Contact: karenhetzer@gmail.com

How to make a clay baby

I know.......nothing to do with mural painting, but sometimes something just catches my eye that I want to share. Sorry if the music from my slideshow collides with this....just hit the little speaker on my slideshow to turn it off. Check this video out too.

From Start To Finish

While I was visiting fauxforum.com this morning I came across a link in one of their discussion threads that I thought may be of interest. Its a step by step of the creation of an exterior mural, from the sketching process all the way to completion that is posted on handletteringforum.com by artist Tony Segale.
Here's a website that may be of interest to the beginning mural artist. It has a lot of basic information and some interesting links to follow. And I'm just posting this blog site for its wonderful list of other (mostly design) blogs....a fun way to spend an 'indoor' day and get some inspiration.

Women of the graveyard and one special guy

Spent today strolling in a graveyard of all places. Philadelphia's graveyards are amazing, simply full of beauty. The architecture of the crypts again, amazing. The artwork, sculptures.....I was in awe. The crypts really captured my attention. In one section of the graveyard it was like walking into a village full of miniature houses.
Look carefully at this one. On either side there are two stone chairs that welcome you to sit and stay for a visit.
You're also able to peek into most of these crypts, and 99% of them were adorned with stained glass windows....gorgeous.
And then there's the women....
And look who we found........the father of baseball! Spring is in the air.

More affordable options for these tough economic times

HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY! I'm becoming a big, big fan of silhouette murals. In some ways they make a bigger impact than the traditional painted mural, but somehow at the same time they're easier on the eye and spirit.....the message is there without the fuss.
Even if you still want to throw a little (or a lot:-) of
color behind the image.
The ones below are some of mine, done at the KIPP Charter School in Philadelphia, Pa.
I do silhouette work for at least half the cost of traditional colored murals, so for clients?....its a good look, at a great price.
Got a copy of the Dharma Trading Company Catalog the other day. They've got such neat stuff but I always seem to forget about them until I get a catalog in the mail. Not sure why, they've got things that I'd actually like to try......banners, the large size 24"x 48" for under 10 bucks and with the hanger.
A tablecloth/wall hanging 5'x 8.5' 100% cotton for $20 and change....wonder what that would be like to paint a small mural on? Course you'd have to prime it and its gone a shrink some.
They have a projector for under $30.
I used a similar one (Tracer) when I was first starting out and had little money and it was twice that price.
The Aiptek pocket cinema/projector is what I'd like to get my hands on now, thinking it would be cool to take on jobs and be able to project small images into mural work. Not sure if it could really be used that way, but it be a lot easier to carry around than the big projector I have now. But work is slow, so it'll have to wait :-(
Anyway, if you don't know Dharma, check em out....they've got all kinds of stuff there for the artist and craft person.....paints, dyes, tools, airbrush equipment, stenciling stuff, clothing.....the list goes on.

AIPTEK PocketCinema V10

Know What You're Painting

I went to one of my links in the sidebar (Great Artist Resources) to look for an interesting read with my morning coffee and came across this. It's a site with veterinary anatomical illustrations .....wish I had discovered this sooner. I couldn't get the link to work, so go to the right sidebar and click on Great Artist Resources....click on Anatomy and you'll find the link there. (There's a lot of great information on the main site, but I stay away from shareware downloads and just use the external links. Shareware can make your computer vulnerable to hackers.)
Sometimes I think we forget about the obvious. What a great way to eliminate the frustration of trying to draw/paint a proper animal.....go to the source....deep inside the source to understand what you are painting.

New Photos From the Florida Mansion Job

I found some new images of the murals I painted for the mansion in Manalapan, Fl. this past year. This is the third mansion built by Frank McKinney that I've had the pleasure of creating murals for. This mural if you remember, was intended for the main elevator, but found its home in the main foyer instead.
There are several articles about the project in the Media link on Mr. McKinney's website. There's even a peek of the mural in a China newspaper!
I was also able to find a couple of short video interviews with Mr. McKinney. One which aired on WXEL (So. Florida public television) where the mural could be seen in several shots.

And shorter video which aired on WPEC-CBS12, where there's a quick shot of the mural that was done for the service elevator....don't blink ;-)

Types Of Inks...Which To Use

A fellow artists wrote me asking for information on the paint printing process that I've mentioned in previous posts, and her email brought to my attention how little I do know about the printing process in regards to inks. Here's a bit of info I found (at oddparts.com) while trying to educate myself. And you can go here to read about archival inks.

What is the difference between standard dye-based ink and pigmented ink?

  1. Water Resistance

    • The dye in the dye-based ink dissolves in water like sugar does in water -- completely.
    • Pigment does not dissolve completely. It is more like a flour and water mixture.
    • Because of this, dye-based inks flow better and have been the standard in inkjet printers. But the dye will re-dissolve and the ink will flow across the paper if drops of water hit the paper.
    • Pigmented ink particles tend to settle into the tiny fibers that make up the paper. As the ink drys, the pigment particles get stuck in the fibers. Thus, the pigmented inks are more water resistent than the dye-based inks. Only about 5 to 10 percent of the ink will re-flow if the paper is hit by water.
  2. Fade Resistance

    • The molecules in dye-based inks are spread out. You might think of dye-based ink on paper as similar to a beach covered with sand. Because of this, dye-based ink tends to fade quicker, since all of the molecules are exposed to the chemical and sunlight-caused reactions that fade the ink. You may notice fading of dye-based inks exposed to direct sunlight commonly in 6 to 12 weeks, although when protected from air and sunlight, these inks can last several years. However, new dyes developed originally by HP, Fuji, and Epson have improved the fade resistance of dye-based inks to be equivalent to the capability of most pigments.
    • Pigment particles are similar to large pebbles on a beach. It is much more difficult for sunlight and chemicals to react with all of the pigment molecules, since most of them are hidden inside the "pebbles". Pigmented inks will usually last for several months before fading becomes noticeable, and when protected from air and sunlight, these inks can last for many years.
    • Special Pigmented inks are those which are rated as "Archival Quality" Archival quality pigmented inks use special pigments to improve the fade performance beyond that of normal pigmented inks. Fading becomes noticeable when exposed to direct sunlight in 6-12 months, and when protected from air and sunlight these inks will last for decades.
    • For extremely long archival conditions, the best thing to do is simply to enclose a CD with the document or photographs. That way, if there is any damage down the road, the customer can simply reprint the material.
  3. Print Quality

    • It is possible to get more "color" into dyes than into pigments. Therefore, dye-based colors tend to be more vibrant than pigment-based colors. And pigmented black inks tend to be slightly lighter than dye-based inks.
    • Dye-based black inks tend to be better for text printing, whereas pigmented black inks often are designed more to blend in a graphics application.
    • Photography usage depends upon the overall printer design. For example, HP uses pigmented black inks for normal printing, but their special photo cartridges have an additional dye-based photo black. Epson 6-color printers often use dye-based inks, whereas their 4-ink systems often use pigmented inks.
    • "Special Pigmented" inks have color vibrancy similar to that of dye-based inks, but there is still a difference noticeable to the professional.

Thoughts?

I like how changing this to a sepia tone mural changes the whole feel of it. Thoughts anyone?
Decided to add a boat to the scene to cover up some of the water. Not quite done tweaking it yet, but like the addition.

Canvas Samples

While I've been surfing around for canvas, I came across a company that offers a one time sample roll of inkjet canvas (17"x 20') for $23.95....a great deal. It came yesterday. My printer only prints 13" wide, but I don't mind trimming the canvas down at that price.
I was really impressed with the presentation folder that came with it. There were several samples of their paper and canvas offerings, which really helps when you're trying to learn about printing material. There was even a pair of white gloves...cool.
I especially like the sample of Elegance Velvet a 310GSM Vellum textured fine art paper made from 100% cotton....very nice texture. I think I even prefer it over the canvas.
Anyway, just thought some of you who do your own prints may want to take advantage of the sample offer.
I decided to pull out the canvases that I used for the mural lessons dvds and do some more work on them in preparation to sell them, they've just been sitting rolled up in a corner.
I'm working on the Tropical Mural one right now.
Here's how it ended as a lesson for beginner mural artists...
And these are some of the changes/additions I've made to it so far.....
I also plan to photograph them for future prints.

No Focus

I'm having trouble staying focused on anything right now. I still haven't received the 'painted' print I had done in Florida, so I can't move forward with promoting that.
I've decided because of the waiting and the lack of communication from the printer that using him for this project is not going to work. If I am able to sell prints of this piece, I want assurance that my orders are delivered in a timely matter. I will switch to archival ink prints on canvas, and have them done locally. When the print does arrive I have a wall that I want to attach it to, and below is the way I will frame it out....similar to this photo.
I'm rethinking the childrens prints I want to do...changing the size to a bit larger, and with less matting, and I'm waiting for the canvas to arrive so I can work on those. I also want to re-photograph them in bright colorful frames....the black just doesn't work.
Can you tell .......... I'm not very good at waiting.
I did receive the porthole window with my artwork in it,
and it is cute, but decided there isn't much room for a mark up. With shipping it was $52. and personally I wouldn't pay more than that for a laminated print, it has the same feel as those laminated place mats, so I'm going to let that idea go. You can see I also used the porthole idea to order some 2.5" magnets, too cute. After ordering these, I found another place to order from that was almost half the price!!.... an Etsy shop no less! So if you're thinking about magnets check em out. O, and if you know of an even cheaper place....please let me know.
Speaking of magnets, I found some really clever, funny ones on this site. by Anne Taintor.
Think I'll go and try to reach the Florida printer again...sigh.