Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Our dog who thinks she is a cat ( tiger ), lounging on my little boy's lap

I was shipping some packages the other day at my local UPS store, when in walked in one of my son's friend's mom . She is a very pretty lady, slender, gentle demeanor, and I usually only see her with her sunglasses on. Today she reached over took them off and was talking to me about the upcoming baseball team.
Then I noticed...
She had a scar , right to the side of her eye , very evident , but what was fascinating to me, is it made her MORE attractive,
I know I just kept staring at her , smiling inside at her beauty.

I have thought about that experience alot since then, how can a scar make someone ' more ' attractive ? How is that possible ? I pondered ( one of my biggest faults ), considered ( another fault ), and then prayed about it ( one of my strengths ). Nothing hit me immediately , until slowly , when I remembered her scar , I then thought of mine.
We all have scars, some are visible, or hidden , or internal. My outward scars are a nice chicken-pox scar on my forehead , a small faint scar on my inner thigh where when I was about 4-5 years old I played leap-frog with a fire-hydrant...and did not clear it. Got stitches for that one.
I am fortunate I do not have many scars from all my pregnancies ( 4 ), as that can typically scar women with evidence of their children in the womb , outwardly ,  for life.
I have a nice scar on my shin from tripping over a 70 lb. barrel of caulking compound my husband had in the wrong place , when I was rushing to get a load of laundry done one day. He got in trouble for that one.
Then I have internal scars, deep scars from situations, relationships, people that I trusted letting me down...and then I realize I have inflicted deep scars in return or randomly with acts of selfishness , decisions based on feelings alone, or additional rationalizations of autonomy .
So we can create scarred hearts in others , most of those can be visible through the eyes of the hurt.

Our outward scars usually fade with time, some never go away , and we learn to live with them or be self-conscious of them...forever.
Our inward scars are results of our own weaknesses or someone else's weaknesses...or more accurately sin. Our weaknesses are NOT our scars. The scars are the results or our weaknesses, addictions, urges, sins.
Scars are evidence of our humanity, our imperfection , our realness. They teach us about pain, they teach us that we can survive , they teach us that we are still beautiful,
because they teach us that we need God.
He is the salve for our hearts , our relationships, He sees our scars as marks of being alive...and still surviving.
He knows we are but dust .

Our scars reveal our vulnerability , they reveal a ' touch ' from life, usually a painful touch. They do make us more ' relate-able " , more real.
Less cool, more REAL.
Much more attractive.
Scars are also a bridge between two people that is a connecting bridge.
That bridge is made of empathy, and empathy is a vital part of love.
Being able to know that another person is NOT perfect, just like we are not.
That is my surmise on the beauty of a scar.

Remember God sees the heart, the inner man , bless you,

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tips For SUCCESSFUL Selling for SELF-Representing Artists on eBay

An antique oil painting I sold on eBay ( no, I did not paint it..I only sell antique paintings)
I have sold antique and vintage original artwork on eBay for a number of years, and I also buy some artwork on eBay. Lately I have bought some self-representing artist's work, and during my searches for certain types of Art, I have been dumb-founded and confused , and concerned  with the way  some artist's have listed their art for sale.
Concerned because they are hindering their own chances of selling.
So I figured I would give some tips for those painter's who are just starting to sell on eBay , or who may not have been successful selling and never knew the reason. 
I believe this can help your endeavors in eBayland. 
I will be very blunt and tell some artists that the first reason you may not have sold is your work may not be good enough . Someone may be a good hobbyist artist, but the competition online is strong, so if your work is not polished enough , or trained enough ...then that would be a reason it has not sold or may not sell.
If that is NOT the reason, then hopefully these tips will help spur sales and exposure for your own personal art you create.
Ready ?
I'll do this as a--
10 Steps to Selling Art Online Guide:
  • Titles:
  • Most artists do not understand the power of a great title for search engines to find your art and also how to capture someone's attention as they are skimming hundreds or thousands of listings. Use every word in your allotted space carefully and wisely. Most artist put their names in their titles hoping to get name recognition. I see the pros and cons with that as it can take up too much space and  may not leave you room for what type of painting you are selling. You may want to experiment and use your name in some listings, and ALWAYS type in ORIGINAL Oil PAINTING, or if not oil then leave out other mediums, as that is the No. 1 descriptive art term typed in by buyers .  You can also type in Impressionist, Modern, Realism, Expressionist, etc. in the title. All of these are search words.
  •  Correct Example: Original Oil Painting California Seascape by Your  name
  • Not:  Painting by your name ( and then no other info at all )
  • Also if it is a landscape, seascape, nude, portrait, etc. WRITE that in your title. e.g. Original Oil Painting Seascape by.....( your name )
  •   NOT: Painting of Ocean on Canvas
  • NOT : Ocean painting ...use ALL  the space allotted in the title for your keywords to get tagged in searches and then your art will show up when people do their searches.
  • Also a NOT: for selling nudes: Naked Sexy Nude lady painting, instead write, Nude woman or Female at Rest Original Oil painting, much classier. 
  • If you simply use your name and painting , unless you are a famous artist or have many loyal followers, then your art will not be looked at by someone simply typing in SEASCAPE under an Art Search.
  • Sub-Title
  • This can be  used for awhile if you like to add more keywords for searches for your style of art or if  you run out of room on your title line. e.g. Waves, ocean in California plein air artwork , can go on your sub-title. a region, state, famous landmark, type of flower or animal, all of these are KEYWORDS for searches that you can use in your titles.
  • This is the second area that is not adequate in many listings. make it concise, personal, and fully disclose that YOU are the artist who painted this ! Write what the painting is , where it is painted at ( e.g. California, or Italy, or garden, mountains, etc. ). Give the EXACT MEASUREMENTS   of the painting, and I say EXACT because people often will go buy frames once they win your art and if it is not EXACT, the frame will not work. Hence, unhappy customer. Always DOUBLE CHECK that. So, what material you used to paint on, either canvas , paper or board for the customer is adequate in your description...no need to mention exactly what type of canvas it is. Let them know if it is framed or unframed. About being personal, what I mean by that is personalize your listing so the buyer can know a little something about you. Tell them why you paint, your family life, what you predominately paint. Steer them to check out your other listings. You have so many ways to grab buyers, but the ONLY way they get to your listings is by the WORDS in the description, then they will see the pics, then you can hopefully sell some art.
  • Pictures
  • This is important , especially with artwork, but so many artists only put 1 or two pictures on of their work for sale. Try to put at a least 4-8 pictures on, and a great idea is to go buy some standard frames, black and gold are good, to use for the size Art you sell, and photograph the painting in that also. Be SURE to mention a few times the frame is NOT included in the sale. This really helps a buyer see how much better a piece of art looks framed. You can also use a photo- listing service like Inkfrog, Auctivia, etc. where you can put up to 12-15 pictures on to help sell your work, for one price a month. Fairly inexpensive ( around 10.-15.00 a month ), but you can use templates, super-size your photos, it will really jazz up your listings or make them more polished.
  • Pricing:
  • This is where I differ with some people, but I think it is nuts to start a painting that you have worked days or weeks on for 99 cents.Ebay is a fickle, crazy place to sell, I have sold on it for over 7 years ( old antique paintings ), and I have lost a lot of money starting bids too low. Buyers are sleeping on their computers when auctions go off, or walking their dog, or watching TV, asleep in their beds , in la-la land, at the mall, they may have planned to put a higher bid in...BUT...forgot. Then you are left with selling a very nice painting for 99 cents or under 25.00 sometimes. You can go online and check out starting prices, but if it a small painting 5 x 7 or 8 x 6 ins., 8 x 10, then 25.00 or higher, if it is a medium size 9 x 12, 12x 16, 12 x 20, then 35.00 and up.  Over 50.00-75.00 for 12 x 24 and up .Once you sell a few you can see where you need to start bids. Eventually you will know.. or hold onto a piece of art, if it is sitting with no bids, and try again at another time.
  • Communication:
  • Respond  as quickly as you can to buyers questions or concerns. That means the same day if possible. Also let them know you appreciate their bids and payments. This is another element I found lacking in self-representing artists ( the 20-25 % who also don't leave feedback ones ). The majority are good communicators.

  • LUCK
  • Luck is a big part of the game of selling on eBay .  Also who happens to be pursuing when you are listing, if your keywords are good and buyers can find you , if you sell a popular type of artwork, if your photos are very good... All of this comes into play. But I swear, luck is part of this game on eBay. So be sure to stack the cards in your favor by also going above what you need to do for your buyers.

  • Make a About me page or a My World page( both are free when you sign up on eBay as a buyer or seller ) and describe yourself and the type of art you predominately sell, plus a bit of personal info to let them know who they are buying from is good. You can also include any gallery shows, exhibits, etc. If the list is EXTENSIVE, then just include some of the bigger ones. I do not like reading a LOOOONNNGGG list of an artist's shows and exhibits. Sometimes an artist ONLY includes that in their listings, they fill out the top description where you put in the item specifics, but do not write ANY description at all. A mistake , also too much info about yourself in your listings, that should be instead on your About Me page, or your My World page on eBay. You may also want to do a blog about your artwork and include the link in your About Me page.

Payment Policy:
Include this in your listings and even your My World page to help buyers know what to expect. I give buyers 5 days time from auction end to pay. Do not let 5-7 days go by with NO contact  from a buyer who won an auction. Relist the painting after 8-10 days and move on. You may want to go through the eBay non-payment received process which takes weeks, then relist.

It is amazing to me how many artists do NOT leave feedback for their buyers. It is part of the game of eBay and also an excellent way to ' touch ' a buyer for them to come back and buy again. Show them that they are appreciated. You may want to wait to leave feedback until after they received your painting first. I have found that over half to the artists I buy from leave me feedback before I receive the painting, and about 20-25 % leave NO feedback. Craziness. It is vital to your sales , it is easy to do, and fast. There should be no problem here for you.

Good luck to you, do your best,choose your titles and description words carefully, respond to emails from buyers quickly, ship quickly , and leave feedback for your buyers...these tips can help you be successful online.

Bless you artists !

" The earth is the LORD'S , and all it's fullness, The world and and those who dwell therein. " Psalm 24:1

Saturday, February 13, 2010


My heart in my garden, covered with snow

We had an interesting weekend here in South Carolina, with the first snowstorm/snowfall in the last 7 years descended upon us. Whenever there is a chance of snow in the Deep South...mass hysteria follows.
Everyone runs to the grocery store to stock up.
Milk , eggs, wine , bread, cookies, whatever that family considers essential.
I decided to run out to my favorite Publix grocery store and bring along a cookbook full of soup recipes, I had chosen one , Chicken Tortellini soup, and I had decided I was going to make a big , gigantic batch of it to last us through the ' storm. "

I then went into Publix, got my cart, and laid my cookbook right down on top of my purse, wide open to my recipe while I shopped. I considered copying the recipe down, but it was long , and I said what the heck, I'll just bring my cookbook.
So I traipsed around the crowded store, trying to get everything for my double batch of soup. I had many people stop and slyly take a glance at what I was going to cook , I would just smile at them and keep shopping.
My favorite part of the trip was when I was getting my fresh zucchini, onions, and garlic...I was directly beside the Valentine's area , where all kinds of men , from all socio-economic classes were running in to grab their sweetheart some flowers or candy, balloons were being blown up as well. Lots of romance.
I am a romantic-sappy-terribly sappy woman, and I wanted to pull up a chair, and sit and watch all these men come and do this. I actually did watch them for awhile, so sweet and funny to see them fish through bouquets, grab balloons, rifle through candy. Hunting quickly for their love...to show their love to them.
Then I remembered.
I had not gotten my husband anything from me for Valentine's because we had gotten into a big argument a few days ago, you know the BIG arguments couples can have, not the regular or medium size ones, but one of the BIG blow-out fights you can have.
So when I had gotten my kids some Valentines things, and my dad, I did BRIEFLY consider getting my husband one...but the anger and hurt was still there, and I did not get him one.
Deliberately did not get him one.
I then left the romance department of the grocery store, and on my way to the check-out...I spied the front of the store's card department, some Valentine's balloons were floating around...and I told my self," Be NICE, go pick out a card for him ! "
I prayed , asked God to help me as The FEELING was not there to get him a card. I know God wants us to demonstrate agape love, self-less love, what is in the best interests of the other love, loving when you don't FEEL like it.
HARD to do for someone who feels too much in general.
And I was making him a big batch of homemade delicious soup ( plus french bread and slice and bake chocolate chip cookies for dessert ), wasn't that enough God ?
Not quite. 
So I pushed my cart loaded down with items, made my way to the Valentine's section, and started looking.
I looked through about 25-30 cards.
Love of my Life card.
You are my greatest blessing card.
You are the perfect husband card.
You make my life wonderful card.
You are the most awesome man in the world card.
You are the most romantic man in the world card. 
You complete me card.
I would marry you all over again card.
I love you more than you know card.
On and on, and no and no for me.
If I did not FEEL 100 % or let's say 90 % like that towards him , then I was not going to buy him that card.
Also words are important to me, they MEAN something , so I could not figure out how to say these sentiments through a card, if I was not all the way in my heart behind them
Then after about 50 or more cards, no lie, I was taking FOREVER , I looked around at the store, looked back at the cards, and laughed at myself.
How ridiculous is it for a woman who is fast at most things, why is she taking forever finding her husband a card ? We have been married almost 29 years, he deserves a card ( plus soup ), plus a giant Hershey almond bar, right ?
So , I looked again, decided on a I love you, simple card , still laughing at how dumb I was behaving, grabbed a giant Hershey almond bar for him too, and pushed my way to the check-out.
Later that evening, while I made my soup , I was remembering that God loves us when we are not lovable, ALL The TIME
He gives us gifts and blessings when we least deserve them.
We can work on emulating that with someone we know we should love, but don't feel like it.
More working on my love-walk here.
Have hope, God is not finished with me yet.

My back garden covered in snow

Happy Valentines & Bless you and the ones you love,
" Love is patient and kind, Love is not envious, boastful or proud.. " ! Corinthians 13:4

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Know your SOURCE for Everything

Me and my biggest oil painting , came out of a restaurant 1940's
My husband came home last week and tells me he has a painting for me out in his workshop. He had gotten it from some clients ( he renovates ), and they were going to give it away. Maybe I could sell it he thought. I got excited, told him to get it out of his dusty workshop and bring it in.
He then goes out, and brings in, not a painting,
a GIANT Print of a painting. Not even a giclee', but a Pier One or Bombay company nice decorator PRINT.
I don't sell new PRINTS in my eBay store, so I showed him it was a print ( he still couldn't tell ), it had that nice faux brushstrokes to mimic a painting, but a definite new print.
So a no-go for me.
By the way, this print was 5 1/2 feet long by 3 1/2 feet wide. BIG.
I then thought of my youngest beloved daughter, she may want it.
She was over the house the next day, I show her the giant print, she goes ' Oh, I love that painting. " I explain it is a print, but she can have it if she wants. 
She says ' Sure. " The problem with all of this, is she lives in an apartment with 4 rooms, she only rents one, it is about 12 x 12 feet, and I have already given her a mirror, and three other prints. She has zero room for this giant print, and whenever she says she wants something, usually 6 months or so go by while I have to store it somewhere.
And with all my paintings, antique prints , etc. laying around, I have no room for a giant faux-designer print in my living room for 6 months.
Yes, I would have made room for  a giant original painting, IF it was a good one.
But not a decorator print.

A few days later, the mother of my son's best friend comes to pick up her son after a day of playing over here. She stands in the doorway, we chat, she sees the print, goes ," How Beautiful ! " 
I turn and look at it, explain it is not a painting, but a print ( this is a big deal to me, as I sell and only buy 100% original paintings ). She says she does not care, she loves it.
Then I had an idea.
Don't think I am terrible, as I figured my youngest beloved daughter would forget about it anyway, and I did call her and asked if she cared. 
She said she wanted it, but go ahead , give it to my friend.
So I call my friend ,and next time she is over dropping off her son, I help her load this big print into her van.

Then after I give it to my friend, my daughter texted me, " Do you still have the painting ?"
Why she's asking me this after she told me to go ahead and give it away , is what I am wondering. 
Probably fickleness is hereditary.
I text back, " No , gave it to so and so. She loves it. It was not a painting. "
Then it starts.

Let me give you the cast of two characters, Me ( the Source ), my daughter ( Her).
Here's how it ( the texting ) then progresses:

The Source:" Don't worry , your Mom is an art dealer. You'll be fine, "

Her: " But I wanted it. "

The Source: " It was only a print, your Mom is an art dealer ! I will get you an actual  painting when you have the room. "

Her: " I loved it."

The Source: " You will be fine, I promise I will get you something even better when the time is right. I am an art dealer , I will give you something better. Love u. "

Her: " Ok, Love u too. "

She finally grasped that I could do this for her. What I am just learning in the last year or so , is about My Source. I have a Source, someone who owns EVERYTHING. Who knows what I need, will get me something better than what I even think I need...when the time is right.
If He thinks I need it at all.
God is my Source for everything I need , want or can imagine.
He OWNS the Universe.
He is the  RICHEST entity in the World.
Nothing I have is mine, EVERYTHING belongs to Him. Nothing anyone else owns is really theirs , it all belongs to God.
He is my ONE Ultimate SOURCE.
He is our source for our talents and abilities, our needs and our wants.
I have to focus on that fact when times can be tough , emotional , physical, financial , wherever I get caught getting worried or stressed.
I meditate on the thought, that God IS in control, he will never leave me or forsake me.
He is our strength , confidence and courage source.
I hope you have a peaceful day,

" God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. " Hebrews 11:40

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Moral APATHY of An Average AMERICAN Man

Searching for Art

This is a difficult subject to write about, but I have had an urge to do so for many months. It is unpopular with men. The subject that I am going to address is the moral apathy of the average man , especially concerning pornography and overt hyper-sexuality in the media . I was briefly watching the news this morning, when they show a clip of the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit magazine coming out soon.
Pretty young blonde woman about 20-something , not wearing the top of her swimsuit, covering herself with her hands and a strap of her top.
98 % nude, 8:30 AM.
Acceptable for morning news show now.

My husband was around later, and I asked him why do men, especially older men, not seem to care that they are lusting, leering , after women in their late teens and early 20's in this magazine ? Or on TV, or in the movies, or on the internet ?Why is it socially acceptable for men in their 35-45-55-60's to look at young women that could be their daughters or granddaughters, and all they do is smile and nudge each other...and feel that it is normal, acceptable...and worst of all healthy to look ?
I asked him if he felt it was wrong, all the hyper-sexuality in the media ( and he has heard me bring up this topic for over 25 years...lots of times ), but he just is silent.
That silence is fairly common with men about this subject.
He then says that I need to calm down as nothing will change," THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS . IT WON'T CHANGE."
The world won't change.
That of course infuriated  me ( I get riled up about a few topics, and this one is a biggie ) to me, as I believe that as Christian men, older men , they have the responsibility to protect women in ALL ways. They also need to express VERBALLY express, their disapproval with what they see. God did not want men to  be looking at naked young women or half-naked women, 100's, even 1000's of them with access to the internet, and polluting a man's mind and eventually causing him to pollute his relationship with his wife and daughters.
It also ends up polluting a man's own sexuality , skews his vision of beauty and intimacy.
His level of satisfaction with his wife can deteriorate exponentially.
He ends up never filling satisfied.
He ends up destroying part of his soul.
That's how strongly I feel about this.
I asked my husband about this later, about the fact that don't these men feel like a ' dirty ole' guy " looking at this ? He says that most men don't REALIZE they aren't 25 anymore. They think THEY are young , when they may be the age of the young woman's father that they are looking at. 
It made me so sad to think of all these young women allowing themselves to be used for monetary gain, or attention...for a pittance in the long run. I know they are not being forced to do this, unless for  financial reasons they feel forced , but I know that deep down they are ashamed and unhappy.
No matter how much they fake the smiles and moans for the camera.
That young woman is someone's little girl.

But if the men did not want this, did not smile and wink about it, but stand up against it...for God, for the women in your family , for any woman or girl that you know...then it would be less prevalent, and much less condoned.
Why I feel so strongly about this, about men more than women , I haven't any desire to see or leer at young men...I see them as close to my 24 year old son's age or my 26 year old son-in-law's age...I always see them as that kid I knew.  I feel that men have the POWER to stop this cycle in themselves, influence their friends, and most importantly influence their sons and daughters.
I don't usually see older women ( 35-65 ) lusting or leering after young men, 20-30 years younger than themselves. 
Maybe a few, but women trail so far behind men in this area , generally, that is is very unusual if it happens.

You men have untapped, unbelievable, tremendous STRENGTH to help develop a different moral climate in our world.
Starting with yourself. One man. 
Which brings me to the subject of what gets my husband excited.
Out of his mind excited .
Ready ?
He gets out of his mind excited when anything that comes on the news, that has to do with politics, especially Obama, who he has decided is evil ( him not me ) , comes on CNN or FOX News .
He rants, raves, screams, pitches a fit, veins start to pop up in his neck, blood pressure rises, his voice rises.
Mass excitement, outrage , hysterics.
I tell him to calm down ! Stop getting so worked up !
I then ask him if he knows that in the Bible it says, for us to PRAY for our leaders ? Not constantly tear them down.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
He says yes he knows that.
I then ask him , ' If all your guys at work, who like to tear down the President and Congress everyday...what if you got worked up about the moral fiber in our country going down the drain instead ?"
He glances at me.
Then more silence. 
Additional silence.
I then ask him, " What do you feel is a bigger problem, Obama or the moral decline of our world ?"
He stares at the TV for a few moments , then says,
" The moral problems. "
He knows, like I do.
Neither one of us is a prude , but we are also growing to realize how so much is now acceptable, and I see it more than him , as that is my general nature.
Too observant for my own good.
But apathy reins within him about this subject.
Too many apathetic strong men around.
If only men realize they can help.
Speak up when you see something offensive, don't laugh at ridiculous leering of young women , stop polluting your mind with images,  raise your own personal standards.
Consider your wife and your daughter.
Make a difference.
Men have inspiring, awesome, untapped potential to change this world.

Remember you are our Knights in Shining Armor, Our Defenders, our Warriors. 
We women WANT you to protect us , our honor.
God expects it of you as well.
Stand strong.

Bless you,

  "  I say then ; Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit ; and the Spirit against the flesh ; and these are contrary to one another , so that you do not do the things that you wish. "  Galatians 5:16-17