Houseplant Or Treehouse?

HousePlant Or TreeHouse - Richard SmithIf you dig this, go see my more formal stuff over at RSMITHINGS.com. Here, I’m just having fun with some shots snapped while walking the dog one afternoon. He had fun by peeing every 100 feet. Our block belongs to him now. Check out the source components below at Flickr.

houseplantortreehouseoriginals

What do you think? Ever mix photos together? Do you enjoy collage or photomontage as an art form? Any advice for dog walking? Let us hear from you in the comments!

RAW: Natural Born Artists – Supporters of Surrealism

I recently took part in a group artist showcase produced by the RAW: Natural Born Artists group. A rep from the organization noticed my Etsy shop, called me up, and invited me to join. I’m proud to say I am a RAW Artist, now having exhibited my handcrafted surrealism art in person. I sold several pieces to enthusiastic buyers, networked with my fellow creative tribe members, and was compelled to step up my game to make a solid impression. It’s so satisfying to take a chance with something you’re passionate about and have it work out well. Here are some photos of my setup and me hamming for the camera from the event.

RSMITHINGS - Handcrafted Surrealism by Richard Smith - setup

RSMITHINGS - Handcrafted Surrealism by Richard Smith  - RAW Artists

RSMITHINGS - Handcrafted Surrealism by Richard Smith - the artist

And here’s a quick video of the construction of my booth sign – also handcrafted, of course:

What do you think? Have you ever been a part of a group project involving a creative passion? Do you go to craft fairs, buy things from Etsy or collect local art? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Mobile photography as of late

I don’t market myself as a photographer or even claim to be one. But I do take tons of pictures all the time. Some of these make it into my surrealist photomontage art over at RSMITHINGS.com, but others I’m content to just share for fun with minor edits (also done 100% via iPhone, like my art). Here are a few from this year so far that have enjoyed positive reception over at my Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr and Pinterest presences.

Alpaca Time - Richard Smith

Alpaca Time – Richard Smith

New Art Park Downtown

New Art Park Downtown – Richard Smith

Dat Duck Doe

Dat Duck Doe – Richard Smith

Sunspots Original 1a

Sunspots Original 1a – Richard Smith (see the complete Sunspots here)

My cat, Zoe

Zoe May Be Part Teddy Bear – Richard Smith


What do you think? Do you take photos for use later or do you prefer to go with what’s there in the moment? Do you use your smartphone as a primary camera? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Who’s Your Poetry BFF?

In the spirit of National Poetry Month, here’s a quiz from Grammarly, a cool online grammar tool. As an English major, I found this fun in a geeky way. I got Maya Angelou. I’m cool with that, interestingly enough. See how you do — is it accurate? Share your results in the comments!

poetrybff

How to Write a Blog Post: Cook Your Texty Cake with a Chef

Here’s an informative post from Omnipapers, using a cooking metaphor to illustrate the finer points of crafting a solid blog post. This is a thorough overview, covering the importance of including links, readying tweetable content and more. An editor from the site asked me if I’d share this here, and since I have a solid interest in blog development and writing, I thought it might be useful. Have a look and share your thoughts in the comments.

Via Omnipapers:

Every blogger and content writer should think of their audience first of all. Only happy and satisfied readers whose problems you solve will come to your blog again and again, generating its traffic and turning from readers into customers step by step.

Here’s the deal:

Writing a good blog post helps you interact with your audience. So, you should know how to create and structure top-notch content and let people know about that cool info you are going to share.

Are you sure you know how to create a blog post that rocks? Now, we are going to tell you how to write a blog post in terms of cooking a rainbow cake.

Sounds weird? We are sure, writing a post is like cooking something delicious; and we’ll reveal all ingredients of a perfect blog post and a recipe of “cooking” a texty (!) blog post.

Want to know the best part?

Check it out:

How to write a blog post

And now, it’s high time to talk about the ingredients for “cooking” a blog post that converts:

Headlines

A headline serves to attract readers’ attention to your post and helps them decide if they want to read it. Simple as that, isn’t it?

But did you know only 2 out of 10 people read your blog post after checking its headline? As well as appetizing toppings, your headlines should make people want to “eat” your blog post.

What is the recipe of writing an ideal headline?

  • Make it useful.
  • Use modifiers (for example, we used two modifiers in the headline of this blog post: “easy” and “how to”).
  • Mention the idea of your post.
  • Give them a sense of urgency (read Neil Patel’s Definite Guide ti Copywriting to understand when this trick works).
  • Come up with your own best headline formula.
  • Follow a headline format that will work for sure.

To make it easier, you are welcome to use different tools that help you come up with new ideas for good headlines. For example, try Online Headline Generator to choose one of 200 titles or use Emotional Headline Analyzer to choose a headline with the best Emotional Marketing Value.

Introduction

drake

Before writing your story itself, use the introduction with a hook. As we all know, this is the best way to make people interested in what you are going to tell them.

Plus, introduction is the second main element of a cool blog post after a headline.

Subheadings and lists

These elements help your readers scan your post visually to see if it has something interesting and useful for them.

Try to use a subheading every time you are going to tell something important.

Use lists to section a text that has many different elements: they help you organize thoughts and structure your text better.

Visual elements

Visual elements are very important for your blog post to have: they tell and demonstrate your readers something that is difficult to describe with words.

People love visual effects, as they do not want to spend hours on reading different texts online. So, do not be afraid and lazy to use the following elements in your posts:

  • Images
  • Photos
  • Tables
  • Videos
  • Diagrams

Relevant links

Using relevant links to authoritative websites in your blog posts helps you build your online reputation. Provide readers with useful information, confirm it by linking to opinion leaders, and motivate them to add your post to bookmarks.

“Tweetable” quotes

According to Derek Halpern, people are more likely to share your content if you give them a chance to post it in Twitter.

holmes

What can you do to make it easier for them?

There is a WordPress plugin from TodayMade that lets you make tweets from texts. Do not hesitate trying ClickToTweet instrument as well.

Call to action

Writing a blog post is important but finishing it is equally important, too. The last piece of your texty cake should be conclusion with a call to action.

Ask your readers to comment what they think of your post, let them share your article in their social media profiles, invite them to subscribe to your newsletter, etc.

And now, when you’ve finished reading this awesome post, would you be so kind to let us know what you think of it? 😉

Music of 1984

princeI’ve often thought 1984 was an incredible year for music. So many iconic releases. Such an exciting time for entertainment: movie soundtracks, MTV… break-dancing. So I was very happy to see this list of the 100 best singles of 1984, complete with YouTube links to each track (where available). And the writing accompanying each track is exceptional. My favorite has to be this brilliant characterization of “When Doves Cry” by Prince:

After the shrapnel of Prince’s introductory guitar volley settles, a hypnotic Linn drum pattern syncs with a synth figure courtly enough for a minuet. Vocals of cold menace and desperate abandon vie for preeminence until climatic screeches of pain carry the day.

Check out the entire list at Rolling Stone100 Best Singles of 1984: Pop’s Greatest Year

Top 25 Mobile Photos of 2014 at Flickr

My photo, “Summer’s Requiem” is one of the
5 best black & white mobile images of the year at Flickr – woohoo!

Well, this is quite an honor. Of the billion+ photos uploaded to Flickr in 2014, one of mine was in the mobile top 25 according to the Flickr blog (#14, shown below), along with 24 other really great images — and one of only 5 black and whites. Thanks, Flickr!

flickr2014topmobile25Here’s what I say about this image at its page:

On the first day of fall, I was headed into a building for an early morning appointment. I looked down and noticed this leaf with the morning dew when walking in, but did not get a shot. After the appointment, it was still there with the glistening morning dew, and I stopped in my tracks so as not to miss it. The heart-shaped leaf and tear-like droplets framed by the concrete sidewalk all made the perfect metaphor at the changing of the seasons: happy reflections on the season past… maybe even sadness at its passing. But ahead of that: lovely things to come. To me, the best compositions are musical; you can almost hear them hum when you study them. So naturally, this would be a requiem. I converted to grayscale, added a slight vignette at the top and sharpened just a bit to highlight the macro-vision detail of the leaf’s veins, amplified by the water.

Thanks again for this incredible honor. Go follow me there and follow the Flickr Blog for a regular curated stream of consistently cool imagery.