What to paint next

I’m in the midst of a new painting right now and hope to finish it in the next week or two and upon finishing, it always takes me back to the question of, “What to paint next?”

I am thrilled to even be confronted by this quandary.

I have always loved art, loved to draw and loved to paint. In my teenage years, I actually contemplated going the route of an artist but knew how difficult it would be to actually make a living creating art. I was good, but certainly not great. So I focused my creative talents more on writing, pursuing a career in advertising, which, to me, was all about the power of ideas and represented a perfect blend of words and pictures, coming together to help sell more product or services.

I’m still creating advertising and marketing communications, still learning and I believe my best work is still in front of me.

So that’s good from the writer’s perspective.

Yet I still love to paint, even though I went on a serious hiatus back in 1996 when we converted what had been my painting room into a downstairs bedroom. I had been utilizing a combination of airbrush and acrylic paint and had grown accustomed to painting on rather large canvases. The fact that I no longer had any room to work on those large canvases or the proper ventilation needed for doing airbrush work in effect, shut me down and I had vowed that I would paint again either once we moved or once the kids moved out of our current house and I could reclaim a new painting spot.

Tom Jr. gave me a whack on the side of the head two Father’s Days ago when he presented me with two small canvases and some acrylic jars of paint and issued me the challenge to resume painting again on a smaller scale.

Turns out, it was the best Father’s Day gift I have ever received.

It took me a while to get going.

I couldn’t decide what to paint. That’s always the problem.

What to paint next.

I decided I would paint a ladder leaning up against a house. Why, I have no idea. When I sketched it out on the little bitty 8″ x 10″ canvas, it seemed totally pointless.

So I removed the house and just had the ladder angled against nothing out in a field of grass with some very crude looking clouds in the sky. That created a sense of mystery, a sense of, “why?”

It wasn’t a very good painting. http://www.bloodlinescreative.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/A-step-up-217×300.jpg

But it served as a re-introduction to canvas and paint. And it got me going again.

These days, the largest painting I have done is 30″ x 24″. The airbrush is gone and it’s all either brush work or a palette knife.

I continue to explore some of the fundamental ideas of Rene Magritte who, to me, is the most phenomenal painter I have ever been exposed to simply because of his ability to challenge conventional thinking. He painted what seemed to be real, though it could never be real. His talent was immense. No one has ever done clouds the way Magritte can do clouds.

More important, in the words of Rene, “The art of painting is an art of thinking, and its existence emphasizes the importance to life of the human body’s eyes; the sense of sight is actually the only one concerned in painting. The¬†goal of the art of painting is to perfect sight through a pure visual perception of the exterior world by means of sight alone.”

So determining what to paint next is never an easy decision.

I approach painting similar to how I read books. I never start in on a new one until I’m finished with what is there before me.

Time to get back to my current work in progress.

If you would like to see a full range of some of my paintings, I invite you to explore https://www.pinterest.com/bloodlines/paintings/


Random thoughts from a soon to be 58-year-old man

My 58th birthday is now just hours away and as I get ever closer to that very strange number of 60, it’s got me thinking all kinds of weird thoughts.

How did I get this old, this fast?

I know, getting older is a gradual process. When you’re a kid, you wonder what it would be like to be a teenager, to be 20 and beyond that, you really have no clue. I have vague memories of wondering what I would be like when I was in my 50s. I still wonder what it’s going to be like when I’m in my 50s as they’re not done yet.

I wonder about the world and where it’s heading. Doomsday chronicles seem to populate my inbox with more frequency these days. The world is coming to an end. The U.S. is going to be hit by a terror attack unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. The grid is going to go dark. Chaos will reign. Become a survivalist, pack some water, batteries and lots of beef jerky and get ready for the worst.


Yet you’ve still got to keep on keeping on. The lead story on the local news tonight was about a cat that had been shot with an arrow and there was a frantic hunt to find the perpetrator. If that’s the lead story, somehow, the planet should be able to carry on. With or without the cat.

I wonder what I’ll be doing two years from now. Sometimes, I wonder what I’ll be doing two weeks from now. You can’t predict the future.

This is coming from a guy who has had two hip replacements, 64 stitches to his head to close up a wound from an errant golf ball, a broken nose from being an idiot behind home plate without wearing a catcher’s mask, a few broken wrists, a broken ankle, more stitches to my head when a neighbor’s buck teeth pierced my skull playing King of the Hill and numerous other close calls with death, danger and dismemberment.

I’m lucky to be alive.

I’m glad to be alive.

I’ve got a loving wife who puts up with my eccentricities and makes me a better person every single day that I’m with her and three great kids who are immensely talented and unique in their own respective ways. I love our extended family. I love our dog. I love Brian Piccolo – well, I’ve always loved that line at least.

We’ve been blessed with good health, good fortune and overall, lots and lots of good times.

My career is still a career. I’m still doing what I set out to do upon graduating from Mizzou – create advertising and marketing communications. I have a journalism degree with an emphasis in advertising and I have put those skills to good use for a lot of clients through the years though I sure wish I could get back to making TV commercials again. I always thought that was my best strength – print, radio, TV, outdoor, direct marketing – I loved to do TV. These days, TV spots seem to have been removed from the equation.

So I adjusted my skill sets. I’ve learned new skills. I realize that I have to be a lifelong student and that I need to learn something new every day.

I was thrilled when my first Vine video went live courtesy of Pickett Productions. Five months ago, I had never even heard of Vine.

Have you?

We live in an ever-changing, always evolving world. It seems to get crazier everyday. It seems people respect life less and less. I don’t long for the good old days. I don’t know when the good old days actually were.

To me, all the days that I’ve been around have been more than just good, they’ve been blessed.

When you get to be 58, you wonder how many more laps you’ve got around the calendar. You think back to the many things you’ve done in your life – some good, some bad.

And then you set your resolve to learn more. Do more. Give more.

There’s so much I haven’t done.

There’s so much I need to do.

Tomorrow’s another day.

Bring it on!