Heart of Stone’s short stay on a gallery wall

This new painting of mine made its gallery debut on the closing night of my solo show. One hour later it was sold and heading home with its new owner.

This new painting of mine made its gallery debut on the closing night of my solo show. One hour later it was sold and heading home with its new owner.

When I decided to revisit one of my previous paintings called, “Heart of Stone”, I had no idea that it would ultimately sell in less than an hour at my closing solo show at Good Weather Gallery in Edwardsville, Illinois.

But that’s exactly what happened and I’m still a little stunned to see it go.

My original “Heart of Stone” painting was done back in the early 90s. At the time, I was doing a combination of airbrush and acrylic which always gave a nice contrast between the two. I had become a fan of Mark Kostabi, a New York artist who painted mannequin like looking figures. So I decided to emulate his approach, creating about 60 or so mannequin like figures all walking toward a giant heart of stone set on a pedestal out in the middle of a desert, set against a purple sky.

The description is probably a lot better than the actual execution.

Having just finished the simplified painting of “An Apple A Day”, I was wondering what to do next and the ‘Heart of Stone’ visual popped back into my consciousness. I went down to my storage area for my paintings and took a hard look at what I had done years ago.

I immediately knew I could do better – but also knew I had to change the venue. I couldn’t do another giant heart of stone in a desert setting. So instead, I decided to put it on its own little island, rising out of a churning sea against a tumultuous sky.

I sketched it out and liked what I had done so I set to work. Initially, there was going to be a couple standing on the rock formation at the bottom left of the painting. In my mind, having a couple staring at the giant heart gave more meaning to the ‘heart of stone’ expression.

I first created the sky, choosing an orangish-brownish palette. Why, I’m really not sure. Next, I started in on the churning sea, creating waves that were crashing all around the island. The couple staring out at the giant heart of stone seemed to approve so I moved on to the rocks at the base of the island.

Painting the actual heart of stone took quite a few sessions. At first, the stone was more the color of the rock base below. But I quickly discovered that color palette wouldn’t work as the stone was blending in to the sky instead of standing out. I shifted to more of a greyish-blue, doing my best to make the stone look a bit ragged as if it had been worn by the elements.

Next came the rock base at the left edge of the painting, followed by adding the couple. Once all the elements were in place, I asked for a few family comments. My wife, Chris, immediately said, “Get rid of the people.”

She said they did nothing for the painting. I always show work in progress on Instagram so I did a little poll and the results were mixed. Some said keep them, others said get rid of them. My deciding factor was when I looked at a few Magritte paintings where he had giant images floating in the sky. No people were present.

So the people were removed and I went in and did a lot of fine tuning to the water, rocks, sky and more touch ups on the stone itself. I completed the painting on a Wednesday, liking it so much that I hung it in our house.

Saturday was my closing show at Good Weather Gallery and I had decided to bring the four paintings I had done since the show opened back in late November to replace some of the sold work.

So that’s what we did and when the show began at 6 pm, Chris told me, “I bet ‘Heart of Stone Revisited’ sells tonight.

She was right. Turns out, the couple that had bought “Ascension” came in to pick up their painting and when they saw this new one, had to have it.

So away it went. Twelve paintings sold from one show was a record for the gallery and for me as well. I now have my first sale for 2021 and the question becomes, “What will you do for an encore?”

That remains to be seen!

As an aside, I’m happy to have eight of my paintings featured in an upcoming group show via B Extraordinaire that will be on display at both locations of the Missouri Athletic Club, February 2-March 31. More on that show will come later.

And one more aside – if there are any paintings that you see on my artist website, you can now order prints in a variety of sizes, papers and finishes by contacting me directly – tom@bloodlinescreative.com

Finally, my apologies for not posting more often. These days, I seem to spend more time marketing my BloodLines Art than I do with my BloodLines Creative marketing. That portion of my business still keeps me very occupied and I still love the challenge of a new assignment or client in need of marketing communications help.

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!

What it’s like to be a ‘sold’ artist

Five of the ten paintings that have sold at Good Weather Gallery.

Five of the ten paintings that turned me into a ‘sold’ artist at Good Weather Gallery.

Paintings Sold II

Along with the other five that have been sold!

November 21st was a rainy night during this COVID-19 restricted year that has devastated lives, our economy and the way we live. It was also the Opening Night of my solo show at Good Weather Gallery in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Going into it, I didn’t have too many expectations. I knew attendance was going to be down and that was a good thing – we didn’t want more than 10 people in the gallery at a time to begin with.

Tom Jr. was going to provide the musical entertainment – which is always entertaining. I had bought a bunch of straws so people could sip their beverages without having to remove their masks.

I’m so grateful to Brooke Piepert, who is the owner and curator of Good Weather Gallery. She took a flying leap of faith in giving me a show – something that other gallery owners that I’ve approached here in the St. Louis metro area have been reluctant to do.

I’m beginning to think her leap of faith has paid off. At about the half-way point of this show, we have sold ten paintings.

The images you see in the two pics above are the ones that were bought. There are 32 of my paintings on display, so roughly 1/3 of the show has been spoken for. On top of that, multiple prints have been sold – both high gloss and a little more expensive semi-gloss printed on metal.

It’s a great feeling. It’s a weird feeling. Each painting I create takes several weeks from the initial concept to the time I sign my name on the canvas. You become attached to it. You think about how you could make it better. And then you reach a point where you deem it done.

The majority of my paintings reside in our house. Most of them are in storage, out of sight of even myself. I create the art. Then I share what I’ve done via social media and after that, it goes into hibernation.

So the chance to have a solo show at an art gallery where my work can actually be seen – and seen as a complete body of work – is an awesome feeling. I love creating surrealistic paintings and I must admit, it’s a very surreal feeling to be surrounded by my work.

And it’s an even better feeling to know that people really do like the work that I’ve been doing. I have now sold 16 paintings in 2020, more than any year previously. It inspires me to want to paint more – to use my God-given gifts of creativity and see where it takes me.

I’m not sure what else, if anything, will sell during the course of the show. There are several hanging there now that I will be almost sad if they do sell because I like them so much. Whether they do or not, my actions moving forward will remain the same – paint more and try and get better at what I do.

___________________________

Can’t afford the original but maybe you’d like to buy a print? Here’s your chance to get an awesome print of any paintings found on my Fine Art Studio website. Not all paintings fit this format. If there is something you like or you’d like to explore in a different size, contact me and we’ll figure it out!

High gloss prints 12″ x 16″ format – $35 per – includes mailing cost

Semi gloss metal prints 12″ x 16″ format – $130 per – includes mailing cost

Finally, for those of you in the St. Louis metro area, consider yourself invited to the closing show at Good Weather Gallery in Edwardsville, Illinois on Saturday night, January 9th from 6-9 pm. Social distancing guidelines will definitely be in effect!

 

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