Being Thankful For A Great Opening Night

The artist and his awesome wife

The artist and his awesome wife

It was a rainy Saturday night in Edwardsville, Illinois. COVID-19 restrictions regarding indoor gatherings were in place. Odds were against a successful gallery show opening at Good Weather Gallery. Yet the show went on as scheduled and I am truly thankful for such a great opening.

Guests were entertained throughout the night by the music of Tom Blood, Jr.

Guests were entertained throughout the night by the music of Tom Blood, Jr.

The combination of Tom Jr. playing his music and getting to see 32 of my paintings on display in an awesome setting was fun. Having many long-time friends and supporters of my work show up made the evening even more special. Add in the fact that I sold two paintings the night of the show and another one the next morning online along with seven high gloss prints and one metallic print (all of which look quite awesome) made it an even more successful evening.

The show at Good Weather Gallery will be on display until January 9, 2021

The show at Good Weather Gallery will be on display until January 9, 2021

So what’s next? The show will remain on display through January 9th, 2021. Private showings of the work are available and it’s looking like I might do an artist talk sometime in mid-December as well as host a closing show on January 9th.

I’m grateful to the gallery owner, Brooke Piepert, for taking a flying leap of faith on my work. And I’m thankful that I’ve been able to continue to grow and improve as an artist. Special thanks to each one of you for following my journey.

If, by chance, you’d be interested in purchasing any of the 29 paintings that haven’t sold yet, or would like to buy any of the 32 images in the form of either a high gloss print or a semi-gloss print on metal which gives a spectacular sheen to the image, please visit Good Weather Gallery’s website or contact me direct. More info on prints will be coming soon!

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications work by day, I also paint at night and have been fortunate to develop a world-wide following of the surrealistic art that I create. My recent show at Good Weather Gallery is yet another step on my artistic journey. If you would like to see more of my work, you can visit my online art gallery. You can also make purchases of my work of items like prints, iPhone covers and a variety of other items by visiting this site. Original artwork along with a variety of prints are available at this new site which supports local St. Louis artists and allows them to show their work at a variety of places throughout the metro area. Please visit!

An idea that demanded that I paint it

Gorilla at the Gate, 40" x 30", acrylic on canvas

Gorilla at the Gate, 40″ x 30″, acrylic on canvas

As I continue to develop as a painter, I have learned that I should listen to my subconscious, even if it’s not always clear exactly what it is telling me.

People sometimes wonder where I get my ideas as there is rarely any rhyme or reason to my subject matter. If an idea pops into my head, I’ll try and sketch it out – and if I like it enough, I then turn it into a painting.

With this ongoing coronavirus, there has been a lot of gloom and doom always in the news and often on my mind. Thoughts of my own mortality have drifted in – and drifted out.

Though I don’t know where this particular thought came from, the idea of a gorilla at a gate kept entering my mind. Not just once or twice. I’d wake up in the morning and there would be something nagging at me.

It was the gorilla.

Though I’ve never painted a gorilla before, I’ve always been fascinated by them, going back to my days as an animal show announcer at the St. Louis Zoo. Yes, I was the announcer for The Chimpanzee Show, The Elephant Show and The Sea Lion Show. It was great fun and I got to see a lot of these animals on a daily basis during my two summers of announcing the shows.

The Chimpanzee Show was held inside an arena that is no longer there. On the outside of the arena, there were orangutans, chimps and a great big gorilla called Rudy.

Rudy used to love to splash visitors from his wading pool. He would sit quietly next to it, waiting for a crowd to gather and then would saunter off a bit, only to take a running jump at the pool where he would then sweep his arm in and send a giant wave of water out towards the people.

There was knowledge in that gorilla. Perhaps that memory came to me as some sort of symbolic guard at heaven’s gate. (You’ll notice an ‘H’ at the top of the ironwork.)

“Have you been good enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?” his stare seems to say.

Certainly I hope that he will let me pass when my time comes.

We all have a day of reckoning awaiting us. And I’m certainly not trying to convey the thought that this is any semblance of what heaven is or what it means to me.

It’s merely an idea that I tried to paint.

My daughter thought the painting represented Harambe, the gorilla that was shot and killed after it grabbed and dragged a 3-year old boy that entered his domain.

That works.

It’s just a painting. How you view it is up to you.

So, what do you think?

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also paint at night. My paintings have now been sold on three different continents and I’m excited about an upcoming solo show at Good Weather Gallery that opens on November 21st and will be on display through January 9, 2021.

If you’re interested, you can order prints of my work on Artfully Walls. You can also order prints as well as get my artwork put onto a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items by visiting my other website on Pixels. As if that weren’t enough, more items are now available on Vida on an even wider variety of items – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

A little of this and a bit about that regarding my art

"The Conductor" now resides in Philadelphia.

“The Conductor” now resides in Philadelphia.

Marketing your art can be a whole lot more time consuming than creating it.

That’s a simple fact that I have learned over the past several years and it continues to be a true statement every day. You need to keep pushing your art out into the world if you ever hope to have any success. Even then, it’s probably not enough because there are literally millions of artists out there in the world trying to do the same thing.

My work can be found on multiple websites, but I am certainly not inundated by sales. And though this year has been a good one as far as sales go, it continues to reenforce my opinion that I made the right choice back in high school, deciding to pursue a career in advertising versus one in art.

The website that my art newsletter is posted through, Fine Art Studio Online, will soon be dropped – by me. It seems that only other artists visit this site and up until about a month ago, I never even had a sales inquiry.

So I was quite shocked when I received an offer to purchase “The Conductor” through this site. That was a first. But it doesn’t make up for the paltry amount of visitations I get to my page (https://bloodlinesart.com).

The person who bought “The Conductor” really wanted it. He told me he had gone back to view the painting more than 100 times and ultimately, he decided to buy it. As soon as he received the painting, he took it out to have it framed and told me he’ll be sending a pic as soon as it’s done.

That made me happy. So many of my paintings reside in storage areas. They don’t see the light of day. Even I forget about a lot of them.

Because I keep on painting, always in a quest to try and get better.

Soon, I’ll achieve my 40,000th view on http://tom-blood.pixels.com

I have recently joined a new website which originates out of St. Louis and will have the unique aspect of being able to sell your work online as well as have your work displayed and for sale at various organizations, groups and public places. More info on that will be coming soon.

My work has been featured recently on artsleuth.com as well as singulart.com – one originates out of Hong Kong, the other out of Paris.

My work on singulart has had more than 16,000 views in the past four months and I’m among their top ten percent in terms of number of artist views.

Two days ago, I met with a gallery owner to discuss an upcoming solo show.

If that works, out, you’ll be hearing more about that as well.

And oh, yes, I continue to paint away. Last night, I began my 18th painting of 2020 (which doesn’t count 3 commissioned paintings). I’m looking forward to this one – just like I look forward to every new painting that I decide to pursue.

So thanks for continuing to follow my journey. And just in case I don’t push out another newsletter in the next few days, have a safe and happy Halloween.

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also paint at night and my work has now been sold on four different continents! If you find the price of my paintings are keeping you from purchasing anything, know that you can order prints of my work on Artfully Walls. You can also order prints as well as get my artwork put onto a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items by visiting my other website on Pixels. As if that weren’t enough, more items are now available on Vida on an even wider variety of items – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

Delivering the Good for Caritas Connections – part one

A frame from the new Caritas Connections video.

A frame from the new Caritas Connections video.

Caritas Connections is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization that collects donated items and distributes them at no cost, to worthy organizations in the St. Louis metropolitan area, who in turn use them to clothe, feed and assist the needy in our community.

I’ve been involved with Caritas for a number of years – first working on kind of a subset of the organization that collected laptops and distributed them to ex-offenders and then becoming a board member about three years ago. Previously, my biggest contribution was helping them re-fresh their newsletter look with a new name and design (courtesy of Madeleine Neuner) and then writing content for each edition.

Caritas never had an overview video before – since they’re a not-for-profit, they have always been extremely conservative when it comes to spending money. But the topic continued to come up at our board meetings. As circumstance would have it, I had a lunch back in December with Scott Huegerich, who is a managing partner at Aligned Media.

Scott and I have worked on many projects together during the course of my career. He’s a tremendous editor as well as a super nice guy. I asked him whether Aligned had ever done  any work with other not for profits and when I told him about the type of work that Caritas Connections does throughout the St. Louis metro area, he was intrigued.

When I brought up the possibility of creating a new video to our board, they enthusiastically told me to go for it. So I developed several script overviews, eventually settling on two directions that I presented to our board as well as the team at Aligned Media.

Ultimately, we had a unanimous decision on “Delivering the Good”, which tells the story of what, how and why Caritas does what it does through the words of our volunteers and clients.

It’s about a five minute video overall and it lives on the home page of our new Caritas Connections website. I invite you to watch it by clicking here.

Getting all the footage and interviews for the video was no easy task. I began by going out on several delivery runs with Father Tom Bryon in the Caritas Connections van. Those involved some early start times – meeting Father at the Caritas garage at 5 am and then hitting the road.

While making these runs, I used my iPhone to take a lot of video. Many of those shots ended up in the finished product but the bulk of the footage (and all of the live videos) were a result of Scott Smith who handled the camerawork and Brad Brueggeman who captured all of our interviews in a variety of locales on audio.

I put together a ridiculous production schedule for our shoot, starting at 7 am and involving ten different locations in both St. Louis city and county, filming people who had never been on camera before. What could possibly go wrong?

Our worst mishap came when we were interviewing the driver of our van, who made an unexpected quick stop which sent Brad, who was sitting on a milk crate manning the mic into the back of the driver’s seat. Other than a minor scratch to his forehead, everything turned out okay.

Our in-van interview session had a few bumps along the way.

Our in-van interview session had a few bumps along the way.

Once we had all of our footage, Aligned provided me a time-coded version of it and I went to work crafting the story, adding sub-titles where I thought things needed more emphasis.

Chris Myers did a great job with the edit and somehow, the stock music piece that I selected seemed just right for the video.

Originally, we were going to showcase the video at the annual Caritas Connections golf tournament that takes place in May. But that got pushed back, and then cancelled completely. So now it lives on the website.

The message is fairly timeless.

A special thanks goes out to all the people in the video as well as everyone who had a hand in making it happen.

Lots of volunteers were happy to help in telling the Caritas story.

Lots of volunteers were happy to help in telling the Caritas story.

Caritas Connections is a tremendous organization doing a lot of good for this community and the need for what they do seems to continue to grow. It’s my hope that this video can help in some way – maybe someone will volunteer their services or choose to donate to the organization.

If that’s the case, it will be well worth the effort that went into making it.

 

This Painting Will Have You Seeing Double

"Seeing Double" - 48" x 36", acrylic on canvas

“Seeing Double” – 48″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas

From time to time, I like to share info about some of my recent paintings. The one shown here is called, “Seeing Double” – for rather obvious reasons. My objective was to try and have the moons be close to identical and though they are close, they’re certainly not exact.

So what led me to create this painting? Recently, I seem to get some visual idea stuck in my head. So I feel somewhat obligated to pursue it. In this particular instance, I kept thinking of two moons in the night sky.

Why? Perhaps in this upside down world of ours where everything seems to be a little out of whack, two moons make perfect sense.

Or not.

Regardless, I knew I had to do a painting featuring two moons. So then I tried to think of different scenarios. One was going to be an apartment building roof with a large structure in the middle – maybe the rooftop exit. On either side, I was going to have two individuals staring off at the night sky, each looking at a respective moon. In another sketch, I had a couple sitting out under the night sky, each pointing to a different moon.

Ultimately, I decided on a fairly innocuous couple standing at the edge of a suburban style neighborhood lit up at night. (I decided to give the man a bowler hat just for the fun of it.)

In this version, it’s like they’re on the crest of a hill, looking out on suburbia and the two moons in the sky. The couple form a sort of triangulation with the two moons and I like the balance of that. It makes it all appear somewhat normal – even though two moons in a night sky are far from normal.

That’s kind of how I feel about things these days. There is the semblance of normalcy – yet nothing is quite right, no matter how you look at it. Still, it’s a beautiful world and we are blessed to be living in it. If your faith is strong, hopefully, that’s as easy to see as two moons in the night sky.

In addition to being a writer by day, I’m also a painter at night who is slowly gaining an international reputation. If you’re ever interested in purchasing anything, you can order prints of my work on Artfully Walls. You can also order prints as well as get my artwork put onto a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items by visiting my other website on Pixels. As if that weren’t enough, more items are now available on Vida on an even wider variety of items – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

 

Posted in Art

My featured interview with Art St. Louis

A look at my art studio and a few of my recent paintings. The pillow on the left features my painting, "The Last Tree". The monkey on the right was created in a sculpture class my junior year in high school!

A look at my art studio and a few of my recent paintings. The pillow on the left features my painting, “The Last Tree”. The monkey on the right was created in a sculpture class my junior year in high school!

Many of the people who read this blog know me for my advertising and marketing communications work. But I have also been painting since 1989 and creating art going back to my grade school days.

Recently, one of my paintings titled, “The Crossing”, was featured in the Art St. Louis online exhibit, “This Moment”. As part of that exhibition, Art St. Louis has been interviewing the featured artists, getting more background on what their art is all about, how they got started and several other topics.

Here is my interview, which is the second one down of the three artists that were featured. I think you might enjoy getting a little more background on how and why I got started on this painting journey in the first place.

http://artstlouis.blogspot.com/2020/08/this-moment-artist-q-series-two.html

I continue to enjoy my job as a writer/Creative Director and problem solver via BloodLines Creative. But it’s my art that has been generating a lot of interest from a lot of different places around the world. Slowly, but surely, my paintings are beginning to get noticed. That only deepens my resolve to keep painting, and keep trying to get better.

So as a writer by day and an artist by night, I want to thank you for following my journey. And if you take the time to read the interview, I hope you enjoy it!

 

It’s A Brave New World. Or Is It?

My most recent painting is titled, "Brave New World" - but it's not based on the book.

My most recent painting is titled, “Brave New World” – but it’s not based on the book.

With all that’s been going on in the world, I wish I could be as hopeful as the title of my newest painting.

Yes, it’s called “Brave New World” which happens to be the same title of the book written by Aldous Huxley back in 1931 that told the story of a dystopian society whose citizens were environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy.

I can’t say that the book was the driving force behind this painting. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever even read it! But I did know the basic plot structure and the combination of our ongoing pandemic and all the recent social unrest got me to wondering, “How would a child view today’s world?”

That simple thought led me to the visual for this painting – a young boy in pajamas, looking out his bedroom window at the world which is hovering above the clouds.

It makes no sense. But to me, it makes perfect sense. Because if we could all do a better job of viewing the world through the eyes of a child (one of my favorite Moody Blues songs), we might all see what a beautiful, wonderful world that we all live in.

There’s a certain innocence to this painting and to me, a magical quality to it as well. The curtains, the sky and the boy’s pajamas were all painted rather loosely but at the same time are very well defined. The back of the boy’s head might be my best rendition yet involving hair with a few curly locks and some light highlights adding to his overall look.

A few people have asked if I intended the wooden slits (also called muntin) to symbolize a cross. No, that wasn’t the intent. But if that’s what one sees, I can’t really object.

Technique-wise, I think this is one of my best paintings yet. And conceptually? I can only wish that the magic and wonder of seeing the world from the eyes of a child fits the title a lot better than the Brave New World that Aldous envisioned.

If addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also paint at night. My paintings have been viewed around the world as I continue to try and get better as an artist.

I invite you to order prints of my work on Artfully Walls. You can also order prints as well as get my artwork put onto a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items by visiting my other website on Pixels. As if that weren’t enough, more items are now available on Vida – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

Going For A Walk With My BFF

My BFF - 30" x 40", acrylic on canvas

My BFF – 30″ x 40″, acrylic on canva

 

 

If the art pops, is it “Pop Art”?

One of four of my Pop Art paintings featuring word plays tied together by an ampersand.

One of four of my Pop Art paintings featuring word plays tied together by an ampersand.

Several times, I have entered the many paintings that are shown on my BloodLines Art website to become a featured artist on a mass email called “Artsy Shark”.

My work has never been chosen.

The curator of the contest tells me that I have a very inconsistent portfolio and that it’s hard to tell what I’m trying to do as an artist.

“If people don’t know what you represent, how can you ever expect them to buy your work?” she told me.

Maybe that’s true.

The painting you see featured here, which is called, “Salt & Pepper” does not fit my normal surrealistic approach to painting.

And I decided several months ago to completely ignore her advice. Call it my ‘artists prerogative’.

This is the fourth in a series of paintings that feature word plays, tied together by an ampersand. First there was “Rock & Roll”. Then came “Fish & Chips”, followed by “Jack & Coke”. Now, I present, “Salt & Pepper”.

These paintings are bold in their color palette. The visuals aren’t always as easy to paint as they might look. There are seven different colors in the red pepper and that’s not counting the green stem which has five different colors in it. Trying to emulate the typography on the Morton salt canister was a challenge and though it’s not perfect, neither am I! BTW – I used the old time rendition of the Morton Salt canister which featured a much larger version of the girl with the umbrella. The version that is sold today has a much smaller version of the girl and some of the detail has been eliminated.

These paintings are fun to create and offer a bit of a break from my normal surrealistic endeavors. I consider them Pop Art – not just because the visuals pop, but also because they deal with popular known expressions and give them a bit of a twist. They are fun, playful and when you have all of the paintings lined up in a group, they make for extremely striking imagery.

When I painted “Rock & Roll”, it sold about two months after I had created it. I liked that concept so much that I created another version of “Rock & Roll” using a different rock and a different roll.

So now there are four of these and yes, there will probably be more.

And I will continue to post them on my Bloodlinesart.com website. And if I’m never featured on Artsy Shark, I can live with that. Fame is fleeting anyway.

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also create art by night and have built a worldwide following.

You can order prints of my work on Artfully Walls. You can also order prints as well as get my artwork put onto a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items by visiting my other website on Pixels. As if that weren’t enough, more items are now available on Vida on an even wider variety of items – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

A Flying Leap Into Spring

May we all rise above this damn pandemic and leap into the beauty of spring!

May we all rise above this damn pandemic and leap into the beauty of spring!

With this on-going pandemic continuing to bring us all down, I wanted to paint something that was totally uplifting. That was my goal as I began to ponder ideas.

For some reason, I zeroed in on a ballerina. I’ve always been fascinated by their amazing grace and power as it takes great athletic ability to do the many moves they make.

I knew I wanted to paint the ballerina out in the open, set against a blue sky. It was then that I decided to put her in a field of sunflowers and she would be holding two of them in her hands in mid-leap form.

So that was my initial sketch that I worked up.

I spent quite a while on scaling up my small sketch onto the canvas, paying special attention to the ballerina. Since she was the focal point of the painting, I knew I had to get her features correct.

Generally, I don’t paint too many faces. I have a tendency to overwork the image until it becomes a muddled mess.

The painting began with the sky. I went from a straight blue sky to working in the cloud formations that you see. Initially, I thought I had overdone the largest cloud and that it would take away from the grace of the ballerina. But I decided to let it be and move on to the flowers. Even now, I can see the shape of a praying mantis in that cloud formation. But that’s how clouds are supposed to be – where you can see objects or things that aren’t really there.

The sunflowers were more of a challenge than I anticipated. They needed to be defined in the foreground and nebulous in the background. Initially, the backdrop was flat but I thought adding distant hills on the horizon helped to define everything a bit more.

When I began painting the ballerina, her dress was more bluish which I quickly decided didn’t work. So I went with more of a plum color and tried to maintain the shape of her legs underneath the dress. I actually painted her face first before I moved on to the dress. I used a very fine tipped paint brush to highlight her features.

Though this painting may not fit my normal surrealistic approach, there is still a hint of surrealism as she’s probably about 15 feet in the air meaning she either has enormous power or I’m simply using her as a metaphor for all of us to rise above.

I’m hoping that in the coming weeks, we may all be able to leap into spring. There is beauty everywhere. And it is meant to be enjoyed.

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I’m also a recognized artist whose works are enjoyed by many around the world. If you know anyone who you think might enjoy these updates and overviews, you can sign up for my free art newsletter at https://www.bloodlinesart.com/email-newsletter. Also, if my prices are keeping you from purchasing anything, know that you can order prints of my work on Artfully Walls. You can also order prints as well as get my artwork put onto a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items by visiting my other website on Pixels. As if that weren’t enough, more items are now available on Vida on an even wider variety of items – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!