannot control nor be responsible for their situation. I concentrate in my work and do the best, pour love, talent, abilities and passion into my work and just present it to the world. I believe each piece will find its right owner.

    Claudia Aguirre-Mendez
    13 May 2021

    Thanks, Liona. love this post. I will start listening to my mandalas.

      Liona Hotta
      18 May 2021

      Dear Claudia,
      I am so Happy this is helping:)

    Vicki Fotheringham
    28 Oct 2021

    Thank you Liona for this post! I truly struggle with believing in my arts worth! But next time I price something, I will definitely”listen” first! You are such an inspiration!

      Liona Hotta
      29 Oct 2021

      I am so happy this is helpful dear Vicki!

    26 Jan 2022

    I can relate to your story so much! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

      Liona Hotta
      5 Feb 2022

      Thank you Peggy, and you are very welcome.

    Rose McCluskey
    26 Jun 2022

    My dad says value what you are worth, your time, your skill, the amazing things you share as a person. I can tell why you do so well, passion, beauty, and you draw people to you. I feel blessed you took part in our adult summer camp.
    You are amazing, thank you for sharing you website with us to learn more about you, the process and beauty.
    I hopefully can sign up I love the mandalas. I never really understood them. Now I can start slowly. I actually have a kit my aunt got me. It’s a nicer kit. I never opened it because I didn’t have a clue. Now I see you can do it on lots of things.
    Always value your crafts or classes as you see fit. You are worth it. Sincerely thank you.

      Liona Hotta
      9 Jul 2022

      Thank you so much Rose

    23 Aug 2022

    Beautiful story and insight on your way of pricing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have many individuals ask for custom pieces from me and in the beginning I didn’t charge as much as I wasn’t as experienced. I do charge more now but I mostly base it on time spent actually dotting (which takes me a long time as I dot slowly.) There are pieces that I create that I poured so much heart into that I can only ask for a much higher price or they may end up as a gift to someone special. To each their own way but I agree that we shouldn’t underestimate our worth in what we do.

      Liona Hotta
      23 Aug 2022

      Thank you dear Suzanne, I appreciate your reading and commenting. Yes- at the end it is not about comparing to others but being able to value our work for what it is including all the energies put into it.

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Materials I Use

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About Me

Hi, I’m Liona, a happy, spiritual and creative woman living in warm south Spain.

I’m a performing singer and a painter, a constant learner and people’s lover, married to my soulmate and a (not so evil) stepmom.

I created the unique course HOW TO DOT YOUR MANDALA WITH A BRUSH which is the first, and for now the only online course exiting that teaches the technique of brush dotting. 

I believe we are all souls in a learning process here on earth, and that we all have gifts we can share with others. Our life’s mission is to shine our talent and vitally influence and inspire the ones around us, encouraging more souls to do the same.

My concerts, as well as my vocal classes, workshops, painted pieces and painting courses are dedicated (as I believe all art teaching and manifesting should) to help people get inspired, and take steps towards growing their self-esteem, and becoming more open-hearted and loving.

I seek to inspire my fellow-humans to recognize and enjoy their worth, be gentle with themselves and with others. Create, create, create, and speak out their unique voice.

Certainly need more hours a day and more years to live in order to have all my “missions” accomplished, but I have faith that I’ll complete the ones I’m supposed to, with the time I still have.

Love and Light to all.