Art Inquiries: Fraud vs. Friend

Art Inquiries: Fraud vs. Friend

Art Inquiries To Take Seriously

Art Inquiries that Pass Muster have many of these qualities:

  1. Proficient grammar and natural writing style in the initial email
  2. The email mentions a specific work
  3. The writer follows up upon learning my studio sales policies and shipping policies
  4. Signature and email relate to each other – for example Jane Doe’s email might be jdoe@example.com
  5. The writer includes a phone number
  6. When I look up the writer in a google search, the information I find matches what they mentioned in the email

How do you tell whether that email you’ve received from your website is for real? I’ve been fortunate enough to sell a few pieces of artwork via my website. Of course more than my fair share of fraudulent or scam emails come my way too.

Recently I sold a painting to a law firm in California via an Art Consultant who contacted me through my website. Here are some photos that Art Consultant Phillip Mehas shared of the piece installed at Haynes and Boone, LLC.

Ruth Armitage work in situ

Doesn’t this contemporary art complement the lobby?

Another view of the lobby and its new artwork

It pays to be cautious when dealing with unknown parties on the internet. Even though I felt pretty sure this inquiry was not a fraud, I didn’t ship the work until after the payment had cleared my bank. I handled the shipping myself and worked with the buyer to make sure it would be reasonably priced.

In this case, the consultant found my work by searching the website of the California Watercolor Association. I am a Signature Member of that group, and they link to my website. The client was searching for a watercolor, but fell in love with this work instead. It is gratifying to know that my work is making this office shine!

Check out this article by Agora Gallery on recognizing fraud or scams. While we don’t want to alienate a potential buyer, artists must always protect themselves from online scammers. Usually when I make my policies known, scammers realize that they can’t work with me and I never hear from them again.

My Basic Internet Sales Policy:

  • Unless I know the buyer, I require payment by Paypal or a similar service. I do accept business of personal checks, but only for the actual amount of the sale, and I don’t ship until the check has cleared.
  • I give a separate quote for shipping based on actual delivery address, or deliver if it is a local sale.
  • If possible I try to speak to the buyer on the phone.
  • My tone is prompt and firm, but polite.
  • The buyer is encouraged to ask questions and I try my best to make sure everything is clear, from shipping to returns.
Ice Crystal Painting for Texture

Ice Crystal Painting for Texture

Oregon has had its share of ice this winter, and I took advantage of this unusual weather to do a bit of ice crystal painting.

I wet a sheet of 300 lb. Fabriano soft press watercolor paper, took it outside into the freezing cold, and dropped fluid acrylics and acrylic inks onto the surface, allowing the ice crystals to form patterns on the paper as they solidified. Then I brought it inside and kind of forgot about it, until it was time to do a demonstration for a local watercolor group.

Here is what my ‘start’ looked like after it dried. It’s hard to see in this image, but the paint dried in a crystalized pattern in some of the thinner areas. I love the lacy texture it left in different areas of the work.

Lessons Learned:

1 – transparent colors work better

2 – the paint and ink need to be slightly watery.

This detail image shows part of the painting that has ice crystal formations

This detail image shows part of the painting that has ice crystal formations

I thought I’d share a few in process shots that my friend Liz Walker took during the demonstration. As I worked, I was thinking about my childhood experiences at the local swimming hole on our property. I added calligraphy using a water soluble crayon, and started putting in shapes and color variation. One of my goals was to keep the color changes fairly subtle.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight — but never stop fighting.” — e.e. cummings


Finally I started adding small detail using an acrylic marker.You can see some of the areas in the detail shots below.

And I started varying the color more! Jeez – This doesn’t look at all subtle!

more detail

Here is how the painting looked at the end of the demonstration.

When I took a look at it this week, I decided that the top 1/3 of the painting needed to be simplified and lightened. Here’s how it looks now! I hope you’ll try ice crystal painting next time you encounter some freezing weather! I’d love to hear your thoughts on seeing the process. Questions and comments are welcome.

ice crystal painting with acrylic

“Jump” ©Ruth Armitage, Acrylic on Paper 30×22″

 

Mist and Moss – A Blessing From the Northwest

Mist and Moss – A Blessing From the Northwest

Mist and Moss: new work from the studio

"Mist and Moss" Watermedia on Paper, 30x22"

“Mist and Moss” Watermedia on Paper, 30×22″

One of the things I loved about growing up on the farm was that nature was always there to explore. Although I know it is hard to believe now, I was a quiet child. When I was struggling with something, my favorite way to cope was to walk in the forest or sit by a small stream or ditch and observe nature.

Some of my favorite poetry evokes this calming spirit:

“THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS” BY WENDELL BERRY

My most recent painting was an attempt to recreate the feeling of soft fog, mist and moss, without actually rendering a pond, a stream or a fallen log. I wanted the feeling of many interconnected organisms breathing life into a forest. The water, the trees, the animals, the fungi as one breathing unit. Because I wanted the feeling of flowing water, I chose to use a high horizon line as my design.

I hope you will enjoy this peek into my process. I’m using watercolor to begin, and then adding gouache (opaque watercolor) and a bit of Golden High Flow Acrylic. I also mixed in a bit of iridescent pigment by Jacquard. I love the subtle sparkle!

I’d be interested in your feedback on this video. Do you find it valuable? I wish that my setup would allow me to film in the orientation that I imagined the painting, but it was much easier to work horizontally on my table. I decided not to attach music to the video, as I couldn’t find a piece that expressed what I wanted to say with the painting.

If you find it interesting, leave me a comment or a question! Or share this with a friend or on your favorite social media outlet.

Couldn’t everyone use a little balm of Mist and Moss during this chaotic season?

“Mist and Moss” Abstract Watercolor Process with Ruth Armitage from Ruth Armitage on Vimeo.

PDXOS – Portland Open Studios – Related Events

PDXOS – Portland Open Studios – Related Events

Portland Open Studios – Experience Creativity

22x15" Acrylic on Paper, Ruth Armitage, ©2016

“River of Dreams” 22×15″ Acrylic on Paper, Ruth Armitage, ©2016

Join me for two weekends of Open Studio, in my beautiful Oregon City studio:

October 8th & 9th and October 15th & 16th, 2016, 10 am – 5 pm each day.

The tour is organized by neighborhood, and our own Community 8 boasts some creative and beautiful artwork. I love the fact that you can find paintings, drawings, photography, jewelry, sculpture and ceramics on this tour. Something for everyone.

Artists will be demonstrating their techniques and available to answer questions about their artwork. It is a great opportunity to meet the creators in your community, listen to them speak and see their latest body of work. I always love the opportunity to peek behind the scenes where the creation takes place. (more…)

Crucible Abstract Acrylic

Crucible Abstract Acrylic

Crucible:

noun

  1. a ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures.

    • a place or occasion of severe test or trial.
      “the crucible of combat”
    • a place or situation in which different elements interact to produce something new.

      “the crucible of the new Romantic movement”

"Crucible" ©Ruth Armitage Acrylic on Paper 15x22"

“Crucible” ©Ruth Armitage Acrylic on Paper 15×22″

Each experience in our lives produces its own alchemy. This painting arose out of a contour drawing of my two dogs, Red & Lola. I’ve integrated them into the painting to the point that they disappear, and the painting has become something else entirely. The title has been in my head for months, relating to an experience that was intense and frustrating.

I feel like the close color range of reds, violets and orange speak to the theme of a crucible of heat. I like the angular pivot points near the center, and the light blue line work that morphs into shape. It has been a busy summer, and this painting reminds me a bit of the intense heat and activity. I’m looking forward to the cooler weather and more regular schedule of fall!

View it in person when it’s on display at the Portland Open Studios Preview show: September 17th  at Basic Space Gallery, 625 NW Everett St #111,  Portland, Oregon. 503-477-6452

Save the Date: Portland Open Studios – October 8th & 9th and 15th & 16th, 2016 10-5 each day. Get your tour guide at any New Seasons Market, from any participating artist, or at select Art Supply Retailers.

Holiday – Oil and Wax Abstract

Holiday – Oil and Wax Abstract

“Holiday” Oil & Wax on panel 12″x12″ ©Ruth Armitage

Enter to win “Holiday” – a new Oil and Wax painting

I’m getting my paintings ready to deliver to the Street of Dreams, including the work above. I had been searching for a title, and finally settled on “Holiday.” The brilliant red seems so joyful to me, that it reminded me of the excitement of being on a trip.

“I like to have exciting evenings on holiday, because after you’ve spent 8 hours reading on the beach you don’t feel like turning in early with a good book.” -Arthur Smith, English Comedian

I’ve been planning a couple of trips, and the idea of a holiday is pretty appealing right now. It’s what keeps me going through the slog of weeding the garden, framing and shipping artwork, designing exhibit materials and all the daily chores.

I wanted a way for visitors to the Street of Dreams to sign up for my email list, and an incentive. So, I decided to run this giveaway on my website. And why limit the giveaway to attendees of the Street of Dreams? I say, anyone can enter! I hope you’ll share this opportunity with your friends… who wouldn’t want to win a painting that reminds them to cultivate a holiday frame of mind?

Wishing you the best of luck, and I hope you will enjoy receiving my free monthly newsletter. If you’d like a sneak peek – you can see a past issue here: http://bit.ly/ArtIsTruthPastIssues

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