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.
If you know anyone who you think might enjoy these updates and overviews, please pass this along and invite them to sign up for 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 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!
October 6th, 2016
I've been a part of the Pixels community since about mid-June.
I've had more than 5,000 views of my work - (though I wonder if the majority of those views are coming from robots - especially from Sunnyvale, California that registers about 50-100 new views daily)
I've tried some initial email marketing and that, for the most part was a failure.
I've entered a variety of contests. Joined three appropriate groups and followed others in those groups.
And to date, I've sold a handful of items - an iPhone case, some pillows and tote bags.
What am I doing wrong?
Granted, there are millions of pieces of art on this website. I have seen some truly fabulous works - in all media and in a wide variety of subject matter.
I guess that's the frustration that so many artists experience. We love to create, we love to push things out to the public and say, "Look at me", but bottom line, art is a tough sell.
Unless you learn how to build a name for yourself and develop an audience of followers, you're just a dime a dozen - if even that.
I'll keep trying.
I just wish more people would start buying.
June 28th, 2016
Well, hello there.
I don't know who you are or how you found me but I'm glad you're taking a few seconds to read these words.
I just joined Pixels.com - I have more than 70 paintings sitting around my house, collecting dust and not being seen by the world.
My subject matter is almost always interesting. My style is pretty distinctive. Most of my painting titles are plays on words.
I'm just now beginning to upload a few and we'll see if anyone is interested in them as potential t-shirts or greeting cards or tote bags or whatever.
I hope you enjoy what you see and I assure you, there is plenty more to come.