Contact: karenhetzer@gmail.com

Working on some prints

Mural work is pretty much non-existent right now so I've been busy working on some prints of some of my favorite mural projects that I will personalize for clients.....they're for kids rooms :-)
I've been spending hours looking online for, who offers the best deals on printing, on matting, canvas, frames, etc.....all til my head spins. I finally decided to print them myself so I can control the quality and I will offer then for sale with a mat (no frame). I decided to offer 5"x 7" and 8"x 10" canvas prints, just sweet small images, but with nice size mats to make them more substantial, more 'important'. And personalizing them with the children's names makes them even more special. This is about offering an alternative to people who love art for their kids, but still need to watch their budget.
You'll probably recognize these images from my portfolio. The framed prints here are 8"x 10" prints.
The Farm Mural (which I love, love, love)
The child's name and birth date (optional/customizable) will be written on the barn in either black or white lettering (your choice).
The Backyard Mural (another one of my favorites)
The child's name will be 'carved' into the tree. Custom wording is absolutely fine, ie.....Grandma Loves....Aunt Sue Loves....whatever.
I think these would look great with colorful frames on them, and make great baby/kid gifts for the new mom and dad.
I will add these to the side bar with prices and a purchase link in a day or two.
Meanwhile, I'd love any feedback.

The Masters versus Cat Mats....lol

This is a painting I did when I was 'teaching' myself to paint.
How did I get from there to painting pet food mats?....sigh.
Why am I asking myself this question?...let me share :-)
I've seen Kurt Wenner's work many times, people send me pictures of his sidewalk paintings all the time, but I've never visited his website before.
Even though these are available on Youtube, I'm going to link you right to his website video page (so you can see all his other work too while you're there) where I just watched the 3 part videos that were made I'm assuming when he first started out, these were done in the eighties....they're the second row of videos. It just made me want to pack up what little I have (or hey, just leave it) and go to Italy.....sigh. Kurt, you are amazing....Enjoy.

A Couple of Other Helpful Sites

More stuff you can do yourself.
1. tutorial
1a. on this same site a cool perspective exercise using circles in photoshop. There's a lot of good stuff on this site, so check it out.
2. tutorial
3. And this site is just for fun especially if you don't have a photoshop type application (to print captions on your pictures)....I think there is also a way you can upload your own pictures to this site and put captions on them.
If you don't have them print your created image for you, a digital image download is only $4.95. Then you can print them out yourself :-)

AND HERE'S ANOTHER REALLY GREAT ARTICLE FROM THE FIRST SITE LISTED ABOVE....This is a must read for artists....it has to do with ownership of your work versus work for hire....a highly debated topic among artists.

Canvas Printing and Framing - part 2 of 2

As promised....part 2 framing

Canvas - Printing and Framing - part 1 of 2

I've been spending hours (yes, again) on google looking for tips on printing reproductions of some of my work at home on my home printer. I have two printers, both HP, one the HP Photosmart C4180 (All-in-One) and the other the HP Deskjet 9800 that prints 13'x 19". Neither of which are the feature of this video, but I still found useful information here......so I'm sharing :-) This is part one...part two is about framing and I'll add that here too in a bit.

I met with the photographer today to talk about having him print a copy of one of my murals onto canvas.....nice guy, very helpful.
Problem is that I can't get them as large as I wanted because they're old photos from before I had a digital camera or even knew anything about shooting photos that you're going to want to enlarge.
But I gave him this image and with a little tweaking he's going to print it at about 36"x 42 or 45". Some others I'll be able to have printed a little larger (up to 44" wide).
You can see here that my idea is to offer customers personalized prints on canvas as a mini mural. Still working on ideas for that....maybe put the child's name on the barn, or on the tractor? I'm not crazy about it the way I have it now. I'm anxious to see how this turns/prints out. Its hard having to spend money to see if something will work, but I won't offer something for sale until I know the quality is good.
I'm also looking at offering this option,
laminated prints that you adhere to the wall just with double stick tape.....a more affordable alternative (but still kind of cool) for folks during these trying times.
Remember this guy :-)? He's from the hospital mural I did last summer. How cute is that!
Even though moneys tight, you still want your kids room to feel special, and I think these are fun for kids rooms. This company offers the ability to use your own artwork with their window designs. You can get these in a matte or glossy finish......I think I'd prefer the matte. The top design is offered at 36"x 42", the porthole 20"x 20". Again, even though they give you the ability to see a (resolution) snippet of how the mural will print out, its still hard to really see how it will look.....seems the little snippets are never of an area that I'd want to be sure is turning out well.............I'll have to order one before I can offer them.
I also heard from the 'paint' printing guy in Florida.......the paints drying.

Jeepers....not one mention

I realized today that the grand unveiling had passed of the Frank McKinney $29,000,000.00 mansion that I painted the mural for, so I went to his website to look for any press about it.....his unveilings are always theatrical, and this one was no different. You can see a short video of it here.
I was happy to find an image that included part of the mural in a couple of the newspaper articles, a little disappointed though that it wasn't mentioned. It would have been a nice gesture (and a nice little career boost perhaps) if a list of the artisans involved in the project were given recognition.
Just a short post today. I've been spending time at craftzine.com and wanted to share their page/s on video rentals. There are several on there on painting and even some on faux finishing. Here's one from Pascal Amblard on cloud painting. And one from Sean Crosby on fresco mural painting. These are artists whose videos I always wanted to purchase (never stop learning:-) but found them to be a bit pricey, so I was happy to see them available as rentals. Tania Seabock also has several videos there, like this one on gold leaf gilding. These were listed under misc. painting. Take some time to go through their other sections though because you can find dvds on things like how to paint birds which would also be helpful for mural artists.

I had time to do both

I seem to have a mouse theme going on. I managed another mat, and was able to look through the jewelry book. Playing with jewelry is going to have to wait....I'll be on the prowl for used tools, seems you need a lot of em.

Back to work

I'm back to work on the canvas mats.This is the first for the pet food mats. It measures 12"x 19". This was taken before the polyurethane was applied (because of glare) so the colors are actually much brighter (with the poly) than you see here.
Friday I'm going to go meet a photographer who had an ad on Craigslist offering printing services (on canvas or paper).......he can print 44"x 40' long (if you'd need that). This is him...
Mr. Bruce Kravetz. This photo was borrowed from KaliDurga's flickr site. You must visit Bruce's website and read his history, and check out his insect photos...they are gorgeous! They reminded me of dancers or actors in the theater....check em out here. I'm looking forward to meeting him. I'm also hoping to learn more about how to take photos of my work that would allow them to be enlarged, my eyes kind of glaze over when people start talking pixels etc. I'm not going to abandon the 'paint' printing process that I've used in the past, but I'd like an alternative for pieces that don't require a fine art presentation. Matter of fact I'm still waiting for the results of my latest painted print of this:
I was hoping to hear something by now....how it turned out?.....when to expect it? Where are ya Joe?
Ok...I guess there's still enough time left in the day to crank out another mat........or?....... check out the pages of a book I just got in the mail.
I was inspired by a ring I bought at a thrift shop a couple of days ago....remember spoon rings?
I haven't worn jewelry in years because of my work, but I fell in love with this ring. It looks as though it were made from a baby spoon or maybe a salt spoon, it's very delicate, I wear it on my pinkie. I did some looking online and apparently these rings are still popular, there were a lot of jewelry sites for artists making them.
Anyway, I was inspired by it to look into new creative things to try and what I liked about this book is that it starts you out with the basics, and no soldering, all cold-connecting. I don't want to invest in too much equipment knowing my propensity to not always stick with something for too long.
Ahhh.......its snowing :-)

Still Helping

Today is help clean up the old apartment day. Tomorrow I can get back to painting.
Look what I scored though :-) while helping with the move, an old Davy Crockett toy chest.
It was going to be left behind and I couldn't let that happen. It's not in the best of condition but still manages to evoke those warm, fuzzy, Leave It To Beaver feelings of the fifties.
I spent yesterday preparing canvas mats for artwork, but the artwork will have to wait.....
I'm off to help my friend move her sister into a new apartment today.

Cherrios...the wise choice

I finally had a chance to finish up the mouse mat today
and started putting the polyurethane finish on the three that are completed. The colors aren't showing true here, its a pretty blue background with a chocolate stripe/border.
I'll start a new one tomorrow.
OK....I'm in a silly mood today........look what I found at the supermarket today....... a Valentine potato :-)
You're right........ I need a job bad....lol.

Straight Paint Job Today

Nothing special, just a regular day of straight painting some kitchen cabinets. Cabinets were typical 70's dark wood that just stood out like a sore thumb,
so I pulled a shade of pale blue from the counter top and brighten them up....also added some cool little Ikea knobs which helped give them a more updated look.
I love the old ceiling in this apartment....the original from the 20's.

Played Hooky

I did get a mat started today, but ended up playing hooky about half way through the day, spending time and money at Ikea....I love Ikea.
Tomorrow another break while I help a friend out by painting her sister's new apartment kitchen cabinets.

Another Floor Mat

Painted another floor mat today for the Etsy shop.
I'd like to step it up a bit and try to get two designs done each day that I'm not working outside the studio.....I confess to still feeling a bit frazzled since the Florida trip/work and I'm admittedly moving a little slow since getting home.
I'm not really sure how well things sell on Etsy, most things seem to be priced really low (IMHO), so my items may not do so well in that venue. I am though thinking that this is also a good way to create a lot of product for the coming summer/fall season of art shows. I've never done 'shows' before, but I'm thinking I might enjoy it......anyway, I'm thinking about it.

Cat Mat

Spent the morning on Cat Mat #1 for the Etsy shop.
I found this canvas on ebay, its a non-skid canvas. It has a rubber coating on the back side, I bought a large roll of it. This is where you can find it (when available).....bookmark it cause its near impossible to find this shop just doing an ebay search.
I have mixed feelings about the canvas....one, I like the non-skid element of it, but it has a really heavy texture, so you need to use several coats of polyurethane to make cleaning it easier. Then again, because of the tooth I also want to experiment using it for wall hangings. I'm thinking it would give the artwork a more woven (tapestry) appearance because its hard to make a clean line when painting on it. The other positive about it is that you iron the hem....no tape....no sewing.....lovely.
This is the back of the mat.
I've penciled in a line for the width of my hem, cut the corners, and have started to iron it in place. I've already primed the right side, so I've used a towel between the canvas and the iron.
A nice clean corner
Right side up, looks good.
I've sketched in the cat, taped out the border and filled in a background color.
And voila! One finished Cat Mat.
Off to see if I can find some usable small dog pictures to use for the next mat.

Forest Mural (Missing Chapter 1)

I just got an email from Anne...thank you Anne....giving me a heads up that a chapter (chapter 1) was missing from the Forest Mural DVD. Don't know how it happened, or when, but if you received the DVD with the missing bit, please let me know and I will email you a Quicktime movie of that chapter...so sorry...how embarrassing.

Here's the missing Forest Mural chapter if you'd just like to view it here. This is part of the DVD series for the beginning mural artist. Sort of hard to see in this format (so small) but it may be enough for some of you to 'get it'.

First Mural Offering

This is my first 'mini' mural offering on Etsy ($600.). It measures approximately 5' wide x 6.5' high. (sorry it's showing a little dark here).
Its intended to be hung and framed directly on the wall in a child's room. What I like about this, is that its appropriate for a wide age group. Its not so baby-ish that you'd have to put it away in just a year or two, but yet it does have the fuzzy elements with the squirrel and rabbit that allow it to work in an infants nursery. I'm not a real fan of exaggerated or cartoon-ish depictions of the real world when it comes to presenting art to children.
It is a 'painted' print of an original mural I did a few years ago.
I've mentioned this company in a previous post, Cat Studios. They are a company located in West Palm Beach, Fl. where you can have prints made, but not just with inks.....you can have a print made using actual paint. This is the print being made.
I've had a couple of works copied this way, I love that it's paint on canvas, not ink on vinyl or paper or even ink on canvas. And although you do have to go back and do some hand detailing to bring back some of the detail, and take note, the colors will not be exactly the same as the original, I love the process. Not to mislead, the original painting was actually much brighter...wow...way brighter.
And although you can go back and brighten up the print by hand, I like the way this print came out. The softness and moodiness of the colors and some of the edges give it a more ethereal feel. Its difficult to see here, but I have retouched some elements of the mural.....the butterflies for example are actually brighter than they're showing here and appear to pop off the mural. I also removed the miniature birdhouses that were hanging on the skinny tree in the foreground.
What most artists use this resource for 'IS' for underpainting, you can not expect an exact copy of your work using this technique and it works best with larger paintings.
My second offering from the mini mural collection I'm thinking will be copies of this...
And I'm hoping to be able to offer it in different colors. How fun to have a painted print, hand retouched, of a mural that you know is hanging in a 30 million dollar mansion.

Etsy Shop

I started working on creating a shop on Etsy this morning....lots to learn. I've just moved my MuralClassesToGo DVD's over there so far, but over the week will be adding some new handpainted items as well.....some mini murals for kids rooms, and some handpainted floor mats. Opening the shop has inspired me to do some painting of my own, and what looked to be a not so great situation, actually is.........I've got the time to do it :-)