For a handful of years, I've been doing a wall calendar featuring my artwork. Every year I start getting message asking if I will be doing it again and when it will be available. This year's calendar is ready for purchase. Quantities are limited. Don't miss out!
2020 Wall Calendar
Twelve month calendar 17" x 11" (opened)
SHIPS NOVEMBER 15TH!!!
Includes US holidays. Features twelve pieces of art by Nancy. USPS shipping free in the US. (If shipping outside state of Florida, enter code OUTOFSTATE to deduct sales tax.) For pickup, enter code LOCAL. Buying more than two?.. use following codes: 3FOR50 or 5FOR75
In ten days, we (husband, Ladybug, and I) will have been in Pensacola for a year!
My anniversary gift for you!
We really love living downtown in the historic district. And, I love my backyard studio, (almost as much as Ladybug does).
In many ways, it seems like we just arrived in town, but I have enjoyed the first year. I've participated in several exhibits including the 1060 Gallery Show, several shows at Artel Gallery, and First City Art Show sponsored by Pensacola Artists Inc.! I have been humbled to receive several awards in my participation too. :)
Most importantly, I have been an active participant in Plein Air Painters of Pensacola. Every Friday we meet to paint for a few hours. Breakfast or lunch usually precedes or follows the outing. I've made friendships and learned about many art opportunities through this wonderful group. And, my plein air work is slowly improving.
Through these connections, I was nominated in membership in Art Study Club. It was formed in 1957. I'm looking forward to the upcoming lectures and demonstrations.
I was also encouraged to apply to join Quayside Gallery downtown (less than a block east of Palafox at 17 E. Zaragoza St.) and was accepted! I hung my work there back in June. I hope you will come by and see my artwork on all three floors, especially upstairs in space H-5. I usually work once a week and will happily show you around.
There are so many additional connections to be made, but I call the first year a success!
I almost got scammed.
I am very skeptical about most phone calls, and rarely answer numbers I do not know. In a weaker moment this week, I received a call from Big Stone Gap, VA and I accepted it. The person on the other end of the call said they were from Google Local Search and had been trying to reach me to verify my business address.
Why did I believe this? Because, I've moved multiple times and my art Facebook page still shows the Google map of my studio located in Arlington, Virginia despite listing the correct address.
I thought the two things might be related. I vaguely remember trying to get my business "Google Verified," but couldn't remember if that had been completed.
The person on the call was very polite and helpful. They said they were able to list my city without the street address. After we reviewed the categories and particulars, she said she was transferring me to the SEO Specialist. This person was even more eager to help. We reviewed what listings came up in my town for the categories and keywords I had given; they suggested some different words and tested those to get me the best possible results in Google searches.
Then the other shoe dropped. They said it was a one time fee of $349. This was a surprise, but I honestly thought that it could be legitimate. I was thinking, "It will be worth it. I'm not moving again. People will have an easier time finding me." They asked how I would like to pay. That's when my Spidey Sense woke up. I told them that I do not give my credit card numbers out over the phone unless contact is initiated by me. I said, "But, how do I know you are actually from Google?" They said I would instantly receive a receipt with all the information on it. I said, "Well, perhaps, but by then it may be too late." They asked if I could receive a text while we continued talking and offered to send me a sample of what I would receive.
At this point, I was armed with Google search terms (ironic, no?!) to ferret out the truth. As I feared, this was a scam. There's more information here. But, the main points:
I'd still like a correct map, so I'm off to try and do that myself. ;)
Many artists will tell you that your mailing list is of supreme importance. It gives you a way of staying in touch with your art fans and potential collectors. You have it whether or not the social media platform you use falls out of favor. You can control its use and should protect it and grow it.
About thirty days ago, I started seeing an uptick in subscribers to my list. I was thrilled! They had normal looking email addresses from a wide variety of domains and I wondered how people were finding me. I must be doing something right. Yea, me! Then I started to get them every few hours. What is going on? I was hoping that some super famous artist or international art magazine somehow mentioned me, but that was not the case.
I logged into my newsletter service (Mailchimp) and took a closer look. Here is what I found:
My form only requires an email, but most people give at least a first name. As you can see, these names in recent sign-ups the name fields are filled with strings of letters and numbers. This was very suspicious. As is my way, I started Googling the issue.
I found several articles by people who have had the same problem. It seems that email addresses are collected by spammers and then entered into random forms on the web. I have no idea why this is advantageous to spammers, but I can explain why it is an issue for those of us who send emails to collectors and potential collectors.
Why is this a problem? Several reasons: 1) If the address is a valid address, then people who did not sign up will receive your email (and perhaps hundreds of others) and can (will?) report it as spam. You can then be put on automated lists keeping your REAL collectors from getting your newsletter. 2) Your "open" stats and other metrics will be waaaaaaay off. You will feel like you aren't connecting with your audience. 3) If your list is large enough, you may be paying to send to subscribers that will never benefit your community or your wallet.
Is this occurrence nefarious? I'm not sure, but by clicking on each subscriber individually, I did find no matter what location was listed the language was Russian:
So, you are aware of the problem. What now?
First, check your list. I ran a bunch of address through an email checker. I used one at Clean Talk. Some of my fake subscriber addresses were real; some were not. Most had been blacklisted. That made me confident that I was not deleting actual subscribers. Then, I deleted these fake subscribers.
I also activated the reCAPTCHA feature for my sign-up form. Full instructions are on Mailchimp help, but below is what I needed to know:
Another step is to require those who sign-up to receive and respond to a confirmation email. I haven't done that yet. (I do send an automated welcome email.) If the problem continues, I will add that step. I'm trying to keep it as easy as possible for people to join.
Other people have gone to the extreme of charging a (refundable) fee of $1 or $2 to sign-up, but if I did that, I would send the subscriber something, whether a postal postcard or a digital item by email.
Spam is a pain in many areas of online life, but as long as it exists, these tips should help you identify and eliminate it from your sign-up lists. I'd love to hear your experiences and if my tips work for you.