Net profits

Dear Artist, Yesterday, Judy Chapman of Old Lyme, Connecticut wrote, “How do you handle requests from people interested in your paintings via the Internet? Sometimes I don’t know them from Adam. Also, how do you ship and handle payments, etc?” Thanks, Judy. First of all, anyone who has an Internet presence is going to get the typical Nigerian Scam letter. This is where someone wants to buy your work and often wants you to ship it by a specified carrier to a foreign country. They generally pay you more than you are asking (ostensibly by mistake) and then ask you to mail back the difference. They cry a lot when you don’t. Their own cheque or money order looks remarkably genuine, but it eventually bounces. If you’re the slightest bit suspicious, take the cheque to your bank, wait at least a month and don’t ship a shred of art until your bank manager swears on a pile of old James Bond novels that the cheque has cleared. At the same time there are currently more and more legitimate inquiries for art coming our way via the Net. I ask them to phone me so I can get an idea who they are — besides it’s nice to make their acquaintance. Typically, we send a few jpegs. Sometimes they’re folks who want to pay over time. I trust them, charge them no interest, pre-pay the framing and shipping, offer to give their money back if they change their mind (doesn’t happen), and with only one exception in recent memory, haven’t been bilked yet. Beautiful online connectivity is just beginning. The Internet knocks down national boundaries, facilitates choice, establishes legal recourse and nets quality friendships. Everyone needs an artist-friend, and you may as well be it. Once, while passing through a small prairie town, I dropped in to say hello to an email customer I’d never met. I ended up staying three days, ate the best part of a moose she had shot and painted her a free 11″x 14″ of a bird feeder while she mended a hole in my sweater. Best regards, Robert PS: “Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits can become tedious.” (St. Thomas Aquinas)

Esoterica: By far, most of my sales are through galleries. Without these galleries there would be little interest in my work. Further, I wouldn’t be able to get decent prices if I was the only one blowing my horn. But these days, more than ever, some collectors want to connect with the artist, and it’s often the World Wide Web that empowers them. “The world is round,” said Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “so that friendship may encircle it.” Current thinkers like Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature think we are entering a new era of trust. Less violence too. Certainly, amicable connecting is more available and controllable than it used to be. Further, in the rare cases where folks drive a thousand miles to get a look at you, it’s a good opportunity to tidy up the studio.   Do your homework by Larry Moore, Orlando, FL, USA  

“Waiting for Turandot”
oil painting, 30 x 40 inches
by Larry Moore

I had one e-quest to buy a specific painting that really threw me. It had all the earmarks of spam, terrible English, a shipping address that turned out to be a restaurant and he wanted my account number so he could transfer the money. Right. But he named other artists he had collected so I called them and he was legit. When in doubt do your homework.     There are 4 comments for Do your homework by Larry Moore
From: Susan Kellogg, Austin, TX — Oct 21, 2011

Your painting made my day; psychologically acute with overtones of Vermeer and Degas but more painterly and just wonderful.

From: Dottie Dracos — Oct 21, 2011

I had a similar experience but didn’t do my homework – and lost a big sale. He was an eccentric gallery owner who wanted to buy nearly everything I had showing at an art show. I found out later, too late, that he was who he said he was and that I had lost a big one. I still regret it.

From: Anonymous — Oct 21, 2011

Incredible picture. Thank you for Sharing! Sylver

From: larry moore — Oct 21, 2011

thanks for the nice comments. always nice to be compared to a real master, hard to accept but nice.

  The seventh sense by Marjorie Tressler, Waynesboro, PA, USA  

“River in Florence, Italy”
original painting
by Marjorie Tressler

You are right, we need artist/friends, and I have 6 of the best. We are a group of 7 woman artists who collaborate in having shows, meet once a month at each other’s homes for lunch, tea, and a critique of each other’s work from that previous month. We also have become very dear friends supporting each other through some very tough spots in our lives as artists and women. This has been going on for the last 15 years but now we have added another meeting — once a month we get together to drink wine, have a light supper and watch a video about an artist or just discuss art, and we have invited some men /artists to join us for that night only. But our group of women is called, “Spectrum Seven,” — longer version, “A Spectrum of Seven Woman Artists.” “We think this personifies what we as artists invoke — The Seventh Sense. We have five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell and some people claim a sixth sense which involves the spirit. But the Seventh Sense (ours) is the spirit made manifest — the artistic interpretation of our five basic senses.” There is 1 comment for The seventh sense by Marjorie Tressler
From: LD Tennessee — Oct 23, 2011

Wonderful painting…so serene & lovely colors. Congrats on your 7 and love the “Seventh Sense” definition. Thanks for sharing :)

  Painting helps fill the hole by Mike Drake, Augusta, GA, USA  

“The beach”
acrylic painting
by Mike Drake

I had a painting of a beach scene in my guild shows and no one bought it, to my astonishment. I had been to the dentist for a root canal, and afterwards the receptionist/ money collector informed me I had exceeded my insurance allowance for the year. “Oh my,” I thought, being an unemployed remodeler/ repair guy. I asked the dentist if he would barter some work toward my bill. He said, “Yes,” and he would get back to me after he had hip replacement surgery in the next couple of weeks. Well, two weeks went by and nothing, so I trotted that beach painting down to his office and left it with a $200 price on it to apply to my bill if he liked it. Finally, the receptionist called and said, “Sold,” and said he also had a rental property that needed some work, and he would make up a list soon for me, and not to worry about the rest of the bill. Hey, it ain’t Wall Street, but I’ll take it. There are 2 comments for Painting helps fill the hole by Mike Drake
From: Virginia Wieringa — Oct 21, 2011

$200? That dentist got a DEAL! What a beautifully nuanced painting!

From: Linda Mallery — Oct 21, 2011

I agree, I love it!

  Send the work C.O.D. by Anne Siciliano, Dryden, ON, Canada  

acrylic painting, 24 x 36 inches
by Anne Siciliano

If someone orders off the Internet and you don’t know them from Adam, I send the framed artwork to the address given, through the Postal Service, and I ship it C.O.D., which stands for Cash on Delivery. The customer also pays for the shipping charges. This way no one is waiting. I will not wait for my payment, because it has to be paid in full by money order when they pick it up at the Post Office, and they don’t have to send money to a stranger (the artist) until they receive the artwork. It works great!!! Both parties are happy. And it’s worry free! There is 1 comment for Send the work C.O.D. by Anne Siciliano
From: Liz Reday — Oct 23, 2011

Love your painting. Regarding the COD Postal Service, you have never had any “funny” money orders? My understanding was that some international customers were sending fake money orders, although I have never had it happen to me. I’m glad it has worked well for you

  Good sales using PayPal by Jim Oberst, Hot Springs Village, AR, USA  

“Summer Reverie”
watercolour painting
by Jim Oberst

In January 2010 I began painting one small watercolor per week and posting it on a separate website as a discipline to encourage myself to paint more often. It has worked very well. But I was concerned about the large pile of paintings that I’d be generating. So I also worked at selling them online inexpensively (but in line with the prices of my larger paintings). I had no idea whether I’d sell any of them. I worked hard to get my Web presence out there in front of many people. Well, that worked, too. So far I’ve posted 92 paintings, and have sold 30 of them, with 4 mailed outside the US. I have a PayPal-generated “Buy Now” button below the image of each painting. Selling with PayPal handling the money is extremely safe. And when someone wants to buy any paintings from me via the Web, I just tell them I only accept PayPal. Once you say that, you never hear from the scammers again. Google has a similar checkout service. I also have a money-back guarantee, and have not yet had a return.   What about flippers? by Anonymous   What do you think of people who buy your work on the pretense of keeping it, but you suspect they are remounting/reframing and then selling it? My friend and I think this might have happened to our work we presented in a small local art fair. Two women came in and scooped 6 small paintings of ours, and it just didn’t feel right to us. Whatever sells? Down and dirty? All’s fair in love and art? (RG note) Thanks, A. This is all the more reason to sell your work at respectable prices. My direct sales are always at or very near current gallery prices, and this policy essentially prevents someone from making a quick resale at a profit. My prices are published on my website.   Built on trust by Cindi Walton, Boise, ID, USA  

“White Vintage Ceramic Canning Jar”
ceramic by Cindi Walton

My husband and I own a small Christmas card company. For 19 years we have designed, marketed and sold Christmas cards for construction equipment people. In all those years we have never taken credit cards. We started out thinking that in order for someone to trust us, we needed to trust them. So, we sent Christmas cards to our customers with an invoice. Our bad debt has never been more than 1% of our sales and some years less than that. Doesn’t that make you feel good about our fellow human beings? Most people want to pay their bills and do. The biggest collection problem I’ve had are with big companies who take forever to process invoices and, now, so many of them want to put purchases on credit cards. I really think that a lot of our customers keep buying our cards because of the relationship we have built with them and because we trusted them.   Online sales of inexpensive works by Deon Matzen, Clinton, WA, USA  

“Dog #67”
original painting
by Deon Matzen

I have had the same type of scam folks contact me from time to time. I tell them that they must pay cash up front including the shipping and the local taxes. I will select the shipper. You never hear from them again. I do, however, do a lot of sales through email contacts. My policy on a $200 framed commission is a $100 Non-Refundable deposit and the balance with shipping and taxes added upon approval of a digital scan of the completed work. These are mostly dog commissions, although I had to do a row of ducks, too. I have never had anyone not pay. I guess because they have the deposit to lose, they follow through with the balance. It seems to work well and I am keeping pretty busy this time of year with people giving gifts of dog portraits to family and friends. I promote my work by producing several calendars which focus on a specific subject. I sell these and give some away as promotional materials. Postcards too. There are 2 comments for Online sales of inexpensive works by Deon Matzen
From: Patricia Warren — Oct 21, 2011

GORGEOUS! You have captured the soul in his eyes.

From: LD Tennessee — Oct 23, 2011

I think artists who paint dogs well are chosen by the angels…it’s a beautiful gift! You are definitely one of the chosen…

  Online precautions by Sharon Allen  

“Almost fall”
oil painting
by Sharon Allen

My first step when I get an e-mail regarding purchase of a painting seen on my website — no matter how legitimate the e-mail might sound — is to do a Google search for the person’s name. If the name is associated with any known scams, it will show up immediately. My second step is to reply to the e-mail and explain that I only accept payment through PayPal. Probably 99% of scammers disappear immediately. I also ask where the person is located so that I can calculate shipping costs. If I get a reply, I can then narrow down my Google search to a particular State or City and may even find a second e-mail address for the person. If that’s the case, I send an e-mail to THAT e-dress asking if this is the person inquiring about the painting. If I get a positive reply, I explain that I’m particularly cautious because of all the art scammers out there. The buyers have been surprised, but always understanding and, actually, happy to discover that I’m legitimate and cautious! From that point, the sale proceeds the same way it would from a co-op gallery or an outdoor show. I also follow up with an annual holiday card to each collector.   Paying the gallery for wild sales by Mary Moquin, Sandwich, MA, USA  

original painting, 19 x 22 inches
by Mary Moquin

I’m in a gallery that advertises nationally. Therefore, they feel entitled to their full percentage even if I was approached via email, via my own website, for a sale. I am absolutely fine giving that over if the lead was in some way related to the gallery, but I am required to share the profits even if they never heard of the gallery. I also would never undercut the gallery as I do appreciate and rely on the exposure that venue offers. However, I also teach and make my own connections via other avenues and through my website. Sometimes sharing those sales seems above and beyond. Websites open a whole new arena. People can discover work regardless of gallery exposure, but perhaps the affiliation with the gallery is what helps secure the sale? I am conflicted. (RG note) Thanks, Mary. This is a sticky subject, and it can be a problem for some artists. If I can trace a call or email to a specific gallery that has worked hard to bring a person to buy, and yet the customer contacts me directly, I give the gallery a kickback out of the blue — generally 25%. In the case of national advertising, I pay for (generally) half of it when they are mentioning me, advertising for a show, etc., for the simple reason that it helps other dealers across the country. When gallery A runs an ad, there is often a sale in gallery B or C resulting from it. Customers are often particularly loyal to their local gallery. A simple solution to this conundrum is to have more than one gallery that advertises nationally (or internationally). There are 2 comments for Paying the gallery for wild sales by Mary Moquin
From: Sheila Minifie — Oct 21, 2011

Love your painting Mary. So evocative.

From: Casey Craig — Oct 21, 2011

Love the texture and colors in your work Mary!

  Being safe, not sorry by oliver, TX, USA  

digitally altered photograph
by oliver

Robert made a great point — make sure you have funds in hand before shipping and can document that the art was well packaged when shipped. Best way I know to quietly document the transaction. I usually take a picture of how the art was packaged as well. Use your camera phone for this — costs a couple of seconds to do but there are lots of ways such a picture or three can come in handy. When doing all this it is sometimes tough to not be your own “sales prevention” and turn off the customer, but handled properly and professionally it isn’t an issue for good buyers. Perhaps the best thought I can give is think through all the issues and establish your policies. Do listen to feedback on the policies, but don’t chase “sales” break policy and get ripped off in the process. For example, “Can’t you just send me the work on approval?” from the decorator 2 States over. They can make all kinds of assurances, but if you do and they “forget” to return your art, what can you do? What will it cost to get your art back etc. — hard to sue and meet legal minimums. Reporting to police may get a response – sometime in the next year, given the cutbacks. Generally, they’ll say it’s a civil matter and leave it be, and then, hey, there is no realistic civil recourse. (RG note) Thanks, oliver. Maybe things are a bit more trusting in Canada, but we frequently send work “on approval” within this country. Further, once I have talked to someone on the phone, we frequently ship right away if the work is available and not a commission (which is another kettle of fish). Showing goodwill is part of the art. Regarding that last letter, many people wrote and asked how I was bilked on the one time I have been in recent memory. That was where a fellow sent five or six post-dated cheques and the last three bounced. We phoned him a few times and he said he would make good, and maybe he will someday when things get better for him. He’s in the investment business. All people are basically good.    

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Net profits

From: Dwight — Oct 18, 2011

I think Judy’s question is one of the most important in the “new” age of internet experience. And I’m sure Robert’s answer is very good too. I would like others to chime in on what they’ve learned about the art business on the internet.

From: Sandra Taylor Hedges — Oct 18, 2011

Another great tool the internet offers is Paypal, it is the easy way to sell your art without fear. Set up an account with or without your own bank account attached (as you can use it to purchase stuff yourself) and from this you can send invoices that are handled through Paypal for a small fee. This saves you getting involved with checks or credit card systems. The customer pays for the item in any method they wish through Paypal and Paypal puts the money less the fee into your Paypal account. I sell and take commissions through this system, its fast and clears within hours so once the money has been secured to your account ship away.

From: Suzette Fram — Oct 18, 2011

Over the year, I’ve sold paintings on the Internet many times. Payment is always through Paypal. I’ve never had a problem. We all get these scam letters all the time. There’s one big difference between the scams and the real buyers. The real buyer refers to a specific piece of work, usually says where they saw it, say they want to buy it, ask about shipping (and tell you where they live), and ask how you want to proceed. Usually also they say how much they like the piece in question. Scammers often say they like your work but seldom refer to a specific piece. Often they speak generally, like: I would be interested in your work, could you please email a list of available works and prices, and also shipping, but don’t say where they want it shipped. Usually they ask for information that is already on my website, like price and whether it is sold or not. The other dead giveaway is that the English is always off somewhat, they just don’t sound quite right. I usually ignore these emails, but if I am in doubt for some reason, I will reply back that I only accept payment by Paypal because of all the fraud present on the internet, and I need to know where I would be shipping before I can quote a price. I never hear back from those. It’s a sad reality for us, but it is what it is. The BEST clue, if you are pursuing such a sale, is when they ask you to send them money, for whatever reason, usually to pay back the amount of the overpayment. It’s the same thing as when a caller tells you you’ve won a prize, but you have to send money to pay the taxes, or whatever. If you have to send them money, IT’S A SCAM!

From: John Ferre — Oct 18, 2011

Dear Robert, The beauty of the net is it makes us all play on the same level. When I started out, I didn’t know anything about couriers or faxing or UPS. Now, I can write an international waybill in my sleep. It is exciting when you reach a client in another country or even on the other side of your own country. Not an easy thing when you are generally showing your paintings in hair salons and coffee shops. Yes, there are a few scams, but sometimes getting screwed over makes us more aware. The ONLY form of payment I take is PAYPAL. This is an on line payment system that is secure and protects both the buyer and the seller. It usually takes two days for the payment to clear your account and when that happens, the painting is sent. If the painting is lost or damaged, the buyer can ask for a refund through paypal and they are protected. It is a great system. Crate the painting well. I always put corner borders made out of foam core to protect the corners and then wrap my works in two layers of bubble wrap and then build a box out of coro-plast or sturdy cardboard and then wrap the painting again in thick butchers paper using lots of thick tape. Spend a few bucks and buy new supplies for crating. NOBODY wants to have spent their hard earned money on a luxury item like a painting and have it wrapped in used cardboard boxes from the recycling. If you are shipping internationally you have to have a certificate of authenticity AND an invoice in triplicate in order to have the courier and brokerage go through. Sometimes to close a deal, Ill include crating and shipping. But I usually charge for this. I usually have the item sent within three days. If you have a special client then overnight can do wonders to show your appreciation. Make sure you get a tracking number and send that to the client as well. The most important thing is to follow up! Make sure the client is happy. I always ask my clients to send me a picture of the pieces installed so I can add it to my “installations” page of my site. They love it and it looks impressive on your website to have a client in another city. It can be a daunting task the first few times, but once you get the hang of it, it all comes together easily. In this day and age, a sale is a sale and Ill sell to anyone, anywhere. John Ferrie

From: Carole Belliveau — Oct 18, 2011

I have been contacted many times and not one has proved to be legit. My first line of offense is to type the name of the person into Google, and you often find a slew of comments back that this person is bogus, a scammer, or worse. A sure sign is when they say they saw the work in a particular show and want to buy it but when you offer to meet them they disappear.

From: ksw — Oct 18, 2011

“Further, in the rare cases where folks drive a thousand miles to get a look at you, it’s a good opportunity to tidy up the studio.” rg haha. It’s true, a little bit of a wake up call into the real world. We have nothing to hide except maybe the chairs on our ceilings.

From: Jackie Knott — Oct 18, 2011

I don’t sell often enough to warrant a Paypal account. I have no problem asking for a half deposit for a commissioned work, with the remainder upon completion (it’s on my website, so no surprises). When the check clears, then I deliver or ship it. The farthest I’ve shipped is Texas to Washington DC via the USPS. Some shipping services do not offer adequate insurance whereas the Postal Service does – a must do. It was a large painting (30″ x 40″), unframed. I covered the canvas side with cut-to-size Masonite because I was concerned about the painting being punctured. Yes, it was heavy and more expensive to ship, but it arrived in pristine condition. The back side space (inside stretchers) was packed hard and solid with bubble wrap and very stiff cardboard. For all the criticism, they still do a fine job and I have no hesitation about using them.

From: doris — Oct 18, 2011

James Bond novels..what a hoot! Have had a friend receive one of these..the English was horrible. I am not on a web site..yet. Great info from all of you, thanks Robert.

From: daniela — Oct 18, 2011

I like what Carole Belliveau says about googling the name of seemingly bogus buyers, and, if you say “paypal transactions only”, even in the nicest possible way, they vanish. I did my most intense and concentrated learning of art in the period when I was undergoing more than one cancer operation and had 6 month intervals in which I would not find out if I was going to hang about or permanently hang up my brushes, so, art is very personal I gues. I had the nigerian scam a few times and got so fed up with the incongruous mix of where I am and what they want that I no longer sell online, but, being out of the fast lane of life, even though recovered, I now just enjoy the social contact and the face to face of occasional sales. I even feel privileged that I can do this instead of rushing to work and living a faster paced life.

From: Alex Anderson — Oct 19, 2011

“To become and remain successful, you need both a connection to hard work, and to a higher purpose.” Kabalah

From: Anne T. Nielsen — Oct 19, 2011

I found the Internet a great tool to find out if I was being scammed. First I Googled all the addresses that they gave me (there was no such address). I Googled the bank that the check was written on, called them and it was confirmed that it was a scam. I Googled “Internet art scams” and saw where loads of people had been scammed with the same letter. Then I turned the tables on the scammers. I used incorrect English, so they would not learn the correct speech pattern. Then, I told them that the check had been cashed as instructed. I was delivering the painting myself (not true), and would be bringing the remaining money to them personally, at the address they provided (not true). I even used incorrect English so they would not learn to speak correctly. The scammers about had a fit that I was not following their instructions! I just had a good laugh. On the other hand, I have had legitimate art sales on line. I Googled the names of the people and found legitimate businesses and people listings.

From: B J Adams — Oct 19, 2011

Most of the contacts through my web site have been bogus and I seem to receive one or two every week. I now write back to send me a check for the cost, only of the art work and as soon as their check clears both of our banks, which might be three months, I will ship to them and include a bill for the shipping. Only occasionally with this answer do I hear back. Those who really sound interested ask questions about the art when they are interested. These bogus letters do not. I wonder if there is any money is writing bogus letters? A few years ago I took one of the letters to our bank and they had me open an empty bank account and said to keep it empty. That was their solution and I have never used it.

From: James Fox — Oct 19, 2011

Some artist are only selling one the web with a credit card and some use only PayPal. One must have a PayPal account to use them, but the pre-screening is easy if the person is legitimate.

From: David Lloyd Glover — Oct 19, 2011

Who would have thought that people you don’t know would buy your art over the net? Especially not seeing the painting in the flesh so to speak. In any event I suppose the world has changed and it has become the easy way of acquiring fine art. The Nigerian scam has nailed quite a few honest people but there is one great way to insulate yourself from those pitfalls. With every online sale I have made I tell my prospective collector that I only accept PayPal. Once my PayPal account has advised me my funds are secured only then do I prepare the shipment. Their small commission is negligible when you consider the security of the transaction. I have never had a return and the buyers have always sent me nice comments on their pieces.

From: Garth Palanuk — Oct 19, 2011

Another way is to tell them you only deal with Western Union or Pay Pal. That usually stops them in their tracks.

From: Pat Stanley — Oct 19, 2011

Better be careful with those internet inquiries – my local (Toronto) large artist’s co-op has receiving a number of them from various people in various U.S. states lately, wanting to purchase paintings seen on the Internet. These are a scam, but earlier this year I received one that I thought was a scam, and consequently ignored, and only after receiving a second more detailed email a few weeks later in a more frustrated tone did I realize that the inquiry was legit – and I did sell two paintings. Although the images were seen on the Internet, luckily the buyer was local and I took several paintings to his home to view. But I came very close to losing that sale.

From: Andrew Cheddie Sookrah — Oct 19, 2011

Robert Genn, you, sir, celebrate and honour your connection to the Universe in ways most of us can only dream of…. Thank you for the art / life lessons.

From: Louise Francke — Oct 19, 2011

I have had several custom portrait commission sales of their significant others (dogs) from far away places. The furthest being Australia where quick shipping cost almost as much as the oil painting. His Chihuahua Elvis and the mom as showgirl were the subjects. Scams have probably gone over 100 in the years I have had my art up at various web sites including my own. The scam inquiries used to be easy to detect because their English grammar was atrocious. Now, they are getting smarter. When their inquiries or English doesn’t hoist the red flag, I run the letter through the local OCAG to see if others have received the letter. The majority have received the same letter which sounded initially like she was local, even with a fairly local name. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. They tend to prey on artists because we all would welcome sales of our art works. We are easy targets especially when we have numerous web appearances.

From: Hanne-Lise Enghoff — Oct 19, 2011

Trust is a wonderful agent for new experience. And a little bit of caution with it makes a good mix.

From: Enda Bardell — Oct 19, 2011

I have had a few sales from my web site. However, even though I recognize the “Nigerian Scam”, I reply, after I have checked my visitor’s statistics on my web site which tells me where the viewers are located and what they have viewed. It is never from the location of the scammer. So I reply saying that there is no record of anyone viewing a certain image from that particular location, which is true. That stops any further inquiries from that source. The bona fide inquiries, even with broken English, have a different approach. From them I have taken Pay Pal, cash or funds transferred directly to my bank account before I have shipped. Being cautious and courteous takes a few emails to sort out the details though.

From: TeresaMaria Widawski — Oct 19, 2011

You must be a stitch to have as a friend. Thanks for the information – and the laugh. Your letters loosen up the cogs and get my artistic juices flowing. In a future post, would you please enlighten us as to exactly what part is the best part of a moose and does eating it help one’s painting?

From: Rick Rotante — Oct 20, 2011

I’ve sold over the internet without a problem. I’ve also gotten requests from oversees buyers. You can tell the difference with real buyers. When they contact you they talk and usually refer to a specific work they are interested in. To protect yourself, have a dialogue with them, email several times. Send pictures of yourself and request photos of them. When you make the sale, deposit the check first and wait until it clears. Call your bank. Then send the work. I’ve never had one check go bad.

From: jen lacoste, cape town — Oct 21, 2011

I hear you Ngobo Ngobo… yet there IS a problem. We have found, in wider a field than art, that the banks are only too helpful with advice. In one instance, where there were serious doubts, our bank opened a separate account so that not only could incoming funds be monitored, but no existing funds could be siphoned. On our word that the business was completed, the account was drained into our current account and closed. Some bank charges were raised in this regard, but well worth it when you consider potential losses.

From: Thomas Albano — Oct 23, 2011

I received a scam letter like you described. This person in England was buying a house in S. Africa and wanted me to ship a painting to his new address. It sounded like a scam because he or she could not pick a painting on my website. I kept asking ,which painting. Nothing. I was playing around with this person’s head because I had received many offers of becoming rich with the Nigerian scam. I was not ever planning to ship anything, period. I went to my bank and told them what had been sent to me. They said. ” don’t do it” Your article cleared up a lot of what might have happen if I had gotten involved. Alsip, Illinois.

     Featured Workshop: Sharon Pitts
102111_robert-genn Sharon Pitts Workshops   The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. 

Silent Sentinels

oil painting, 37.75 x 48.25 inches Ifthikar Cader, Sri Lanka

  You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013. That includes Ngobu Ngobu of Nigeria who wrote, “A few bad of us make it seem like we are a bad people.”    

Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

Subscribe and receive the Twice-Weekly letter on art. You’ll be joining a worldwide community of artists.
Subscription is free.