Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Short Story and Observation

This is a short story that happened to me about 30 years ago and the observation it just led me to today.

I was exhibiting my art at an airshow in upstate NY in the late 1980's.  I was doing a lot of aviation art then. I noticed a guy walk by my booth, glance in, hesitate and then continue to walk on without coming in. About 20 minutes later he came back, glanced at my work but continued on without coming into my booth. When he came by for a third time he stopped looked at my work from the isle and actually entered my booth. I just nodded hello to him and let him take his time looking around. After about 5 minute he turned to me and said, "When I walked past your booth earlier and glanced at your work I thought it was all photographs. But just now I took a closer look and realized they are paintngs".  I just smiled and didn't say anything else about that. But inside I was screaming that I DON'T WANT PEOPLE MISTAKING MY PAINTINGS FOR PHOTOGRAPHS! After that show I vowed I would loosen up my style so this would not happen again. It wasn't overnight but eventually I think I achieved my goal.  Until the other day.

I was participating in an online discussion about a certain aspect of art/photography and posted one of my acrylic plein air paintings as an example of what I was trying to explain. An almost immediate response from another participant began by referring to my image as "this photo"! I was completely blown away thinking I have spent the last 30 years developing a painting style that would never be confused with photography and apparently it didn't work! BTW I do post my photography on line also. Just don't want anyone to think I have something against the medium. After a couple of other participants pointed out to him that the image was a painting and not a photograph, he explained that he thought it was a photograph with "a filter applied"  as he does to make it appear to be a painting. First of all I was relieved to hear that was why he "mistook" it for a photo. When I posed the idea of having another discussion about how on line collectors can tell a real painting from a digitally altered photo he said he "wouldn't want his buyers to know! LOL" And this brings me to my observation.

Thirty years ago I was upset and didn't want my paintings to be seen as photographs. Now we have the situation where even (some) photographers don't want people to think of their photographs as PHOTOGRAPHS so they digitlaly alter them with "filters" to make them appear to be paintings! Strange new world.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Nocturnal Painting

I have discovered the "coolness" (both literally and figuratively) of plein air painting after the sun sets. Most commonly known as nocturnal painting it is a genre that has been gaining popularity among plein air painters and now I see why.  It literally is cooler temperature wise. It was about 108 degrees in Tempe, Arizona during the day when I traveled there to paint. When I finally set up to do this painting temps had come down to around 100 which doesn't seem like much but with about 20% humidity and a slight breeze is much more comfortable. No sunblock required!

Nocturnal painting is definitely different from daylight painting and does pose it's own challenges.
All in all though I look forward to doing a series of these nighttime paintings.  Stay tuned.

Nocturnal Tempe
Acrylic 8x10"
Original for sale

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Ready to Go

I posted this on a discussion about Plein Air painting as a response to the lamentations of the OP. She said it had been pretty dreary and rainy lately so decided to leave her painting stuff at home. Turned out to be a beautiful day and she was sorry she missed the painting opportunity. 
This was my reply: 

I learned that lesson long ago and now, 99% of the time, I have my plein air equipment in the back of our SUV and I'm "Ready to Go". 

Point is obvious, adopt the Boy Scouts motto "BE PREPARED" which means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body ...and in this case in your vehicle. I keep what I need to paint if I see something that calls to me and the conditions are right to paint at that moment. 

Besides being ready for the above it also helps that I don't have to load up my suv every time I plan to go painting plein air. I just have to take a quick inventory of everything in the car to make sure everything is there. Sometimes I can forget to take enough water (all my work is acrylics) or not enough paper towels. I also check my supports, canvas and panels.

All the "stuff" I need to create another plein air Masterpiece (or not).

Monday, May 28, 2018

Hurry up and wait...an opportunity.

When I know I'm taking a trip via airplane I also know I'm going to be doing a lot of sitting around the airport waiting. 
In the Marine Corps we called it "Hurry up and wait". 

This waiting time is actually an opportunity. Because of all of this waiting I make sure I have a small sketch book and pens to do quick studies of my fellow travelers also hurrying up and waiting. 

Trick is not to let anyone know you're sketching them. I find wearing a hat with a wide brim helps to stay undetected.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Armed Forces Day

April 19 is Armed Forces Day.  Thanks to all who have served in our armed forces.

Monday, March 26, 2018

WAC Annual Spring Fine Art Show Successful Opening

Well , my wife, Gloria, and I attended the Artist Reception for the Wickenburg Art Club's Annual Spring Fine Art Show (wickenburgartclub.org) yesterday and we were very pleased to find out that 3 of my 14 paintings on display had been awarded ribbons. "Wickenburg Alley Cats" was awarded First Place in the Acrylics category, "Two Palms on S. Tegner"  was awarded Second Place in the Acrylics category and "Sunday Morning in Wickenburg" was awarded Second Place in the Miniatures category.

It is my honor to be a first time participant in this annual fine art show and I highly recommend that if you are in Wickenburg between now and April 8, 2018, that you stop in at the Wickenburg Art Club (WAC) Art Center located at 188 S. Tegner Street. I think you will not be disappointed in the level of art on display.   Actually, if you want to see two great art shows there is also the 2018 Cowgirl Up!  exhibition and sale just two blocks from the WAC Art Center at the Desert Caballeros museum (https://westernmuseum.org) located at 21 N. Frontier Street.

And just to make an unsolicited recommendation, if you're looking for a great restaurant serving delicious Mexican food we suggest Anita's Cocina (http://anitascocina.com/) located at 57 N. Valentine Street. The best burritos I have ever had!  Check it out before or after you attend the shows and let me know what you think of the meal and/or the shows.

Thanks and take care.

Wickenburg Alley Cats

Two Palms on S. Tegner

Sunday Morning in Wickenburg

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Another Opening of Another Show

Wasn't that title from a song?

Anywho...there is another art show coming up that I am participating in. It is the Wickenburg Art Club Annual Spring Fine Art Show March 25 through April 8, 2018 11am to 4pm.  The Art Center is located at 188 S. Tegner Street, Wickenburg, AZ.  Artists Reception is March 25, 1-4pm.

I will have 2 panels worth of my paintings as part of the show and will be volunteering on 3 days. March 28 and 29 from 11am-1:30pm and last day of exhibit April 8 1:30-4pm.  If you're in the  area on these days stop by and say "hi" and enjoy the artworks on display.

Morning Palm Tree

A Walk on a Sonoran Desert Road

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Finished painting and show announcement

Just wanted to post the finished version of the plein air painting in my last post.  Here is"White Tank Morning" an 8x8 inch acrylic painting done mostly plein air at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park near Surprise, AZ and about 30 miles west of  downtown Phoenix.  It's a great park for hiking and viewing the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and to boot there is a wonderful Maricopa county library just outside the main gate. Hours for the park are  Sun. - Thurs. 6am - 8pm, Fri. - Sun. 6am - 10pm

White Tank Morning

Also, as an FYI, I have had one of my paintings, "Desert Derelict", juried into a group Arizona Art Alliance exhibit called Interpretations III at the WHAM art center in Surprise, AZ. It runs from March 3 to March 20, 2018 and is open Tue. - Sat. 10am - 4pm with the reception open to the public on March 10 4:30 - 6:30pm.  If you come to the reception please introduce yourself to me and my wife, Gloria. Otherwise hope you make it to the exhibit sometime.

Desert Derelict

Monday, January 15, 2018

White Tank Morning

I spent Saturday morning painting with fellow members of the Arizona Plein Air Painters (APAP) at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park near Surprise, Arizona and about 30 miles west of Phoenix.

This is the largest municipal park in Maricopa county and a real gem, in my opinion, for hikers and artists/photographers with numerous trails and wonderful views.  I'll admit that, although I've painted there many times since my wife and I moved to Surprise, I have only explored a small amount of what it has to offer. 

For anyone visiting the Valley of the Sun I highly recommend putting a visit to the west valley and this park on your itinerary.

White Tank Morning - Work in progress

View of White Tank Mountain

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Happy to tell ya.

I'm happy to tell ya that I received notice received my "Certificate of Jury Acceptance" in Category #2 ((WC, Acrylic, Oil) in the Arizona Art Alliance. This is an exciting and humbling honor not to mention a pretty snazzy certificate to frame and hang on my studio wall!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Parkside Hoops

I am very pleased and humbled to announce that one of my paintings has been awarded an "Honorable Mention" in the current Sonoran Arts League www.sonoranartstsleague.org  "Small Works Show".

"Parkside Hoops" a plein air acrylic painting I created near our house in Arizona was awarded a ribbon and cash award for Honorable Mention in a juried exhibit of over 200 painitngs.

You can see "Parkside Hoops" and 2 other paintings of mine currently on exhibit at the Sonoran Arts Center in Stagecoach Village, 7100 East Cave Creek Road, in beautiful Cave Creek, Arizona.  Enjoy!

Parkside Hoops
8"x8" Acrylic

Monday, November 20, 2017

An Uncooperative Model

I was out creating this painting of  a lone palm tree with the White Tank Mountain as a backdrop a few miles from our house in Surprise, Arizona when I saw a movement off to my right.

I quickly grabbed my camera and got a few pictures of this coyote as he walked across the scene about 30 yards away.  I couldn't paint fast enough to get him in the painting and he ignored my request to "stand still for a few minutes".  Oh well, just goes to show plein air painting is certainly not like painting in the studio.  I'll be posting the finished painting on bill-tomsa.pixels.com soon.

Hope everyone reading this has a very pleasant Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy to Tell Ya...

I'm happy to tell ya that I received notice today that I have achieved Juried Membership Status with the Arizona Art Alliance in category #2 (WC, Acrylic, Oil). This is both exciting and humbling not to mention the snazzy certificate to hang on my studio wall.

Also, I'm happy to tell ya that I have two paintings in the 2nd Annual 2017 Arizona Art Alliance Interpretations II Juried Fine Art Exhibit and Sale at the WHAM West Gallery 16560 West Dysart Rd., Surpise, AZ. March 1 - 30, 2017.

Little Dog and Beyond

Journey No.3

Also, I have two paintings in a current juried Sonoran Arts League show titled the 2017 Contemporary Art Show at the Desert Foothills Gallery (Library) located at 38443 N. Schoolhouse Rd., Cave Creek, AZ. It runs from January 27th to March 24, 2017.

Journey No. 2

Untitled  3.23.09
Hope you can make it to the show(s).

I've been very busy the past few months since we relocated back to Arizona having been juried into several other shows in addition to the above as well as joining the Sonoran Arts League, the West Valley Arts Council and the Arizona Art Alliance.  Now I'm looking for gallery representation somewhere in the Valley. As they say "Stay tuned...".  Bye for now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter's here and the weather is great!

Winter in Arizona is the best time of the year, especially for getting out to paint en plein air.

January is also when you start hearing and reading about the upcoming Spring Training Cactus League baseball teams.  Here that includes the new World Series Champions the Chicago Cubs.  Looking forward to producing some artworks related to the season.

In the meantime here is one of my favorite pieces I've created on the theme of baseball..."America's Game".

Prints of it and products with it on them are available on www.bill-tomsa.pixels.com or by clicking on the Fine Art America tab at right.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Summer is slowly fading...at last!

When we lived in Maine we would always be sorry to see summer end, but happy to see the colors of autumn, but sorry to know what came after that...winter...UGH!  Shoveling and driving in snow. High heating bills and layer upon layer of clothes to keep warm in minus zero temps.

Well, now that we don't live in Maine any more and have moved back to Arizona, our outlook on the seasons has reverted back to southwest mode which is just the opposite of northeast mode. In other words we're glad to see summer end and we're  looking forward to fall and winter with temps in the 80's and below and no more high humidity monsoon!

What all of this means is I can look forward to getting out and painting plein air again. My wife, Gloria, and I have spent the spring looking for a house to buy and have accomplished that. We now live in Surprise, AZ about 30 miles from downtown Phoenix, We have spent the summer furnishing and getting settled in our new home including my new studio.

I am sooo looking forward to getting back to a regular routine of creating art.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Big News

My BIG NEWS is that my wife and I sold our home in Maine and are now living back in Arizona where we lived for twelve years before moving to and living in Maine for thirteen years.  Both places have great attributes and some drawbacks most of which range from minus twenty degrees to over one hundred and fifteen degrees. However weather wasn't the only consideration for our move.

So now most of my plein air work will reflect Arizona landscapes as the last thirteen years reflected Maine land and seascapes.  Stay tuned.

 Telegraph Pass Sentinel 
6x8" Acrylic

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Yarmouth Frame and Gallery Holiday Show

Just a reminder that the Yarmouth Frame and Gallery "Holiday Show" is currently on now and into January if you're looking for a beautiful work of art to give for a gift or to treat yourself.

These are two of several paintings I have in this fabulous group show with many great artists.

Happy Holidays to All!

"The Golden Tree"

"Untitled #1217"

Stop by and say "hi" to Beth or Lee.
720 Route 1, Yarmouth, ME. 04096
Monday - Friday 10 to 6
Saturday 10 to 4
or by appointment

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

3 in Yarmouth Art Festival!

It is my pleasure to announce that 3 of my paintings have been juried into the 7th Annual Yarmouth Art Festival.  You can see my 3 paintings and all of the 165 paintings juried in at 

According to their website http://yarmouthartfestival.com/, there was a record number of 382 paintings submitted this year. My personal thanks to the judges artist Suzanne Harden; Anne Haas, Bowdoin College art librarian; and Peg Golden, owner of Greenhut Galleries in Portland as well as Joe Michud and to the entire staff of the festival who do such a magnificent job each year putting this event on. 

The 7th annual Yarmouth Art Festival will be held Oct. 21-24, 2015, at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church at 396 Gilman Road in Yarmouth from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. An artists’ reception, including music and refreshments, will be held Thursday Oct. 22 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Admission will be free for both the festival and the reception, with donations accepted.

Hope you'll be able to make it to the reception or one of the days of this wonderful exhibit and sale.

BBQ on Congress
8x10" Acrylic

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Painting Plein Air in Yarmouth, Maine

Yarmouth, Maine, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of visiting it, is a beautiful, charming small New England town about 10 miles past Portland as you travel north on Rt. 295 or the slower, but more picturesque, Rt. 1.

It is a cornucopia of painting subjects and a plein air painters dream!

With all of the above in mind, Yarmouth Arts, according to their web site http://www.yarmoutharts.org/ is "a non-profit organization made up of local citizens committed to encouraging arts and cultural activities within the community of Yarmouth."

This past Saturday I participated, with other plein air painters, in the paint-out called 


This is the painting I did  of the local railroad station which is now used as a unique floral shop.

Yarmouth Station
11x14"  Acrylic

My painting setup at Yarmouth paint out.

The juried exhibit and sale is 9/18 - 10/31 at 317 Main Community Music Center which is open Mon - Fri, 10 AM - 6 PM. Reception is Friday, 10/2, 5 - 7PM.

If you can't make it to this part of Maine in the next week or so, I have one word as further encouragement for you to visit....A U T U M N!

PS If you do visit the show take a little longer to scoot around the corner up to  720 Route 1 and visit Yarmouth Frame and Gallery   www.yarmouthframeandgallery.com where you can see several more examples of my paintings along with those of a whole bunch of great artists.  Tell Beth or Lee I sent you.

Take care.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BRAF - August Exhibit

BRAF stands for Boothbay Region Art Foundation www.boothbayartists.org/ located, where else, in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I am a member and have been for several years. We each get to put two paintings in the monthly members' exhibit and below is one of my two. To see the other acrylics painting you'll have to visit the gallery because I forgot to photograph it before I took it in.  Sorry.  If you're in Maine and find yourself near Boothbay Harbor, please stop in and say "Hi" to June or whoever happens to be "sitting" the gallery.  Tell her Bill Tomsa sent you.

Have a nice August.

For Rent
8x10" Acrylic 
Prints for sale on 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Yarmouth Frame and Gallery Group Show

I am pleased to invite anyone reading this and in the Yarmouth, Maine area to stop by and check out the newest group show at Yarmouth Frame and Gallery http://www.yarmouthframeandgallery.com/ titled "Winter Cowers as Spring Empowers". The painting shown below is one of several I have contributed to the show. Tell Beth or Lee I sent you.

Blue Gated Alley
Acrylic  $300

Monday, May 25, 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Seven Words


Can these seven words help sell art?  I think the answer is "yes".  They are a "Call to Action" intended to move readers of these words to buy a work of art that has moved them (or may move them in the future) through a sense of joy or inspiration or whatever.

We, as consumers, are exposed to calls to action every day from sellers of everything from soup to luxury automobiles.  Every product/service, it seems, has a Call to Action associated with it, a phrase, a "suggestion" that tells the reader/listener to perform a certain action that will bring them closer to owning the product or service.

Some examples of  Calls to Action:
-Ask your doctor about...fill-in-the-blank.. to relieve your allergies.
-See your.. fill-in-the-blank... at your local dealer for a test drive.
-Call 1- 800..-fill-in-the-blank... for more information about how to refinance your home.
And the most used Call to Action of our current times...LIKE US ON FB.

So, a number of years ago I asked myself why not a Call to Action (CTA) that can help those of  us who sell art, (artist, gallery owners, reps and anyone who wants to promote the ownership of artworks) to actually give potential buyers a good reason to BUY ART?  The phrase "Invest in Joy & Inspiration  BUY ART" came about as a result.

This is a "suggestion" to people who hover on the edge of purchasing a piece of art but who can't quite justify it so they hold back as a result.  Investing in art has traditionally only addressed the financial reason for doing so with the hopes of making a profit on the art.  Our CTA calls for an investment not for financial gain but rather an investment in one's own joy, one's own inspiration, one's own happiness, contentment, sense of
well being or whatever that comes from owning a work of art that one has fallen in love with.

If you agree that promoting this message "Invest in Joy and Inspiration BUY ART" can help promote art and you want to help spread the word please go to www.zazzle.com/buyart or just click on the small bumper sticker in the gadget to the right and above "About Me".

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Xanadu Announcement

It gives me extreme pleasure to announce that Xanadu Gallery LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona has accepted my submission to be one of their Studio Artists on their web site http://www.xanadugallery.com/.

What this means is that I now have my own page in the Studio Artists segment of their online gallery. Simply go to that section and put my name into the Search box to pull up my page.  I have a limited number of painting originals available for sale but plan to increase that number on a regular basis.

I have long admired Xanadu Gallery LLC, which is owned and operated by Jason and Carrie Horejs since Sept. 10, 2001.  Not only are the artworks they exhibit among my favorite but their story of opening on the day before the world changed forever is both inspirational and touching.   If you happen to find yourself in the Valley of the Sun, do yourself a favor and treat your senses to a delightful visit to Xanadu Gallery LLC.

Cape Elizabeth Lupines
8"x8" Acrylics

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring has sprung. Fall has fell. Summer's comin'. It's hotter than........

Spring has sprung.  Fall has fell. Summer's comin'.  It's hotter than usual!   You thought I was going to say something else?

Well, Spring hasn't exactly sprung here in good 'ol Maine, but it seems to be creeping closer with every day.  And that means I'll soon be out and about plein air painting.  Now that will be a real sign of  Spring. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of my painting companions with the Plein Air Painters of Maine (PAPME) down near and around Boothbay Harbor.

Painter of the Sea
Acrylics on panel
Get a print of this painting at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Winter has me WIP'ed.

I am no stranger to winter.  I grew up in upstate NY and have many fond memories of "going sledding" and the hot chocolate after we came in  and building snowmen and snowball fights (without  anyone's eye ever being "put out").  My wife, Gloria, and I are in our 11th Maine winter.  But I don't remember, in my 67 winters, seeing so much snow piled so high, shoveling or now, snowthrowing it, so often (and hoping the machine lasts through the season) than I have in the last month or so.  And don't get me started on the C-O-L-D! The one positive on that is that heating oil prices have dropped since last year.

What does this have to do with art, you ask.  Well, it certainly does put the kibosh on my plein air painting as I can't paint outside below 40 degrees because my paints are affected.  Therefore I am confined to my studio to A) work from my photos, B) do some still life paintings or C) finish some of the many unfinished or, as I call them, WIPS (Works In Progress ) that I have strewn about. There is no real simple explanation as to why I have a lot of unfinished paintings other than I am lazy or I just haven't figured out a good end to the WIP....yet.  However I haven't given up on it either and, most of the time, I will come to a reasonable conclusion on the painting and it will find it's way to a frame and eventually to a wall. 

So I guess, in hindsight, winter does serve a purpose afterall as far as my art goes.  It forces me to do two things.  One, reacquaint myself with my studio and, two, confront my WIPS and transform them into fully realized paintings. Here's the one I'll work on next. That is once I locate my favorite brush and that tube of cadmium yellow....

One of my Works In Progress

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Art to hang on your walls.

Well I've been a member of Fine Art America (FAA) for about 6 weeks now and have learned a lot about how it works from reading and particiipating in the Discussions.  One of the most talked about topics is marketing, especially thru social media.  Hence the purpose of this blog to let my readers know what is available on my particular part of  FAA which you can access through the following link www.bill-tomsa.pixels.com   Since my last post I have become a Premium Member and now have over 60 images posted of both my acrylic paintings and photographs both color and black & white.  Prints of any of them can be hanging on your wall within days.  Many of my works on FAA have been featured on various Groups that I have joined and submitted images to.  Besides a variety of prints to decorate your walls many of these images lend themselves nicely to a new product, the throw pillows, as well as greeting cards. Check it out.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Art work at Yarmouth Frame and Gallery

Just a heads up that I have 3 small paintings in the Yarmouth Frame and Gallery Holiday group show. Below is one of them.

Blue Sky Reflections
8x8" Acrylic

Just joined Fine Art America

I'm very pleased to announce that I have just joined and am now selling originals and prints of my artwork on Fine Art America.  For me this is an exciting new venture which I hope will enable me to get my work to a much larger audience.  If you would like to visit my site go to www.bill-tomsa.pixels.com. Please check it out.  Thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arts Downtown & All Around....already???

Yes, it is that time again!  Where has this year gone??!!  Oh well, as a wise man ( I think it was Frank Zappa) once said, "Time flies like the wind.  Fruit flies like the bananas."  Anywho, I will be participating in the 17th Annual Arts Downtown & All Around  Group Show at Fort Andross November 14, 15 and 16th.  The gallery is right next to the enterance of Frontier cafe.  I will have many new paintings inspired by Maine and the Southwest, where Gloria and I lived for 12 years before moving to Maine. Besides my acrylic original paintings, I'll also have selected unframed watercolor, pen & ink sketches and acrylic originals at a lower price point in my "bin".  Please stop by and say "hi".  Gloria and I would love to see and chat with you and answer any questions you may have about my art.

Nov. 14 Fri. 5 - 8 PM
Nov. 15  Sat. 11 AM - 4 PM
Nov. 16  Sun. 11AM - 4 PM
Sonoran Thunderhead
5x7"  unframed   $225 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Safety First

Something a little different here.  I've wanted to post something about how I set up to paint plein air on the side of busy (or not so busy) roads.  Maybe there is something here that one of my five readers can use.  Seriously though you do need to take some precautions when you're out painting in the world.  First of all I try my best to get as far off the road as the shoulder will allow.  Next I always carry a red fluorescent "cone" with me.  You can buy these at any store like Home Depot or whatever.  I've gone one step further and stenciled mine with the words "Dept. of Art".  I picked this up from another plein air painter and I regret I can't remember his name in order to give him credit. I do remember him saying that he thought Dept. of Art looked more official than Art Dept.  It may help reduce any hassle you might get from whoever.  Also, putting your car's "flashers" on can add to your visibility to drivers.