2016 and beyond for BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art

So on this last day of 2016, I take a few moments to look back on the year and try to project what lies ahead for 2017.

Business wise, it was a good year. Not a great year. But a good year. I worked with a variety of new clients, lost an established one and still maintain ties with a long-time relationship which is very rewarding.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

I created a number of videos, helped re-vamp one client’s website and we’ll soon be launching a new branding effort for another one. I began blogging for one client, worked on some PPC ads and I’m in the midst of working on a new TV and radio campaign as well. (Sorry for not naming client names – I only do that when I have permission and for this particular piece, I’m not even bothering to ask.)

On the art side of things, I was happy with the progress I’ve made as a painter. I created 11 paintings in 2016 – I don’t exactly churn them out, but I do stay at it and I continue to try and improve my brushwork, executing a variety of ideas that come from all places but always seem to circle back to Magritte in one way or another.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

I began to more actively market my art this year as well. I now have two websites devoted to my art: http://bloodlinesart.com and http://tom-blood.pixels.com

The first site looks nice but has basically been useless due to a lack of promotion on my part. The second site enables you to take your art and have it show up in the form of pillows, tote bags, iPhone covers, coffee mugs, greeting cards and a variety of ways to order prints. That site continues to draw about 25-50 visitors a day and I’m approaching more than 8000 views since I started it back in July. The sales effort though has been somewhat disappointing – I’ve made enough to pay for the site but that’s about it.

Nuts and Bolts - one of my 'stick' paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I've sold a few of them in 2016.

Nuts and Bolts – one of my ‘stick’ paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I’ve sold a few of them in 2016.

There are more than a million works of art on the website. So I’m not overly surprised that my work isn’t selling like gangbusters. I don’t do art for a living. I do it for fun. I do it because I can. And I will continue to try and get better with each painting.

Prospects for 2017 look solid for both BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art. Currently, I have a number of projects already in the books, some that will be on-going thru the Spring. I’m hoping to have my website fully optimized by the end of January and then I’ll begin more aggressive new business pursuits.

I hope to ramp up my blogging efforts in 2017 and have them be more focused on advertising and art. I dropped off the blogosphere and I’ve lost a lot of regular readers. Hopefully, I can earn them back.

I’m going to be ramping up for my first solo art show since 1994 over the next two months. It’s going to be at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery. It’s both an art gallery and a music venue which will be awesome as I’ll have more than 30 works on display throughout the month of March. Opening night is going to be on Friday, March 3 and feature the music of Tom Blood, Jr.

More on that will be coming.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

I have learned in this business that you never know what’s around the corner. You do your best, try your hardest, be honest with the people you work with and have fun in the process and generally, good things will happen. I have been blessed to work with so many gifted individuals through the years. I continue to learn and explore new ways to market – but bottom line, whether you’re doing a website or online ads or developing a trade show booth, you still need big ideas to stand out, get noticed and acted upon.

I’ve still got a lot of those.

Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side of 2017.

 

MySLArt.org 33 October Show

Tom Jr. and I in front of my 3 paintings at the My SLArt.org 33 October Show

Tom Jr. and I in front of my 3 paintings at the My SLArt.org 33 October Show

It’s always fun to have your art work on display. So participating in my fourth MySLArt.org show was a treat to be a part of and getting to meet and talk with other artists who are kind of in the same boat I am always makes for an interesting evening.

I was impressed with the variety and quality of the entrants in this month’s show. There’s truly something for everyone at these events and they’re a great outlet for artists who traditionally may not be quite gallery-worthy yet – and for others that certainly are.

I enjoy seeing people walk up to my paintings, looking closely at the details and oftentimes, talking with others about what in the world is going on with what I’m showing.

It’s also fun when people come up to me and say that my work reminds them of Magritte.

That’s probably the ultimate compliment to me. As a painter, I am a novice, still learning, still trying to get better every time I start on a new canvas. Talking to other artists at the event, that’s their quest as well.

The Juror’s Choice award went to Noelle Wagner – and deservedly so. One of her works was featured as the key image for the invite and it was even better seeing it in person. Gorgeous stuff and she got my vote!

Photography by Divine XO Photography

Photography by Divine XO Photography

Hat’s off also to Ulysses Sebastian, who received the Visitor’s Choice award for three compelling photographs that had a lot of people talking. I spoke to Ulysses (who recently changed his name) about his work and about his pursuit of creating photography that made a difference. That’s really what it’s all about – pursuing your passion, putting yourself out there and always trying to get better.

I love to paint and even though the canvasses continue to stack up in our house, that’s okay.

My best paintings are still ahead of me.

My return to painting, part II

A step in the right direction

It was back on June 24 that I posted I was going to jump back into the fray and begin painting again.

Here it is, the middle of September and this is all I have to show for it.

One very small canvas that looks like it may have been done by a 4th grader.

I had such grand ambitions.

Instead, I was saddled with a canvas that measures 9″ x 12″.

I felt like such a hack.

I used to air brush my skies, trying my best to create Magritte-style cloud formations. But currently, my downstairs office space is not set up for any air brush work. So it was all acrylic and brush work for me as I tried to jump back in to the painting game.

Some people might wonder why there’s a painting of a ladder in a field with a few tree branches jutting out from the side.

I do, too.

All of my paintings always start off as mini sketches. This one began as a ladder leaning against a brick wall. I even went out and took some photos of an old wooden ladder leaning against a wall and thought I was good to go. But the subject matter didn’t do a whole lot for me. It had no mystery to it.

Remove the wall the ladder was leaning against and suddenly, it became a little more interesting.

Figuring out how to make this happen from my limited skill set proved to be almost comical.

It all began with a return visit to Art Mart, a place I hadn’t set foot in for 16 years. Tom Jr. had bought me my tiny canvas, some brushes, a drawing pad and some paint for Father’s Day but I felt that I needed more supplies. I was determined to do something – anything to get back into it. I used to mask off quite a bit with my airbrush work and figured I could do the same with this painting, covering up the tree branches and ladder while I filled in the sky and the ground around it.

My sales rep at Art Mart said they no longer made the kind of 3M tape that I used to use all the time for my masking work so I bought some type of frisket or something that refused to stick to the canvas and was very tough to cut with an X-acto knife. I was stumped. So the canvas sat partially covered in frisket that was peeling up from the canvas for several weeks before I finally decided I could work without a net. I pulled up the frisket and began painting the sky, doing my best not to fill in the ladder. The clouds are abysmal.

But at least you know they are clouds.

So then I moved to the ground and I actually kind of liked what I did with it, crude though it is. The ladder was next and though far from perfect, if asked what it was, you would identify it as a ladder.

And if you have the benefit of seeing the sides of the painting (not shown here) you can tell the branches are part of a bare tree.

So all in all, I guess you know what this is.

You just may never know why it is.

But that’s why they call it art.

As to the title of this one?

A step in the right direction.