Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

Like paint brush and camera, computer is a creative tool for Dunedin artist

DUNEDIN

In a small space that doubles as his home and his workshop, painter and photographer Tony Blue sits before a large computer monitor that dominates the main room. He spends considerable time there, working a bit of magic with his vivid imagination and the help of modern technology.

"It's amazing what you can do with this," he said of his computer. "What used to take me days to do in a darkroom takes me only minutes now."

Using Photoshop in lieu of his former darkroom, Blue lets what he calls "artistic license" take over. He picks and chooses the details he wants from a variety of photos he has amassed, and combines them into one composition.

Blue has developed and refined a distinctive art form he calls "Blutography." Once his photos are transferred to his computer, he can do pretty much whatever he wants to create the composition he envisions in his mind's eye.

"You develop your own style," he said. "On the computer you can eliminate the extra details that clutter a composition."

In a photo where he wants to emphasize an approaching storm, for example, he can focus on the sky and electronically eliminate elements of the scene that distract the eye of the viewer.

The 63-year-old artist was raised in Pinellas County and prefers the simple ways of the Florida of his youth. His bestselling work, a 12-by-40-inch composition called Paradise Lost, is based on that feeling of nostalgia.

"Back in the old days, there were trailers along the coastline before there were condos," Blue said. "I call this piece Paradise Lost because it reflects a part of Florida that has been lost."

The composition features a combination of elements from different photos: a vacant lot in Sand Key, two trailers, a sun, an egret, three girls in bathing suits walking along a dusty road and a telephone pole.

The pole was an element Blue wanted to use — but it wasn't in any of his photos. No problem. Using his mouse as a brush, in a matter of minutes he had "painted" the telephone pole and transferred it to his new composition.

Someone viewing Blue's photographic work might notice an absence of color.

"I focus on earth tones," he said. "Unless it's a tropical scene, I like to take the bright colors out."

Little Trailer Boy has been selling well also. Focusing on a trailer he saw in Safety Harbor, Blue added a dramatic sky from one photo and a small boy from another.

"I have a thing for clotheslines and television antennas," he said of items rarely seen anymore, so he added those to the picture as well. All of the elements came together in a panoramic work that has appealed to viewers.

Blue is not scheduled to exhibit in any shows this coming year, but sells his work from his website or in local galleries and shops, including Clay and Paper in Dunedin, the Crystal Gardens Gallery in Redington Shores, and the Hoffman Porges Gallery in Ybor City.

He generally makes 150 limited editions of each photographic composition, which can be purchased by size, ranging in price from $25 to $700 a work. Original paintings range from $500 to $4,500, depending on size and detail.

Many of Blue's photo compositions feature objects that have seen finer days — such as a dented and rusted old truck.

"I'm drawn to what people did in their lifetimes," he said. "That beat-up old truck did productive things at one time."

Blue is a painter as much as a photographer. His paintings, mostly in acrylics on either board or canvas, tend to be abstract and colorful — or muted, but containing a social message. One of the latter, called Lost Americans, features two Indians in a blizzard at Wounded Knee. That work recently received a "Best in Show" award at the Gugliotta Gallery in Pass-a-Grille. A mixed media painting called Built on Sweat and Blood features the elements of hard work, including barbed wire, nails and a pair of old work gloves. An American flag provides the backdrop.

Panoramic shots are particularly popular with Blue's clients, but his own wishes in composing a particular scene always take precedence.

"I have to please myself first with a picture," he said. "My art is what makes me happy."

Correspondent Elaine Markowitz can be reached at [email protected]

     
Comments
Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

Eckerd College student who fell before graduation has died

ST. PETERSBURG — An Eckerd College student who was critically injured last weekend during an accidental fall on campus shortly before she was to graduate died today, the school announced.Rebecca Ryan "Becca" Lavin-Burgher would have graduated with a ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

DADE CITY — A 42-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said he jumped on top of a car, stabbed the driver multiple times and then kicked an officer.Roscoe James faces charges of attempted murder, two counts o...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
NOAA: Scientists predict 10 to 16 named storms this hurricane season

NOAA: Scientists predict 10 to 16 named storms this hurricane season

Scientists are in consensus: The 2018 hurricane season could be an active one.On Thursday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2018 Atlantic hurricane seasonal outlook. It’s calling for between 10 and 16 named storms, five...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA — Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didn’t start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Pushing the stroller, mashing the gas pedal: A fatal encounter on Bayshore

Pushing the stroller, mashing the gas pedal: A fatal encounter on Bayshore

TAMPA — Jessica Raubenolt seized on the sunshine and blue skies at mid-day Wednesday to take her daughter out in the stroller for a walk along scenic Bayshore Boulevard. Visiting from Ohio, the family had been cursed by rain all week.At the same time...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

TAMPA — City officials announced Thursday they are reducing the speed limit on Bayshore Boulevard, one day after a mother was struck and killed by a speeding car while pushing her 21-month-old daughter across the street in a stroller.Starting today, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday night, Washington Capitals captain A...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

The Rays aren't kidding about being serious in using relievers to start games.After unveiling the strategy last weekend against the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said they planned to use it again, and he made that official on Thursday, naming Sergio Rom...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

RIVERVIEW — Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new location in Riverview, the chain announced Thursday. The new store will be located at Summerfield Crossing Shopping Center, though Sprouts did not have a specific opening date.The announcement comes...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

APOLLO BEACH — Tampa Electric Co. is taking a big step away from coal. The Tampa-based utility is spending $853 million to convert its coal-fired Unit 1 at its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas and retire coal-fired Unit 2 in 2021.Five workers di...
Updated: 2 hours ago