I just finished exhibiting at the Beverly Hills Art Show in May followed by the La Jolla Festival of the Arts in June. I'm now looking forward to my first time in the Malibu Arts Festival on July 26 & 27. I actually enjoy the preparation, set up, and exhibit days of these shows now that my wife Ellie has been able to join me every step of the way. We are both thankful to be retired from full-time jobs and in pretty good health.
Sales at these shows are, of course, important. As an artist, the value of your work is confirmed when people are emotionally moved to the point that they want to own it. Repeat customers substantiate even more. They are proud to own your work; they considerate it priced fairly, and the feeling they had at the time of purchase did not fade with time. It was a good investment for them and they want to do it again.
Another advantage of doing the shows is having immediate feedback from many sources to changes in my approach. For example, I have begun using more casein in conjunction with transparent watercolor to achieve unique effects. Those effects have created interest and been well received. At each show, I've been asked by several organizations to do painting demonstrations for their members.
But an equally large part of enjoying each show is the people Iget to know. It may be those who have become regular visitors to my booth. They appreciate art and like to discuss it; some have even become past buyers. Others share common interests and experiences outside of art. Some continue to stay in touch through email. At La Jolla, for instance, Gerry and his wife came up to my booth. Gerry is a retired doctor, a urologist. But a really interesting side of Gerry is he also spent time as a "cut man" in the corners of some very well-known boxers. He was there for Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, and many others. I love boxing, Gerry likes talking, and I enjoy listening to him. So his visits are fun. At last year's show, he bought one of my boat paintings for his daughter Amy. This year he was interested in an old barn or abandoned house, neither of which I had. However, they are both topics Ellie has encouraged me to paint for a while now. We were still talking about the Holmes/Ali fight when Gerry's phone rang for the third time in 10 minutes, all the calls being from his wife who had left us and wanted him at the silent auction ... quick! With no particular urgency, Gerry was back-peddling out of my booth while still telling us about the many charitable donations made by Larry Holmes.
On Friday afternoon as we were setting up for the La Jolla show, another artist in a cowboy hat looked into our booth and introduced himself as Bob Fleming. Bob said he was also a watercolor artist and he asked me to stop by his booth just around the corner when I had a break. I went over a little while later, liked Bob's art and couldn't help but like Bob. He is humble, witty, soft-spoken, and he's a golfer from the Palm Springs area. Well, golfing 9 holes each week with my sons and daughter-in-law is high on my priority list, so we talked golf for a while. The next morning I ran into Bob again and he asked, "So, did you get to the driving range last night?" I said, "No, unless you consider me being in the car with my wife doing the driving." Without hesitation Bob responded, "How's she hitting 'em?"
I saw Bob a couple of times after that. I told him I'd like to mention him in this Newsletter and if he gave me a painting tip that I could share with the readers, I'd post an image of his work and share where he was showing next. Just that quick, Bob did it again. He gave me these two jewels:
(1) "Keep your brushes clean."
(2) "Two beers, keep it loose."
Esoteric in the simplest terms. Here are a couple of Bob's paintings and a little about Robert A. Fleming himself.
Robert was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He obtained his formal art training at Miami University in Ohio.
Bob began his painting career at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City. He was also a graphic designer at KTVW in Oakland. The wet-in-wet technique of Bob's original watercolors have a fresh and spontaneous feeling. He now spends his time doing art shows in the Southwest. Some of his recent awards have been poster artist for the Borrego Springs Art Show and 1st Place in watercolor at the Indio Southwest Show. This summer Bob had his historical golf painting based on the 1913 US Open accepted into the Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida.
Congratulations Bob and thanks for an entertaining weekend.