House Portraits, Gold Recovery, and Other Business Startups

A woman in Kansas who paints house portraits and a man in California who profits from computer gold recovery are two of the business startups profiled in this regular feature.

| May/June 1981

069 house portraits

A reader in Kansas began painting house portraits like this one to supplement her family's income.


The following are business startups that readers established after reading articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.  

Painting House Portraits 

Reading MOTHER EARTH NEWS can put just about anyone in tune with his or her own talents or special abilities—and help that person discover how to use those skills to bring in cash and make life a little easier and more pleasant. I know, because I would probably never have made my own enterprise a success without your inspiration.

After flood water ruined most of my family's tools and supplies, I did something about my long-held dream of painting a series of "homescapes" to exhibit at our small town's banks. The three institutions I contacted all agreed to let me display my paintings, and—although I was still scared—I was suddenly in business. Then Gary Nelson's article "Paint House Portraits" helped to further convince me that my plan would work!

My initial investment of about $35 covered supplies, business cards, and posters. In a recent three-month period I invested $75 in frames, oil paints, and canvases ... but in that same 12 weeks I've earned $300 in cash for my efforts. It isn't enough to pay all the bills, of course, but it sure helps.

I'm doing all sorts of homescapes now, including one of our daughter's apartment and one of our chickens' house. (Anna Marie is really pleased with my "portrait" of her home. The hens don't seem to care one way or the other, but do go right on laying.) Furthermore. I'm exhibiting my work at a local shopping center this weekend, and smiling more than I have in a long while.

Mary Denney — Valley Center, KA 

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