How I Set and Reached My Art Sales Goals

Recently, I was asked by Artsy Shark, part of Fine Art Studio Online that’s dedicated to helping artists achieve sales success to write a blog about my own endeavors. This is the article that appeared:

Artist Tom Blood painting in his studio

Artist Tom Blood at work in his studio

What happens when an artist takes a proven business approach to setting and reaching goals? Painter Tom Blood shares his process and results.

Most artists are probably taking the same approach this year to their sales as they did in the previous one. Create the art. Push it out on social media. Then cross your fingers and hope that someone notices.

For some, that’s a proven path to success. But for most of us, it takes a lot more than that. It takes planning—something that is not always in an artist’s vocabulary. It takes persistence—something that we may have when it comes to creating art but not necessarily in the marketing of it. And it takes determination—systematically putting one foot in front of the other as you march toward your goals.

When businesses go about setting goals and objectives, they often utilize what’s called the SMART goal setting process:

  • Your goals need to be Specific
  • They need to be Measurable
  • They need to be Achievable
  • They need to be Relevant
  • And they need to be Timebound

Last year, I decided to put that process to work for myself, setting four key goals:

  1. Double my visibility on social media across a variety of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as well as a number of websites where my work is available.
  2. Double my number of painting sales from the previous year.
  3. Get a solo art show at a gallery near my home in the metro St. Louis area.
  4. Go from creating one painting a month to two while improving my technique with increased attention to detail.

Each one of those goals is fairly bold. Yet all were within reach. In actuality, they were all interconnected. Each one of those goals had its own action plan—even the part about improving my technique, which is quantifiable in my own eyes. I then broke down what I needed to do on a monthly basis, creating a subset of minor goals designed to keep me focused on the big picture.

In order to double my visibility on social media, I needed to regularly post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. On Facebook, I focus only on finished work, shared on my own art page as well as in several groups. On Instagram, I show work in progress. And on Twitter, I share my art that is posted on many of the various websites where my work appears.

All those postings led to more followers and contacts and ultimately, solicitations from other art-related websites where my work is now available. Though FASO remains the host of my key artist website, my work can now be found on Fine Art America, Artfully Walls, Saatchi Art, Art Sleuth, Singular Art, Turning Art, Tricera, Art Loupe and VIDA.

Goal number one: achieved.

Painting of a Heart of Stone

“Heart of Stone Revisited” acrylic, 30″ x 40″by Tom Blood

These various sites where my work can be found led to a variety of sales. They include original art, prints and items ranging from iPhone covers to beach towels. Updating work on each of those sites is time consuming. But every time I finish a new painting, I set aside time to upload the new work.

There are a few gallery owners whom I have spoken with who do not share my love of being on all of those websites. They view those sites as direct competition and essentially, they are correct. But for an artist in this day and age to rely solely on the representation of one gallery seems almost foolish. Part of the draw of an artist has as much to do with name recognition as it does with actual talent. If your work has been sold around the world and you have generated thousands of views of your work, you are more marketable to the gallery.

With gallery owners, it’s so important to build a personal relationship. You need to visit their gallery, attend their openings and actively engage with them. Each month it was on my list to attend (or at least reach out) to a few select galleries in my area that seemed to be a good fit for my work. That persistence paid off. It resulted in a solo show this past November that set a record for number of paintings sold for the gallery while significantly boosting my total as well.

Goals two and three: achieved.

Two acrylic paintings on easels in an artist studio

Two recent paintings by Tom Blood, in studio

What about my last goal of creating not just more work, but better work from an executional standpoint? I knew the goal of doubling the amount of paintings I created was an ambitious one. I didn’t quite reach it as I ended up creating 23 over the course of the year. More important was my focus on truly finishing the painting. I took the extra step, paying close attention to the finer details and brushwork that make my paintings stand out.

Goal number four: almost!

Art gallery exhibition

Tom Blood and Brooke Piepert at Good Weather Art Gallery

What should your goals be this year?

Go back to the SMART acronym and ask yourself, “How can I, as an artist, move forward in the coming months?” Commit those goals to paper. Hang them somewhere in your studio or workspace where you can see them every day. Then create a subset of goals you’ll perform on a weekly or monthly basis. As you reach those monthly milestones, cross them off, knowing you’re on your way towards achieving your bigger goals.

Maybe you won’t achieve them all. But as famous ad man Leo Burnett once said, “If you reach for the stars, at least you won’t come up with a hand full of mud.”

Tom Blood is a modern day surrealist who paints ideas. His goal is to paint the impossible, or at least, the highly improbable. With Tom’s paintings, you can always tell what’s going on, you just don’t necessarily know why. To see his work, visit his website.

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 (

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

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 as well as – 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!

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.

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!


Going For A Walk With My BFF

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

My BFF – 30″ x 40″, acrylic on canva



Brinkmann Constructors Safety Video – Part One – The Assignment

The Brinkmann Constructors' safety video tells the powerful story of taking action versus standing by when it comes to safety.

Brinkmann Constructors’ safety video tells the powerful story of taking action versus standing by when it comes to safety.

Brinkmann Constructors was in need of a new safety video.

Safety is a key component of everything that Brinkmann Constructors does. This employee-owned construction company, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with offices in Kansas City and Denver knows how important safety is every day, at every job site, with every worker – especially since many of those workers are contracted. So with every new project, there’s the potential to have a whole new crew of workers – and it’s vitally important to assure that these workers know all of the safety measures that need to be taken to assure each one of them goes home at night.

So they wanted a safety video that wasn’t your normal safety video – one that told a powerful story and that wouldn’t be ignored two minutes into the overview.

Like many projects that I work on, it was a true collaborative effort. In this case, I was called in by Jeff Fuelling, president of Pickett Productions (In the past year, Pickett was bought and is now known as CG Studios.) Jeff was the project lead and had also brought in Mike Martin and Michelle Anselmo of Mike Martin Media as part of the team.

I would be the copywriter/Creative Director on the project, Pickett Productions would supply the graphics and post production and Mike Martin Media would handle the shooting, casting, voiceover recording and the initial edit.

At our first meeting, we met with Tim Myatt, Safety Director at Brinkmann along with Miranda Hill, Preconstruction Coordinator and Ted Hoog, Brinkmann’s Vice President of Operations. They provided an overview of the Brinkmann safety process and emphasized the need to do something different with this video that would keep the viewer engaged from start to finish.

One of the items Tim mentioned were two related poems that he would read at the beginning of each safety orientation overview and at the end. The first was titled, “I could have saved a life that day”. The second was, “I know I saved a life that day”.

The poems deliver the exact same scenario at a construction site – the only difference being the actions taken by a construction worker. Rather than stand idly by when they see something going on that they believe is not quite right, they take action. And by taking action, they help prevent what could have been a life-altering accident.

Tim mentioned that everyone always seemed to pay attention during those parts of the presentation. The meeting wrapped, and we had our assignment. Create a video that would grab and hold the viewer’s attention from start to finish.

We were bidding against two or three other production companies. All had essentially been given the same download. Our task was to deliver a concept that would win us the job.

The creative process began. I researched other safety videos. I researched safety statistics regarding the construction industry. Initially, I had about five approaches that I then narrowed down to three. One followed a worker from the start of his day through the end, telling the safety story from a first-hand experience while still delivering all the key info that had to be covered. The second approach was very graphics driven, with key facts and statistics being emphasized as well as a range of different workers shot in off-site situations providing their particular reasons why they work safe each day – because there’s a lot of ball games still to see, graduations to attend, meals to enjoy, etc.

We were fairly confident going in that the third approach would be the winner. The idea was simple. Take the two poems, and deliver them throughout the video, interspersed with key safety facts and figures. The viewer wouldn’t just be read the poem, they would see the poem brought to life – seeing the fatal consequences of not acting and the positive consequences of taking action.

Our production team worked out some budget parameters and developed a rough timeline. We made our presentation.

A few days later we received the news. “I could have saved a life that day” was a go.

Then the real work began.

This is the first of three blogs regarding this project. BloodLines Creative works in partnership with a variety of creative resources. If you’re looking to tell a story via video, or have any other marketing communications needs, we can assemble the team ideally suited to get the job done – on time, on budget and with big idea thinking delivered in an impactful way.

I Could Have Saved A Life That Day was written by Don Merrell
I Know I Saved A Life That Day was written by Jim Morgan



A return to broadcast advertising

Early in my career, about 60% of the work I created was broadcast advertising.

At Kenrick Advertising, we were always working on some new TV commercial or radio spot. Budgets were solid and radio and TV were by far the best way to make an impact on an audience.

Oh, those were the days. The older I’ve gotten, the less broadcast I’ve had the chance to work on and when you have your own company and you’re dedicated principally to serving the communications needs of smaller clientele, broadcast advertising generally just isn’t in the picture.

That’s okay. I have always loved the creative process and whether I’m working on a new website, or blogging for a client or creating a small space digital ad, there’s still the challenge to creatively solve a problem, tell a story and hopefully, make an impression that ultimately leads to more business for your client.

But when the chance to work on some broadcast concepts comes along, I’m all in.

Such has been the case with a recent round of work where I’m partnering with an agency to develop a new TV, radio and ultimately an online campaign for a new product.

Unfortunately, at this time, that’s as much info as I can reveal. But it’s been a blast and a true partnership where everyone involved has added to the core concepts. And when we presented to the client, the client had their own significant contributions which will plus the work in the long run.

We’re still in the developmental stages but it has been a very welcome blast from my past. And I can’t wait to see these concepts turned into reality.

If your business, service or organization could benefit from some big idea thinking, we should talk. Because I guarantee, I can help.

Going wherever the work takes you

This summer, there will be a gorgeous pool here, overlooking this gorgeous view.

This summer, there will be a gorgeous pool here, overlooking this gorgeous view.

I’ve had the privilege the past two years of working on an account that’s in the business of building pools. They do awesome work and I am continually impressed at the end result of their efforts.

Similar to advertising and marketing, it’s a process. First and foremost, you have to be invited to pitch the business. Then you need to convince the buyer that what you offer is going to be the ideal solution for them. Once you’re awarded the job, you’re expected to deliver and it takes a lot of hard work along the way to get the job done right.

This past week, I went to visit one of their current clients where work is in progress. It was a cold, dank day. The wind was blowing and rain or sleet was expected later in the afternoon. Still, there was a story waiting to be told.

This pool was going to be built on the side of a hill, ultimately resulting in a gorgeous view overlooking the valley below. But in order to do that, about 600 tons of rock needed to be moved in order to flatten out the hill and build a base.

That’s truly laying the groundwork for a pool.

During my visit to the site, I took a few moments to ponder my surroundings. Here I was, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. All was quiet. No birds chirping and nobody in sight as far as the eye could see.

Just me, taking a few photos of a bunch of rocks that had been spray painted to outline the perimeter of the pool. There was a solitude to it all and for a brief moment, I took in the view and felt a sense of gratefulness.

A few days before, I didn’t even know this project existed. But there I was, documenting the work that had been done to date. It’s going to be a magnificent pool when it’s all said and done.

But there’s still a lot of work to do.

For them, and for me.

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 #poolbuilder


#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: and

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



A painting like this comes around, “Once In A Blue Moon”

A girl on a beach holding a bouquet of flowers stares out at the moon ... which is actually a blue rose!

A girl on a beach holding a bouquet of flowers stares out at the moon … which is actually a blue rose!

As I look back on this painting, technique-wise I think it’s one of the finest ones I’ve done this year. It’s such an unusual painting – (especially for me) and I’m hoping that there’s built in-story appeal to the visual.
Previously, I had done a grand total of four paintings featuring females.
I’ve always thought of myself as something of a hack when it comes to painting or drawing females, going back to a drawing class I took at Mizzou where we had live female models. My drawings always did them a great disservice.
Yet I was excited about the prospects of painting this surrealistic image. The idea behind this one came from a variety of sources, as many of my paintings do. I was paging through one of my Rene Magritte books and ran across one of his coolest paintings called, “The Tomb of the Wrestlers”. It features a giant red rose, overwhelming an empty room. The rose is almost the height of the room itself, boxed in by two blank walls while the third wall features a window, draped by some red curtains. So I decided I wanted to do something with a rose. But what? I have no desire to copy Magritte, I merely like to emulate him.
So I kept searching. Many of my paintings have some water aspect to them and the sea at night seemed interesting. So I began searching for images of ocean scapes at night – which led me to several photos featuring the moon. That’s when it hit me – I would show a blue moon only in its place, I would feature a rose. I knew there were blue roses, just like there are blue moons.
Once I had that core idea in mind, I thought of having the man in the bowler hat staring out at the moon but that seemed slightly out of whack. So I decided it should be a young girl. Then I decided that not only should she be staring out at the blue moon, but she should be holding a bouquet of flowers in her hands as well.
Were they given to her? Were they from someone who had gone away on a voyage and left her behind?
My initial working title for the painting was “Flower Girl”.
When I was just about done, the name of the painting came to me in my sleep. “Once In A Blue Moon“.
The actual painting had its own challenges – trying to paint a glowing blue rose in the night and giving the entire painting a night time feel. I struggled with the sky and the reflection on the water. I added a few large rocks to the shore but at one point, there were considerably more. I painted over all of them, keeping just a few rocks, bleeding off the edges of the painting.
The young girl went through considerable changes and most, were for the better. I wanted her hands to be delicate and I wanted the bouquet of flowers to stand out. I was pretty happy with both as well as the multi-colors of her dress that echoed the color palette of the rest of the painting.
The size of this painting is 30″ x 40”. It’s quite striking when you see it up close and would look great in a frame and on someone’s wall.
You can order prints at my other web site:
You can also order the image on a variety of items – tote bags look pretty cool, notebook covers, iPhone covers, even yoga mats.
It was a joy to paint, even though it had its moments … they all do!

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also paint by night and have established quite a following of the artwork I create. If you know someone who might enjoy reading more about my process and getting updates on what I’ve been up to, please invite them to sign up for my newsletter at

Four of my paintings find a new home

Any time I sell a painting, I’m both amazed, happy and a bit sad, as well.
Sales of my paintings have never really been prolific – especially on my website – in fact, my total sales to date have amounted to the null set.

But maybe that is beginning to change. A recent instagram post promoting my work on my website attracted hundreds of new followers. That was fun to watch.

Artsy_Shark has thousands of art-loving followers who recently saw this post promoting my painting work.

Artsy_Shark has thousands of art-loving followers who recently saw this post promoting my painting work.

The other day, I received an inquiry via my website from an art curator in New Mexico. It turns out a collector right here in St. Louis – who just so happens to be one of the largest collectors of modern art in the Midwest, visited my website, liked what he saw and asked about purchasing ten of my paintings.

Yes, ten!

I actually met this collector through a new business presentation I was attending and I told him about my art. I followed up with an email inviting him to take a look and lo and behold, he did.

For now, I have sold four paintings, each of which has its own unique story:

Agents Orange was done back in 1994. I still have some t-shirts featuring that painting that were sold as part of one of my Creative Gallery Shows. The original thought behind that was that instead of cacti in the desert, I would instead have men dressed in black. It has been hanging in the Blood household for many years. I hope it finds a good new place to hang!

Men take the place of cacti in a barren desert setting.

Men take the place of cacti in a barren desert setting.

Stairway to Heaven was a surprise purchase. It’s an odd painting and the men in black are somewhat cartoonish. Still, there’s something about the characters that has a storyline in it – it’s almost as if they’re resigned to beginning the climb. In one way or another, we’re all climbing, each day.

Men in black began a long ascent into who knows where.

Men in black began a long ascent into who knows where.

Bridge to Nowhere was a simplistic, minimalist thought that popped into my head one evening while I was sleeping. The painting that resulted is almost an exact replica of what I thought, right on down to the missing planks in the bridge. I am still working to become a better painter of clouds. To me, Magritte is the best painter of clouds I have ever seen. I continue to work on getting better at skies and believe that is happening – though in a different manner than Magritte portrayed them.

An old wooden bridge stretches from one cloud to another.

An old wooden bridge stretches from one cloud to another.

The Pier was a fun painting to create with the sky reflecting in the water. It’s always interesting when I take my man in his bowler hat and put him among the elements, oftentimes, dwarfed by all around him.

A man in a bowler hat sits at the end of a pier staring off into either the sunset or sunrise, waiting for what's next.

A man in a bowler hat sits at the end of a pier staring off into either the sunset or sunrise, waiting for what’s next.

The collector is interested in purchasing more. The curator, after viewing my website, is promoting it to a few of her other clients. Word is beginning to spread.

In the meantime, I will continue to try and get better with each new painting I undertake. I just unveiled my latest painting on my BloodLinesArt and

Initial reaction has been very positive but I’ve already begun the next painting, trying to stay on a painting per month timeline. I am trying to do a better job of marketing my art. In the meantime, I have been ramping up new efforts for BloodLines Creative. I have been fortunate to continue to get new business without having to actively pursue too much. That is no way to run a business.

One must always be on the hunt, always in pursuit of what’s next. Sometimes, things do fall into your lap. But the old adage is true: the harder I try, the luckier I get.

Stay tuned, because there’s lots of new news on the horizon!

Portions of the above recently appeared in my bloodlinesart e-newsletter. I figured I might as well push out as a blog as well since readership of both my e-newsletter as well as this blog could use a few more eyeballs. Thanks for feasting yours on this piece!