Saturday, February 16, 2008

Water Lilies

After watching Ovations 3 part series "The Impressionists" I could stand it no longer and asked Zoe to take me to the Botanical gardens where we feasted our eyes on water lilies, water dragons, water birds (including the cutest little babies) and some ducks, as well as other plant life and a waterfall. It was cool and shady and beautiful and I loved it.

We found out that there is handicapped parking inside the front gate, but as the pond I wanted was up the top we parked up outside the university - Sunday, no one was there.

Then we came home and I've been pretending that I'm Monet ever since. I so wish I could take my paints to the water lilies and paint there, but the number of people there would scare me away.

Still, I'm having fun with my big round hogs hair brushes that I'm rechristening "impressionist brushes" and using a lot more paint then usual!

Friday, February 8, 2008

(insert silly smilie here)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting excited about scratchboard

I've loved scratchboard as a medium for a few years now. But lately I've been getting very into it.

You can get amazing realism with it, such as in this Duck

But it also captures emotion in a way that I've never had success with in any other medium.

For example - Licorice (my cat) looking intently at possible prey - who would want to be a mouse?

And this piece, entitled "Loneliness"

And you can get great power and beauty out of it, just leaving it black and white, for a dramatic composition

I still pull out my oils, but for the moment, at least, my scratchboard is always close to hand!

If you would like more information on scratchboard - or email me at

Monday, February 4, 2008

ebay strike!!! 18th - 25th Feb 2008

There is a strike planned for eBay on the 18th to the 25th Feb, 2008.


After telling us that they were going to drop ebay fees, they put them up again.

Why are we surprised?

After releasing the new figures, they are STILL telling us they have dropped the fees.

Do they think we can't do basic math?

But that's not the worst of it.

As of May this year a seller will only be able to leave a buyer positive feedback. A buyer can still leave any feedback they like.

But this is only the tip of the iceburg, pay attention, this is convoluted.

If you get "dings" in your stars (buyers say postage was slow, for example) your listing won't show in the order it was listed. The more eBay sees you as a "bad" seller, the further they will push you back.

And how do you get to be a bad seller in eBay eyes?

Well, the dings in the stars are one. And how many ebay sellers weren't shocked when they found that people were dinging them on things that they have no control over - such as the postage system?

And then there is feedback itself. If a buyer isn't happy, of course they can leave you negative feedback. But in the past it paid for the buyer to contact you first and see if they could work it out with you, get a refund or something. Now, no, they will go straight to the neg feedback - and THEN force your hand and giving them a refund, even without sending the item back, because, you see, eBay also controls paypal and they have new rules for that as well. We will get to that.

Of course eBay says this system will be better for everyone. They say it will give buyers more confidence in the system. I don't see it happening. The only ones that don't seem to care much about this are the sweat shops. If they get bad feedback they will just make a new ID.

eBay also says that if a buyer doesn't pay they will be kicked off - but they don't tell us how many times they have to not pay before this happens, and in the meantime sellers will be afraid to put in a non paying bidder report - because then they will get a negative feedback and their auctions won't be seen.

But wait, ebay says, after that non paying bidder has been kicked off ebay all the negatives they gave will disappear. eBay - read the above paragraph again. Sellers have no confidence in this, and will be totally unwilling to put up with bad feedback and bad service from ebay for the months it might take you to kick someone off. If that ever happens.

If you are a buyer, or are new to this you might be saying "but surely they don't let buyers who haven't paid leave feedback?" They do - I have one bad feedback, from someone who didn't pay for a $7 packet of pencils. I asked for payment, he refused, I put in a non paying bidder so that I could reclaim my fees, and he left me a negative. eBay refused to do anything about it.....

Ohhhhh - unless I paid them money so that Square Trade could look into the situation. And then they could not guarantee that would have the feedback removed.

And you know what? It seems the situation hasn't changed. When asked if a seller would have the right to challenge unfair feedback the answer is "no - but pay Square Trade and we will look at it...." not do anything about it, just look at it.

Now to paypal. If you have been selling on eBay for less then 12 months you HAVE to use paypal. They don't give you the choice. Because, you see, eBay owns paypal.

If you have been selling for less then 12 months, have less then 100 feedback, sell in a "risky" area such as computer and electronics, then they will HOLD your payment for 21 days - or until the buyer leaves positive feedback.

That means you have to send out the item without getting your money, paypal acting as an escrow service. Who gave them permission to hold our money and act as escrow? Then, if they buyer says something is wrong with the item, paypal repays them AND THERE IS NOTHING FORCING THEM TO SEND THE ITEM BACK! They don't have to prove there is anything wrong, they just have to say that there is.

There are already people saying that they are going to open accounts and buy and leave negative feedback for competitors to get rid of them. They won't care if they get kicked off eventually with that ID - heck, they could even use each one only once!

eBay, I'm not risking my sanity with your insane system. You have bleed me enough.

Folks, my etsy address is