Art Scams–Swindlers scamming artists

People are actually trying to scam artists on the Web, and have been for a while. Here’s an email I received:

Subject: art work purchase

Good day to you.
I am so excited that I came across of your work on internet search, I am interested in purchasing some creative art works from you.

yellow roses
blue morning glory

I will be happy to have these selected art works hanged in our new
home in South Africa. how much discounts are going to give?
As well, I want you to take out the shipping cost. I have been in touch with
A shipping agent that are shipping other house decoratives, We are
travelling from our UK home to our new apartment as soon as possible.

On Paying for the art works,I will be glad to pay with a Travellers
Check or Money orders in US funds that can be easily cashed at your
bank,Please let me know on how to pay for the art works.

I will await your advise on how to proceed. Have a wonderful day.

Take Care.

Too good to be true

When it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.

This person had been to my website and did list 3 actual paintings. However when I traced the IP address, which is in the header of an email, it was not from South Africa or their home in the UK, it was from Nigeria. I got the exact same email a week later from a “Susie” not a “Debby”.

There is an excellent blog by Bj. de Castro with lots of information on art scams from Nigeria. If you are an artist with a website, this blog is a must to check out.

Highly Creative People–Frank X. Barron

On October 13, 2002, I came across a write up in the New York Times of Frank X. Barron, known for his studies of highly creative people. When I have doubts about myself as an artist, I read it and it always makes me feel better, because– a) it makes me smile and– b) I feel like I’m not alone.

I’m passing it along to you:

Dr. Barron once described a highly creative person as “both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner than the average person”.

Dr. Barron found that highly creative people show high levels of ego-strength, a trait that allows them to channel their energy into creative work. They resist conformity and demonstrate a willingness to take risks.

And this is the part about highly creative people that I really like

Significant creative advances require a high tolerance for disorder and a preference for complexity, combined with the ability to extract order from chaos.

Dr. Barron’s own style reflected many of these characteristics. He worked in a way that might seem, if you hadn’t followed it for very long, to be casual and without any particular focus. But after a few years it became clear that there was an inner compass that guided him and continued to guide him for all of his life.

Original Art–painting tips, the pallette

One of the first things that happened when I studied with Steve Hawley, was that he gave me a basic painting palett that I had never used before. It radically changed how my paintings look. I’ve passed it on to a lot of people, and it always makes a huge difference. So here it is:

Basic Painting Palette

Burnt Umber
French Ultramarine Blue
Thalo Green
Alizarin Crimson
Burnt Sienna
Naples Yellow
Titanium White
Thalo yellow green

Original Art–art as a status symbol

I wrote an article, Why Buy Original Art, about how art enlivens an environment and enriches lives. That’s all true. However, one of the reasons people buy art is that art is a status symbol.

Having original art says that you are educated, cultured and can afford original art, especially really good original art like mine, which means you have money. It also says that you have “class”.

Having a Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Audi, all are status symbols, but they don’t necessarily mean you have “class”.

Having a big house in a good neighborhood is a status symbol, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have “class”.

Belonging to a variety of clubs can be status symbols, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have “class”.

Having art is unique in imparting to others that you are of value. Art is something that people pass on from generation to generation. Art defines civilizations. Art tells people that you are not only educated, but also that you appreciate history and beauty. It is why when the early American tycoons built their fortunes, they went out and bought art, because it gave them “class”. Thank goodness they did, because today we can see Van Goghs, Monets, Renoirs in the great art museums all over the world.

There are only good reasons to buy original art, whether it is to nurture the soul, enliven your environment or to feel essential. Buying original art adds to the quality of life for everyone, yours as well as all the people around you.

Artists–Highly Sensitive Souls

Blue Morning Glory
Oil on Panel
12” x 24”
Mary Baker © 2004

When I found Jenna Avery’s article on Highly Sensitive Souls on the Internet it was such a relief. Jenna articulated things that I had felt for years as an artistic soul, but had felt that something must be wrong with me. After reading Jenna’s article and going to her website–Highly Sensitive Souls, I realized that all those things that I had felt were wrong with me, were actually good things, maybe even great things.

Sensitive artistic souls

Jenna’s article describes so beautifully what it is like to be an artistic soul. Artists do have powerful intuition and awareness; artists do have emotional passion, intensity and depth. As artists we are very observant of the subtleties of our environment and yes, to be an artist, it is necessary to be a visionary.

Artists do receive much more information from our surrounding than other people and can get easily overwhelmed. Artistic souls have an inner life that is just as complex as our outer life and private time alone really is necessary to feel replenished and rejuvenated.

For years I felt that I didn’t “fit in” with the people around me (sometimes I still feel that way!), and it was a wonderful feeling after reading Jenna’s article to know that I wasn’t alone, and that nothing was actually wrong with me.

Helping other people to understand what it is like being an artistic soul

Jenna gave me permission to print her article Highly Sensitive Souls on my website Mary Baker Art. People have told me that they have printed the article and given it to their husbands, their parents, their co-workers, their children and even their children’s teachers to articulate and explain to them who they are.

People have also printed the article and given it to fellow artists for encouragement, reassurance and motivation.

If you are an artistic soul you will probably enjoy Jenna Avery’s website, Highly Sensitive Souls. I think that you are in for an incredible treat!

New York Stories-submitting your art work to art galleries

It is very hard submitting your art work to art galleries. It is difficult to get rejection after rejection and to still have the energy and will to keep creating your art work. I figure for every 25 submissions I make, I am lucky to receive one positive response.

When my first New York gallery took me on, I discovered an amazing fact. The art gallery received 4,000 slides a year! That’s right 4,000 slides!

I tell young artists that if they get even a personal response from an art gallery saying that they liked the artist’s work, that that is huge; and to definitely follow up on that contact when they are submitting their next round of slides.

If an artist gets asked by an gallery to show them his or her art work, but the artist doesn’t get accepted to be a part of the gallery…that is also huge, and to definitely follow up on that contact as well. These are encouraging signs.

It takes a great deal of courage to submit art work to art galleries. And if you are an artist who is in the process of doing that–good for you!

Art, Artists and Vocation

Hal-the actor

My son Hal is an actor (he’s very talented and you can see his webpage at When people ask me what Hal’s doing, I tell them that he’s an actor in his last year of college. Invariably most people either groan or roll their eyes and say something to the affect of, “You poor thing, he’ll never get a job!” or “You paid all that money only for him to be unemployed!”

The cheerio prayer

I’ve heard it so many times now that I just use what I call the “cheerio prayer” and say “Oh” (it’s amazing how many ways you can say “oh”–“OH”, “ooooooooh”, “oOooh”).

Art, Artists and Vocation

What I want to do is explain to all these folks that “having a job” isn’t what being in the arts is all about; being in the arts is a vocation, a gift, something to be cherished, something to be in awe of–that they should be proud, very proud!

So I decided to write an article explaining this. It is called Art, Artists and Vocation, you can find it by visiting my website, Mary Baker Art. Hopefully other people who get the same reaction about their loved one, can print a copy of the article and hand it to the person instead of reverting to the “cheerio prayer”.

Maybe artists young and old who get lectures from their families, friends and strangers on how pointless it is to be an actor, writer, sculptor etc. can also print out the article, so that people can know that being in the arts is a good thing and not fall routinely into despair!

So if you are an artist or a family member of an artist, don’t despair, instead, dance, you or your loved one are in for very interesting ride!

Art, Artists and Blogs

It never occurred to me to have an artist’s blog before I read Kristen Royce’s article on Why Every Artist Needs A Blog.

One of the great things about having an art blog is that you can update it right away. It can often take days or weeks to update an art web site. You can also edit a post and correct it immediately. And it is also possible to go back and edit or “tweak” a post after you have published it on your artist’s blog.

You can do very different things with an art blog than you can with an art website. They appear to be a great combination.

An artist’s website is like a constant one-person show. An artist’s blog has a very different tone than an artist’s web site. An artist’s blog is like having an ongoing chatty art conversation.

The subject matter can be much more personal in an art blog. You can talk about events and information that just wouldn’t fit in with an artist’s website.

I am in the early learning stages of art blogging and I am finding that art blogging can be a whole lot of fun.

Realistic Painting

When I was in graduate school almost every one of my teachers was either doing conceptual art or abstract art. I wanted to do realistic painting. My teachers thought I was nuts!

It was around the time that Philip Pearlstein was coming on the art scene, and I just loved his art work. Over my teachers objections I painted realistic paintings.

My teachers were very surprised that in the student art show, not only did I get picked to get in, but I also got an honorable mention.

Realistic Painting–first art gallery bite

Just for the heck of it I decided to send out slides of the series of realistic paintings I had done to galleries in Chicago, the area where I was going to graduate school. And I got a bite. One of the leading galleries asked me to bring in my realistic artwork.

My art teachers were amazed, they hadn’t been able to get any response from galleries in Chicago and here I was with an art gallery bite!

Realistic Painting–first art gallery response

I brought in the paintings to show the gallery director, and I’ll never forget it. He said, “Great paintings, I love them, come back when you know how to paint!” Oh.

Realistic Painting–Artist Steve Hawley

The gallery director was right. I didn’t know how to paint realistic paintings, but neither did my teachers. But what to do??

When I moved to Massachusetts I was “lucky” enough to meet nationally renowned realistic painter Steve Hawley, who invited me to study with him. I couldn’t believe it–who was going to turn that one down. It was like having Michelangelo inviting you to study with him! Wow!

So I studied with Steve Hawley for seven years, and everything I know about realistic painting I owe to Steve. Visit Steve Hawley’s website (www., you are in for an incredible treat!

And you can see some of the results of my years of studying with Steve at my Website , Mary Baker Art (

New York Stories-looking for an art gallery

Looking for an art gallery

I somehow finagled my way into sitting down with a gallery director on 57th Street in New York City when I first decided that I wanted to be represented by an art gallery. I showed him my slides and he gave me a very interesting piece of information that I have used now for almost twenty years.

What he told me was that art galleries want twenty slides all of a similar subject matter, all in the same style, all done within one to two years and all available. Art galleries were not interested in seeing that an artist could do a wide range of either subject matter or styles. The art gallery wanted to look at a set of slides and envision exactly what a one-person show could be like.

I never learned this in art school or from any artist. When I talk to young artists this is big news, so it’s definitely a piece of information that’s worth passing on!

Artists and Websites

Artist’s websites can be hard to find

It really does bother me that when you look on the Web for artists’ websites, established artists’ websites can be very hard to find.

I understand that the Web makes many establish artists nervous. Often established artists will create a website when they are “between galleries”. Once that happens, artists begin to see how incredibly effective an artist’s website can be!

Having an artist’s website is so much fun

Having an artist’s website is fun. First of all it’s like having a one person show 24/7!! That’s pretty cool! Second of all anyone, anywhere in the world can and does look at your art on your website! How Amazing is that!!

The first month I had my website I’d check to see who visited it, and I was amazed that people from Chile, Japan, Australia, Lithuania, Spain–almost every country in the world came for a visit any time of day or night! Wow!

I found a really great young lady to help me design my artist’s website. At first I was really nervous, but then it became really exciting. I just couldn’t believe that my art work was up there on the World Wide Web for anyone to see!!

For the art world, the Web really is changing the way people look and experience art

The Web really is changing the way people look and experience art. The Web really is like having Walmart or Home Depot come to town. There will always be bricks and mortar art galleries, but they are gradually loosing their effectiveness, except for those art galleries who have a strong web presence. That’s why it’s so important that every artist has his or her own website.

I wrote a four part series called “Art, Artists and the Web” to make it a little less scary for artists who want to create websites. It tells you just about everything you’d want to know. It’s an article that I wish I had had when I was designing my artist’s website.

You can find it on Mary Baker Art (, or click on the “Art, Artist’s and the Web” link under “Articles” on the right side of this art blog.

Contemporary Realism–Defined

People often ask me what exactly is “Contemporary Realism” in painting.

Contemporary Realist Artists paint straightforward subject matter. It can be tightly rendered or have a more academic approach, but what they all do in obvious or subtle ways is incorporate the compositions and structure of Modern Art.

The description of “Realism” at the Open Directory Project–dmoz, ( is terrific:

“Realism in the visual arts began as a 19th-century style and depicts people, objects and events in a manner considered accurate or true to life. It began as a reaction to the idealistic approach of romanticism.”

Dmoz’s definition of Contemporary Realsim is also great:

“Contemporary Realism is a subtle combination of straightforward, traditional, representational painting with Modernist concepts. It differs from “Classical Realism” which is romantic in nature and does not reference concepts of Modern Art, and “Photorealism” which is often ironic and conceptual in nature.”