Contact: karenhetzer@gmail.com

Freak October Storm 2011

Skip fall colors and go straight to freak October snow storm. This storm rendered us without power for a few days which meant I got to learn more about antiquated generators, oil tanks, pumps, hot water heaters, fuel lines and reserve tanks than I ever thought I'd need to know.
I've been on the new job almost two months now. The awkward anxiety felt when beginning any new job has passed and I've settled into the routine of things. The owners are away at their winter home in the islands and will be returning in a few weeks for about a month.
After spending a week or two on things that needed doing around the home I've finally begun to paint again.
There are still daily tasks and responsibilities to be done, but with the absence of cooking, serving, cleaning, laundry and shopping, I have many more hours free that I can devote to my artwork.
I've begun with three 5"x 7" small paintings that were commissioned prior to my leaving Florida. Here's one of them..
A lemon
Once I'm happy with all of these I've been commissioned to do a portrait of a small boy and dog. It will be a Christmas present for a mom in Atlanta. This is the photo I will be working from.......
I'm also working on a pet portrait that was started before I came here and really needs to be finished up......thank you for your patience Cricket :-)....I promise it will be done soon.
And finally on my list of paintings to be done, remember this portrait I painted a couple of years ago?.........
His little brother is now about the same age as when this was done and its his turn. Here is the photo I'll be working from.....

Adjusting

The view from my apartment on the third floor. You can just start to see the first blush of fall colors.
This is the view though most mornings when I wake up....
The other morning I thought my windows were steamed up, but it was literally the fog, the house was just engulfed in fog.....you could'nt even see the trees that you see in the photo above.
There are deer everywhere and chipmunks are as common as the lizards in Florida. Trying to sleep with the windows open is a challenge......the woods do not go quiet at night, the sounds of insects and who knows what else permeates the air. I did notice though on cold nights its very quiet......wonder where they go?....or do they just go quiet?
This is the old panel up in the hall of the 'servants quarters' (where I stay) that was used to call the help......
I'm settling into the job and feeling less anxious. The first couple of weeks here I was a bit of a mess, feeling the loss of my independence and missing my friends. There's plenty to keep me busy in a house this size though which is a good thing. I'm concerned that I haven't been able yet to work painting into my daily routine, but I think that it will be possible. The couple I'm working for will be leaving Oct. 22nd for their island home in St Vincent, not to return until Dec. 4th. They'll stay a month and then go back to the islands. I'm still undecided about my future here, whether I'll stay or not. I'm just taking it one day at a time.
Whew-Who!.....sunshine.....finally. Poor Philly has been inundated with rain and floods and at last there are peeks of sun.
I've been busying myself with creating the Etsy shop for my friend while I wait to go to NY. I also took down my old Etsy shop and started a new one that will be just for paintings (no thrift shop finds).....my 2"x 3" birds, the 5" x 7" canvas board paintings and the larger ones, the Beach Chair and the Pelican.
Today we'll make the rounds of the local thrift shops, but no buying for me. I've got extremely limited funds and its going to be awhile before I get a pay check, bills are going to be due before that happens so I've got to be very careful. Lets hope for some buyers at my Etsy shop!
Still haven't gotten the final moving date, but I'm still hoping for Sunday.
So the new date for possible move to new job may be Sunday.
Got to Philly around noon yesterday.....only got lost twice on the way here......once was in DC, I don't need to say more than that about that.
I heard from the new job again and learned that the previous employee has found a new home but there is a possibility that all of her things may not be moved by Friday, and although I was asked to come anyway (if I didn't mind) I needed to let them know that I wasn't comfortable with that.
Making a move like this is such a big deal for me. I admit to still having some fears about such a drastic change, I've been 'come and go as I please' and 'do as I wish' for a very long time. So being able to arrive there and create a space/home for myself right away is really important.......staying in another room until the space is clear feels very awkward. Living out of bags and boxes gets very old very quickly. And I don't like feeling homeless and disconnected or ungrounded..........on my, I am getting old lol.
So I'm waiting for a response to my request that I arrive after she has moved her things and hopefully that response will be that its done. Pushing doubts aside, I am anxious to get there and settled in so I can focus strictly on the job.
While I'm here in Philly I'm going to help my friend that I'm staying with start an Etsy shop :-) I'll post the address here when its up and running cause she has some pretty cool things she'll be selling.
Quick update.....I did end up leaving yesterday, the funds cleared a few moments after I posted yesterday.
After a 10 hr drive though the deep south with no AC, I arrived at my sons house around 6pm greeted by delicious hugs from the grand kids :-)
I'll leave here today around noon to get some drive time in and then arrive in Philly tomorrow afternoon.
I finally heard when the new job will start...and it will be Friday....can't wait to get there.
Well, for the first time ever a Paypal money transfer did not clear into my bank account in the two days that it has always taken in the past. So, although I'm out of my apartment (now officially homeless) I'll be staying at a friends until 'business' days resume.....meaning I'm stuck in Florida until Tuesday at the earliest.
Mind you, I couldn't be 'stuck' in a better place, Linda's home is beautiful...... I've posted a picture of her backyard before.......

All my things getting donated today :-( I really wanted to take that black drop leaf table apart and put it in my car, but its heavy and I think I'm already pushing the load limit on my car. I just love her legs.
If anyone's interested, in an attempt to rustle up some more bucks I've listed the beach chair painting and the pelican painting on ebay......just for one day at a 'buy it now' price of $100 each + shipping. (Note to Janet....I know its way too low, but I need the money:-)
Everything is right on schedule. All but the very last minute things are packed. I got packages shipped out yesterday. The cost was a bit of a shocker, but everything to go was chosen carefully so no regrets.
I placed a few last minute things on craigslist but if there are no takers my favorite thrift shop will be here tomorrow to pick up everything for donation.
Today I'll pick up things from my Drs. office and then have lunch with my old friend Wanda. After that I'm going go look at a restaurant in a town just south of me (a new franchise). I was contacted about possibly doing some artwork on canvas for someone who's considering opening two or three of them.......work I can do from NY and ship.
Most of the heavy cleaning (stove/oven, frig, tub etc) is done, today I'll spackle holes I made hanging all my pictures and canvases.......its only fair, the walls look as though they were used as a pin cushion.
Leaving for Atlanta on Saturday morning for a quick visit with my son/family and then on to Philly before landing in NY.
Here's a closer look at the home I'll be working and living in.....

Time To Regroup and Boxes, I Need Boxes

How things can change in just a couple of weeks. RV dream put on indefinite hold. On July 17th I placed an ad on BedandBeakfast.com . I had finally realized that I had taken my 'want' to be a successful artist as far as I could, and I'm defining successful here as having the ability to support myself with my work. I took it all the way to the point where I had pretty much nothing left, including the ability to pay for a roof over my head.
Oddly enough I don't feel defeated. I see now that I had to take it as far as I could, not as far as friends thought I should take it, as far as I had to take it.......and that makes moving on feel right.
So, back to the bed and breakfast ad......I needed work, and I needed a place to live. I started writing a resume.
From age 16 until I began painting 15 yrs ago all of my work experiences had been service related. And for those wondering..... my not having any formal art training/education (right or wrong) keeps me from feeling confident or qualified (right or wrong) to pursue any sort of position in the art world....and feeling confident is going to make all the difference in finding a job......concentrating on my prior work experiences is what I decided to focus on and finding a live-in position would take care of both of my needs, work and a place to live.
For BedandBreakfast.com rather than posting a formal resume I summarized my work experience and what I was looking for and posted the ad on 7/17. I received a response on 8/21.
The response however was not from a B&B, it was from a private homeowner with a 10,000 sq ft home on 70 acres in NY state. WOW!
I sent her my phone #, we spoke and did a skype interview and a day later I was offered the position of live-in housekeeper, cook, and property manager with accommodations and salary. I accepted the offer.

MY NEXT ADVENTURE.
This is one photo of the home sent to me by the owners......
This position could not be more tailor made. The owner and I got along right away on the phone and during the skype interview. And when she initially wrote me she mentioned my having time to do painting and that maybe some of her friends would even be interested in my artwork. I felt very good about her being supportive of my art.
And can you believe it, the homeowners are away for six months of the year which is where wearing the hat of 'property manager' and having time to paint kicks in. This is an amazing opportunity.

This next week will be my last days in Florida. My 'favorite thrift shop' will be picking up the last of my furniture on Thursday and I will start heading north making a stop or two along the way.
I still have lots to do to get ready and of course that includes packing......so I'd better get back to it.




OK........I forgot there is no such thing as perfect. I spoke to the owner of the RV I mentioned in the previous post and it turned out that the RV needed work that wasn't mentioned in the ad, and I wouldn't have been able to afford to fix.....so that one is off the list.
I re-listed my ad this morning and have gotten one response so far, but alas, this person is 3 and 1/2 hours away on the west coast of Florida and apparently unable to email pictures of his RV or willing to email further information about the RV (preferring (actually insisting)to speak on the phone). A conversation won't help me because I won't drive 3 and 1/2 hours if I can't see it in advance or even be told if its the size I'm looking for.......so that one's off the list as well.
I got an email about a potential job (yah!) and I'm waiting to hear if my bid was accepted.....fingers crossed.
I found a listing on Craigslist this morning that would be perfect! An RV very similar to Gladys but a couple of years older, Gladys was a '91 and this is an '89....still, it looks in good shape and only has 55,000 miles on it. Price?.....$3000. I've written inquiring about a possible trade using my car and/or also offering to sell the car to purchase the RV. I'm guessing at that price though he'll find a cash buyer before I'm able to sell the car........and I'd need a promise he'd hold it while I tried.....don't want to end up with no wheels at all. I've put an ad up to test the waters...see if I can even get $3000 for the car..........so far?.........no takers.

I forgot to take a finished photo of the bathroom wall below, but I'll probably be going back sometime in the next couple of weeks cause they have to remove a large mirror and old light fixture so I can paint behind them....I'll take a pic then (if I remember).
Today I decided with no new work in my future to go big, what the hell.....I listed the large 55"x 60" beach chair painting on ebay at $750. and the pelican painting 36"x 29" at $450. You all remember the pelican painting yes?
Tomorrow I will start on a dog portrait for a friend of mine.
I've been spending my day online looking at and dreaming about RV's. Most of you may remember that I had one a few years ago and though things didn't go the way I hoped, I really loved that RV......you all remember Gladys..........
When I had that one it was for the dream of being able to travel and paint my way across the country......well, that didn't work out very well......I was totally unprepared and had only lined up work as far as Georgia, plus I was relying solely on my experience as a mural painter to secure jobs along the way, and going through little tiny towns that were struggling to survive.....well, there weren't many people interested in fancy, schmancy murals I can tell you!
This time though the interest in a RV is for different reasons. I did learn while out on the road before that its pretty darn cheap to stay in some camp grounds on a monthly basis....way less than apartment rent plus utilities....and the people you meet are so real and grounded. Every month I worry about rent and bills and that's all I think about all the time and I've had enough.....I can't do this anymore, its literally making me sick.
This time I hope to be better prepared, there are lots of options out there. There are several sites that list jobs at campgrounds for RV owners, workamper is one of them....and there's caretakerjobs and BedandBreakfast , coolworks ........lots of stuff. And.......there are tons of websites for craft show/fair listings all around the country making it possible to plot a course and do some craft shows.
I've written to a guy who had an ad on craigslist looking to barter his small rv for other means of transportation, included in that was 'small car'.....I've asked him a few questions and am hoping for a response.
Yesterday and today I'm working off the advance I got to do this bathroom that paid my last (way too late) rent. I had to darken the picture so the design would show up, its actually very subtle. This is an apple (maybe more lime) green wall with just a paler shade of it used for this first layer of tropical foliage.
Over this will go more foliage (different types) in two shades of turquoise........the turquoise is used on the guest room walls that this bathroom is attached to. The client was inspired by a print seen on a wall covering.

Yesterday was a successful craigslist day. I had a podium/lectern that I used to use to hold my portfolio listed on craigslist along with a few other things and someone finally called about it.......a teacher who will use it in her classroom. While she was here she was admiring my large drop leaf dining table and I mentioned as she was about to leave that if she knew anyone.......it was also on craigslist...........she bought it too :-) Last night someone texted me about a chest of drawers I have listed and they're coming tomorrow to look at it. Since there's still is no new work in the future I'm squirreling this away to help cover the next rent coming up in just two weeks....ugh.
Tomorrow I'm going to start working on some new paintings :-)
My son thinks my work needs to be more edgy to sell. How's this?......lol
Now that I'm trying to segue into smaller works on canvas away from murals, I'm finding its a whole other world. It really is like starting over, there's lots to learn and I found a great article on wetcanvas.com that talks all about prints, working with shops, pricing, subject matter, online selling tips, matting, framing, cropping etc etc.....just tons of info.
I was up early today, headed out the door on my way to a job about an hour from here, got out to the car and ............nothing. I waited for my neighbor to wake and find my note I stuck to his door asking him to give my car a jump.........again! I left the car lights on this time....duh. In Florida its the law, you have to turn your lights on when its raining, yesterday it did. I love my car but the problem is she's 20 yrs old and doesn't have all the warning bells and whistles that newer cars have, so if you forget to turn something off........well........chances are you'll need a jump in the morning. I'll stay here today and finish up this chair painting and head up to the job tomorrow morning (I like an early start)...the clients are away so I'm not inconveniencing anyone.
Just about finished I think. Forgot to change the reflection on the glass and I think I'll put some disturbance in the sand...especially in front of the chair.
I like the splash of red.
I think I want to move that reflection on the glass more to the left.
Canvas panels aside for now, I wanted to do something of my own today, something I can possibly sell. I started a painting of a distressed adirondack chair on a beach, its large.... 55"x 60". I can see this over a mantel in a Florida home. Not sure what I'll add at this point, still thinking about it.
Lovely........today's mail contained my shut off notice from the electric company, looks like Monday is the magic day, and the first bill from the hospital stay.....the hole just keeps getting deeper.
I started on the canvas panels today even though the client won't be around until September....I needed to get lost in something. It isn't finished.
Well, little good news to post about today. Still no new mural work and no sales of my paintings or things I've listed on Craigslist. The potential hospital job told me today that they are not in a position to commit to anything right now and the powder room job (for the large painting client) is now in question as she's undecided now on what she wants to do. So........its a pretty daunting feeling not having rent money and I just got my doubled up utility bill which puts me in jeopardy of having that cut off. Still as I've said before, if I do have to leave I won't owe anyone anything.....my landlord has a security deposit and the utility company does as well. I've got eight days left on my phone service, but hey....I use email mostly anyway, luckily I have free internet. Oh gosh.......then there's the car insurance the first of the month.....ah maaannnn!
I wrote to dailypainters dot com this morning to see what was involved in listing with them, hoping obviously to get more exposure for my work. Silly me.....I don't know why I didn't expect that there would be a fee involved, so although they like my work, I don't have money to join. So I remain hidden.
So...........some good news....it looks like the hospital bill will be taken care of, it will go down as a charity case. I will still however be responsible for all the doctor bills involved with that stay.
A charity case....wow....its so strange to hear that. I know I have nothing, but I never thought I'd be a charity case....it doesn't seem real.......from once painting murals for multi-million dollar mansions to being a charity case.....now that's humbling indeed..........damn.
I'm too distracted today to try painting so on today's agenda.....cleaning out drawers. For someone with so little, I don't know how I manage to collect so much paper work. Yesterday I took inventory of all my furniture, photographed it and got it listed on Craigslist.....things I can live without.
I'll also email the client who had talked about more work and see if that's going to happen or not, that way my direction will be decidedly clear......I hate not knowing and I don't want to sit here and harbor false hope. I need to be able to tell my landlord whether of not I'm going to be able to pay the rent, I don't want to hold him up from beginning his search for a new tenant, especially in the current market ......its pretty slow here this time of year.
Alright then........things to do.
5:15 a.m., can't sleep. This morning I just feel sad......ok.......sad and defeated. When I started this blog it was with the intent of helping young artists who were new to this business......what a laugh. Now?.......I'm wondering if I should sell the only thing I have left of any value, a twenty year old car with no AC and a power steering leak. I'm picturing my possessions all quivering in their spots waiting to learn which one is going to be offered up on Craigslist today.........there now, that gave me a giggle.
I do have some decisions to make though and actually the timing ......well, I don't want to say its good but......my lease is up for renewal in August, so if I do have to leave I can at least live out my last months security deposit, that buys me a couple of more weeks, but that also leaves me with no money to move on.......what a dilemma.
I think I need to start planning for this.
I finally got the large painting sealed yesterday, prompted by a call from its owner who wanted to pick it up. She was on her way to a clients in Miami from her home north of me.........I had told tell her I couldn't deliver it to her without leaving with a deposit for the next job she had talked about me doing because I had only a half tank of gas left in my car and $2.37 left in the bank, the drive would have emptied my tank. As it is she'll be back down this way again next week and it (and the hippo) will be ready for her to pick up (they were paid for weeks ago)............no mention of my situation or the next job she had talked about.
So today I can get those off the wall and the three panels up for the ocean paintings and get that started. I'm still owed a couple of hundred on those, but this client won't be back in town until September, not enough (or soon enough) to bail me out of my present situation. Still I need to have them done before I would have to leave here......my two options will be to crash with a friend or sleep in my car and either one will not give me the space to work on these three 40"x 40" panels. So that's where my focus will be for now.........getting the ocean paintings done and out of the way.
A fellow artist (and friend I hope) Janet Nelson got a great write up in her local paper "The Sandpaper' in Long Beach Island, N.J.
I love her work (and own a piece:-) because its just as the paper says....it makes you smile.

Since ebay was a real bust I've turned my attention back to Etsy for my paintings......honestly, I don't know if I'm just a glutton for punishment or someone who refuses to give up. I decided to see if buying a 24 hr 'showcase' spot will make a difference in how many views my items/paintings get, it starts July 28th......we'll see. Thank goodness for 'billing' cause I don't even have the $7.00 it cost to buy this spot.
Well it looks like I'm no threat to those fabulous daily painters out there.....my favorite painting so far 'radish' didn't get any bids at all on ebay :-( so it will become part of my private collection...........ha...........I imagine along with all the rest of them that are still waiting for no one to even look at them. You're suppose to say that last bit while screaming.
Bitter?......yeah a bit. I keep remembering something my first husband said to me once......"your never going to find that diamond at the bottom of a cracker jack box"(wasn't that a line in a song?), and that's exactly how I feel. I keep spinning my wheels online looking for that big break and what I get is frustration and disappointment.
OK.........so I've got some work to focus on so I'll let that go.............again.
Yeah....the canvas has arrived all safe and sound! These guys were so careful in how they packaged them..I was impressed! Now I'm really anxious to get those other canvases off the wall so I have room to start these.
Today I'm going to focus on finishing this canvas up....its still hanging on my wall, the client is out of town until the 23rd. She just wants some palm leaves added in the center at the top, and the foliage behind the giraffes touched with a brighter green, less blue-ish. Then I'll seal it, roll it up, and wait for delivery.
I've also got to make some changes to this hippo done for her. She wants the head in a tilted position to make her look a little more flirty and of course she wants red lips added, so I'll try and tackle that today as well.
And finally the canvases for this project are due to arrive today and I'm anxious to get this started. This is the sketch below that I did for her.
Each canvas is 40"x 40". I'm really anxious for this delivery. I had checked out the canvas at a local shop and each piece was $88+tx.....I didn't want to spend that much......heck.....I didn't have that much to spend! So, online I went and I found the CanvasPlace. They had a listing on ebay, but I ordered through their website because of the quantity I needed. They have a deal, a pack of two 40"x 40" 1.5" deep gallery wrapped for $85 plus shipping of course. But I needed three......keep this in mind if you order from them....rather than them packaging all three together which would have elevated the shipping cost to an 'over sized' rate, it was actually cheaper to send them as two separate packages (saved $16). Even with the shipping I was able to save about $60 under what I would have had to spend had I bought them from the only place they were available locally.
OK.......I just posted another ad on bedandbreakfast.com looking for a live-in position. I did get some response the last time I posted in 2008 but the opportunities were far away from family, so this time I've tried to be more specific.......cross your fingers.
Yeah.....! I did get the creamer and brushes started today and its almost finished. Here's how it's going.....
Oh....and the winner of the Westie With Red Ball is..................Mary from Des Moines ....CONGRATULATIONS Mary!
OK....I fibbed....I haven't started the creamer/brushes yet, I opted to do cherries instead......but its early :-)
I'll announce the winner of the Westie With Red Ball later today, so you can still enter to win.
I actually did this painting a couple of years ago and decided to freshen it up and offer it up on my Daily Paintings site.
Painted an apple this afternoon.
When I finished that I went to the grocery store to find some new models :-)
A new painting for sale over at my Daily Painting site.......

And Just For Fun

I thought I'd take a break from the bird paintings and do one of something most everyone has around the house.
I noticed that almost all daily painters create paintings of common everyday things like fruits and veggies, eggs are popular too. So, to be a little different I chose the potato :-). Looks like I'd better use these soon...lol.

Two New Bird Paintings

Got two more birds done so far today.....a Red Bellied Woodpecker and a Pacific Slope Flycatcher.
Remember if you can't afford to purchase one of my daily paintings, you can purchase a chance to win one for just a dollar :-)