Traveling France – Saint Remy

Traveling France – visit to Saint Remy

We were off and running this morning for a treasure hunt in Saint Remy.  This town was said to be a wonderful Sunday marche day.  We left the parking garage like we were old pros and were on our way without any mishaps.  No wrong turns, stalled car, or whiplash!  WooHooo we are on a roll.  Into Saint Ramy we go and quickly find a parking spot, because they are at a premium.  We take a picture of the corner to help the blonde and redhead remember were we parked.

Remember this corner!

Remember this corner!

As we began the hunt, we stumbled upon a whole street of artists selling their work.  Scolded once again to not be taking pictures we moved on and found a lovely gentleman working on his palette knife paintings.  He didn’t speak much English but was pleased to spend time talking to us about his work.

Great Texture Artist

Great Texture Artist

After we wandered some more we finally asked and the marche we were looking for is no longer there on Sunday.  Oh, well, we can always find another one another day so we just enjoy the town!  As we head out of Saint Remy, the car does a few circles first.  Those roundabouts can make you dizzy if you take them more than once or even three times!  We decided on a direction and off we went taking another route back to Aix.  We enter the town of Eygalieres with great confidence only to find the road barricaded to traffic.  Oh, oh – now where do we go?  Follow the flow of traffic!  Heck, let’s not try to find out what all the commotion in this town is all about, why not?  We quickly turn back to the direction of town and take that first parking spot on the sidewalk (yes, those are parking spots).  Ah, a wonderful flea market with a mix of antiques, treasures and junk!  Once again, we wish we had lined up a steamship container.  It’s killing us!

Wonderful flea market!

Wonderful flea market!

There were so many items to purchase for mixed media, painting furniture or collections that the eye can see. Check out these cabinet doors!  They look normal, but the hardware is to die for!  Neadeen and I could have walked to the car and hooked up a UHaul trailer.  The ideas and inspiration was incredible!

Cabinet door hardware!

Cabinet door hardware!

Back on the road again, we decide that a bathroom stop is much needed.  Nothing is open and of course there are no roadside bathrooms!  Yikes, we will make it back in time!  I am tapping my feet and Neadeen is leaning forward saying just pull in on some country road that is not to be found.  We slow down with traffic and out the rearview mirror, there is a lady walking and she slips behind a wall.  Ah, not all the traveling French have blander control after all.  That’s how they use the bathroom on the road?  Anyway we magically find the right parking area in Aix and rush to the nearest bathroom.

Stay tuned………


Artists Beware of Scams

Artists beware of scams – this recently happened to Linnea Hoover.  Take time to read it because it’s very good information to have!

A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail from someone interested in a picture I had done called Albi Equi. This happens sometimes, so I do what I normally do, tell them what the picture is priced at and wait and see if they are still interested. The person responded that they were indeed interested, and they wanted to know what had inspired the picture. Mentally I’m thinking that this seems pretty legitimate. If they were a scam they wouldn’t care what had inspired me, right? I tell the client I take checks and credit cards, and tell them who to make it out to, and where to send it. That is when it started getting hinky. The person responded and said that FedEx doesn’t deliver to PO Boxes and they would like my home address instead– I work from home. She said she was from New Jersey, but that her husband works in New York and he has his secretary handle his checks, so I will be receiving a check from the secretary. I’m thinking odd, but ok I can give them that.

Important aside: If you receive a fraudulent check through the United States postal service, the person scamming you has committed a federal offense.

At this point I’m working on getting my large commission piece done, and getting out of the house. So my first day on the road to Arizona, the check comes, and I give my permission for my Dad to sign it. I guess that is something that you can do. And he tells me that the check is for more than twice the amount I had quoted the picture. This sends up big warning flags to my Mom and me.  If you have read the Road Trip post you know my Mom went on my trip to Scottsdale, Arizona with me. We think this is getting a little weird, and at this point, we think it is a scam, but I’m still holding out hope it isn’t, because I keep thinking how much ink I could buy if I sell that picture.

So I tell my Dad to go to the bank and talk with a family friend who works there and see what we can do, because if this is a scam I really don’t want to get in trouble. So my Dad talks to the bank while I’m sitting on pins and needles on my way through Oregon.  The bank tells my Dad the check looks a little hinky. There isn’t any contact information for the bank it was issued from, but they can put a hold on it until the check has cleared, so we won’t receive any money before then. After that we informed the buyer of what we had done, and she said that was fine.

As an important aside to other artists: Make sure you put a hold on all checks you receive from people you don’t know or don’t know well. A common misconception that people make is that when you get a check from someone and you take it to the bank, you automatically have that money. This is not true, it can take up to 10 days for a check to clear both your banks and for you to actually physically posses that money. So if a check bounces or is fraudulent, and you spent that money, then you just spent money that didn’t exist.

The next day I got an email from our “buyer” saying that her husband would really like us to send the difference of the check as soon as possible, and that she had looked up different places where I could do a wire transfer, and I should send it to her husband’s secretary who now miraculously is in Illinois. If you have kept up so far, you now know that our client lives in New Jersey. Her husband and his secretary work in New York, but the secretary lives in Illinois.

At this point I’m in Southern California, and I’m just really thankful we didn’t send out the picture or the check. My parents advise me not to respond to this email, so I don’t. Later that day when we decide to head out of California from where we where resting, I get a text message on my phone from the buyer asking if I had gotten her earlier email. I do not respond and mentally make a note to myself to look up the area code of the phone number when I get home. When I do have time to check, the area code was from somewhere is Califonia. So to recap, The woman is from New Jersey, with a phone number in California. Her husband works in New York with his secretary, and she wants me to send the money through a wire transfer to the secretary who lives in Illinois. I don’t respond to the text message, and find out later when I get home I got an email saying the same thing as the text message.

Now I’m so sure it’s a scam it isn’t even funny, and I’m waiting for this to escalate and for the woman to demand her money back. I’ve finally arrived in Scottsdale and decide not to worry about it anymore.  There isn’t much I can do until I get home anyway. So I drop off the artwork and have a great visit with the people who run the Buffalo Collection, drop off the rental truck and fly home that very evening.

When I get home, I take part of a day to recoup, at this point I’m pretty positive someone on the plane has given me their cold. I think I’m going to invest in face masks for plane rides from now on. Does anyone know if they actually work? So I took part of the day to recoup, and then I call my bank to find out what is going on, and they tell me that the check is a fraud. I asked for some advice on whether or not I should file a police report, and they lady at the bank said why not. It can’t hurt anything.

I decided to look up how I should file a police report from home, so that’s what I end up doing. This may vary from place to place, so I would look up for your area what you should do if you are unfortunate enough to ever need to file a police report. The website for Monroe, Washington’s police department said that I should dial 911 and when asked what my emergency was immediately respond that is was not an emergency. Unless of course you as the reader do have an emergency then by all means tell them what it is. I, however, do not have an emergency and told them so. They then asked the purpose of my call, and I said something to the effect of “I would like to report that someone has tried to defraud me.” They asked if the person was someone I knew. I said no. They asked if the person succeeded, and I said no. They asked for a general account of what occurred and then took my information and informed me that an officer would call to take my statement later that afternoon. An officer did indeed call, and got a little more in-depth account of what had happened, and then told me an officer would stop by my home for my statement. He also asked if I had access to the check or if the bank would give it to the officer. I told him I didn’t know but that I would go and speak with the bank.

I head out again, I’m still feeling a little under the weather, but I’m pretty excited to get this taken care of and out of the way. When I get to the bank, the teller tells me they have sent the original check on ahead but they have a copy I can give to the officer. When I get home I get all of my email dialogue with the scammer, along with the number they texted me from, and the check.

When the officer arrived he was very friendly, took my statement, took the evidence and told me a little about what would happen. Sadly it probably won’t be a lot, but they always hope that the scammers will screw up somewhere, and that any evidence they have previously collected will be useful. The problem is that this person is probably not in my state, and there isn’t a lot the police can do to track them. And even if my police department could track them, they would have no jurisdiction because the crime did not happen in the State of Washington. So my advice to other artists is always be careful with your art, try and make the best decisions you can with the information you have. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

I would like to send a special thank you to my bank for all of their help, and to the Monroe Police department for their wonderful response time and kindness. To the other artists out their reading this, I know this may not seem like a lot to other people, but we work just as hard at our jobs as other people do. I don’t want to see anyone take advantage of you because you don’t know your rights. If you put a hold on a check, you don’t need to send your art out until the check has cleared, you haven’t received any money at this point, you are only protecting yourself.

Note: We were never contacted again by the scammer after the last e-mail asking if we had received the previous e-mail.

Thank you, Linnea!

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Inspiration – Where does it come from?

Inspiration – Where does it come from?

My favorite definition of the word is “the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.”  What steps are involved for getting inspiration?

We have to work at it first of all and along with that will come frustration.  If this is where you stop – don’t because it’s a very important stage.  This is normally a sign that you are uncomfortable and unwilling to let the ideas flow.  Many times, ideas have to sink in before the inspiration will happen.  Sometimes you have to let an idea just sit there until you can commit to whatever your medium is.  If we let inspiration bloom, wonderful ideas can happen.

My latest mixed media piece was inspired over a very short period of time.  It just seemed like that particular word continued be constant in my mind and it had to come out on canvas.  So this particular piece was an inspiration through church, those I associate with and my belief that positive thoughts work.  I became very aware of the word and my thoughts.  I took a breath and let it “talk” to me.  This particular piece was a journey shared on my Facebook page with great response.

What is faith.  What does it mean?

What is faith. What does it mean?

I created an online class that is available that helps you through taking a word, phrase or event and creating a mixed media canvas with it.  It honestly is a very easy class as well as a very difficult one.  Easy if you follow the steps.  Difficult to let those feelings be exposed.  For inspiration, this is an example of taking some simple word(s) and using them to create with.

It also seems that once you begin using inspiration that it just continues to flow.  Open you hearts and mind.  Listen to your inner voice.

Where does your inspiration come from?  How does it happen for you?


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Acrylic Paint – using values to create shape and form

Back to reality!  Acrylic painting with values to create shape and form.

With my love of creating abstract art on canvas with texture and words, I have a tendency to gravitate to that because it fulfills that side of me.  However, sometimes the brushes call me to return to the reality of what brought me to the love for painting.  Creating beautiful pieces that make you want to paint from morning to night.

This is the beginning of a journey creating a peony at the request of a wedding gift.  It’s not the easiest flower to paint (a rose would be easier) but I am so up for the challenge.  I will be approaching it slowly and completing it in a loose, free style.  A white flower is rather difficult because you have to have darker values to show shadows and depth before you can make it white.  In other words, white cannot be made whiter.  Only something of darker value can be made white.  So for this canvas, I decided to start with simple layer of values in grays.

Some of the basic values in gray have been completed.  I find it always helpful to at least get something down to work with.  Once the background has been placed in, I will be able to see what my next layer will be.  Gray is a more cool tone and some warmth will need to be added when the piece nears completion.  It never stops amazing me how values can create form and shape!  At this stage and having some paint in place, it is much easier for me to begin carefully adding the values where they are needed.


The person this is being painted for wants a dark background.  She requested black, however, if I used black it would look like I pasted a wallpaper flower onto the canvas.  I like to see depth even with a dark background by slowly adding glaze layers.  I’ve used a green that has been brush mixed with a warm yellow tone to start with.  Just like the flower, this will need to have several layers before it gets to the value I am looking for.

I will continue to post my progress on this piece in my blogs.  Look for updates soon since it needs to be done in two weeks!  Yikes!


Mission Statement: To use my talents to serve as a communicator, artist and give support.  To inspire and be inspired by those I interact with.  To be driven by values and beliefs.





Mixed Media Art – I want to touch that piece!

Mixed media art has everyone wanting to move their hands over the canvas!

Creating mixed media art has the viewer wanting to touch the piece!

Creating abstracts with texture medium and other mixed media pieces has become my favorite lately.  It is visual and stirs the sense of touch.  By adding words, it can bring the piece also to another level.

As viewers look at this piece, I immediately ask them to really look closely and tell me what you think the tittle is.  They run their fingers over it and check out all the different textures.  I can almost see their eyes move from space to space looking for the words that might give them a clue.  It’s amazing that no one ever comes close to the reason behind the piece!  But, what I love is that they can come up without much ado with what they feel the piece means.  How cool is that!  That is what my goal was and is when creating mixed media art.

This concept was used on these pieces also.  The one created for Emily, my grand baby, is very dear to my heart and hers.  She can tell you what every mark means and what it is telling her.

If you are interested in learning how I create these customized pieces, I do have online classes available that will walk you through all the “how to paint a mixed media piece” with words, symbols, words and different mixed media pieces.  Join me on a journey that will stir your heart to getting it onto canvas.  You will be guided through how to choose a topic, theme or event and then how to apply it to make a great abstract multi media art piece.  The beauty about an online class is that you can paint it at any time, with the best seat in the house.  It’s available 24/7 and my help is just a click away.

Register for the class today!


Mission Statement: To use my talents to serve as a communicator, artist and give support.  To inspire and be inspired by those I interact with.  To be driven by values and beliefs.