Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Stay Home

Brightscapes: The Way To Beauty 



Stay Home #368
pen, ink, and graphite on Bristol paper
2.5" x 3.5" (6.35 cm x 8.89 cm) 
NOT A PRINT OR REPRODUCTION
202005036
© copyright Mike Kraus

Some of us have lost friends way too soon.  Many other's have been alone on hospital ventilators drowning in their own lungs.  For those of us with asthma, various heart diseases, diabetes, have or survived cancer.  And our parents and grandparents who we love so much.  

Stay home, save lives.  It's really that simple.  Finally getting to play video games without interruption.  I'm binge watching all sorts of shows and movies.  Laying in my hammock reading books that have been collecting on my shelves.  And evenings playing board games with a few glasses of wine.  Our pup, Scout, loves all the attention and walks she's been getting.  Saving lives has never been so easy.

See how staying home prevents thousands of people from getting the Coronavirus:
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/26/21193851/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-home-social-distancing

Tips For Working At Home

Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

For more information or custom order, please visit:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tips For Working At Home: Setting Expectations


Setting Expectations

"You work from home, so you can do what you want" is a false statement I hear frequently. And the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic only adds to the stress of your job. Your kids are sudden in your office asking about homework and fighting. Your parents with underlying health conditions refuse to social distance. The cat is constantly interrupting your Zoom meetings. And your furloughed spouse is anxious from watching cable news 24/7. Stress!

Let's start by acknowledging everyone's situation is different. There are single mom's, parents with many multiples of children, people living in small apartments with roommates, etc. We have to be patient and flexible with others and ourselves during these uncertain times. And here are some suggestions I have from my 6+ years working from home.

1) Your Old Routine: I could wake up 1 1/2 hours later. I could wear my pajamas all day. Maybe take longer lunches. Do some chores in the afternoon. Close up shop earlier. Instead, when I started to work from home, I kept my schedule from the office. Our brains love routine because it tells us "everything is okay." When routine changes, that tells our brains "something's wrong."

So, if you've abandoned your routine and it's not working; bring it back. If you're unable to bring back that routine, then try to make a new one. Here's some advice: Making a Routine.

2) Work Space: You need a space to work. It's more necessary if you're partner telecommutes to work, the kids have online classes, and anyone else in your home is trying to do the same thing. This may be difficult if you live in a small apartment or there's no spare bedrooms.

But, find a place that you can work. It can be a room, a corner, the patio, a garage, basement, etc. It's even better if it has a door for privacy. Having a specific place to work puts you in a productive mindset. It's also a signal to others that you're not to be interrupted. Here's some advice: Your Work Space.


3) Sorry, I'm Busy: For my wife and I, when the door to my studio and her office/family room is closed: DO NOT INTERRUPT. If we know an important meeting or call is going to happen, we coordinate our schedules accordingly.

Young children may need a little extra reminder. If they aren't of reading age yet, it should be visual. Make it a fun activity. Ask them to make you a sign that means "please wait until I'm finished."

Also, kids need a routine to let their brains know "everything's okay." Everyone needs to work together to create the household routine. Remember to be flexible and patient. Change what doesn't work and expand what does. Here's a sample schedule:


Family Schedule

7am – 10am
Adult 1: Work
Adult 2: Watch children
Kid 1: Breakfast and school work
Kid 2: Breakfast and school work

10am – 11am
Adult 1: Watch children
Adult 2: Check work messages
Kid 1: Online class
Kid 2: Zoom with friends

11am – Noon
Adult 1: Check work messages
Adult 2: Help children with homework
Kid 1: homework
Kid 2: homework

Noon – 1pm
Lunch for everyone. Extra time to play outside or walk around neighborhood

1pm – 1:30pm
Adult 1: Help children with homework
Adult 2: Check work messages
Kid 1: homework
Kid 2: homework

1:30pm – 4pm
Adult 1 and 2: Work
Kid 1 and 2: Free time

4pm – 5pm
Adult 1: Chores and errands
Adult 2: Work
Kid 1 and 2: Chores

5pm – 7pm
Dinner. Extra time for own activities.

7pm – 10pm
Adult 1: Spend time with kids
Adult 2: Work
Kid 1 and 2: Theme night activities (Movie Night, Game Night, etc). Free time. Bed.

Post schedule in a prominent public space

4) Ask For Help: Everyday, all members of your household should talk about your needs to be successful. What tasks need to be completed. The best actions to reach your goals.

Ask for help outside your household. Are the kids having difficulty with school? Maybe the parents of the class could organize a Zoom tutoring session. Elderly parents are bored? Ask them to call your kids and tell them stories before bedtime. With about 50 million families sharing this experience, find another one to share successes, laugh at failures, and find ways to help each other.

Help others too. Doing something good relieves anxiety because it makes you feel good too. It boosts good karma.

5) Take a Deep Breathe: Things will not go as planned. That's okay. Be patient and understanding with others and yourself. Learn from the mistakes and try something new tomorrow.

Setting boundaries is all about expectations and results. The alarm goes off and I wake up. At 10am, the kids are taking an online class while you work. Before dinner, your spouse works while you and the kids do chores. This is a time for bonding with loved ones. Use this time and stress to make those roots grow stronger. The grapes that struggle the most make the best wine.

More Tips For Working At Home


Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

For more information or custom order, please visit:

Friday, May 22, 2020

My Gift To You For Memorial Day Weekend!

Brightscapes: The Way To Beauty


An overstuffed hatchback speeds through an endless expanse of prairie to a long-forgotten Midwestern town.  This extraordinary novel follows Luke on an odyssey of calamity and humor during a summer of uncertainty.

With a bottle of Whiskey, Luke courts mischief with his friend Anabelle, takes care of his grandfather, fails to understand Monica, while working multiple side jobs-a snapshot of a time and place.  From the boarded up storefronts, through the quiet factories, to the well-manicured suburbs, Luke is aloof as he walks the miles of potholed streets of his hometown wondering what the future holds.

From humble beginnings and questionable hopes, Luke knows that his time home will be limited before he's forced toward his destiny.  What dreams, traditions, and relationships will survive these tumultuous days? 





Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

For more information or custom order, please visit:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Hipster Fish

Brightscapes: The Way To Beauty 



Hipster Fish #367
gouache paint on Bristol paper
2.5" x 3.5" (6.35 cm x 8.89 cm) 
NOT A PRINT OR REPRODUCTION
202005035
© copyright Mike Kraus

This artist trading card or ACEO (Art Card Editions and Originals) is frameable, collectible, enjoyable and can be given as a special gift for a birthday, wedding, new baby, anniversary, thank you or other occasion.  It is a one-of-a-kind original work of art, NOT A PRINT OR REPRODUCTION. It is signed on the back and lends itself to framing in a standard trading card frame or book.

Tips For Working At Home

Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

For more information or custom order, please visit:

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tips For Working At Home: Learning and Adjusting To Technology



Learning and Adjusting To Technology

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced many of us to learn new technology, systems, and platforms.  Before the Stay Home Orders, I've never heard of Zoom.  So, there's been a learning curve for all of us as we try to do our jobs from home.  


Obviously, we all have different careers, technology, tasks, and levels of access to equipment.  My wife, friends, and family have all struggled with transitioning from the office to home.  So, I want to share my successes and failures of my 6+ years of working from home.  Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes.  And remember to be kind to others, and yourself, as we all struggle through these anxious times.


1) Challenge Accepted: You can do this.  Keep an open mind and understand that there will be setback and other frustrations as you try to figure things out.  At the end of the day, you'll have a new skill.

2) Ask For Help: Finding help has never been easier.  Ask your co-worker, friend, family, or search Google and YouTube for solutions.  You're not alone in the search for answers. 



3) Give Up: For a while, I was having difficulty completing some projects.  It was frustrating and it took me a while to figure out why: distractions.  We need to give up dramatic news on the TV, loud music on the radio, all social media, and/or chores around the house during work hours.  I know this can be very difficult with your partner, roommates, kids, pets, elderly parents, etc at home.  But, it's important to set boundaries and working hours.

4) Attention: You need to give up distractions so you can give your full attention to learning your new skill.  "Multitasking" is a lie and a ineffective myth.  "Multitasking" is shorthand for half-assing, inefficient, error-prone, stress-inducing, mundane generating, possibly dangerous behavior.  When you accept a task, focus on that until completion.    

5) Practice, Practice, and Practice Again: Our brains have evolved to learn from experience and repetition.  Experience and repetition.  Again, experience and repetition...  

This is when co-workers, friends, and family are really useful.  Don't know how to use Zoom?  Call someone.  Don't feel comfortable with presenting a slideshow on Microsoft Teams?  Do a test run with a co-worker.  My wife and I constantly test work projects with each other.  One pretends to be the audience while the other is the performer.  We find problems, define them, make improvements, adjust, and try again.  



6) Is This Worth It?: At some point, we all get frustrated and hit a wall.  We say to ourselves "is this worth it," "I don't want to do this," or maybe "this is a waste of time."  Learning a new skill is always worth it.  For example, I didn't realize working from home was a skill until I started working from home and was failing.  I had to learn to set up my work space, set work hours, make a routine, etc.  It was a craft I learned and developed for purely personal reasons.  Until my wife's office moved into the family room and I started getting "help" messages from friends and family, I didn't realize I had become an expert at working from home.  And, by sharing my experiences and helping others, I continue to discover new and better techniques.

7) Don't Forget To Have Fun!: Make it a game.  Reward yourself for completing a task.  Celebrate with co-workers.  Winning is fun.  Success is fun.  But, to win and have success, you have to have fun doing the process.  For me, it's getting cookies and candy after some achievement.  Or maybe some whiskey for a celebration.  When you've completed a goal (large or small), make sure you find ways (large and small) to cheer.

More Tips For Working At Home



Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

For more information or custom order, please visit:

Monday, May 18, 2020

Twilight Woods

Brightscapes: The Way To Beauty 



Twilight Woods
acrylic paint on canvas board
8" x 10" (20.3 cm x 25.4 cm)
202005034
© copyright Mike Kraus

I follow the winding path not knowing where I'll end up.  The trees rustle in the breeze stirring up the aromas of the forest.  A freshness one always has to remind themselves of in civilization.  The light refracts in strange ways at this time.  It's when the surreal becomes the real.

This piece would look best in a small-to-medium space that is dark red, orange, yellow, green, dark navy blue, purple, black, white, grey, beige, or wood.

Tips For Working At Home

Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

For more information or custom order, please visit:

Friday, May 15, 2020

Returning to Civilization

Brightscapes: The Way To Beauty 



Returning to Civilization
acrylic paint on canvas board
8" x 10" (20.3 cm x 25.4 cm)
202005033
© copyright Mike Kraus

After a couple of weeks in the forest, it's time to return to the daily grind.  We've packed our tent and equipment into our small car.  The last of the food has been cooked and the leftovers will be snacks on the long trek home.  A pot of coffee ready to perk us up for our early departure.  We drive at a leisurely pace as the deer and other creatures are actively beginning their day as well.  The birds playing in the wind that makes the trees dance.  And over one final hill, the road leads us out of the wilderness and back into civilization.

This piece would look best in a small-to-medium space that is light red, orange, dark yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, grey, beige, or wood.

Tips For Working At Home

Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.

For more information or custom order, please visit:

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