Sunday, April 29, 2018

Customer Support & Website Builders

Over a week ago, I spent about 30 hours over 5 days working all my spare time at recreating my website! Why? Well, because it didn't have SSL (secure socket layering or the https) that shows your website is secure. That's pretty important, especially if you are selling online, right?

Sooooooo, I called GoDaddy - my hosting and website builder - and asked about SSL. What happened, is that the agent I spoke with talked me in to buying their new Go Central Website builder that includes SSL. He led me to believe that my current version 7 website builder wasn't going to be supported any longer.

The problem - I had to totally recreate my website from scratch because the new platform won't convert my old website. ARRRRRGHHHHHH!!!!!! As much as I  hated to do it, I spent all those hours building my new site. And then I discovered that Go Central doesn't have as many customizable features as my previous website builder. FRUSTRATING AS HECK!!!!

Fast forward: I was so frustrated with the limitations on the new website builder, I called tech support.  I couldn't get something as simple as a hyperlink to work on the pages! Thankfully, the person who answered my call (Rodney) was super helpful, and super knowledgeable. We spent about 30 minutes on the phone, and after talking with Rodney, I discovered my website builder isn't going away, it IS still supported. Fortunately for me, I kept the previous website builder and never published the pages with GoCentral. Rodney refunded my money and I upgraded my current website to include SSL. I can still fully customize my site and other than all those lost hours, I'm a happy camper.

Had the first agent actually "listened" to my concerns instead of trying to sell me a new website builder package (I don't know if they get commission or not), I could have avoided all the work and lost hours; hours that I could have been painting!! Good Customer Service involves listening to the customer; customer support is a range of customer services to assist customers in making cost effective and correct use of a product.

Are you maintaining your art website or did you hire someone to create and maintain your site? Who are you using for your host, and what website builder do you use? Any recommendations? I'm paid up through the end of the year with GoDaddy, but I'm open to suggestions...


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Everybody's Doing It!

10" x 8" acrylic pour on canvas
$45 available through my website

Pour Painting that is... Acrylic pour painting, pouring, fluid art, whatever you name it, it's become super popular, especially over the past year or two.

My favorite description is Hydrodynamic Instability paintings - yep, that's a term I found on the internet while searching for fluid art. Technically, it's Rayleigh-Taylor instability; and it the simplest of terms, it's how paints of different densities or weights react when layered together to create beautifully organic and mostly unpredictable shapes and colors. Kinda like oil and water.

And it's pretty easy to do - messy, but easy, and tons of fun!  When acrylic paints and a pouring medium are used, the paints can simply be poured onto a canvas using different techniques.  Flip Cup, Dirty Pour, Dip, Swipe, Funnel Pour, String Pull and the list goes on! The results are a very colorful organic abstract artwork. Artists are getting more and more creative with their techniques, and there is so much information online now. One artist has produced over 300 videos on just doing pouring.

I jumped in gung ho last summer and poured on practically everything that wasn't nailed down.  You can produce a lot of work in a short amount of time. I painted on rocks to decorate my yard, and on light switch covers to decorate my home with what I like to call "FUNctional" art. I sold a lot of work at the studio tour this past fall too. As a matter of fact, I will be teaching a class through our local Parks & Recreation Department on paint pouring this summer. I'm really looking forward to it!

What about you - have you tried pouring yet?


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Speaking of Names

Okay, now you know where "Maloha" came from.

When I first created my website (, I tried to get my name as my domain name - but it's already taken.  Turns out that Todd Rundgren's  long time friend and tour director is also named Mary Lou Arnold ( The domain isn't developed, it's just parked, but not available for sale. I tried - but that's taken too.

Now what?  I use a lot of heart imagery in my work; heart, art, heART, you can see how that evolved. HeARTSpiritStudio sounded right to me, so I went for it. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the 401 is from my anniversary - Rex & I got married on April Fool's Day - but that's another story.

Recently for yuks and giggles I did another domain name search, and is available - should I go for it? I'm not so certain that a change is necessary, but it would probably be easier for people to find me and my paintings on the web. That, along with the fact that I need to let people know I'm out there!

Do you have a website, and if so, how did you arrive at the name if you were lucky enough to obtain a domain with your name? If not, how did you decide on your brand, your name?

Comments welcome!


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Are you Hawaiian? (it's all in the name)

I get asked that all the time because of my email address and how I sign my paintings.

Mahalo is a Hawaiian word meaning thanks, gratitude, admiration, praise, esteem, regards, or respects. According to the Pukui and Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary, it is derived from the Proto-Polynesian *masalo.

Maloha, on the other hand, is how I sign my paintings. So where the heck did "that" come from? Well, my name when I started painting, was Mary Lou Harris. I signed a few paintings that way, but it just seemed too long for a signature, so I tried to come up with a shorter signature. I finally arrived at Maloha, which is the first two letters of each of my names MAry LOu HArris = Maloha.

Fast forward - I got married. Luckily for me, I married a man whose last name is Arnold; so I didn't have to change a thing - now I explain that it's MAry LOu Harris Arnold = Maloha.  

So, that, in a nutshell, is why I sign my paintings "Maloha" (I'm not remotely Hawaiian - I vacationed there once tho)

I'm revisiting my blog - it's been a long time, and a lot has happened over the past (I was going to say "few") but it's been 7 years!!!

I've always found it a little difficult to talk about myself, but here I am, and I'm going to make it work this time.... so bear with me while I get my feet wet in the blogosphere, again.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Speaking of Spring

Heralds of Spring, 16" x 20" watercolor

This is a watercolor painting completed in 2010, "Heralds of Spring". I participate in the art site "Wet Canvas", and one of our members passed away last year. Several of us chose one of her many reference images to paint as a tribute. I like the way the daffodils seem to be looking at the solo white tulip.
Available for purchase.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Time for Spring Cleaning (or not)??

Robert Genn's most recent Twice-Weekly Letter made me think. I have a lot of old paintings that will never see the light of day, let alone a mat & frame.

A lot of the early work from my beginner watercolor class make me laugh, like the 'hovering onions' (don't ask, I won't show it). ;-) Some I treasure because I can see how my art has grown, and they are 'pretty good', but not good enough. I've only thrown out less than a half dozen paintings in almost 10 years. One in particular, I ripped up and walked straight out to the trash can because I was so frustrated with it.  I regret that rash act; while doing a mixed media piece, I remember thinking "oh, I can use some of that painting for collage"; until I realized it was gone. A full sheet too.

Sometimes I think I should have a bonfire, yet the mixed media artist in me says "keep it, you'll use it one day". Other times I think those old pieces are bogging me down and I should release them. The art miser in me says "use the other side, or gesso over it, guillotine it, recycle".

What do you do with your old sketches, and paintings that aren't your best, the "failures"?? Do you recycle or spring clean?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joseph Raffael - Check One off the Bucket List

One of my artistic goals was to actually be nose to glass with a watercolor painting by Joseph Raffael, and today, I actually met that goal!!

Joseph Raffael: Reflections from the Garden

Traveling to the Nancy Hoffman Gallery (who represents Raffael) in the Chelsea District in New York City was/is a possibility, but to be able to view his work right here in southern California, is a special treat. SOKA University is currently displaying some of his best works, for free, Monday through Friday, until April 15, 2011. To say the exhibit is amazing and incredible, is an understatement.

To quote Arie A. Galles, Professor of Art, SOKA University: "Joseph Raffael understands the white of his paper, the brilliance of color, and the depth of luminous shadow. His objects appear drenched in brilliant light, while, at the same time, emanating a luminescence, an internal glow, of their own....There is a calm in the cacophony of shapes and colors, and an energy in each passage of his brush."

If you are in southern California, or plan to visit before April 15, 2011 - don't miss this one!