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

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!

Even I Can’t See The Forest Through The Trees

There's a lot of green in my most recent painting which measures 36" x 48"

There’s a lot of green in my most recent painting which measures 36″ x 48″

I thought I’d share a few words about one of my more recent paintings which turned out way more green than I originally anticipated. The idea cam from a phot I saw of a barren tree stump in the middle of a forest. And it appeared (at least to me),  that the tree had been sawed to the ground.
Somehow, that seemed unjust.
So I decided to paint my own interpretation of it, putting the stump on more of a hill with a few other stumps in the foreground. I created a clearing of sorts on the hill, looking into the forest and I decided to bring back the man in the hat, this time standing on top of the tree stump, hands on hips, staring into the forest.
It kind of makes me wonder what he’s thinking and why he’s there to begin with as he seems totally out of place. It’s kind of a man vs. nature type of setting and it’s hard to tell who’s winning. Clearly, nature overpowers the man – he is dwarfed by the trees around him. Yet standing on that stump gives him a certain significance as he has kind of a “what am I going to do next” type of stance to him.
It’s a big painting – 36″ x 48″ and when you see it in person, all that green jumps out and grabs you.
I don’t know if it’s among my best, but I like it and hope you do, too!
In the meantime, the video by London recording artist that features my artwork has now been viewed more than 2,000 times. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a look – I think you’ll enjoy it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCxRpPiFOk8&feature=youtu.be
I’m also getting ready for my upcoming show at The Renaissance Airport Hotel here in St. Louis where I’ll be the featured artist of the month during June. I’ll have more on that later.
I have another painting currently in progress that if it turns out as I hope, may be my new favorite that I’ve done this year.
A few of my works have also been accepted onto a webstore called Artfully Walls where you can buy prints – though you can do the exact same thing on my pixels website
I continue to be baffled by my lack of sales – I’m certainly out there trying. I guess my art is just too weird and unexpected.
Oh, well, I keep on painting, oblivious to the fact that I’m not selling.
You see, even I can’t see the forest through the trees.

In addition to creating advertising and marketing for a wide range of clients, I also paint on the side. If you know anyone who you think might enjoy learning about my paintings and the stories behind them, please pass this along to them and invite them to 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. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

New music video by Liz Cirelli featuring my artwork

 

A still from the opening frame of a new music video featuring my artwork.

A still from the opening frame of a new music video featuring my artwork.

I am both thrilled and excited to announce that my artwork is being used in the release of Liz Cirelli’s newest music video called, “Bridgetower“.

So who is Liz Cirelli and how exactly did it come about that she is using my artwork for one of her music videos?

Liz is a London recording artist. In her own words, “I fuse the worlds of classical and electronic music into intricate, hypnotic and melody-driven moods – with a pinch of pop accessibility. It’s a blend of electronica, downtempo, dream pop and contemporary classical.”

Bridgetower is one of eleven new tracks on her latest release called “Awakening“. And Awakening is her 23rd release overall in a career that spans more than a decade. She is an accomplished artist with a large following across the pond.

I first ran across Liz via an email. She’s a creativity consultant and being a creative person, I’m always in pursuit of new knowledge. I read one of her blog posts and liked it and received an invitation to join her mailing list.

It was there that she made the announcement of her new, upcoming album release. I decided to give it a listen and I liked it. In fact, I liked it enough that I downloaded a few tracks and was actually listening to them as I painted.

Music is always on when I paint. I have several artists that I listen to over and over when I’m painting as their music just seems to fit the mood of my surrealistic endeavors. Fleet Foxes, Radiohead and Grizzly Bear are my most listened to favorites.

But the music by Liz struck a chord with me. I reached out to her and told her that I enjoyed listening to her music while I painted and I sent her a few images of paintings that I had done.

That began an on-going correspondence between us. Liz said she loved my work. I loved her music. When she asked if I would be interested in having my paintings featured in one of her music videos I was instantly interested.

She asked me to send her more painting images so she could decide which track she wanted them to accompany and ultimately, selected “Bridgetower” which was a collaborative effort with another recording artist named Minski.

When she sent me the track, I asked Tom Jr. to help out with creating the video. Tom laid the groundwork for the video, assembling most of the images as you see them now. Liz and her video editor then took over, incorporating some of my newer paintings.

Yesterday, Liz launched the video to her followers on Patreon. Today, I’m letting my readers on this newsletter have the first look.

This past Friday, Liz premiered the video to her extended community via social media and I’m in the process of doing so as well.

This is a huge step forward for me regarding exposure of my artwork to the world. I’ve been slowly building an audience on Instagram (please follow me if you don’t already!). I am approaching 30,000 views on my pixels website. I was recently invited to display my artwork on an international art website but that’s still in the approval mode so no links on that yet. And I’ll be ramping up for my solo show in June at the Renaissance Airport hotel.

I’ve been given a gift – a talent for creating art – it’s up to me to pursue it and keep trying to get better at what I do.

Sales are always welcome and someday, more will come. But for now, I will enjoy the fact that potentially hundreds of thousands of new people will get a chance to view what I do.

That’s pretty cool!

In addition to creating advertising and marketing for a wide range of clients, I also paint on the side. If you know anyone who you think might enjoy learning about my paintings and the stories behind them, please pass this along to them and invite them to 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. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

#willyoureadthis #makeitrelevant #toomanyhashtags

If you're not using hashtags in your social media postings, you're not doing the job that you could be.

If you’re not using hashtags in your social media postings, you’re not doing the job that you could be.

I’ve never taken a course in social media marketing and I guess that’s extremely evident from the number of views I get with this blog.

Then again, when your number of postings dwindles from weekly to monthly to #onceinabluemoon (the name of one of my paintings) you basically deserve to lose a lot of your audience.

But 2019 marks a major crossroads for me. I need to ramp up new business efforts for BloodLines Creative and that’s going to require on-going communications, pushed out to a variety of different social media platforms. It’s also going to demand that I get a much stronger handle on social media marketing techniques.

Part of that begins with my use of hashtags.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have never embraced hashtags and really didn’t have much of a handle (pardon the play on words) on the value of using #hashtagsinsocialmedia – primarily on twitter and Instagram.

But I am learning and I’m seeking to learn more – which ultimately is going to benefit the clients I serve as well as my own self interests.

Here are some generic reasons for using hashtags:

  1. Hashtags simplify the process – Searching a hashtag pulls results for each post using that hashtag. Using a hashtag helps you reach your target audience, and likewise makes it easier for others to find your information.
  2. Hashtags compel an action – When a user sees a post that is of interest, they will likely spend time looking through content brought up by the hashtag.
  3. Hashtags evolve – Hashtags are being used by more and more platforms, impacting the amount of information put directly in front of social media users.
  4. Hashtags reward the distinctive – Hashtags make finding information easier for social media users. A unique hashtag makes your message stand out to the users who find the hashtag valuable.

I have recently experienced firsthand the value of using hashtags via my own instagram account promoting my art – #tomblood_art

A few weeks ago, I sat in on a webinar designed to help artists better market their work. Being a marketer myself, you would think I’d be a natural at promoting my artwork. Turns out, I could have been doing so much better – not just via hashtags but also via my use of key words to describe the paintings I’ve done on my two websites: http://tom-blood.pixels.com and https://bloodlinesart.com

What works for promoting art will also work for promoting my gifts as a talented #greatcopywriter as well as my skills as a #marketingcommunicationsspecialist

I learned that any time I make a post on Instagram, it should have a minimum of eight hashtags that are pertinent to the work I am featuring. How many is too many? I’m not sure but when your hashtags are twice as long as your message, it does seem a bit much.

Still, those hashtags are driving eyeballs to my Instagram account. In the past two weeks, my number of followers has increased dramatically and now continues to rise daily. And they’re beginning to draw even more eyeballs to the many clients I serve when I post information for them.

Yes, I’m a bit of an old dog. But I’m learning new tricks.

Developing great creative and compelling copy has always been a strong trait of mine. Now, it’s time to pound the # signal even more.

Want compelling copy and cut through creative with your advertising and marketing communications. Want it for a fraction of what you’d pay compared to if you hired a full-service agency? Call BloodLines Creative today. You’ll be glad you did.

#successfulresults #greatcreative #creativecopywriting #stlouiswriter #getresults

 

 

Where did the surrealism go?

Two men shake hands in a snowstorm, set against a canopy of trees.

Two men shake hands in a snowstorm, set against a canopy of trees.

Anyone who regularly follows my work knows that I love surrealism, and love to add surrealistic elements into almost all of my paintings.

“The Agreement” contains no surrealistic images. It’s just two men, shaking hands in a snowstorm set against a forest background. Though there are no surrealistic elements to this painting, it does raise several questions in the viewer’s mind.

“Who are these gentlemen and why are they shaking hands?” is a good place to start. The answer to those questions is entirely up to the viewer.

The idea for the painting (it was finished in late November) came about as a result of a snowstorm that we had well before Thanksgiving. Having only done one other painting featuring snow, I decided snow would be my subject matter and in this particular painting, I wanted it to actually be snowing.

That’s when I decided to have two men greeting each other out in the midst of a snowstorm, set against a canopy of trees. This isn’t a particularly large painting (30″ x 24″) so it didn’t take me too long to rough in the trees.

Creating the foreground, with a blanket of snow also went quite quickly with just a few gradations that helped give a sense of depth to the image. When it came time to paint the two men, I decided one of them should have a beard. I gave them both overcoats which could have come from a by-gone era.

When I was finished painting the two gentlemen, it seemed like the setting could be somewhere in Europe – kind of a cold war feel to it. Or maybe it was more like a painting from the Civil War. Simply naming the painting, “The Agreement” builds in its own story line.

When I began adding in the falling snow, I realized that the trees in the background didn’t require any more detail. After all, there’s a blizzard going on – nothing should be clearly defined.

So this painting was deemed done and I moved onto the next one which took me considerably more time.

I like the simplicity of this painting. I like its starkness. I like its story appeal.

I hope you do, too!

If you know someone else who might enjoy hearing more about my paintings, please invite them to sign up for my free newsletter at http://bloodlinesart.com/email-newsletter Also, if you’d like to purchase prints of my work or have my work printed on items like iPhone covers, tote bags, coffee cups, shower curtains or a wide range of other items, please visit http://tom-blood.pixels.com Thanks and I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, too!