Contact: karenhetzer@gmail.com

New Toys

OK.......the tablet came today and I think I have mixed feelings about it. I'm going to give it a couple more days, check out some apps and see if it will work in my life.
I can tell you what I think so far. I could only find two reviews of this particular model (Maylong Mobile m-290) on Youtube.......well one really, the other sounded more like a sales pitch. So the one guy said he thought it felt cheap and I didn't think so at all, after hearing his review I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box. I thought it booted up quickly enough and the images are nice and bright and clear. There are some issues though....when I tried to sign up for Netflix using the installed app, I could only get so far before the screen froze. Fortunately I had seen that review so I knew to use the reset button......then each time I tried to use the Netflix app to try again it would freeze. Ironically if I just used the browser to go to Netflix I had no problem staying on the site......I haven't try watching anything yet though, so we'll see how that works. I tried watching a Youtube video and that worked fine. The only other problem I noticed so far is that the gyro thing-y gets stuck sometimes. I'm still learning about this so I'm not going to judge too harshly until I'm sure its not something I may be doing wrong.
The puzzle I ordered also came today. Packaging left a little to be desired.
I was a little surprised to see the puzzle just lying inside the envelope without any wrapping on it, but it wasn't damaged in anyway. And look......a cute little box came with it.
I'm not quite sure the puzzles going to fit in it though.........they wouldn't send the box if it didn't...right? Only one way too find out.
OK.....camera battery dead. All the pieces fit in the box. I think I'll try another puzzle making option in the future, these pieces are really thin and some bits of paper tore off the back when trying to unhook the pieces. This one was ordered through Walmart.

My First Tablet

I caved. As hard as I am trying to save for my next move, I decided to treat myself to my first tablet. My fingers are crossed cause I still did not want to part with a lot of money. As much as I'd love a new iPad I opted for a way more affordable (never heard of this brand) Maylong Mobility tablet via Walmart @ $148.99 +tx. It got mixed reviews online, but every one I read about got mixed reviews.
There have been several times that I've wished I still had my little apple laptop, the one that went traveling with me when I had Gladys....remember Gladys?.......
But I digress.......there has also been many times that I wish I had a 'portable internet' on this job. I'd be down on the first floor doing whatever and suddenly need to find some information which meant climbing up three flights of stairs to my computer......I'm telling you, this job has killed my legs! And being new to this area there have been more than a few occasions I could have used some help from mapquest while out and about!
So we'll see how this works. I'll post a review about it next week, it'll be here Monday.

A Refreshing Website

Working on my website I decided to add a pricing page (again) so I started a google search for other artists pricing pages to see how much information others were willing to provide. Its always a hot topic on artist forums, some prefer to put it all on the table and others think that's the kiss of death. I prefer the all on the table option but confess I have allowed myself to be influenced by better known artists who do not think its a good idea to post pricing information in detail. I'm a pretty open and honest person, not one to put on airs, and I have no problem explaining the process and expenses involved in putting a successful project together to potential clients.
I was totally delighted to land on Maria Brophys website via an article she wrote about mural pricing. The information she shared on pricing was not really new to me, but her upfront attitude was. She was open and honest and I could relate, I wanted to know more.
Maria says that her expertise lies in licensing, marketing, and promoting art. Her Husband is artist Drew Brophy.....surf style painting.
This sort of thing.........
And he uses paint pens for goodness sake!......
Besides the many articles Maria has written to help artists (that I'm leaving here to go back and read) they also produce some very cool videos . Maria does offer consulting services to artists (for a fee) and of course there's a page for helpful stuff to shop for.
I found both Maria and Drew very refreshing....... open and honest and excited about life......its just what I needed to stumble on today.

Painting Is A Business

Yesterday and probably for the next few days I'm looking at other artists websites. I'm trying to pay attention to elements that get my attention....what makes me want to see more. I don't think I've ever really designed my website to sell myself/my work, instead using it almost as just a photo album. I want to work on changing that, it needs to present itself as a business, not just a bunch of pretty pictures.

I think my pretty new coffee mugs are due to arrive today....can't wait :-)

A Personal Post

How did I let my life become so frigging stale and boring?! I walk around this big empty house (where I work) and ask myself what the F am I doing here.
A couple of days ago I needed to believe I was really going to be able to leave here (albeit not until spring) so I started going through my things.....tossing some stuff, packing and repacking other things that I haven't really bothered with since I got here. And as happens every time I move, I find in the bottom of a box thee large manila envelope from the fall of 2000 that contains print outs of email exchanges with an ex-love that I hadn't seen in many years. And over the course of the last few days I have picked it up and laid it down in several different places, never opening it, trying to decide whether to throw it away or continue to hold on to it. I think it represents to me a time in my life when there was passion, things were definitely not boring when I knew him.......there was love, lust, joy, passion, happiness, anger, pain, sadness.......and it was all brought back in those emails......I can't throw them away.
Today I reread them. I almost wrote him. Then I thought better of it.
He's out west, has been all these years, a writer and an award winning director, mostly documentaries. I was skeptical but flattered when he told me a character in one of his first films was modeled after me.......I couldn't help wonder how many people he had said that to...lol....its hard for me to trust anymore. Regardless, the part was played by Pauley Perrette, the gal who plays Abbey on NCIS, one of my favorite shows...pretty cool, so I'll allow myself to believe it :-)
Those emails came after a decade of loss and pain....my dad, two sisters, a marriage......it was good to remember a time when there was love, lust, joy, passion, happiness, anger, pain, sadness........I can't throw them away.
I need to feel all those things again.
How, is the question I need to answer.
Maybe then I can finally stop carrying them around in the bottom of a box everywhere I go.
Did you guess?....its a cold, gray, drizzly day here today.

Snowy Morning

What I woke up to this morning.....
Its easy to just enjoy the beauty of this knowing that Monday we will be in the 50's.

I found this little guy looking for a drink of water.......always look before you drink, he is inside the bottle :-)

Brightening Up My Mornings

Its been a quiet week with nothing new to write about really. I seem to have little interest in painting and I'm really beginning to believe its because of my situation. I'm not really a very social person, its one of the reasons I thought having all this solitude would be great for focusing/concentrating on painting.....I was so wrong. I'm realizing how important it is for me to be around others for inspiration and support. I literally feel like I'm wasting away here. Did I mention I'd be here until June? I let the owners know I'd be leaving and they asked if I could stay until June........every day I wonder if I'll make it til then.
On a brighter note I saw these charming little coffee mugs on an artist friends (Janet Nelson) blog, well actually I saw the design on a tile and saw on her site that there is a shop on CafePress where some things are being sold...so I went to take a look and was so happy to see the mugs with this floral pattern on them.
Janet says, "Last spring, I had several members of my church draw some flowers in a sketch book. I then colored and arranged them in photoshop. Thought that they would look nice decorating this coaster tile." And I'm glad she thought to add the mugs to the mix. I ordered two (and so can you :-) They should help brighten up my mornings. I mean pa-leeze.....look at the face on that little purple flower.....how can you not smile!

Property On The Market

The owners of the property where I am employed will be leaving tomorrow for their island home for six weeks. And on Friday a potential buyer is coming to look at this home....did I mention it is on the market, priced at seven point five million.
Today will be spent preparing the house for the showing.

Paint Big

Birds are on hold, I'm in the mood to paint big! I did these paintings several years ago, made the panels myself. I'd forgotten how much I love to paint on wood. I used either luan board or door skins with 1"x 2" on the backs.
I shouldn't show this one, it was 'inspired' by someone else's work, but I just love it.
I just talked to the handyman here on the property about making some panels for me. I want them made properly so they don't warp or twist. I bet Summerville would love some BIG azalea flower paintings....something the town is known for....the flowers, not the paintings :-)
Which reminds me of the beautiful floral paintings that Joyce Hutchinson does....love them
and her photography work is incredible too!...
Can't wait to get started.
I'm still doing my research on Summerville, So Carolina as my potential next hometown. So far I'm really happy to see that real estate is affordable, you get so much more for your dollar than in Florida or Philly (well Narberth). You can rent a nice two bedroom townhouse for $600! A studio apartment in Narberth is $825!

Researching Possible Relocation Options

I ran some errands this morning, and right now I'm researching possible relocation sites. My intention is to settle somewhere closer to my son and his family.....but not in their backyard ;-) They're in Atlanta and I'm concentrating my search in So Carolina around the Charleston area. I'm looking for a small town outside of Charleston so I can have a similar situation like I had three years ago in Narberth/Philadelphia......I was very happy there, but now I want to be closer to family. It looks like the small town of Summerville may be a good candidate.
I'm still researching of course.
I want this to be a long and happy stay, and I do have until June to decide on my final destination.
I'm going to be doing some new paintings in the coming weeks and I'll be looking for selling opportunities online, and of course in the Charleston area shops.
And so....back to it.

Definition Of Life?........Change

Well yesterday was an interesting day. It started out with the Mr (of my set of employers) telling me they'd like to talk to me when I had a moment, to let me know about their plans for the next several months. Why am I suddenly apprehensive.
So after I made/served lunch they came to me in the kitchen. The Mr starts out by telling me how happy they are with all I've done for them since arriving, that was nice to hear. Then the subject turns to their schedule.....I was told by the other employee here that they return from their island home around Easter for their stay through the summer, its why I've been looking forward to giving notice in mid-March. I'm not sure how she could have gotten that sooooo wrong, but apparently they aren't returning for the summer until late May/early June. Another monkey wrench.......although they're leaving this Friday for their island home they will be coming back at the end of February for either a short stay or a longer stay (there goes my plan to give notice). The short stay is because they've rented their island home for a couple of weeks, the long stay however would be because the Mr would need radiation treatments following a cancer surgery he had a few weeks ago.....they won't know until a blood test is done in a couple of weeks, and I'm certainly hoping he doesn't have to go through that. What they also told me is that they would not be bringing the other helper back with them when they come up (she usually goes back and forth with them).........I did not want to hear that! That would mean I would be doing the cooking, cleaning, errands, laundry, shopping, etc on my own everyday. That's a day that begins in the kitchen around 6:30am and ends with dinner clean-up between 7:30-8:00pm. This is not good. When I first arrived on this job in September I was not happy to learn they already had full time help (they did not tell me).....I thought that was going to be my job????........but I learned quickly to appreciate her presence because I also dicovered I can't do what I use to be able to do.......and that's put in a 12-13 hour day and climb up and down three flights of stairs several times a day in a 10,000 sq ft home. I can manage it on the weekends when she has off, but for possibly six or more weeks, seven days a week?........nope.....no, no, no, no, no way!
I needed to play the age card, and I had to tell them I was planning on leaving.
Cut to the chase........I told them I could probably handle the two and a half weeks on my own, but any longer they'd have to bring the other employee with them. I also agreed to stay until they return in June but that I will be leaving when they did.
Getting old sucks.
Time to develop a plan B.

Hopes Dashed

There will be no help from kickstarter.com ..... disappointing but not surprising. Do you think there's an age where its too late to dream or start over? Where you lose that freshness or edginess? Where if you haven't made it by now you probably won't? And you just feel too beat up to keep trying?
Friends stop believing in you and try to steer you in a 'safe job' direction. You feel unheard, abandoned, invisible and defeated.
Sounds like I'm having a bad day.
Yesterday morning....all full of hope, and all it took to knock me down was a rejection from kickstarter and an email from someone who's known me for years and years telling me about a job being a live-in nanny/housekeeper in an 8 bedroom home........sorry?......what?
Talk about unheard! All I've been talking about the last couple of months is how I would never take a live-in position again....that I learned that I need my own place. I've never expressed interest in caring for children and my current job, thanks to going up and down three flights of stairs several times a day, has destroyed my knees and left me in daily discomfort.
Just venting...this too will pass.
I think I'll start working on some bird paintings again...

How Cool Would This Be?!

A couple of days ago I began searching for a live/work space to rent for when I leave this job. Even though I was only looking to rent I still stopped to look at this ad that popped up about a property for sale. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the price $18,500, its a foreclosure. I've been trying to get condition information from the realtors its listed with but I'm not having much success......I made the mistake of being honest and told them I would not qualify for a conventional mortgage.....lousy credit score, bankrutpcy in 07 etc and they haven't answered my emails since, even though I've told them I would try to get funding to pay cash.......it seems like an obtainable amount. My concern though is its condition because even at that price its been on the market since July of 2010....that's a long time considering its so cheap and appraised at $143,000. I do wish they would give me some information.
I've written a project proposal of what I'd like to do with this property and submitted it to kickstarter.com for their consideration. I'm hoping they'll allow me to post the project on their site so I can try to get funding to purchase this property and set up a studio for classes. I'm waiting to hear from them as well. This is the property......
And it sits right next to a huge B&B.........
How perfect is this for a community art studio/gallery/shop?! It even has two apartments! With no mortgage and with rental income it would be so easy for this property to pay its own bills. Can you imagine?........just being able to focus on art 24/7 and not stressing about bills. I can't not try to get this property. And right next to a B&B for out of town students to stay while taking classes.....I love it!!
What information I did get from the realtor before I put my foot in my mouth, was that the property has been a successful antique store with about 50 vendors for several years. Its located in a quaint small town in NY state.
If I am rejected by kickstarter I will create my own campaign here using the same sort of format they use, meaning I will try to solicit funding through my blog and offer 'rewards' appropriate for the various amounts of the donations. I will also return all donations if I cannot get enough to buy this property......I will put a time limit on it too, just as they do. If you're not familiar with kickstarter.com click the link to learn about them.......they help you get funding for creative projects.