Corona Blog

This blog entry will mark the 200,000 deaths of my fellow country men, women and children. I will not rant about the lack of a plan or action to mediate the pandemic. I just wanted to draw attention to the moment as artists often do.

Alan Watts wrote a book in the sixties titled “The Taboo of knowing Who You Are”, I remember very litlle of it but the title always stuck with me, hm, just like the carnival cane from my grade school days.  A taboo is a no no, a door you are not to enter, a place untravelled for a fear of being lost or not returning.


The era of COVID has offered that exact opportunity for me, to be thoughtful, introspective, re-examing priorities, thoughts and intentions, the what ifs of  lifes actions, seems innocent enough to me. But this has been my modus operandi most days. I work alone looking for meaning in what I do, validation is no longer required. I just work at my craft piecing together images with intentions. I have had a lot of time to that lately!

To all those that have been lost in the last six months to COVID, I grieve your loss as I grieve for your family. To those that are still healthy, be careful. gather your powers, let them protect you. Also, be protective of yourself and of others, we’re all connected. There is no taboo in this.

Vote early

tom cane IMG 9509

When your kids grow up and ask, “Daddy, what did you do during  COVID election”? What will you tell them? I painted pictures, wrote meaningless thoughts, ranted about the government??? and what good will any of that have done, hmm. I’m not a scientist, not that it matters, no one believes in them anymore.

 I am only one vote among millions, most of them suspicious we're told, and don’t believe the election outcome anyways. Our votes are like the  pebbles dropped in the bottom of a jar that rises the water to the cranes beak. Pretty insignificant stuff, right? I guess we can only do what we do, try to be kind in our endeavor and hope others are kind as well… insert another, hmmm, that ship may have left the galaxy. My hope is that all pandemics: COVID, poverty, racism, power and political polarization have a come to Jesus moment and change their course.  If all this seems irrelevant to the poor sap below forgive me, it’s just my viusal catharsis flaring up again. Life remains a Game of Chance

tom w:cane UNADJUSTEDNONRAW thumb 4aad


Welcome back to the COVID Carnival. It’s starting to get a little dark and grim, death count is around 170,000 and some genius in the White House still has not come up with a viable plan, viable! how about any plan at all! 

I can tell anyone, who is open minded with ears on, the way we get a handle on the virus is to vote for someone that has a plan, trusts science, is not self consumed and respects human life. Your vote could also save jobs and the economy. They are both dependent on getting control of the virus. 

I’m an artist and a liberal.  My country is important to me and I don’t like our current course. Please give some objective consideration with your vote this Nov. I love you all and wish everyone the best, now be careful and don’t become a statistic.

Note: No fear tactics or name calling were used in this entry

Tom and Dice cane 1


A trip in the way back machine took me to the days of school carnivals in the Minneapolis school system. The activities included: the ring toss, cake walk, bingo, fish bowl etc. We played with coupons purchased by our parents. Each winning play was rewarded with a prize, usually something insignificant made from plastic. The prize I coveted but never won, nor did I know anyone who did, was a colored shaft cane with a ceramic dice head on it, too cool, right? Well, I’m an artist now, I can do what I want because, well, I’m an artist. So, here it is after 60 years, Tom with his dice cane, maybe a little haute looking (possibly it’s a good thing I did not win it in my youth) but like Banksy says, “art should comfort the disturb and disturb the comfortable"

Tom Page portrait with cane

It’s been about 4 months since my last 
Corona Blog. At that point we were around 60,000 deaths by COVID. Today we are around 160,000. Yet many are not taking it seriously!

A bedtime short story.

For a year the COVID carnival traveled across the world. In the United States it soared. Darts thrown at balloons for a dollar a toss. Over $160,000 in income the first 6 months in the U.S. alone, (it turned out freedom seekers like to throw darts)!  People put an obsessive will of personal choice above the protection of the masses. The elderly, compromised and the most vulnerable suffered along with the general population. Large numbers of mask-less people crowded the booth raging against the government, trying to stop their civil rights to fun would not stand. False comparisons with historic events were made, and as usual the loudest voice felt the most righteous. In the end the darts flew and the balloons kept popping, rewarded by the prize of a misanthropic freedom, hmm.

Throwing Darts at the COVID Carnival

"Life as a Game of Chance” post script. 

I started this virtual gallery blog three weeks ago yesterday. The underlying concept is the uncertainty of things and how Life is a Game of Chance. Elements of: art, message, luck, fortune, chance with overtones of the superstition and politics. If there is an agenda here, it is thought, not dogma.

I stated early on, that life is a game of chance that we enter  unknowingly and unwilling. Some never make it into the game at all! Also, that the game has unwritten rules and risks. I posed questions of; can we read fate or have fate read?, who is the arbiter of our fate and do we have any control over it? The questions/messages were presented thru painted images using metaphor and symbolism.

Ultimately, I believe we have influence in our chances, these may  not always predictable. Do you wear a rally cap in the ninth inning of a baseball game and your team is down by 9 runs? do you refuse participation without your"lucky charm”, do you wear your lucky socks before an important job interview, does the tinfoil on your head always keep the alien voices out? or, are these just wishes a form of petition to the cosmic world to intervene in your behalf. 

 I was not born poor, I had two loving and responsible parents that provided opportunity and an intellectual curiousity, a wonderful brother, in a country that believed in self determination, not self supplication, ie; bowing to government. Add to that a “lucky in love” kind of guy that found the right spouse that gave me two wonderful children, luck, fortune? The answer must be yes because I’m really not that charming. I have many friends that can back that up.  Also, I did very little to affect the above outcomes, lucky I guess.

 COVD-19 issues liberated me. As an artist there is never a binary choice, life should be so simple! My conclussion was: we all survive, no one survives, I get the virus and never know it, we muddle until there is a treatment or cure. We all grow gills and slip back into the water…I don’t see any fish getting the virus, astronauts blast off to colonize another planet saving humankind  or we’re all living in a parallel universe of unicorns and faerie dust…..and on. Ultimately, its mostly the fate of chance.

I decided that the best conclussion and best practice for me was to implement what the scientists recommend: social distancing, wearing a facemask in public, washing hands, staying away from crowds of people. None of this is very difficult. The fact that I do not get to watch the: Minnesota Twins, Vikings, or Olympic Greco Roman wrestiling is really not a big thing. I am willing to sacrifice these  and more if it means I can live to breath another day, plus, I don’t have to ride in a spaceship into outer space to  populate a distant planet. I ramble to long. 

I am an artist that believes true art delivers a message and the rest is adornment. This is not a perjorative statement on adornment.  Also, the message can come in many forms, ie: abstraction or realism, and that simple things like color or shape alone can deliver a message. Finding the "message behind the image" is what makes art valuable and difficult. 

 Yes, we are individually in this together. This was my motivation, to share brief thoughts combined with artwork  intended to convey a message. I hope you found humor in some of paintings and maybe a contemplative moment in others. My conern lies among us more than in the virus. The scientists will figure out a cure, they always do.  We have to figure a way toward mutual respect and understanding. 

My Corona Blog averaged less than 10 visits a day, hmm, so much for all being in this together. Those that left comments were even fewer, however, I REALLY appreciate those that were kind enough to leave their thoughts and also to those that left a like or symbol of recognition. Thank you, thank you. I wish everyone the very best.

Everybody deserves a chance.

Disclaimer: Any abuse of spelling, run on sentences, cloudy thought or puncuation are the fault of my 10th grade teacher, name withheld for fear of retaliation. Be well.

Entry #21, "Colonel Kurtz”, 

This painintg might seem a bit odd, but what isn't these days. The title is from the 1979 movie "Apocalypse Now” by Frances Ford Copolla. In the movie Colonel Kurtz has walked away from his military rank and order to “cross over” into a new reality bringing a ragtag group of followers with him, enough said!

There are a few more “unpublished” paintings for this blog, “Life as a Game of Chance” but for now the herd has been culled, and there will be no encore, (I visualize dancing cows coming back on stage)

Tomorrow I will offer a summation of this virtual gallery blog and artist messaging. Until then we can all carve a notch on the bedpost for one more day on the planet.  I hope you are well.

Never throw the hat in

Entry #20, “The Anwer is”

Reminiscent of Johnny Carson playing "Carnac the Magnificent”, delivering the answers to "hermetically sealed, kept in a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnell’s porch", questions in the envelope. Would you really want to know your personal or cultural fate?

Tom the envelope please

Entry 19, “#3 on our countdown”

I think this will be a countdown of the last three paintings in this series, I’ve flogged this pony enough! This means moving on to other subject matter/messages. Keep checking back thru the last of the series.

 Close your eyes now and hear Casey Kasem's voice as he calls out, "#3 on our countdown"

Tom name hat

Entry #18,  “Government Mule"

Even a crisis such as this is not without its theatrics and governmental spin…it’s ALWAYS the government! Sadly our polictical representatives  use this time, anytime! to try and polarize people and and tell their constituents  what a wonderful job they are doing, I don’t buy it, not by a factor of  68,000 and climbing fast.

 Imagine a media that sensationalized COVD-19 as a lottery, win or lose. They would draw a winner nightly if it improved their political  ratings; who won a daily pass, who wins the ticket of a lonely passing, the simply infirmed need not apply.  And then again, it might just be a diversion, slight of hand, look over their while we corrupt your chance in the game of life. 

YOU are not the only one in control in, “Life as a Game of Chance”, however, YOU must play the game with rules scrolled by too small to see.

Remember, we are in the arbiter phase of this blog. Brought to you by our sponsors…not to be ingested.

Hand names Hat suit

Entry #17, “We have a winner"

As we begin to sunset this series of paintings 6 are left to close out. The final six are the same theme, who/what is the arbiter of fate. 

“Life as a Game of Chance ultimately is a mortal game, “tag you're it”, the end.  In between the beginning and end is where planning and strategy may be affective, if you believe in a cosmic order where everything has a time, purpose and place, control becomes an illusion. So,  where does this arbitration of winners and losers come from? pre-determination, divine order or cosmic relevance?

If I have not made it clear before, art is not messaged thru images but thru metaphor and symbolism. Joseph Campbell taught me the most meaningful lesson of art, “it’s not about the image, it’s about the message behind the image”  With that in mind, I have taken the above fundemental elements with a self proclaimed artistic license to address the arbiter of “Life as a Game of Chance”.

Hat hand names

Entry #16, “Suit of armor please, XXL"

Until the virus came I wore nitrile gloves whenever I painted. I am a cautious guy and try to use good studio hygiene. I have since found a good alternative leaving nitrile exam gloves to their best use, protecting those fighting the virus. My last pair of gloves made interesting subject matter with their  stretchability. This is the last of three paintings re: getting ready for venturing out into public. This painting is from the early part of the virus when I would have worn a suit of armor if I thought it would help. Now I rely on: hand sanitizer, a mask and social distancing. Life as a Game of Chance requires proper dress!

Tom with Gloves

Entry #15, "The artist will see you  now"

This painting is one in series of three getting ready to venture out into public. For the “experienced” this could be a painting from my Peasants with Torches event. PwT was a community celebration of arts and culture that ran for three years, (see link below). PwT played off the 1931 movie Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. In the movie the villagers boldly take off in the dark with their torches to find the monster and settle some grievances! Our modern day viral monster only has the scientists and health care community shaking the shadows looking to kill the beast or at least keep it at bay, while the rest of us are more or less cattle buying time at the rendering plant. 

Thank you to all the health care workers.

The artist will see you now!

Tom Strapping Up

Entry #14, The Ball

The ball or sphere as it is called in the 3D world, represents  shape with no points, no corners, angles or vector points just an infinity of space. All spheres in the "Life as a Game of Chance" are not equal. Consider the 8 ball v. the crystal ball. One has a limited number of answers, the other has answers limited only to your imagination and ability to express them. One has all the information plastic and a floating message cube in oil can offer for under ten dollars, the other relys on…your imagination. We must be aware of charlatans in the “Life as a Game of Chance”!

Beware of false leaders and meaningless messages! As my grandfather said, “he would never have a child that did not have a mind of their own”

Tom Crystal ball 1

Entry #13, “Strapped Up" 

The next several entries have a common thread of preparing to venture out in the early days of Corona.  I considered what would be reasonable protection and what are my essential errands? After I “strapped up” for my first Corona crowd re-entry and ventured out I found what I refer to as a vanity/machismo syndrome. In genteel locations people, primarily women, repsected distance and wore protective apparel, often with consideration to softening the severity of their appearance,  at the more manly stops i.e hardware store, customers and check out wore no protection whatsoever! Defiance? embarrassment? defining ones own reality? unaware (unlikely!). 

Is vanity/machismo relevant in “Life as a Game of Chance”? I believe it is.

Tom Strapping Up for a Run to the Store

Entry #12. Lucky Hand.


This hat was given to me 50+ years  ago by Dr. Peter Agre. It belonged to his father Dr. Courtland Agre, a highly respected chemistry professor and research scientist, and the apples did not fall far from the tree as they say!  I would have loved to seen Dr. Agre the elder in this hat. If it brought me as much luck as it did him success, my corona worries would be over. The real luck in this painting is not visible, my friendship with Peter and the Agre family over the years.

The hat is not my lucky hat anymore than the Big Lebowski's “special lady was his girlfriend”, (sorry, the thought just wouldn’t leave my mind), afterall, we must make these declarations with precision. None-the-less, the hat is “special” to me and represents something I have always enjoyed, worn with gratitude for the gift and aplomb for the style. If I had a lucky hat worthy of a lucky hand this is how it would look.  Fresh deck please, I’m feeling lucky.

Tom hat and cards

Entry #11. Reading the future.

This painting of Tarot cards comes without authority. It  draws attention to “readings”. In the" Game of Life”, chance encounters are similar: instant readings based on previous experience or just intuition are made and decisions are determined regarding the future, chance?

One of the cards in my hand is the “fool”. It was a chance encounter when researching the Taro deck. Who but an artist would follow such a life as this? It seemed appropriate. 

tom taro IMG 6650

Entry #10. “Divining"

Divining is a process of bringing the future into the now. Are you curious, would you like to know fate in advance? If not yours, that of others? It could help even the field in, “ life as a Game of Chance”.  This art/craft/practice/talent? goes into deep history and uses many techniques: Orinthomancy, Hieromancy, Haruspication, Bone Readers, Alectryomancy, Cledomancy, Ceromancy, Tyromancy just to mention a few.  

My real question however, is, would YOU want to know the future, or at least, that of your own fate? 

In this painting the future is momentarily suspended, calculating and forming itself for a revealing landing... May all your bone  readings be kind.

Tom Bones

Entry 9. Dartboards to Dodgeball

"Art without a message is just adornment”, Tom Page.  

Imagine 7 billion people on the planet.  Now imagine each person with a target on thier chest or back. And, all around the world are invisible dart throwers. That’s really what we’re dealing with. The COVD-19 virus with an unlimited supply of darts! Another analogy? Imagine playing a global game of dodgeball and all the balls are invisible coming from every direction. Your athletic skills are pretty useless at this point, agility becomes paralyzing and your ability to fake a move is useless. 

I don’t like  sports metaphors and may have wandered across the line in this post. My point, dispite the painting's messaging is, make  a small target and, to the best of your ability, stay off the field of battle... Wearing a mask in public would’nt hurt either!

Tom Dart Target IMG 6942

Entry 8. The Ward Boss

This painting was intended to be a pandering of good luck. Kind of a chest shield of protection.

 The Celts considered rabbits to bring good fortune in ancient times. For obviouse reasons carrying a full size rabbit on your key chain was not practical! So, the full animal was substituted for just the foot and continues to ward off the bad hoodoo to this day, see virus. 

 Obviously for the last 2500 years rabbits around the world have loathed this omen of good luck continuing to practice prolific bunny making to compensate and maintain rabbit feet supply.

 In the end, the composition looked like a mid 1800”s Tamminy Hall ward boss.  

In the painting I went a little hyperbolic favoring the full necklace over the key chain, artistic privedge!

Tom, Ward Boss IMG 6938

Entry 7. Hmm, a lucky number!

Luck, fortune, odds, only one has any numerical equation, usually designed to work against the player. A roll of the dice, also known as rolling the bones is different than throwing the bones. One is an action of playing a game of chance, the other a way of divining the future. Early dice were made of the knuckes of animals with scribed marks indicating a numerical value hence the name “bones". Throwing a variety of actual animal bones properly read gave an insight into the future.

Do you want to be lucky? beat the odds? or do you have a desire to see the future?.. and Sinatra cocks his hat and fades into the background singing, “luck be a lady tonight"

Tom with Dice

Entry 6 

Hopefully your stack of chips in whatever form: stacks of age advantage,  credits for  pre-existing conditions, a tall stack of fortitude and a gold chip of providence. Be prepared to play them all, no need to squirrel them away for hard times, they've already found us. Bets placed, everybody in?

Title: All In

Tom full stack chips UNADJUSTEDNONRAW thumb 4967

Entry 5

These paintings are more or less in chronological order. I tend to work in series and rarely filter the good from the not so good, therefore you see it pretty much in the order it happened. The following painting may be an exception. It’s one of three using the poker chips as a metaphor. Letting the chips fall where they may, playing with a short stack, you make up the narrative. Luck in the time of the virus is a fickle muse, place your bets!

Tom and chips painting

Entry 4

"Let the chips fall where they may”, is a saying that comes out of the 1800”s. The reference is to chopping wood and letting the chips fall,  keeping your attention to the task of cutting logs and not  small chips. The painting is a contemporary metaphor of playing the game with indifference to where the chips land.   Even in the time of a pandemic your stack of chips allows certain advantages. A large stack gives you access to: education, nutritional food, good health care and financial freedom. However, in  Life as a Game of Chance, even government has figured an algorithm that favors the “house”. 

My message here is simple, let the chips fall where they may while you keep an eye on the big picture... staying healthy by being responsible, you will come out a winner.


Tom Let the Chips....

Entry 3 

Traveling during the early days of Corona, the virus not the beer!

I am not a fan of air travel, not out of a fear of flying, but because I fancy myself a modern day Route 66 kind of guy, ( preferring the Buzz Murdock character over Tod Stiles),  experiencing america from the deck. As Hemingway said, “travel alone and double the experience”. The travel time is as close to Yoga as I will ever come. I find the extended alone time  therapeutic. 

This is a self portrait from somewhere in Montana driving back from Utah just before the viral shinloa splattered the landscape. This portrait makes my wife uncomfortable, go figure! 

Tom dice utah signed

First Post

You have found the virtual gallery blog of Tom Page. The gallery is comprised of paintings made during the COVD-19 Corona Virus. As many already know, I do not go out of my way to exhibit my artwork, yes, I have a website but my artwork is primarily  a personal journey. These times however bring everybody together in unexpected ways, we are all in it together. 

I will be posting some of my artwork from this period of time we are living thru. The theme is “Life as a game of chance". It is a game we do not enter willingly! None-the-less we are forced to play by the vagaries of chance and fortune, damn any rules!

I will post some dialogue along with the artwork. My wish is that you smiply find some relief from whatever your condition may require, like I said, we are all in this together.

 I will post a new artwork everyday as supply lasts. Many of the artworks are not yet finished. Be well.

This painting was a pre-cursor to the Cornona Blog. It was from a game of yard Yahtzee with Aaron, a young man that my wife and I mentor. He is prone to saying I am a bit dramatic! Dice games go back thousands of years and were originally made of animal knuckles. Yahtzee is a most benign form of chance.

Tommy Yahtzee

Below is the first of “Life as a Game of Chance”. I was sitting on the Plaza of Snowbasin Ski Area wearing my favorite Betty Boop "dew rag” two days before the lifts shut down because of the virus.  Skiing is a risk sport, I’ve been forntunate in never having a serious injury, really any injury related to skiing. The risks are inherent but mostly visible and predictable.  

Tom Blog UNADJUSTEDNONRAW thumb 4963

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