Wednesday, 17 November 2010

ATC challenges

I am going to be very brief with this post as I need to do some catching up. I am just going to show two ATC collages which were made for challenges on different sites.

This was made for a challenge on Flickr (Artful Ideas), the theme was journey. I decided to make it a metaphorical journey simply because I found and liked this image. Love the facial expression! I took some travel lables (Dover Samples) and used this to represent where ( and perhaps how) the little girl would be when she grows up.

This was made for a Halloween themed challenge ( did you guess?)  on PDA ;full title:- "it's alright for you but I don't like bats in my hair"

the main image is from frannie60  and the bats from jack and cat curio

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Do You Squidoo?

Golly, time certainly passes when you are enjoying yourself. I have been creating and updating lenses ( single page web-sites on a niche subjects) on Squidoo.

I love to write about what I am doing as much as painting and collaging, so I am enjoying this at present to the detriment of new art. I am also reading a lot about art and making notes of some new ideas to try! I have updated my lenses on "making, collecting and selling ACEO's". Still have a way to go to complete these and they remain work-in-progress but why hide them away. Actually there is a series of four introduced by the named lens.

I have also added recently, tutorials on:-

making a simple collaged ATC
ready made and easy ATC backgrounds
making marbled paper with shaving cream 
the basics of how to use the colour wheel
and for those of you new to layering in digital work, adding ghost images in Photoplus

Hope you find time to take a peek. comments of course are very welcome - always. especially if they help to improve the content and the manner in which it is presented. Thanks in anticipation.

Monday, 11 October 2010

ATC's and digital collages

It has been a little while since I posted any new ATC's, I have been really busy with several things including my art group's annual exhibition. And also our main holiday, photos of which will be appearing on my photography blog.

But I am going to take the opportunity to let you see what little collage work I have been doing, both atc's were for scheduled swaps and so I couldn't really miss doing them. I hope that the pressure didn't show in the work I did.The first was for a swap on Flickr group, Artful Ideas with a theme of Autumn Romance. The main image seems to be missing a little contrast compared to the original, not quite sure why. Must be something to do with the scanning.

The second was from a swap on PDA, with a theme of Family Matters. I called this one Sisters, a little tongue in cheek but I call it artistic licence.

The other piece I have to show this time is a digital collage. A little bit of fun really but again it was for a challenge on PDA . the challenge was to use what Kim called an "ugly image". I was playing around with the image and background ( both from one of Kim's collage sheets) and then whilst browsing found the image of the men amongst the free images on PDA. The text came to me at once and I thought, "why not". A little sexist perhaps, but I don't think it does any harm.

PS the "ugly" adjective was the image, not the lady. Kim seems to have some of these less than pretty images for us to come.

Oh well , back to the preparations for the groups exhibition, see you soon

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Considerations for framing ATC and ACEO art cards

Further to my last post I have taken an opportunity to create a Squidoo Lens with a few thoughts on framing Art cards. As a painter, I have always placed a mat in front of the painting when framing art. But I have decided that for many art cards, it is easier and better if the art card is placed in front of the  mat. This opens up a number of benefits (easier to cut the mat, etc) but it can also provide a means of protecting cards with 3-d embellishments. In the extreme this leads to the use of a "shadow box arrangement" for framing very bulky cards.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Framed ATC collages for 2010 Art group Exhibtion

I usually keep my painting and "crafting" activities quite separate. No real reason but I paint at my art group and "craft" at home. Most of my internet activities are about the crafting side. However, this year I am determined to bring both activities together for my art group exhibition.

I have framed a selection of ATC's (which have not been snapped up for swapping) and intend to offer these as part of my submission to my art group's exhibition this year. Just a couple of weeks away and I have very nearly got them all ready. Just need to write some sticky labels and decide how much to ask for the individual works.

In this neck of the woods there are several large outlets ( department stores, athena prints, IKEA) for prints from the famous and the infamous, whch seem to get picked as wall decorations by the modern "art lover". This means of course that real art from up-and-coming artists does not sell well at all. Do I pick a price which may lead to a sale, but will simply show the public that it is not worth anything. Or do I set a price which I feel I am worth and hang wether it sells or not. Decisions, decisions !!!! Whichever way, I gave up on Ebay a long time ago as a means of making sales; I might as well have given them away for all the good it did me.

see also my other blog for a view of the pastel paintings

Monday, 13 September 2010

Marbling paper and lots of other simple background techniques

Gosh, I have been so busy lately, very little time for blogging even tho I know it should take precedence. After all, isn't one of the golden rules that you should post regularly!

I have actually been quite busy with crafty things and this is a little bit of a catch-up (again!!!!)

First thing is that I am finally investing a little time in writing some Squidoo Lenses. If you haven't come across these before don't panic. they are simply single page web sites designed to put across a particular piece of information. they can be short or long depending on the subject and how much you have to say.

Some time ago I wrote about how I came across ACEO paintings and what they were. This led to a series on making , collecting and selling ACEO's. However, I never got around to completing the latter because I found ATC's and became quite addicted to  swapping.

One or two more lenses followed but I am now creating a series for beginners, people new to the mixed media scene. The first was a simple tutorial showing the making of a collaged ATC. this has been followed by a lens on simple techniques for making unique backgrounds and another for making marbled papers using shaving foam. I enjoy developing the tutorials and it makes me think about what I am doing and how to improve my art.

It has been a couple of years since I started making ATC's and although I am happy to try anything for a challenge, I am beginning to feel that I am in something of a rut. hence the look at what and how I am doing things. I see lots of references to products which have been developed to aid the crafter/artist but am most happy using discarded bits and pieces and images which often require work on them ( e.g. digital editing) before printing. And I do get most of my images off the web. recently I have tried digital collages, which I enjoyed but it begins to get a little same-y. Although that is not to denigrate the great art that I see created by this method. My "rusty bucket" is another way of looking for another way forward and I have been making larger collages and painting over a collage prepared as an initial step.

Still feeling that I need to develop however, doing the same thing too often is fine but does not equate with satisfying my artistic tendancies. But thinking abouot it I felt like this about painting at one stage, and now it is just another stirng to my bow. So maybe I should stop thinking and get creating

thanks for getting this far, hope to be back soon.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Exploding ovens

or rather exploding oven doors: just had to get this off my chest

I had to replace an element in our oven, and decided that it was a little worse for wear. We decided to give it a good clean.

We had bought a cleaner called OVEN PRIDE, some time ago and decided to try it out. On the box we read, " Caution, this product actually works". Looked good. One evening I applied the gel to the inside of the oven, the racks and the glass door. Leaving the gel on the surfaces overnight as the instructions said this was a good idea.

Next morning, I cleaned up the residue and was pleasantly surprised that the stuff had actually done what it said on the box.

At lunchtime I turned on the oven, ready for my wife to use and left her in the kitchen. Very shortly there was a shout from the kitchen, " you had better come and see this". The inner glass door which I had just cleaned, had virtually exploded and now lay on the floor of the oven in hundreds of pieces. The sodium hydroxide gel had obviously affected the glass in some way, probably affecting the chemical structure of the glass. It had certainly lost its ability to resist the heat of the oven.

I emailed the suppliers of the product and one of their staff, a Ms Hilda Tabas, very obligingly told me they had changed the packaging since I purchased it and now did not recommend it for tempered glass. No doubt they had had many similar, previous complaints. She did not even offer any apologies for waht her product had done. But then I guess that is the way with customer services today.

BTW the glass door panel cost me £52 to replace, I doubt very much that I will be using any similar products again in case the new door panel gets splashed and the same thing happens.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Assemblages, my rusty bucket collection

I must have mentioned my flirtation with assemblage. Since reading "The Secret of Rusty Things" by Michael de Meng, I have been collecting bits and pieces which I may be able to use for such a project. Mostly things from around the house mostly, but I have been keeping them in an old bucket in the garden ( plus a little bleach for good measure) to get them good and rusty. It is cooking nicely! Thought that you might like to see a photo or two.

an overall view

some drawer runners from the old kitchen units to use as structural elements in any larger assemblages

old taps, springs and brackets

some of the smaller, deliciously rusted items; note the bits of conifer tree which found their way in the wind into my bucket

not quite sure what I will be doing with the scissors but I will use them I am sure
bits of plumbing, an old plane and a couple of cake slicers

 the top of a throw-away barbecue, more taps and a sardine tin ( will find another use for this one)

old salad servers and an empty sealant tube. If you have read MdeM's book you will know how useful an empty sealant tube can be.
Now you will probably be thinking, "He's lost his marbles". But I honestly felt inspired by this book and just wish I had access to the sort of scrap available in the book. If I find that I enjoy making assemblages as much as I think I will, I shall be visiting the local scrap yards - if I can talk my wife into letting me have a part of the garden to keep piles of rusty old metal parts. It's difficult enough to convince her that my paper scraps etc, are the price of my chosen art media.

And one interesting thing he was originally a painter, and found his way into assemblages, the story of my life (sorry art) so there is a precedent to my art direction.

Monday, 23 August 2010

A display holder for little "row houses"

Wow, it seems to have been such a long time since I posted on this blog. I have been so busy putting together a consignment of paintings for a new craft/art shop, Fair Wind Studio. My good friend Nancy is opening a small studio in a recently re-opened mall in Ohio and I was invited to send a consignment of artworks for sale in the studio. You can see a few of the aceo paintings I have done recently especially to go in the initial consignment in my blog painting with John. Best of luck to you Nancy, I hope all goes well.

In the meantime I have not been doing much in the crafting line, but I did make one of these; a display holder for some of the row houses which I have been swapping.

These photos show the end results , you can see one of the sides of the accordian folded holder have pockets for the inchie row houses and the other side has pockets for a larger set of row houses. A tutorial for the construction of this display holder can be seen on PDA. this very closely follows an original tutorial from Kim Newberg who runs PDA.

I am very much hoping to try another very shortly in which I can display atc's. The pockets are not transparent because many of the row houses have lots of very tactile embellishments and it is all about being able to handle the displayed items. thanks for looking.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Look what I have won ...........

Wow, just received a wonderful set of crafting goodies from Kim Newberg at PDA. I won them in a contest which required linking blog posts, etc back to the pda site  within a given time frame - as simple as that. Something I always do anyway when I am posting anywhere, "simples!!!!", as the meerkat would say.

Well as it turned out it became a contest between two of us as to who would make more links. I started off a clear winner but Jean Roman came up very strong and we actually finished neck and neck. Kim managed to give us both a prize. And what a prize!

Here is a list of the contents of two boxes of goodies:-

Box 1

a package of assorted paper napkins,
a package of 12 large manilla shipping tags
set of 4 chip board hearts
a lovely paper pack with a variety of papers from 6 x 6 square down to 3 x 3
a paper bag book kit complete with ephemera, ribbons, lace, embellishments etc to creat the entire book.
12 pack of burgundy oval buttons great for embellishing
3 piece vintage clothes pegs
5 piece vintage milk pods/tabs
a wooden picture frame (wrapped in tissue)
25 piece daisy flower embellishments
4 piece vintage wooden thread spools
10 pack of wooden dominoes
15 piece game pack with bingo card and game pieces for embellishing
10 pack coin envelopes
20 piece vintage wine labels assorted

Box 2

Bingo cards
10 piece tissue paper pack
10 assorted craft fibres
2 ribbon cards
a package of mini envelopes
a package of mini bingo cards
some recycled doll arms (its creepy but great for altered doll fun)
a package of large christmas tags
6 pack of rose fabric buttons
assortment of large silk flower die cuts
a package of little pink flowers
assorted diecuts package
assorted diecut clock arms
a wooden box
a paper pack assortment
a package of fabric bags for gifts
a package of premade painted tags and atc blank
a blank art book
a package of stamps
music note chipboard tags
a package of chipboard frames
some vintage book pages.

and here are some photos of the contents, not sure if everything is included but more  ( and more detailed) photos can be seen on the PDA site

well there it is, a wonderful haul and now I am off to wallow in it. So much fun sifting thru it all and imagining what to do with it. I have a few ideas ( now, now; keep it clean) and will be posting the results a soon as is practical. Means you get to see them if the ideas work out. Thanks Kim and thanks to you all for looking.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

thank heavens for digital collages

Yep, my knee is still playing me upand our good old health service is passing me around, no nearer to having anything permanent done to fix it yet. But at least I have my PC and am really getting into the weekly "Play with Crowabout" collage challenges on Flickr . I am finding that digital collaging can be great fun and I don't have to worry about making mistakes. Just learn from experience and SAVE after every modification. Anyway here are my latest two collages created with the free download tool, Photoplus. I have version 8 and it should be available from the Serif software site. Like many suppliers they have more advanced versions and their software is at very reasonable prices but I have found that I have everything I need in the free download. Of course there is always the "industry standard Photoshop. Lots more help on the web for this expensive tool.

the great thing about this challenge is that you have to work with a given set of images. You can use other images as long as you use at least three  images from the challenge sheet. I always like to use as many as I reasonably can. The titles of these pieces are to be seen in the images themselves.

If you are into digital, why not give this challenge a go? Thanks for looking.

Monday, 5 July 2010

More digital collages

Still suffering from the knee problem and consequently can't access my studio easily so still the PC is still handy and I am finding new tools which I can use in my photo manipulation software.

I am posting four new art works here, so you can see I have been busy on my PC. I have done a little cutting and sticking down but will show these in my next post.

title: La Sirena

This was created for the Crowabout challenge on Flickr as was the next image. A collage sheet is provided and to enter the challenge you must create a collage using at least three of the elements. A fun way to learn about using limited resources. That is not to say that the collage sheets are not really good, with interesting images.

title: come in #6, your time is up

The next two are just me playing on the PC. both have self created backgrounds, one a pastel painting of a tree ( deceased) and the other a collaged piece using small scraps of magazine images. It has then been modified to give a B&W, desaturated image. The colourful images used with it stand out well from the background. The tree painting gave me an idea to create a joke about the wooden sandals that you see worn by geishas.

title: beach babe and friend

title: the slipper tree

Thanks for getting this far, hope you liked the images.

There are of course many helpful books around on using SW like photoshop, PS elements and others. Some expensive and some are free, for myself I am still using V8 of Photoplus which can be downloaded for free. It has more features and tools than I have so far used but still manage to create exactly what I want. Horses for courses but if you are new to this art form why not try it for free before spending megabucks. there is plenty of help around on the internet.

if you want paint programs, rather than photo manipulation SW then google for Artrage, Artweaver or project Dogwaffle. All have free download versions. In fact there is a good project to sort out some good links to these free progs, I will put myself up for it and bring you the results in due course.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

A little out of my depth with textiles

The current challenge on the Artful Ideas group on Flickr is to use textiles and fibres to create an ATC. Well, I do use these items (sic) in a modest way as embellishments but do not remember working an entire card from textile. However, how difficult can it be? Coming from someone who can't even thread a needle that is a rhetorical question - thank you! But that nice lady Nancy Torsen, our leader on the group did suggest that adhesive might be a way forward.

I used a "damask" type of material ( yes I have collected a few scraps and this one is just like our tablecloth) to cover and fold around the back of a card base to stiffen the atc. On the back I placed a piece of red, "satiny" material ( no, I don't know any other way to describe it but it was shiny) to cover the top cloth where it was wrapped around, so that it would stay in place. I glued them down ( don't ask!!!) and left it under a pile of heavy books to dry overnight.

I had decided to stamp an image on the front and build up fibres and ribbons, etc around it. As it happened I bonded a pink ribbon to the bottom of the card and put a large lace ribbon over the bttom half of the image. Just for contrast, I put a green./gold ribbon under the lace. I then used a fibre-wrapped frame to put over a small mirror, and added sequins, a faux gem and a small heart to encircle the head of the figure. Sometime the plans and sketches I make are thrown aside and I just go with the flow.

I did not find this easy ( nothing to do with changing the plans) as it did not feel right for me. I fel that I will not be deserting paper-craft just yet. But at least if got made and I hope that it will be appreciated for what it is. Thanks for looking...........

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

collaged atc's; cut it up, stick it down

Collage is mostly about cutting ( or tearing) up an image and using it in a composition to create a pleasing or meaningful piece of art. This weeks challenge in Artful Ideas on Flickr, was to cut up an image and then rearrange it to create an ATC.

I toyed with the idea for some time and decided to use images of some old paintings for this challenge and repurpose ( if that's the word) the art. I printed out some small scale images ( atc size) from some larger works ( of the order of 12 x 16 inches) and played around with the possibilities. There may be more to come having got this far, but the entries to the challenge are shown below:-

For the first atc, I simply cut up an image of a pastel portrait and then stuck the pieces down on a background paper. I did not consider actually taking out any of the original image so that what you see is a sort of expanded ( or exploded) image. I could have taken out some of the image from the cut areas and left the overall size of the image intact, but with bits missing. I intend to try this with the same image and see how it compares. I have been told that the emotion in the face is changed by this first procedure, I wonder how it will be affected by the second.

The second atc was more involved. I cut up two different landscapes, a welsh village and a seashore scene and then put them back together fairly randomly. The main image was a figure study cut up and reassembled to seem as if it is floating on the backdrop.

I enjoyed this challenge and as I said will be playing with it to create a few more atc's in different ways, thanks for your time.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

getting down and digital

Still not able to get to my "srudio" because of the knee so have taken to using the PC and doing a little digital art work. Both of these were for  challenges on PDA ( paper and digital art by Kim) and make use of the free images offered by Kim Newberg. One of the useful things about these challenges is that Kim gives a months worth of themes in advance and therefore there is plenty of time to get to grips with the composition and then the business of actually doing the work.

I call this "Das Eugen Haben Sie" my poor translation for "The eyes have it". It is in german because the background text ( lyrics) are in german - seemed right, somehow. The background / eyes and the vintage gentleman are available free on PDA. The girls faces are from the Flickr collage group

This one I seemed to go mad with. The background is actually a montage of 4 images from the flickr collage group, by ArtByChristi and luvs2create2. I rather liked the way it turned out and for a while wasn't sure that i wanted to cover it - always a danger for me. The vintage lady was from frannie60, and the borders and tags from Norma Frances, again from the flickr group. The ivy and the vintage doll image was from PDA.

Hope to get back to sticking things down soon, but I have an X-ray arranged and may have to have a knee replacement. keeping my fingers crossed. In the mean time I guess that there will be more digital art work coming from me.

PS just realised the german is worse than I thought... eyes is augen not as I have spelt it on the card, oh well I will correct it asap.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

out of action - almost

I am currently suffering from a knee which won't do as it is told. I recently twisted it in a fall whilst gardening and it has set off my arthritis. A problem because my craft space/studio is in my roof space and requires an athletic ladder climb. In other word I can't reach my bits and pieces. Oh nasty missus!

But today I managed to get along to a spring fayre at the residential home where MIL is now living. All profits go to the residents to provide the littlte extras, so one has to spend, spend and spend again on these ocassions. Now I have recently bought " Secrets of Rusty Things" by Michael de Meng. Secrets of Rusty Things: Transforming Found Objects into Art I was knocked out by his approach and the art works he creates; I would recommend this as a good read even if you never intend to do more than papercrafting - it is so inspiring. I have decided to try out some assemblage art and aquired a few frames and an old barometer at this fayre. I also bought another old book, a book of poetry from 1920. Just the ticket for adding textual background material. Here are a few photos of my aquisitions:-


The largest frame is about 6 inches high

The diameter of the barometer is about 4 inches

An awful colour but some nice vintage poetry

I will of course be posting details of my experiments with this "NEW" art media. My first real attempt at real 3-D art was the mermaids garden - I feel I have learned a lot since then, so am expecting great things a la MdM - watch this space.

Monday, 24 May 2010

return of the atc's

Not getting too many atcs done of late but here are a couple that you may like to see:-


I called this, "A shadow of his former self". It was an entry to a challenge/swap on PDA. the theme was to use a map, which I decided to put in the background. I then used a female sillouettee and the image of the male to form the main compositional elements. This image actually show up the pencil marks where I attempted to cover a little white around the edge of the sillouette - thanks to the flash, shucks. I then used a die cut hole ( in the shape of a butterfly) in a thick card as a stencil. But I shold have used paper... it was difficult to get the acrylic paint fully up to the edges which has left very poor images. I will know next time!


This was an entry for the Artful Ideas group on Flickr, the theme was to use stamp(s) and painting to create the atc.I spread purple and yellow acrylic paint using a plastic knife for the background and then used a home made stamp to create the swirls. I layered an old scrap of "serendipity" background paper to form a base for the head and added the initials O.K.


The last card utilised this image which I was sent along with a traded card. I have had it for some time and couldn't quite find the right time to use it, but a theme of "Funny" on PDA gave me the right opportunity. I don't know if you have the same problem but I index ( what a grand way of stating it) bits and piece in my stash according to subject/colour/theme / etc and lose track of where things come from. Does anybody have any advice as to how this may be achieved efficiently? If this was you then may I thank you very much it does seem to have gone down well, see my Flickr site for more comments

thanks for looking

Sunday, 16 May 2010

An altered matchbox - WIP

So, my first craft post in a while, it has been busy and of course I have been visiting the Eden Project with my wife. A long enough drive to warrant a few days away.

The original item was a sort of "treasure box", which I had started and put aside many moons ago; I had to alter a matchbox by prising it open and reconstructing it inside out. I finished the construction and decided that rather than one maiden which was the theme for a challenge on PDA, my box would have one on each page and a surprise in the box.

sorry about the focus but as a work in progress, I was in a hurry to post the image and .....

The box was painted and stamped ( an african theme but who cares), and an accordion-fold book added which was tied with thread ( wool was all I had in those far off days of yore). I have now added an image of a maiden to each page and have my thinking cap on as to how to finish it. My first thought was to add a little title; i.e. coquetish maiden, grateful maiden, cheeky maiden, shy maiden, pensive ....etc. But for some reason I have fallen out with that idea. I do however think it needs something and will hopefully come up with something after I have slept on it. Here are the other pages:-



Hope to be able to post this set again when I have completed the piec. I do hope it doesn't sit on one side for as long again before I decide what to do with it, LOL. Thanks for dropping in.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Yet another new blog for my photography back from a three day trip to Cornwall to visit the Eden project. I took rather a lot of photos and of course some were more than just holiday snaps. In the spirit of my recent discussions about blogs I have started a blog for what I hope will be considered some of the more interesting shots. Maybe you would care to pay a visit and bookmark the blog for future reference.

I shall not be repeating posts or notifying of posts to the other blogs once I have them up and running. These past couple of posts have only been to make the division of my art work and other interests plain to all my readers. The newer blogs will be linked to on the side panel but otherwise I will not be cross referencing. The intention is to write separate posts for each blog. They may not be daily updates but hopefully will be regular. I need to work at building a disciplined approach.

hope to see you at the other place, LOL

Sunday, 9 May 2010

new blog - painting with john

Couldn't think of a catchy title but this one will fill the bill, for now; Painting With John

This is the first of my new blogs which I mentioned a couple of posts ago. This one will cover my painting, mostly with watercolour and pastels ( although I do use virtually any medium that is on sale and some that aren't, LOL) new ones and from time to time I will drag up an old one to remind myself that I can draw as well as paint. However now that it is separate from this blog I will feel OK about posting new of my art group and possibly some of my collagues work as well if it illustrates a point that I would like to make.

I hope that you will be able to find a little time to pop across from time to time and see how I am getting on.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

altered jigsaw pieces for PDA

Two current challenges on PDA  (paper digital images by Kim) require the altering of jigsaw puzzle pieces. I seem to be doing quite a few of these recently! The themes are "Bubbles" and for the second challenge, "Let's go Fly a Kite". I took a little while to think about these and decided to try to do something a little different for me. I seem to be getting into a rut of using simple collage techniques too often, so here is one answer to this.

flying his kite

Here I have used one of my own watercolour paintings as the base image and have embellished it with a felt Kite and a wool fibre for it's tail. The line is replaced by a wire threaded from a hole by the raised hand to another under the bottom apex of the kite. The cloth/paper flowers were added as an afterthought to add a little balance to the piece.

And another similar answer was...


Here I have again used the gold foil sweet wrapper to provide a background. The image is from the painting by Millais, "Bubbles". The embelishments and fibres, etc were added to provide interest. The smaller beads were supposed to represent the bubbles being blown by the little lad.

I am not at all sure that the addition of the embellishments works in either of the pieces, and it certainly goes against my usual style where I tend to keep everything as simple as possible. MAybe I am adding too many, too quickly. Will have to be carerful, until I understand why I am adding them. Do they aadd anything artistically. I like to see busy art by other artists but it never seems to work for me personally. Needs some thought!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

new developments with the blog

I have been thinking about what to do with this blog for some time. I would like to be able to show my collage work, my paintings, photography and other aspects of my creative side - and not forgetting my song writing. I am in two minds how to proceed. I could of course have a blog for each subject, or subject group; but this is likely to prove too difficult to maintain posts with any sort of regularity. I have seen people with several blogs and invariably one or two become dormant after a while. A real danger therefore! I could also mix and match all sorts of posts but this means that readers may not be interested in many of the posts - will they keep coming back? So I feel that there must be a happy medium.

I have explored many internet sites/applications with a view to earning a little cash to fund my hobby ( at least to pay some of the broadband fees - I have no illusions of riches coming my way) and have succeeded in making small, very small, amounts from several different sources.

A new experiment is by becoming an Amazon Associate and providing links and search boxes which potentially earn a small subscription if a sale for Amazon results. Is this selling out? Will this turn readers off? I feel it is worth experimenting.

I shall not be inserting lots of them, but the advert on the left is an example of what it is all about, anad you may have noticed the Amazon search box on the right hand margin.

I have to admit the largest slice of cash earned over the web has come from Ebay. I have not been selling for a couple of years, rather getting involved with trading ATC cards, I always used to buy as many aceo's as I sold. Not a great way to earn money and Ebay of course did very nicely thank you. There are of course many competitors to Ebay now, and a lot of these are specifically for selling art/craft/hand-made goods. Lots of scope for experimentation.

I have several articles on Squidoo, and have received money based on the number of readers - this could be a central plank of my plans for the future. Other sites do exist which provide opportunity for selling articles.

Selling images rather than the art itself is also a possibility, I have just made my first sale ( on a greeting card) via Zazzle ( Cafe Press is another option) and many sites exist to sell the rights to use your photographs.

Last but not least for now is the Google Adsense route, do you ever click on adverts when you are reading a web page? Siome people do and it earns money for the page author. Slowly but surely, however a large footfall is required to make any reasonable amount here.

I am sure that I have not mentioed all the different ways of picking up a few pence via the internet, the book here will no doubt offer many more opportunities. Just a last little plug, LOL.

I would be interested in your comments about this subject, hope I haven't bored you and thanks for reading.

Addendum: I wrote this post last night and saved it as a draft, unsure of wether to actually use it. Sleeping on it I have decided that I will definitely start a couple more blogs; the first to accomodate posts specifically about my painting and to involve my art group. This will have a different audience I feel. I will still post images of some of my paintings here butthe blog will be more true to the original aims of this blog - a history of the trials and tribulations of a leisure artist.

The second new blog will feature more photography, and I will consider two others. One about my music, basically my songwriting and the other about my experiments in generating a little cash from the internet. These last blogs will be something I shall post to from time to time. I know that the concept of a blog is that it should be regular to attract readers but I am more concerned with publishing material that I feel will be available from my main blog as a "see it if you want" basis. The main blogs will then be uninterupted for my art/craft readers.

I will also be making much fewer and smaller comments on the posts to my Flickr photosteam, a link to my blog will exist for those who want to read about my artworks

Friday, 30 April 2010

pastel landscape painting - a failure

I did originally say that this blog was about the trials and tribulations I encountere in my art work. I do show a few failures but generally try to keep the real no-nos to myself. This was a special case. I had selected a reference to paint because it had such a wonderfully coloured sky. I spent the best part of my art group meeting this past week layering several colours into the sky

after the storm

before adding a distant line of hills and the yellow on red middle distance. The final touch would have been the dark ( black) foreground and the trees and foliage, bringing the foreground and the sky together. But before I got to that last part, I began to have doubts about the sky. I do wish that I had taken a photo of it to illustrate the point, but it looked ( not to put too fine a point on it) rubbish.

Now I have to admit that I use fixative .....shock, horror... I build up my pastels with several layers of colours often stating with a contrasting or even complementary colour. The first layers are fixed and then The top layers can be left fresh, and there is little danger of mixing the colours as the later pastels are added - no smudging. You can see an example of this in the yellow on red middle ground. I developed this technique from painting pastel abstact paintings where the possible texture/granulation was a large part of my style. BTW my fixative of choice is the cheapest hair-spray I can find in the local supermarket.

In this case, it may just have added a bonus. Because the innitial result was so awful, I decided to use a kitchen tissue to rub off all the sky and start again. The fixative does stop accidental smudging but cannot cope with a determined effort. Of course the board was stained with the colours and the rubbing provided a high degree of mixing. BUT I was amazed, not what I had set out to do however there was a very useful looking sky. I added the purple clouds, keeping them low key, and was very pleased with the outcome. A happy accident you could say. I then finished off the foreground and showed the piece to my colleagues who seemed to agree with me.

the painting is approximately 14x10 inches

I hope you find it to your liking and would love to hear your comments. Just shows that sometimes a little luck is all it takes. Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Artistic Alphas challenge- April

Finding lots of inspiration on Kim Newberg's PDA. The Artistic Alphas group is about creating art with a running theme of "the alphabet". It has only recently got underway and with April we have reached "H" and "I". For this I wanted to do something a little different to my usual ATC, so decided on a tag for one of the pieces and only one ATC for the other.

H is for.... Horse
Tag: H is for ..... horse

I took an ordinary parcel tag and layered it with a dark brown craft paper, wrapping this around the edges of the tag for neatness. I then layered a complimentary coloured craft paper on the back ( no photo) to leave a couple of mm of the brown showing around the edge. I then qadded the image of the girl and the horse, and a border at the bottom. I embossed a card bookplate and added this to the tag, and added what I thought would be suitable text. The "H" and the threads were added to complete the piece.

ATC: I for musical Instument ( alt: It Takes Two)
ATC: I is for ...... musical instrument

Fell back into an atc for this second piece, I found (?) this image on a collage sheet from Kim Newberg and decided to use it for this atc. It was a very simple image in B&W so I decided to create a slightly more complex background using several craft papers / downloaded images. Again the "I" is because it is one of the Artistic Alphas entries.

As usual, larger images may be seen on my Flickr photostream, thanks for looking.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Pink ATC's for PDA

Gosh ( or words to that effect), I feel like I am on a roll with my output this week. Actually, I had a couple of days of work. Being MIL's 99th birthday, we took her out for the day as I mentioned in a previous post. Lovely weather, by the way! I had such a lot to do around the house that instead of the one day I had planned to take off work I decided, "what the heck? why not have three days off! It has certainly helped with my to-do list and also allowed me a few free evenings to catch up on some challenges I like to do.

These are for a challenge on PDA known as Pocket Packet Friday. Originally Kim sent the winner of the challenge a pocketful of ephemera for use in art/craftwork. My first pocket was cut from a pair of denim jeans. The beauty of this challenge is that it is not retricted to a particular format, as long as the work complies with the current theme the artist can submit anything at all. Any conceptual artists out in there with time on their hands, looking for a challenge?

Anyway, I have entered two atc's for this weeks challenge with a theme of PINK. Full credits for the images are given on my Flickr photostream. Here are the photos:-

the "wink" said it all
the wink said it all

oohhh! Is that for me?
ooohhh! is that for me?

thanks again for looking, hope to have more "stuff" for publication soon.