September 15th, 2020
I enjoy sharing insights as to why I paint what I paint. The painting shown here is called, "Seeing Double" - for rather obvious reasons. My objective was to try and have the moons be close to identical and though they are close, they're certainly not exact.
So what led me to create this painting? Recently, I seem to get some visual idea stuck in my head. So I feel somewhat obligated to pursue it. In this particular instance, I kept thinking of two moons in the night sky.
Why? Perhaps in this upside down world of ours where everything seems to be a little out of whack, two moons make perfect sense.
Regardless, I knew I had to do a painting featuring two moons. So then I tried to think of different scenarios. One was going to be an apartment building roof with a large structure in the middle - maybe the rooftop exit. On either side, I was going to have two individuals staring off at the night sky, each looking at a respective moon. In another sketch, I had a couple sitting out under the night sky, each pointing to a different moon.
Ultimately, I decided on a fairly innocuous couple standing at the edge of a suburban style neighborhood lit up at night. (I decided to give the man a bowler hat just for the fun of it.)
In this version, it's like they're on the crest of a hill, looking out on suburbia and the two moons in the sky. The couple form a sort of triangulation with the two moons and I like the balance of that. It makes it all appear somewhat normal - even though two moons in a night sky are far from normal.
That's kind of how I feel about things these days. There is the semblance of normalcy - yet nothing is quite right, no matter how you look at it. Still, it's a beautiful world and we are blessed to be living in it. If your faith is strong, hopefully, that's as easy to see as two moons in the night sky.
July 27th, 2020
I used to love swinging when I was younger.
Perhaps I should re-phrase that. I used to love being on a swing when I was a kid. I can still remember the swings at Spring Park. They weren't rope swings like the one shown in this painting. Rather, they had metal rungs and a black, leather seat. But they were attached to about a 14-foot base and the key was to lean back with each swing forward that would bring you ever higher.
That's about as deep as this painting gets.
I've been so tired of the seemingly never-ending bad news regarding the coronavirus. The on-going protests in various cities that seem to be getting more and more out of control aren't adding any cheeriness to things, either.
So with my paintings, I have decided to ignore reality and with this particular one, I simply wanted to create something bright, fun and full of joy.
I thought of all the things I used to love to do as a kid and ultimately, decided on the swing set visual. Rather than try and re-create myself, I thought a girl on a rope swing with her hair flying about might be more fun.
I also decided that I didn't want the rope swing to have any real context. I didn't want it to have any frame of reference. It's just her and the rope swing, set against a bright, blue sky with big, puffy clouds.
Granted, her hair does look a little like a Smurfs might look. But ultimately, I'm happy with it.
In fact, I'm pretty darn happy with the entire painting. No, it may not be my best work. But it's a startling visual. And every time I look at it, it brings a bit of a smile to my face.
It's a shame that so few people ever actually see my paintings in real life. Viewing them on your phone or your tablet or computer screen is nice but it simply doesn't have the impact of seeing it in its actual size.
This one is really vibrant with color. Someday, I hope to have a show again. This is my 13th painting that I've done this year. I'm having fun and slowly, I think I'm getting better.
Like the girl on the swing, my objective is to continue to go "Higher".
July 15th, 2020
Take one look at my newest painting and the first thing you might wonder is, "What's a red high heeled shoe doing on a beach?"
That's exactly what I want you to think and beyond that, it really doesn't go that much deeper. With most of my recent paintings, I've somehow been relating them to the ongoing pandemic.
I decided that I needed to break free from that and pursue something - anything - that had no ties whatsoever to the coronavirus. I wanted something that was COVID-free.
Whenever I'm looking for new ideas for my paintings I peruse all kinds of visuals, seeing if there is anything that sticks. For some reason, a shot of a fashion model in red high heels grabbed my attention.
I often wonder how women can even walk while wearing heels that have a 5-or-6-inch lift to them. That is a feat (pardon the pun) that I'm sure would send me tumbling forward. From there, I thought about some unlikely places to wear these shoes and a beach immediately came to mind.
So I decided to try and do a low level view of the shoe in the foreground with ocean waves and a fairly nebulous sky in the background. I intentionally tried to keep the sand, water and sky all somewhat blurry so that your attention goes directly to the shoe.
And why just one shoe?
That's part of the story appeal. If I had put both shoes in the painting, there wouldn't be as much speculation. One might assume that the wearer kicked them both off and was heading for the water.
But by painting just the single shoe perched atop the sand, it creates a few questions or possible story lines that the viewer is free to develop their own scenario on why they're looking at a red high heeled shoe on a beach.
And that's as deep as this painting gets.
July 2nd, 2020
With all that's been going on in the world, I wish I could be as hopeful as the title of my newest painting.
Yes, it's called "Brave New World" which happens to be the same title of the book written by Aldous Huxley back in 1931 that told the story of a dystopian society whose citizens were environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy.
I can't say that the book was the driving force behind this painting. I'm not even sure if I've ever even read it! But I did know the basic plot structure and the combination of our ongoing pandemic and all the recent social unrest got me to wondering, "How would a child view today's world?"
That simple thought led me to the visual for this painting - a young boy in pajamas, looking out his bedroom window at the world which is hovering above the clouds.
It makes no sense. But to me, it makes perfect sense. Because if we could all do a better job of viewing the world through the eyes of a child (one of my favorite Moody Blues songs), we might all see what a beautiful, wonderful world that we all live in.
There's a certain innocence to this painting and to me, a magical quality to it as well. The curtains, the sky and the boy's pajamas were all painted rather loosely but at the same time are very well defined. The back of the boy's head might be my best rendition yet involving hair with a few curly locks and some light highlights adding to his overall look.
A few people have asked if I intended the wooden slits (also called muntin) to symbolize a cross. No, that wasn't the intent. But if that's what one sees, I can't really object.
Technique-wise, I think this is one of my best paintings yet. And conceptually? I can only wish that the magic and wonder of seeing the world from the eyes of a child fits the title a lot better than the Brave New World that Aldous envisioned.
May 28th, 2020
This pandemic has definitely influenced the subject matter of my most recent paintings.
Though it may not be readily apparent, that is definitely the case with my latest effort which seemed to evolve the more I got into it.
I never really know what sparks an idea with me that ultimately leads to a painting. I do know that I'm always looking to create the impossible, or at least, the highly improbable.
So with the coronavirus lurking in my subconscious, I was trying to think of reassuring images that at the same time, could be somewhat threatening.
In one of my earlier paintings, I had a young boy pulling a wagon occupied by his teddy bear.
I didn't have a teddy bear as a kid but I must have some fascination with them as I decided this time I'd have a young girl and her teddy bear out for a walk. My initial sketch had the two walking virtually identical to what you see pictured here - both with their opposite foot up, hand in paw, looking forward.
In that first sketch, they were walking on a path that led into a dark and mysterious woods. The name of the painting was going to be "An Uncertain Future".
I began to sketch out the trees along the path. But as I did, I decided to shift the scenario and get rid of the dark and foreboding aspect. We have enough of that already.
Instead, I created a kind of nebulous sky where the trees almost disappear in the distance. Rather than have the trees be leaf-filled which would block out the light, I opted for bare trees with just a few leaves still hanging on. This created a far less sinister walk in the park - which I further enhanced by pumping up the color in both the girl's dress as well as the brightness of the teddy bear.
Still, I couldn't decide what to call the painting which is a rarity for me. When I was just about finished, I posted the image on Instagram and called it, "Take My Paw". Obviously, that didn't feel quite right. When looking at the finished product a bit more, it hit me - that's the girl's BFF - Best Friend Forever.
Thus, the painting finally had what I consider to be a proper name, "My BFF". I think it's a very positive painting. The two are confidently heading down the path of life, not quite sure what's around the next corner. But there's a certain confidence exhibited that whatever it may be, everything is going to be okay. That's what I hope for all of us.
May 20th, 2020
"The Crossing" is quite unlike just about any painting I've ever done before.
Start with the fact that it has a brown sky. A brown sky? Well, there are hints of white, yellow and red in it so it's not all brown. Still, brown skies are not in my normal color palette.
The land and sea below aren't exactly popping with color, either. There are hints of green trees in the land far below the two precipices but they come out as more dark brown than green. All in all, it's not the cheeriest of settings.
So what's the deal with the people who are literally walking on air?
Those who know my painting style know that I love to paint the impossible, or at least the highly improbable. People crossing from one side of a precipice to the other while walking on air certainly qualifies.
I think subconsciously this whole pandemic has messed with my head (I'm certainly not alone in that regard). This is now the third painting I've done (the third just made its debut a few hours ago) that is somehow connected with the Coronavirus.
My "Social Distancing" painting was a little easier to see the connection. But with this one, the implied meaning is much more subtle.
The painting depicts a range of people - young and old, slightly obese, one even in a wheelchair crossing from one side of a precipice to another. It's kind of my way of saying that you just have to put yourself out there. Take a flying leap of faith that you will get through this.
We're all on our own journey through life. You rarely know what awaits you. But if you have a little faith, you can get to the other side.
Now, how you define what 'the other side' is, is entirely up to you.
May 12th, 2020
The painting you see featured here, which is called, "Salt & Pepper" does not fit my normal surrealistic approach to painting. Of course, if you wander through my http://tom-blood.pixels.com website, you'll see that I like to experiment beyond just doing surrealistic paintings.
Call it my 'artists prerogative'.
This is the fourth in a series of paintings that feature word plays, tied together by an ampersand. First there was "Rock & Roll". Then came "Fish & Chips", followed by "Jack & Coke". Now, I present, "Salt & Pepper".
These paintings are bold in their color palette. The images pop off of the solid background colors. To me, this fits the definition of pop art - not just because the visuals pop but also the play on words are in the popular mainstream.
The visuals aren't always as easy to paint as they might look. There are seven different colors in the red pepper and that's not counting the green stem which has five different colors in it. Trying to emulate the typography on the Morton salt canister was a challenge and though it's not perfect, neither am I! BTW - I used the old time rendition of the Morton Salt canister which featured a much larger version of the girl with the umbrella. The version that is sold today has a much smaller version of the girl and some of the detail has been eliminated.
These paintings are fun to create and offer a bit of a break from my normal surrealistic endeavors. They are fun, playful and when you have all of the paintings lined up in a group, they make for extremely striking imagery.
When I painted "Rock & Roll", it sold about two months after I had created it. I liked that concept so much that I created another version of "Rock & Roll" using a different rock and a different roll.
So now there are four of these and yes, there will probably be more.
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April 24th, 2020
With this on-going pandemic continuing to bring us all down, I wanted to paint something that was totally uplifting. That was my goal as I began to ponder ideas.
For some reason, I zeroed in on a ballerina. I've always been fascinated by their amazing grace and power as it takes great athletic ability to do the many moves they make.
I knew I wanted to paint the ballerina out in the open, set against a blue sky. It was then that I decided to put her in a field of sunflowers and she would be holding two of them in her hands in mid-leap form.
So that was my initial sketch that I worked up.
I spent quite a while on scaling up my small sketch onto the canvas, paying special attention to the ballerina. Since she was the focal point of the painting, I knew I had to get her features correct.
Generally, I don't paint too many faces. I have a tendency to overwork the image until it becomes a muddled mess.
The painting began with the sky. I went from a straight blue sky to working in the cloud formations that you see. Initially, I thought I had overdone the largest cloud and that it would take away from the grace of the ballerina. But I decided to let it be and move on to the flowers. Even now, I can see the shape of a praying mantis in that cloud formation. But that's how clouds are supposed to be - where you can see objects or things that aren't really there.
The sunflowers were more of a challenge than I anticipated. They needed to be defined in the foreground and nebulous in the background. Initially, the backdrop was flat but I thought adding distant hills on the horizon helped to define everything a bit more.
When I began painting the ballerina, her dress was more bluish which I quickly decided didn't work. So I went with more of a plum color and tried to maintain the shape of her legs underneath the dress. I actually painted her face first before I moved on to the dress. I used a very fine tipped paint brush to highlight her features.
Though this painting may not fit my normal surrealistic approach, there is still a hint of surrealism as she's probably about 15 feet in the air meaning she either has enormous power or I'm simply using her as a metaphor for all of us to rise above.
I'm hoping that in the coming weeks, we may all be able to leap into spring. There is beauty everywhere. And it is meant to be enjoyed.
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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 Pixels website. 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!
April 24th, 2020
To say that the Coronavirus has changed the way we live is an understatement.
In January, no one had ever heard of the term, "Social Distancing".
Now, it's the new norm and there's no telling how long it will be in effect.
These days, a simple walk in the park is no longer possible. You have to go out of your way to stay out of the way.
I totally get it.
But I certainly don't like it.
Personally, we have been lucky so far, able to avoid the ravages of the Coronavirus. Like so many others, we have abided by the rules, sheltering ourselves at home and when we do go out, keeping our six-foot distance from others.
I thought to myself, "Why not somehow portray this in a painting and do it in what I think is now my own unmistakeable style?" The man in the bowler hat, my on-going homage to the Belgian surrealist master, Rene Magritte, would anchor the right portion of the painting. And in a similar style, a woman with her blond hair braided and in all black occupies the left portion of the canvas.
There is a noticeable gap between them.
They each stand with their backs to the viewer, so that you, as well as they are all staring out at some body of water and a distant horizon.
Though the sky is blue, the moon is out - another Magritte reference. It could be dawn. It could be dusk.
There's a light on the horizon, perhaps signaling that better times are just ahead.
I like to think so.
When you see this painting for real, it is quite striking. It's 36" x 48". The two figures really stand out against the background.
It's a painting that had Social Distancing never entered our vocabulary - if the Coronavirus had never come our way - would still be quite striking.
But with this damn virus, it has a whole new meaning.
I hope you all are well and healthy and that we can return to some sort of normalcy in the very near future.
Thanks for reading!
If you know anyone who you think might enjoy these updates and overviews, please pass this along and invite them to follow this blog.
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 via http://tom-blood.pixels.com. 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 at www.instagram.com/tomblood_artist to see work in progress from start to finish!
November 11th, 2016
Previously, I did a painting called Outside In where a couple was dining indoors and clouds drifted through the window, with one of them enveloping the ladies head.
I decided to do another painting called Inside Out where a couple would be dining outdoors, set amongst trees. I decided to hang a chandelier from a tree branch to add a little touch of elegance and the unexpected.
With this painting (like any other) I dealt with a number of issues from concept through completion. I often use an x-acto knife as my eraser, literally scraping the paint off the canvas when I see issues versus simply painting over what's there - (I do a lot of that, too.)
The couple were a challenge for me - too often I think the people in my paintings look more like cartoon art. I've decided that's okay - it's just my own style though I wish I could give more depth and character to all of my characters.
There's a lot of detail in this painting - right on down to the food on their plates. But there's also a lot of interpretive images where branches and leaves are hinted at but not really defined.
This particular painting may not be in my normal genre - yet it still has a look that makes it uniquely my own.
I enjoy painting them, even if nobody else enjoys viewing them!