About Tom Blood

Award-winning, brand-building advertising and marketing communications Creative Director and owner of BloodLines Creative. I'm a writer who thinks visually and an artist who paints pictures with words. I'm also a leader, a mentor, a producer and big idea generator. I'm a proud father of three great children, a loving husband who is blessed to have such a tremendous wife and I'm passionate about the work I do and the life I lead and look forward to sharing my thoughts on all of the above.

Wanted: American ingenuity to find new ways to work

We need to get back to work. But how we work needs to completely change. And for that, we need ideas.

We need to get back to work. But how we work needs to completely change. And for that, we need ideas.

Each day of this ongoing pandemic gets more grim. Our country and indeed, the world, was not adequately prepared for the challenges we now face.

Many people are in to finger pointing saying had he done this or had we done that, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re currently facing. But that accomplishes nothing for where we are today and where we might be as a nation by the time 2021 arrives.

We have to get back to work. But the way we work has to dramatically change. Business as usual would be a colossal failure leading to more spread of the virus and crippling our healthcare system for good.

So what can we do? We need to look at how we conduct business and what types of business we should be conducting in the first place.

We need American ingenuity now, more than ever.

Our first focus has to be on serving the needs of our healthcare providers. That seems to be the current emphasis – but the rest of us who aren’t involved in any of those endeavors can’t just sit idly by, waiting for someone to signal “Everyone back in the water.”

Social distancing needs to become the norm for the immediate future in the workplace. Workers need to be checked each day at the door for potential symptoms. Are there instant temperature reading devices available?  If not, we need them.

Factory automation needs to be ramped up. Just like Ford and GM have shifted to making ventilators and masks, we need more companies to figure out ways to mass produce protective shields, temperature readers, sanitizers and other key items that could allow retail stores, restaurants and other types of businesses to re-open their doors.

Mass transit is no longer an option. But it doesn’t mean it has to come to a complete end. If we got rid of 9 to 5 hours and went instead to shifts around the clock, that could ease some of that  burden. Purchasing tickets online and limiting the number of tickets sold for each stop could also help.

We may need to go to a cashless society. We may need to eliminate personal transactions between individuals.

We need to re-think our food preparation and food delivery system.

I don’t have all of the answers. In fact, I don’t have any of the answers. Many of the above items I just listed would take months, perhaps even years to implement which is not much help to what will take place next week.

But the fact remains, our work paradigm has completely shifted. And we need to find new ways to shift with it.

Sports and entertainment are a huge component of our American fabric. Sadly, until this resolves itself, team sports are out of the equation and attending events probably isn’t a viable option either.

Individual competitions could still go on. Professional golf could return – maybe the players wouldn’t be allowed to have caddies. They’d have to meet health criteria before going out on the course. Courses could follow the same restrictions they’re currently using with no flags or rakes. Broadcasts could still go on with limited camera coverage. That would mean ad revenue and sponsorships could return.

Track & Field events could be ramped up with new restrictions regarding social distancing. Same with swimming & diving. Figure skating. Skiing. Motocross. Bull riding.

Professional bowling could return. Bowling alleys could re-open with new sanitary rules and social distancing regulations.

The key is to get people to re-think how we’ve done things in the past. And figure out new ways of doing things for the future.

We cannot afford to wait to return to business as usual.

There may never again be a business as usual.

If you agree, please share.

More important, put on your thinking cap and whatever your profession may be, think and propose new ways that we can get back to work without further risking the spread of this virus.

 

 

 

The idea for this surrealist painting came from out of the blue

A spiral staircase rises out of the ocean with a woman in a long, red dress standing atop it.

“Out Of The Blue” – 30″ x 40″, acrylic on canvas                           A spiral staircase rises out of the ocean with a woman in a long, red dress standing atop it.

 

 

Generally, right about the time I’m finishing up a painting, my mind begins to churn over the basic question, “What will I paint next?”

For artists who paint abstract images or focus on landscapes or portraits, perhaps the answer to that question isn’t quite as wide-ranging compared to what I choose to do.

For me, you have to have an idea in mind before you begin the painting process. And that idea might lead me anywhere.

Sometimes, different visuals will pop into my head. They’re totally random thoughts but if I find myself going back to the same one, I generally pursue it.

So for some odd reason, I had a spiral staircase in my head. I had done a painting before featuring a spiral staircase and I didn’t want to repeat myself.

Yet the image persisted.

So I looked for some spiral staircase reference material and came across a rather unique looking one where the steps appear to be free-floating, anchored down by three different beams at the top, middle and bottom of the staircase.

I liked it. But then, what to do with it? In the previous painting involving a spiral staircase, it rose out of the clouds and there on top of it was the man in the bowler hat.

I knew that wasn’t a solution. So then I thought, what if it rises out of the water in the middle of nowhere?

I sketched it out and liked the starkness of the image. So I committed to the concept and sketched it out on the canvas. And with this painting, I decided a woman should be standing at the top, looking out on the horizon. And why not have her in a long, red dress, just to add a little drama to the scenario?

It wasn’t much of a sketch. Just the staircase, the woman and the shape of a few puffy clouds.

I started in on the sky and as I was creating it, I really liked its blueness, knowing that there would be even more blue to come with the sea. When it came time for the ocean, it was done in different shades of blue, using five different blues overall.

All that blue was overwhelming. Which is when the title for the painting came to me, “Out Of The Blue”.

The spiral staircase rises up from out of the blue.

The woman is standing atop it, seemingly from out of the blue.

It’s a very simplistic, yet powerful visual.

Perhaps, in this, ‘Year of the Woman’, it represents women’s ability to rise up, seemingly from out of nowhere. Maybe she’s waiting for her ship to come in. Or maybe it’s a melancholy look at singularity.

Its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I love to paint at night. If you’d like to receive regular updates about my paintings, you can sign up for my free newsletter: http://tblood.faso.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 Vidaon an even wider variety of items – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me onInstagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

Artfully Walls gives my painting exposure a big boost

For the next few days, visitors to Artfullywalls.com will see this upon arriving at the site.

For the next few days, visitors to Artfullywalls.com will see this upon arriving at the site.

As most of you know, when I’m not creating advertising and marketing communications, I also have a passion for painting.

If you’ve ever seen any of my work, it’s quite obvious that the paintings I do are a little off the wall.

Most people like the work, but they don’t necessarily envision my paintings adorning the walls of their home or business.

So I was thrilled to receive an email this morning from an e-commerce website called Artfully Walls promoting some of my work as their Featured Artist of the week. You can view the email that will also take you to my page on their website here: https://mailchi.mp/artfullywalls/featured-artist-tom-blood?e=beb13f45f0

I have had some success over the past year selling prints on Artfully Walls. I’m hoping that this promotion created by Artfully Walls will lead to a few more.

If nothing else, I am getting a lot of free exposure to my work. I am guessing that the Artfully Walls email list goes out to more than 100,000 people.

That dwarfs the living daylights out of my newsletter email list – it’s still under 100 people. So the email I received is a definite brand-building boost.

I’m hoping for continued growth as an artist in 2020 as my on-going goal is to get better with each painting that I do. Of course, the same applies with all of my advertising and marketing efforts – you’ve got to keep learning, keep expanding and always continue to try and get better.

I have been blessed to be able to successfully pursue both of these endeavors – and I love doing what I do which is essentially use my creative talents in as many ways as I can.

So if you’re not in need of any advertising or marketing communications help, perhaps an off the wall print from Artfully Walls would suffice instead.

Happy New Year!

If you know anyone who would like to learn more about my artistic pursuits, please  invite them to sign up for my free newsletter. And if you haven’t, please do!

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 Vidaon an even wider variety of items – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me onInstagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

And Then There Were Two

"Rock & Roll", "Fish & Chips" and "Jack & Coke"

“Rock & Roll”, “Fish & Chips” and “Jack & Coke” – art that pops makes it Pop Art!

The three paintings shown above are a rather dramatic departure from my surrealistic style. I believe they would fall into the category of ‘Pop Art’.

The idea behind them originates from yet another departure I took almost 40 years ago with what I called ‘stick paintings’. That’s where I would smother the canvas in paint and then literally ‘stick’ objects into the paint. The first one I ever created was also the first art work that I ever actually sold at my first gallery showing back in 1981. It was called, “Sealed For Your Protection”.

That was back when I was still doing airbrush painting. I had a small canvas and didn’t know what to do with it. So I decided to cover the canvas in color, using a palette knife to spread on paint from every tube of paint I had. It ended up being kind of a mess. Looking around, I noticed that I had all these tabs that had been pulled from my air brush bottles of paint. The tabs were all marked with the words, “Sealed for your protection”. Looking at the gobs of paint on the canvas, I thought, “Why not?” So I stuck about 40 of the tabs into the paint. When it dried, the tabs were literally sealed into the paint.

Jump forward about 34 years and while we were visiting my son, Tom, while he was studying at Oxford, we went to The Tate Museum of Modern Art. It was there that I saw a canvas that had been painted black. The artist had then used a knife and cut a big slice into the canvas, revealing a white canvas beneath it. Modern art.

That journey rekindled memories of my first ‘stick painting’ and I decided to bring back the concept, using items that were linked by an ampersand. The first one I did was “Nuts & Bolts” featuring hand painted yellow screw nuts and their accompanying bolts. I liked what I had done.

So then I created, “Nickels & Dimes”, “Salt & Pepper”, “War & Peace” (click here to see it) and “Sticks & Stones”.

I was thinking of doing more in the series, just to take a break from my more time-consuming surrealistic paintings when I decided to give the word pairings a different treatment. So that’s when I came up with “Rock & Roll” as the first of what would be a series of at least three paintings.

“Fish & Chips” was my second in the series. I had a number of different options for the third but a conversation with Tom Jr. convinced me that the third painting should be “Jack & Coke”. The idea was his. The execution was mine.

When you view the three paintings all in row, they make quite a visual statement as each one is 24″ x 48″. I thought they would look excellent on a gallery wall, or a game room or perhaps a restaurant.

But “Rock & Roll” was recently purchased, and no, I’m not upset about that in the least. So now there are two.

I’m contemplating painting a new version of “Rock & Roll” – using a different rock and a different type of roll. Or maybe the same. Or maybe something new altogether.

That will be a 2020 decision as I’m currently trying to wrap up one last painting for the year.

So stay tuned. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to you and yours!

If you know anyone who you think might enjoy these updates and overviews, I recommend that you sign up for my free newsletter.

Also, if my prices are keeping you from purchasing anything, know that you can order prints of my work, 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!

Why “The Traitor” is called, “The Traitor”

The idea behind this name is meant to tell a story.

The idea behind the name of this painting is meant to tell a story.

The concept behind my most recent painting came to me in a dream. Perhaps I’ve been overdosing on political coverage recently and all of the backstabbing taking place on either side crept into my subconscious where they later emerged as a vision in a dream.

Whatever the case, I woke one morning a few weeks ago with the thought of five men standing in a row, backs facing us. Four of them were holding a gun, and one, had a bouquet of roses.

Generally, when thoughts like this stay with me upon waking up, I act on them, so I quickly sketched out the visual. At first, they were going to be on the steps of the Capitol, tying the visual even more to politics.

I went out and bought a new canvas – but before I did that, I looked at the overall dimensions and decided that there should only be four men. That way, they would better fill the space. That’s also when I decided that the men on the steps visual was too obvious. I wanted something more nebulous that would be truer to my surrealistic roots.

I chose to have them looking out on a body of water and wanted the sky to be a mix of blues and purples and have some turbulence going on. At the same time, the rays of the sun offer a glimmer of hope in what is upon first glance, a rather ominous painting.

As I was sketching my new creation onto the canvas, the name came to me – that’s often the case with my surrealist paintings. I knew it had to be called “The Traitor”.

And why? Because it adds an all new dimension to the painting. It creates a story. Why is the man holding the roses, “The Traitor”? Who or what has he betrayed? And how do you even know that “The Traitor” is the guy holding the roses?

Is the man with the roses planning on killing someone with kindness?

None of these story lines would have ever even crossed the viewer’s mind had I simply called the painting, “Guns ‘n’ Roses”. Just like putting the men on the steps of the capitol seemed too obvious, I like to have the names of my paintings add to the potential storyline inside the viewers head.

So the answer to why I called this painting “The Traitor” is really quite simple.

I did it for you.

If you know anyone who you think might enjoy these updates and overviews about my art, I have an art related website where anyone can sign up for my free newsletter.

Upon visiting, if my prices are keeping you from purchasing anything, know that you can order prints of my work, 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!

Unique items featuring my art on VIDA make holiday shopping easy

Painting a memory

Any publicity is good publicity

'Key To Success', one of my recent paintings, graces the cover of the September 2019 issue of Gesso Magazine.

‘Key To Success’, one of my recent paintings, graces the cover of the September 2019 issue of Gesso Magazine.

I was surprised last week when I found out that one of my recent paintings made the cover of Gesso Magazine, a monthly publication that covers the arts scene on both sides of the river here in the metro St. Louis area. (https://issuu.com/gessomagazine/docs/september_2019)

I had been in contact with them regarding some of my recent works and knew they were interested – but had no idea that my work would not only grace the cover of their September issue but that they’d also give me a full page on the inside showcasing more of my work (page 35 if you’re interested).

Awesome news.

With virtually no results. I featured the cover on my Facebook page, on twitter and Instagram. Yawn.

Instagram seemed to have the most reactions – but that’s still fewer than 100 likes. And as for sales?

Well, not yet.

It’s been a great year for generating awareness. In addition to this recent cover, I had my solo show that was up for a month at the Renaissance Airport Hotel. My art was noticed by Art Sleuth, an online art gallery out of Hong Kong that wanted me to join their lineup of artists and they’re doing a direct mail piece that goes out next week promoting my art. I was approached by another online art gallery called Turning Art that sells prints and they asked that I join their roster as well. Eleven of my works are featured on Artfully Walls, another online service that sells prints. They’re supposed to be featuring my work in a promo in the next month or so.

30,000 views of my artwork on my pixels website. Almost 1200 followers on Instagram.

In a sea of millions of artists, I am only one. To rise above, you have to be seen and noted.

I’m working on it.

And in the meantime, I’ll just keep trying to get better as a painter.

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also paint by night. I’ve had a number of solo art shows, and my work is attracting worldwide attention via my pixels website and also on art sleuth.

If you’re interested in seeing more of my work and potentially buying a print or two or would like to buy my artwork on a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items please visit my pixels website via the link above. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

Rising to new heights with ‘Ascension’

My most recent painting takes you above the clouds.

My most recent painting takes you above the clouds.

Many times, when traveling by plane, I’ll look out the window and see the clouds below. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to fly above those clouds which was the inspiration behind this recent painting.

Similar to the Greek mythological character Icarus, who used wings to fly but ultimately got too close to the sun, I decided to create my own character who could fly.

Using a few different photo references, I sketched out a young boy, flying above the clouds, holding on to two giant feathers, looking down on the clouds below.

I must be going through some sort of a purple phase because I opted to use that color as the dominant color of the clouds. I always struggle whenever I’m painting clouds – though there is total randomness in cloud formations, the light to dark aspect always confounds me.

But that’s the challenge of painting.

This particular painting is 36″ x 48″. When you see it in person, it’s quite dramatic due to its large size. I like the painting and I also like the title.

Hopefully, you do as well!

In addition to being a writer and Creative Director at BloodLines Creative, I’m also an avid painter who loves to paint the impossible or at least the highly improbable.

Most of my work is available for purchase – or you you can 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 website on pixels. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

The shirt seen ’round the world

Look in the crowd, a little to the right of the middle and I'm the guy wearing the shirt with the Blue note on it.

Look in the crowd, a little to the right of the middle and I’m the guy wearing the shirt with the Blue note on it.

How does one assure that you’ll stand out in a crowd of about 35,000 people at a Major Golf Championship? You wear the Blue note.

That was my plan as Chris and I embarked for an epic vacation to Ireland and Scotland that would include attending The Open, held at Royal Port Rush Golf Club in Northern Ireland as well as playing The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland.

How it all came about, resulting in the photo you see above is somewhat amazing, involving two of my fellow Blue Buddies from St. Louis U High and an ancestral journey that my wife, Chris, made to Ireland about seven years ago with her mom.

I guess I’ll start there as Chris and I would have probably never made this trip had she not first gone across the pond with her mum (we’ll use the English vernacular) to see if they could find any ties to her mum’s grandfather who hailed from a town called Ballymoney. The trip was a success, including their stay at a Bed & Breakfast. Two years ago, while Chris and I were watching The Open, a promo came on announcing future sites for The Open which included this year’s event that would return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 52 years at The Royal Port Rush Golf Club.

Chris said the site of The Open was less than 15 minutes from Ballymoney and that she would check to see if we could stay at the same Bed & Breakfast.

It was available – so that set our travel plans in motion which we expanded to include a round of our own at the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews in Scotland. Chris was quite the travel planner as she blocked out and booked all aspects of our journey. The week before, as we were discussing what all we should pack based on temperatures in Northern Ireland and Scotland at this time of year, I mentioned I was going to wear the Blue note. I know I could have opted for a Cardinals jersey but saluting the Stanley Cup Champions on a completely different continent seemed like the right thing to do.

Chris and I, striking a pose with the Open logo on the grounds of Royal Port Rush.

Chris and I, striking a pose with the Open logo on the grounds of Royal Port Rush.

I was hoping that someone, somewhere might notice. Turns out that someone did. Dave Hemenway, one of my high school classmates from SLUH was watching The Open on an early Saturday morning from his home in Cary, North Carolina and noticed someone wearing a Blues jersey behind the 6th green.

He got out his phone and snapped my image from the TV coverage and sent it along to another class of ’76 grad, Pat Leahy, who’s one of my golf buddies. Dave’s message to Pat – “Look in the gallery”

And there I was, right next to Chris, proudly wearing my Blues shirt. I don’t think it drew any comments from the TV analysts. But it did get noticed. And now, through the power of social media, will get noticed a bit more.

It’s a small world after all.