Contact: karenhetzer@gmail.com
So what have I been doing the last few days. I've been helping the girls in the shop next door transform the exterior of their store front. The exterior for the past several months has not reflected at all what these gals are all about.......and what they are all about is transforming furniture into beachy-cottage style little gems.
Here's before.......quite stark and uninviting.
Generally speaking it is not a very attractive building in the first place and its age is showing, it was built in the very early 1900's.
With best intentions this is the sketch I prepared for them. I had them pick the wall color, a color they consider one of their signature colors used in their furniture.
And trying to get this done between rain showers, here's where we are so far. Can't wait to get rid of that final band of mustard yellow across the top, and to begin the artwork. We'll have our neighbors upstairs paint their window sills white, hopefully tying everything together.
The more I look into this phenomenon of 'occasional sales' the more I'm convinced this is the way to go. In this economic environment it just makes sense to use your time as efficiently and wisely as possible. Little did I know that this way of doing business has been popular for several years, yet I had never heard of it. Here's another website to take a look at. The owner of this shop is one of four or five shops in the same town of Carver, Minnesota that participate in once a month three day sales.
I could use that time between sale dates to hunt for new finds, continue to do occasional mural work and teach beginners in the studio.........it just makes sense.
SEASONS IN CARVER
Carver, Minnesota

This is the newest piece added to the collection of furniture that's accumulating in the shop. Isn't it charming. Of course, once again anxious to transform, I neglected to take the before shot.......it was yellow with green sponged on top of that and green trim, but her style just couldn't be hidden even with that.
I'm once again rethinking how I'm using my talents and this studio/shop space. I feel like so much time is wasted being in the shop when no one comes in, and there's no space (or money) to add new pieces. I'm intrigued by this couples way of doing things. And here's another 'occassional' seller. I love the idea of scheduled events to sell their product, and though I don't have a wonderful barn like the couple mentioned, I can't help but wonder if my studio couldn't be used in the same way. The time between events would be spent searching out treasures to reinvent (for resale) and holding a few workshops. Perhaps I could put a piece or two in the shop next door while they continue to be opened daily. This just makes sense to me and worth investigating further.
Well, I guess I won't find out what people think painted furniture is worth.......not today anyway. The only person to come in to the shop was someone trying to sell me something...lol.
At least it was a productive couple of hours, I made a small kitchen floor cloth :-)
The shop has been just too slow the past couple of weeks, I'm not going to make it like this. I had a 50% off sale about two weeks ago and sold a few pieces, so for the last couple of days I tried a 50% off sale on just a few of the higher ticket pieces.....nothing. So yesterday I decided to end the sale and don't ya know, someone came in and said they were going to buy a certain piece, but noticed the sale was over.......I sold the piece at 50% off.
Today I'm trying something drastic, well I guess the degree of drastic rests on how many people actually read Craigslist, I'm trying a 'make an offer' sale. Crazy?......maybe, but people do ask often "is this your best price?", and instead of getting insulted by the question maybe I can make it work for me. I've listed the sale on Craigslist and it only lasts for three hours and only for today. I'm really just curious as to what people think hand painted furniture is worth (to them). I know my prices are more than competitive but even at half off people hesitate, so I'm confused. Lets see what happens today.
Today I just want to share some of my son Dain Johnson's creative side. He is a graphic designer with an Atlanta based company, Point Of Vision, these images though are not related to what he does at his 'job'. I gotta start with my favorite one.......

Sweater
Walking Balloon
Bloody Bomb
Brains
Untitled (another favorite)
Square
I realized a couple of days ago that I need to take the 'we' out of moving forward with my work. The girls next door are not sure they want to continue doing the work they do, and with every suggestion I make they say they have thought about or already tried with no success..........perhaps using 'we' was my way of trying to take the sting out of having to make some changes on my own, which will be a daunting task indeed. With literally no money, nothing of value, and a bankruptcy just a few years ago, this will be an interesting journey.
I've been searching for and reading tons of blogs of others who also work with art/furniture, trying to spot that common denominator in their formula for success. I'll post the results in a future post, but its safe to say that the number one element has nothing to do with their talent.
This has been another one of those hopes up, hopes dashed, sort of weeks. Both rents are late again (nothing new there) and a couple of jobs that were on the table?.........one changed their mind and canceled, and others were put off for the future.........sigh.
I need to use this free time wisely.
Found this on Posh Tots (check out the price!) while I was looking around online at painted furniture. Its a bed that I painted for the small company that makes them......I painted it while I was up in Philly.
I've been talking to the girls in the shop next door (Jackie & Cricket) about our taking our work to the next level. We've all been working hard for years, but I think we've not been working so smart. I would love for us to start a furniture line, working with new furniture and a crew. We've been basically doing the same thing year after year, and its not enough if we ever want to live a more stress free life.....we need to work smarter. And hey, if my artwork is good enough to be shown on Posh Tots, I don't see why we can't make it happen.
I was going to take the day off today, but woke up feeling like making something, so off to Home Depot I went. Got a 1x12 board, a 1x10 board and some 1x4........project?.........make a bench. I used to make benches a few years ago and had a lot of fun playing with different designs and making them.
Today's was a pretty simple basic design and only took a couple of hours to make......
would have been less time but when I went to cut the 1x12 in half the wood split length wise, which meant I had to stop and glue and clamp. I've never had a board split like that before. Its only primed right now, haven't decided how to finish it. I think I should start making these again to sell in the shop......why not.
When I got home I started looking online for some different bench designs and also to see if I could find some tips on how to better assemble. Didn't find to much out there, but did come across this guy on youtube showing how to build a simple bench.
Warning, its about an hour long.......yawn........but had some very helpful tips. So if you've ever wanted to learn the basics of making a simple bench check it out......he even tells you how to do this if you don't have all the fancy shmancy tools :-)

I've just been looking through photos of my earlier work......before I even had a computer, so glad I kept photos!
Here's some old pictures of some of the simple wood projects I would make.......benches and little tables (love the little tables). They seem pretty simple now, but not bad for only having very basic tools. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a shop full of power tools.


Finished the little MC inspired chest yesterday.....
and started on a table today...got the legs done :-) I'm going to do a circular checker pattern around the top edge about four-five inches in and a rooster in the center......still working it out in my head. Then I think I'm done with this patterned stuff for awhile, I'm aching to do some old world landscape scenes on something.
Molly, the girl renting some space in the studio, moved a few more pieces into her cubby today.
I'd love to see some shelves on the walls with pretty little painted things on them. Maybe I'll put some shelves up in the other one?? I'm still looking for someone to rent the other side.
No more fading into the background for this guy.....
Got him finished this morning before getting to the studio. I spent most of the rest of the day rearranging the furniture in the shop so I could fit a student work area in. Jackie from next door will be having her next furniture painting class in the studio on August 21st.
I myself, decided today to only give private mural instruction in the future.....I just haven't been able to get 'classes' together so I will offer one on one private instruction for those interested.
Its a rainy morning so I won't be painting the old man outside the restaurant today.
Here's a picture of the finished bench.....

This is the small chest I bought several weeks ago and have been saving to do some silver leafing on, but finances being what they are there's no $ to purchase new materials, so I've opted for a Mechenzie Childs (did I spell that right?) look......started on this yesterday.....
I seem to be going through a creative drought lately......it happens from time to time. Things are so quiet at the studio which means so sales, which means worries about rent/s which means no money to purchase new pieces to work on, and all of that just brings my spirit down.
I was back at the Old Key Lime House on Monday repainting the old Bin Laden portraits in the urinals (remember them?), seems guys like to 'key' them. My next project at this place will be this guy....
Nobody seems to know how old he is, but he's pretty weathered and worn...he's wood. I think all I'll be doing is brightening up the colors here, he pretty much blends into the background, I'll find a brighter, more vibrant yellow and maybe lose the green.
Yesterday I finished up the bench I was making out of the twin bed and pieces from an out dated entertainment center that I took apart. The entertainment center only had two pieces of real wood in its construction, the two side pieces with the carving in them. I used those for the bench seat and bottom shelf.

This is not the finished project........I left the studio last night forgetting to take the final picture.....duh. The back has a beach scene on it that goes down to the seat which is painted like sand and has a few trompe l'oeil shells on it......and then I distressed the finish. I'll take a picture today and post later.