Fall, it's Magic, it's Fickle it's Heartbreakingly Short

In Colorado, Autumn is the consolation at the end of Summer but if you blink it can blow by in a flash. I struggle with low level anxiety about this time of year; partly a fear of impending snow that can wipe Autumn color right off the map, or colors that peak too early or just a general fear of missing it all.
In the San Luis Valley we are experiencing a September heat wave of sorts but night temps have dropped to freezing. I have one hollyhock in my yard, a late bloomer that never does anything until everything else in the garden is spent. This year it had no sooner popped out its one and only bloom than a freeze toasted the whole plant. This is so perverse.
We can see the changing aspens up in the San Juan Mountains very clearly from my house; they call, they tempt - warning us that time is short. I could almost reach out and touch them.....
Last week Sue McCullough and I drove north of the San Luis Valley to paint on Marshall Pass only to have a full day of rain. This is also perverse.
We did catch Josh Been with a workshop group out near the pass. Hardy souls.
Our consolation was the chance to take a lot of photos but I would trade in one good day of painting for a boat load of rainy day color.

This week we planned a full day up in the Conejos of Southern Colorado but sickness and scheduling conflicts interfered. It was my birthday and as well the power in my neighbor hood was out from 11 AM until well past midnight. I would have happily sat all night in the dark had I spent a day in the aspens. There was no joy in birthday-ville.
Fortunately, my painting class has been meeting here in the valley, marking the changing of the seasons. Last Tuesday night we met north of town at the old Dairy and enjoyed a full moon. Here Dave Roepke captures the very last rays of light.
I didn't paint the moon but focused on a small group of cows grazing in a nearby field. These could be the first cows I have ever painted.

Below are 2 plein air pieces done from the same spot on the Rio Grande River near downtown Alamosa. The top piece is 9x12, painted around August 18th. The lower piece is 10x20, painted last week as the cottonwoods begin to turn golden.

Art Scams

I have added a new LINK to my list on the right, STOP ART SCAMS. Recently, I have been targeted by art scammers; not new news to some of you, and I usually ignore them - but not today. I chose to write a bit about it and maybe raise awareness among readers.
The names change regularly but the content is pretty much the same. My recent scammer is "Philip Walace" with email address phisiology001@gmail.com. and he wrote:
Good day to you over there, My name is Philip Walace i'm from California and i hope this message finds you well.I was going through your works and my eyes caught...., i will like to have it for my new apartment this month. please let me know if the piece is available, if yes let me have the detailed price and more information about it. i will be waiting to read from you asap."


This may sound legit but it's not; bottom line - someone is trying to steal money from me. In this case Phillip Walace, who had already tried with some artist friends of mine. Oops.
But notice a couple of telling things in his email:
awkward grammer, and though the title of my particular painting was the "subject" of the email, he doesn't even bother to put the name of the piece in the body of the text. This is probably a template letter.
The internet is a way we have to do business, it is no surprise that artists would be targeted but we can become more
aware. I am often contacted through my website about my work and if a piece is in my possession, would not hesitate to sell it. If that weren't the case, why would I bother to show work on line? Just being "out there online" makes me vulnerable but being knowledgeable about the market, aware of scams and having a willingness to WALK AWAY are ways I can protect myself.
When someone contacts me about work - I always "Google" the name of the person who sent the inquiry. If it is a scammer, I am probably not the first to be hit on, and someone else has written about it (one of the great things about the internet community).
I don't want to become cynical but will remain skeptical; I look over emails with a critical eye. Very often a scam will come in the form of an overseas buyer, they want it in a hurry, they want to use their own shipper who will pick up the work, and there may be some overpayment involved.
These are some basic red flags but over time I have put some personal rules into place for the protection of my business.
1. I will not work in a rush. Maybe it comes from too many years as a designer working to impossible deadlines, but as a rule, legitimate buyers are not impulse buyers who just pluck art off the internet like they were at candy counter. I have never had a legitimate buyer quibble with the time it takes for a check to clear the bank, or for UPS to ship.
2. I will never work with anyone who wants to OVERPAY - period,
or pay with a POSTAL MONEY ORDER or CASHIER'S CHECK, which can be fraudulent. This is a good reason to have a PAY PAL account.
I have taken personal checks for payment but always wait for them to clear the bank.
3. I always use myown shipper.

Read more about Art Scams, how they work, how to avoid them etc. go to Art Scams, Art Quest for known scammer names, Artist Network.com,and Stop Art Scams.

An appropriate quote here ". . . . be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."