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.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Have to keep making those ATC's

Now with so much going on, I still seem to be making ATC cards. Not as many as I used to do but they still keep rolling off the line regularly. And the thing is I always feel so very happy with most of them. I still enjoy the sheer simplicity of a simple collaged ATC.

Yes, I use a background (several layers possibly) and not only a main image but also other images which extend the story. And most of my ATC's do tell a story. I have writen a few tutorials on creating simple ATC's which you can find on Squidoo. This page covers articles about ATC's (ACEO's), tutorials and some thoughts on various aspects of ATC's.

Today, I am posting 2 cards from another challenge on PDA, with the theme, RETRO

If you like a good read, then try this article, Simplicity in Art,  in which a try to explain why I feel so happy with this concept. It is based on quotes from many masters from the past and right up to the present time. I also include oone or two from other art forms which I feel may apply and add value to the discussion.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Exhibition Extra - how to use all those fun canvases

We held the exhibition this past weekend and what a success. It was a glorious holiday weekend and this bought out crowdss of people into the town centre, lots of them popping in to visit our exhibition. I have already written about this on my painting blog so I will not repeat myself here.

You didn't know I had a separate blog for painting? It has been active for some time now and in fact is one of SEVEN (yes 7 blogs) which I write to keep the posts limited to niche areas. The trouble is that I have to be careful about keeping to a schedule or I find myself missing posting to one or more of them.

The blogs can be accessed via the navigation bar just under the header image at the top of the page. If you did not realise I was writing so many blogs then why not browse over to find out what is happening. There are times when I do write across subjects but this is mainly because one of my interests has been keeping me busy and I have missed a post or two. For example, I have recently spent some time converting several e-books (on scribd) to a format which allows me to publish as a paperback on Amazon, I have excused a lack of posts for a few weeks on my blog, A Novel Appears, by mentioning these books, three of which are poetry collections. And now I have done the same on this blog. You can of course flit from one blog to another using the navigation bar. It is essentially the same on each blog.

But to the real point of this post, I mentioned the exhibition last time and slipped in a photo of my frames paintings. I also exhibited a collection of the miniature canvases I have been working on. Mostly acrylic landscapes, but they are the same size as the Artist Trading Cards and I think they are really dinky. Most of my colleagues in the group agree however I did not sell any. As for the exhibition, we all considered it a great success based on a 30% increase in footfall over our best previous visitor numbers. Sales however were very poor, a sign of the times perhaps?

 My miniatures displayed at the exhibition

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

More ATC's, 2014 Exhibition, New Web-site

I have several thing to cram into this week's post, as you can see from that badly formed title. Oh yes, a title is important!

First of all I have two ATC cards for the latest PDA challenge, the theme this month is Queens/Royalty, I could have come up with something a little more original but I was sitting working in front of the TV and my mind was sapped with the crap on the screen, I guess. 500 channels of Sh_t, now where have I heard that before? But here they are anyway:-

I have titled this card

And the second

I feel that I have become too stuck with simple collages, and need to get awa from the TV (!!) and out of this aquired comfort zone to try some of the dozens of other techniques (if not hundreds) which used to keep me coming back for more with excitement and creativity.

Maybe I need to kick myself up the butt and stop procrastinating. But what else have I got for you? Oh yes my art groups annual exhibition will be held in two weeks time. With a larger group this year we have been limited to five paintings each - but I have framed 6 just in case. We always seem to be able to use a few extra when we have hung the items in the catalogue.

They are all pastel landscapes this year, no abstracts have got under the bar although the two on the lower right are very brightly coloured. Are they abstracts or possibly semi-abstracts or simply expressionistic interpretations?

And finally, I am creating a set of static web-sites (on WIX.COM) to stand as complimentary sites to my blogs. Have you seen any of my other blogs, they can accessed via the navigation bar just below the header. So far I have set up sites to feature myself as a poet/writer, a musician/songwriter and as a pastel artist. Please feel free to take a look at these although they are only a work-in-progress so far. There will also be more, for instance as a creator of artist trading cards, hopefully featuring many different techniques from my chequered past. See you there, then?

Monday, 31 March 2014

ATC's on a theme of MUSIC

I do seem to be getting into a rut with my ATC's. I am doing so much these days and it is keeping me from the wide range of art activities which I used to participate in. from writing (several blogs, poetry, articles mainly on Squidoo and now a novel) to art (only weeks away from my art groups annual exhibition) I am not getting enough time to experiment or play with the vast number of techniques available.

I must try to make time to go back over atc's from the past few years and rediscover those fun techniques which I found so attracted me to the world of ATC's. I have even written a very successful article on Squidoo, Making Art Trading Cards which attracts a number of readers (and a few dollars) everry month. In the article I give examples of many, many techniques and these don't even scratch the surface of what is out there.

I need to put a little time aside each week (where from I don't know) to get myself inspired again to make new and different cards. But for now, here are another two cards which I have created for the PDA monthly challenge/swap a small but lively challenge. The theme this month was Music:-

I usually give my cards a title as soon as they are done, but here for some reason I have not named either of these yet. Maybe I am afraid of being a little too "twee". You can see more of the cards from this challenge on the official PDA blog.

I hope that by next week, I shall be getting myself sorted out and scheduling a little time for more art in this genre.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Abstract Activity Cards

I have been designing a "card" game for artists who need help to create  non-representaional paintings, in other words Abstract Paintings.

This post fits in to this blog becase of the method I used to create my prototype card decks.

Here you can see four separate decks of cards. I used an old standard deck as a start point, and then printed out roughly ATC sized copies of original pastel paintings  / photographs.

I needed four decks to represent sets of cards which contain instructions to the artist which taken as a whole and used with creativity (I am afraid the artist still has to provide this) will provide a design for an original abstract painting. Whilst it is not intended to provide a masterpiece of abstract art every time, it does give the artist practice at creating non-representational abstracts.

The three images above show three of the decks; the background, the foreground and a style card. As well as the individual backs for each deck, the front is also colour-coded. I have made enough to show the idea to my artist colleagues and gauge their reactions. A workshop on abstract painting I ran for the group did not produce the results I had hoped for, many were bemused when asked to paint an abstract. they are all competent artists but could not grasp non-representational ideas.

If you are interested in this "game" / methodology then please see my Squidoo Article which is the third in a series describing the reason I designed this game and what it is designed to do.

I seem to have let this development take over my available spare time this past week or so; it is almost done now and I will be letting it rest for a while.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

ATC's on a theme of Illusion

There has definitely been a change in my output these days, I am painting and writing far more than I ever have since starting this blog. In the early days, I posted about many things her, including all aspects of pictorial art.

These days I write in separate blogs which cover: crafting, painting, photography, poetry and now writing my first novel. All of these are acccessible from the tabs at the top of this page.

I also maintain a blog about music and one of my Zazzle stores.

In a way they are all very closely linked, and often a story will appear in more than one blog slanted to reflect the subject of that blog. For example, A painting mentioned in my painting blog may well appear in my Zazzle store. Or a poem may be included in my novel, giving me ideas about the plot, etc. One thing is certain it all takes time out of my week.

The entry this week, however, is about more ATC's which I created for a challenge with a theme of "ILLUSION".

This first was a little tongue in the cheek but the other entrants seemed to like it. BTW, I have done something aabout that terrible question mark but not had time for a second photo. I did not notice it before posting.

The second alludes to the dreams we all have when young, many turn out to be illusions.

So there you have it, I do wish I had more time for all my arty interests but I have to ration time if I am to keep them all going. See you next time.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Steampunk ATC

OK so it is back to atc's again, but I do find them to be so relaxing. You cannot go wrong with them. It is always possible to see what they will look like before you appply the glue and finalise the composition. I explain how I go about creating ATC's in an article I wrote on Squidoo; select the background and the elements for the collage, move things around on the base until the composition loooks right and then use the glue. Easy as falling off a log.

In fact, I have a page highlighting all the ACEO/ATC based articles which I have written on Squiddoo, I called it Everything I have learnt about Artist Trading Cards. Why not take a peek and you might even learn something, even if it is only how little I really know about ATC's :)

This steampunk card was actually for a challenge in a new group on PDA (Paper Digital Art) which is all about Steampunk and related stuff. Although I am so busy with so many things at the moment, I couldn't refuse to learn a little more about this fascinating genre. You can read more about the steampunk movement on Wikipedia 

I should be making two but since I am not sure of completing the challenge here is the first anyway.

I called it, The key to my heart. As it is supposed to be about valentine's day.

In a few words, steampunk is probably best deined as a mixture of Sci-Fi using victorian technology. Lots of steam-driven stuff, cogs and gears and clocks. Oh yes and headwear which seems to have been inspired by diving helmets. A very strange genre, but one that is great to play with. 

Hope to have the second card available soon.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Time To Submerge Myself In New Waters

Since christmas I have been very busy and my blogs have slipped but coming back I realise that I have fallen into a sort of rut. I have been creating art cards and painting but the subjects and techniques seem to have become very samey, almost stale. I feel that I have to open up a little and try some new things to "get my mojo" back again. I need the change to recover creativity. To some extent writing on-line and writing poetry has kept me going but I am an artist first and foremost so I need to induce a little variation in my work to keep it exciting.

I will be tackling this issue on all my blogs (have you noticed the tabs below the banner, above) but the different subjects require different approaches and I am thinking hard about all seven blogs and the subject matter.

This is really just a very quick note to say that I will be developing the blogs to accomodate these changes. BUT I can say that I have at least made some small changes, for instance, I have joined a number of groups on PDA, here I am concerned with one which is aimed at Doodling or Zentangles. I have just posted the first drawing in this style which I have done for a very long time.

Maybe not a brilliant example of the genre, but at least it is not a mixed media collage. Oh, I will still be doing these and many of them but at least the die is set to make those changes.

Two older attempts at this art form are:-

These next three sketches are examples of doodles where I was trying to sketch an "idea". The first is to illustrate a "story that tells itself".
 A "story without an end"
 The idea of "structures"

More examples of different genres,  etc, to follow in the near future - I hope!