Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Acrylic Paintings - The Northern Lights

I am intending to include all image-based artwork on this blog, returning to its original objectives as a diary of my travails on the road to creating art. I am reducing the number of blogs I currently manage from seven (check out the Nav Bar under the header image, above) to 3 or possibly four.

This is the first post on the subject of my painting for quite a while, but will become its home in the future.

Have you been watching the Big Art Challenge on the BBC. Not a great art program, maybe a good TV program but that's a matter of opinion. Anyway, The BBC is running a competition alongside the TV show called The Little Art Challenge. It supplied a quartet of four post-card sized cards for the use of participating artists. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I have used these to paint three paintings (so far) using acrylic paints. As plain card not usable for watercolours and too small for pastel (my main media) and so I called up the back-up acrylics. I don't use it very often but have painted miniature canvasses and abstracts, which have been exhibited at my art group's exhibitions.

So ... what have I done? Well the two paintings of the aurora borealis are (as is my style) quite stylised and were taken from photographs I came across and used as references.




I enjoy working on this sort of subject. If you have followed my painting blog I will have said that sunsets / sunrise / etc are my favourite subjects. I can allow myself so much freedom, it is quite exhilarating. And after all I paint as a means of relaxation -it is one of my main leisure activities.

Well hope to see more of you on this blog as I write about all aspects of art based around imagery.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

My Last ATC's - Probably?

So many things happening in my life at the moment, I have had to sever the last links with the last site which involved me in creating "craft" rather than "art". A very subjective statement but I guess what I mean is that I will be spending lots more time painting rather than creating art in other ways. So please don't be upset, I do not mean to suggest that painting is in any way superior to making art in other ways.

Here are the last pair of artist trading cards which I made for the ATC challenge which I have been leading. I have had great fun for a number of years but I started papercrafting when I was at a low point with my painting. I had been painting ACEO's - and selling them on Ebay - and accidentally found collaged cards on the site. Thinking it was something I could do, I joined a number of sites over the years looking for ever more creative ideas / inspiration. I have a large collection of these miniature works of art collected by trading with friends from across five continents.


However, I have now found my muse again and need to spend more time painting. The site I referred to above, PDA, has not been very active for a good while and although I kept the challenge alive it has been in a long slow decline. I finally burnt my bridges last weekend. I intend to take this blog back to its roots and write about my art journey whichever media it involves. I will be mothballing the "Painting With John" site and including all art related posts on this blog in the future.


OK, here are the ATC's I promised. The theme was, "A magical recipe":-






Look out for more art in the weeks to come .... thanks for reading about my artistic journey.

I have just realised, I wrote along similar lines when I first started creating ATC's using collage. Check out what I had to say then in a post written in 2008, 


PS, I will be carefully looking over my "stash" collected over the last few years and will be reducing it considerably. Look out for the free give-aways of  material which will be happening over the rest of this year. 

Monday, 29 December 2014

Underneath The Arches - End of year ATC Trade theme

Well the title just about says it all, the deadline for the last challenge/swap for the ATC group on PDF, has passed. Wondering what 2015 will bring for us. Difficult at the moment as our "leader" has been concentrating on a bricks and mortar shop. But we live in hope and muddle along in the meantime.

The Theme was "Underneath The Arches", and boy we got so many interpretations of this theme. Here are my two cards:-


The first is titled, "No Mice Here"


And the second, "Behind Every Good Man ..."

I am not sure without reading back thru previous posts but I am getting myself into a rut with these ATC's and need to start setting more adventurous technique challenges. I am in need of a good dose of inspiration. Maybe 2015 is the year in which I start using my "many" different skills. I have been to lax about my art in general and really need to pull my finger out, as thte Duke of Edinburgh is fond of saying.

Here's to a great 2015 for all.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Progress on HubPages and latest ATC's

I have been so very disappointed with Hub Pages. It is a different system of payment to Squidoo, which seemed to help those few lenses which floated to the top. On HP it really is down to the number of views and my income has gone down tremendously.

I have as noted last time culled a number of non-performing hubs and moved them elsewhere. I may be following on with a few more which have become non-featured. I am not sure that money was ever the real reason for spending time at the keyboard, and I wrote lots of lenses to simply increase my tally. Well they won't be missed. The issue is whether I will ever get around to editing any of the Hubs. I guess a few which are doing best should be saved but I don't really know if I feel like it. I haven't updated any yet. Maybe a mad dash in the last weeks of the 4 month grace period. But for now, it is not something I feel like bothering with.

I am still creating ATC's and here I am sharing the latest of those few I am doing.



The theme for this challenge was "mirror, mirror", I used it to reflect the thoughts of children on theier potential futures. The boy see a respected and wealthy businessman, and the girl imagines being swept off her feet by her lover. Silly really but then that's me.

I think I have said enough about the HubPages issue and promise not to bore you anymore with it.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Hub Pages And Me

After a few weeks at HubPages with my transferred Squidoo lenses, I am finding that the shorter review lenses do not seem to be sitting happily on HP at all. Visits are well down on the higher traffic articles and I have not even started editing these yet to re-format them to sit on HP's pages. You can find my profile page on Bubblews, and see some of my short but interesting (If I do say so myself) articles mostly talking about my photographs and artwork.

What I have done is to start to cull those non-performing review lenses. I was never very happy with them but Squidoo was pushing this format very hard, and there was a minimum needed to retain the benefits of Giant status. Although towards the end these benefits were not really obvious.

I have started to move the reviews, suitably modified to Bubblews which I use for short, posts about ... well almost nothing really, but a short time spent on Bubblews does seem to help to make up for the loss of on-line income from Squidoo. HP is paying but I doubt whether I will make their minimum payment every month. On current earnings, it will take me a month and a half to earn the $50 needed to get paid. Still, once things get sorted by christmas, the end of the four month grace period, I will have to make some real decisions.

Now what have I been doing recently?

I am still not working properly after my operation, but have managed a few atc's, two particularly for the PDA challenge/swap. This group is suffering from a drop-off in entrants but hopefully the end of the summer will see some extra action again. If you are looking for a "low-maintenance" atc trading group, why not give the atc artists' group at PDA a go, all styles and levels welcome.

The theme in September was SEASONS, here are my entries for the challenge.


Not sure if I have missed the theme on this one but it is supposed to represent SPRING


A more targeted offering for SUMMER.

You can quickly see some of the atc's entered for the group's challenges at the group's official blog, Artist Trading Cards on PDA.

Well I hope to be back to normal with my art/craft interests quite soon and return to a more regular posting on this and my other blogs. Keep on creating! See you soon.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Hub Pages is calling me .....

Well here we go, having deleted nearly twenty Squidoo lenses which I did not think would sit happily on HubPages, 79 of my remaining lenses have been transferred to that site. My profile on there is under my real name of John Dyhouse.

Only a few have been graced with the ignominious red skull, which indicates a violation of the TOS. These are not quite as lax as those of Squidoo so some work needed to edit the new Hubs to meet these new requirements. Looking at the marked Hubs, I find that they mostly refer to All-Posters images and Zazzle products. Both sites were "white-listed" at Squidoo so on some sites they were librally sprinkled throughout a lens. Luckily, I do not have too many of these.

The bigger problem will be revising the format of the best performing lenses which were all quite long. I shall be taking steps to cull some of the more pointless information, which I may well start to use to make the odd post on this or other blogs I currently write. Don't fear that I will be  flooding you with pointless information though. For instance, I have (had) a lens on techniques for making art trading cards,  Making Artist Trading Cards - 1001 Techniques  maybe you have read it. In it I cover many techniques which are not very common such as paper sculpture. I will probably leave this out of the revised Hub, and create a short post on this Blog.

So much for my new work schedule, though we lensmasters do have four months to edit and revise our new hubs it may well be a close call.

Now, what have I been doing this past month. Well my recent surgery has kept my crafting activities to a minimum but I do have the usual ATC cards for the monthly challenge/swap on Paper Digital Art and Images by Kim, the theme was to colour orange. Some very unusual interpretations but here are my entries.


This first card utilised a "lacy" black backing paper over an orange card. The vintage image was a lady wearing an orange dress.


This card is an abstract interpretation which had nothing whatsoever to do with the fruit. Hope you are able to enjoy the colours.

Friday, 22 August 2014

After the dust has cleared from Squidoo ...

I had been wondering what to do with this set of blogs, you may have noticed that The last post was nearly three months ago. A combination of factors really but two closures for me have finally stung me into action.

First of all, long term illness in the family together with my own hospitalisation for a total knee replacement meant that I had to cut down on time spent on the internet. However, the two factors which have pushed me into action were:

  1. The closure of Squidoo, which had been my main writing site and
  2. the continued lack of payments by Bubblews for as far as I am concerned no good reason.
I have always maintained that I wrote on-line to share my hobbies / interests but even so if a site offers to  pay for content and a writer sticks to their rules (where many do not) I simply got too frustrated to bother to carry on with that site. Also they changed their rules so that only one image was possible and in doing this destroyed a few hundred short articles which I had written on the site. It has become a very spammy site and more of a place for social chit-chat than well written articles. I have had more than enough of the attitude of the admin team to their contributors. It has become a total scam.

I wrote on Squidoo because it was available in 2007 when I wanted a free-hosting site to develop web-pages without too much knowledge of HTML, etc. I found out I could earn money on there, and over the past 12-15 months, despite issues with Google Panda, I started earning a small but regulaar amount. They are to close by the end of this month and articles (lenses) are to be transferred to HubPages. It remains to be seen wether this will be an easy process, but I fear the worst.

I will be spending far more time writing on my own sites; blogs and web-pages where the content I want to write / show will not be decided by others. I will not be trying to make lots of money from these sites although I do have a few adsense adverts around the page. I will be keeping adverts strictly limited.

The major difference for this blog is that I will be explaining the processes and methods I use to create the art which I show on here. In the recent past, I have shown  (mostly) collaged ATC's, but I hope to widen the scope of my artwork now that I have more time and talk about the why's and wherefore's.

Just to add a little imagery, here is a  new ATC created for one of my challenges in the ATC group on PDA


Very little to say about this one. I had to create a couple for the challenge and still not feeling well I chose a very simple design. The whole picture, background and beauties was layered down onto the backing card. This was then decorated by using a piece of ribbon stuck down and also held by a couple of brads. The text was created using a collage sheet which I purchased as a download from Lisa Vollrath a few years ago and had never used. Do you do that? Collect stuff you think may be useful and then forget why you bought it. I guess many of us crafters/artists do so, that is surely why we have such a large stash of materials in our studios.


Anyway, please look out for new posts in the near future, I hope I will be seeing you.