As I'm preparing for the San Diego Festival of Art
this weekend it reminded me of the interesting people that prove the saying "Never a dull moment."
I was showing work at an art festival in Laguna, and an attractive group of ladies, walked into my booth and exclaimed "Wow, you're the Jimmy Buffet of painting!"
one of the coolest houses near the la playa trail in point loma, an italian style villa literally right on the water
i like trying to emulate the glassy quality of ocean waves, especially when they have specular highlights
overcast mornings have their own subtle color notes and elegant grays
If you don't know my work, I paint California beach scenes and surf culture. This comment made me laugh at the time and I've never forgotten it. It was her absolute first impression of what I do. Now I like Jimmy B., especially his business sense. He's an author, father, pilot and (now) a playwright and seems to live the good life. His play "Margaritaville" is even premiering here in San Diego right now.
But as time goes by, I've thought about that comment and the stereotypes we create about ourselves and others. I know I can't change that lady's first impression of my work, but in a way, I think my work could have a broader context because I like to paint a lot of different subjects. Chefs, kids, night scenes, urban landscapes -- they're all compelling to me. So the songwriters I'd rather be compared to are people who's songs have more meaning to me. Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell are people who continually inspire me and are the people I never tire of listening to when I paint. "Like a Rolling Stone", "Imagine" , "The Pretender" and "Court and Spark" are a better example of what keeps me painting. As Edward Hopper said "If I could say it with words I wouldn't need to paint."
Come enjoy the SD Festival of Art this weekend, June 10-11 at the Embarcadero along Harbor Drive. The event proceeds benefit San Diego's disabled community. Tickets are 50% off if you go online this week and enter the promo code "ARTIST"
I've had a few insights over the years, as I painted and then tried to sell my work. A couple things stand out to me and I'm going to share them with you. As you improve as a painter and measure yourself against other people's work and ability, you usually are able to charge more for your best work but also try to maintain the price point and market value over time with respect for the people who have collected your previous work.
Many of my oldest friends come to my events and compliment my work but shake their heads and say that they just can't afford it. That's funny to me because most of my early paintings sold for a couple hundred dollars, even some of the larger ones. After 20 years of painting, my prices have gradually increased, due to exhibitions and exposure, gallery representation and art festivals, and improving my skills as a painter.
Several experiences I've had have made me realize that until you trust yourself or take a small leap of faith, it's often difficult for people to justify buying original art. At the larger art festivals I enjoy having time to talk to people who enjoy my work and share stories with me. One lady told me about her first real job in Chicago, and walking to work each day she'd pass an art gallery that had a small painting in it she really liked. She finally went inside and asked about the price and realized that it was far more than she could afford. One day the painting was gone from the window. She felt empty and after thinking about it, realized that the price of the painting had seemed like a stretch, but looking back really wasn't out of her reach.
As we talked, she said "I now realize that when the painting was something I couldn't get out of my mind, I should have bought it, and followed my gut. I'll never make that mistake again." She ended up coming back to my booth and buying a painting that stood out to her after seeing all the other work at the show.
Another time, I received an email inquiring about a painting called "Beachwalk" from a young college student named Ryan who said he really liked the piece. I replied with the price and some more info about the painting and a week or so later he replied and said it was too expensive and that as a student going to college there was no way he could buy it. Several weeks later I was sitting in my booth at another festival and a guy walked up to me and introduced himself as Ryan, and walked up to look more closely at "Beachwalk". It was obvious that he really liked it and told me so.
It became clear to me that he should own it, he truly valued that painting. As an artist, one of the best situations you can have is knowing that your work will be valued and seen as "a treasure" by the person that owns it. The dollar amount you were paid is not the most important thing, because over time you mostly remember the customer and time you spent talking. He walked away and a while later was back. "I'm gonna do it. I work part-time for my grandfather's property management company and was saving up to go to Costa RIca to surf, but I want the painting more." We agreed on the price and it went home with him. Two happy campers.
A couple years later, I contacted him to borrow the piece for an exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art. I told him "You own one of my paintings and that makes you a "collector." He laughed about having that title and also agreed to the loan. He told me he was stoked he had taken the leap to buy it when it was something he couldn't stop thinking about. Oh, and he'd just gotten back from his second trip to Costa Rica.
As we grow older (and wiser), our values usually change. We tend to surround ourselves with things that have meaning to us and are of a better quality than we settled for when we were young. I think of college days and my bookshelves made from cinder blocks and wood, and posters on my walls. Once we settle down, buy a home, the true value of what we own and keep becomes more apparent as the cost is forgotten. The pleasure it brings you each day goes beyond money -- it's an investment in yourself, and it triggers memories or thoughts that resonate for you in your lifetime.
My favorite stories (so far) that two different collectors have shared with me about owning my paintings -- and the enjoyment and value they have to them, are these comments:
"We've agreed that it's the first thing we'll grab if there's a fire" and
"Our kids are fighting over who get's them when we pass away."
I'm fortunate that in addition to being a painter, I enjoy the challenge of finding the right painting for the family and home it belongs in.
Thanks for reading.
afternoon bus 24x30 original oil
I love to read, especially when I find a book I can’t put down. Because when I do, I don’t paint, get other work done, or pay attention to the world. If I could make a living by reading, I might not have made art my career. But when I discover someone who’s writing puts compelling images and unforgettable characters in my mind, I can’t get enough.
So before a recent vacation, I bought a book to take in case of down time at the airport. The title is what caught my eye, “Last Bus to Wisdom” by Ivan Doig. It started out a little slow, but as I continued reading Mr. Doig “sank the hook.”
During a summer in the mid-1900s, a young boy in the midwest being raised by his grandmother gets shuffled off to another relative due to his grandmother’s illness. Traveling by bus, he encounters a series of characters that travel a distance and then depart, all providing the story’s wonderful series of funny, sad, riveting and ultimately life-changing experiences for himself and the wonderfully described people who pass into and out of his life. As in any good story, you become invested in him (and his well-being) and the inventive narrative of what becomes a twisted series of events is believable and connected to this era following the great depression. I really didn’t want the book to end, I enjoyed it in so many ways.
I hope that in my lifetime, I can paint as beautifully as Ivan Doig writes.
After “Last Bus” I researched his work and found that there are about a dozen books that tell a wonderful series of connected stories about the mid-west and the immigrant families that settled there. I think that since Oct 2016 I’ve read about half of them. Surprising to me is that a Southern California surfer/artist, (me) has found that stories based in the mid-west more than 100 years ago so compelling. Doig is a masterful, gifted storyteller. Sadly he passed away several years ago, but not before being recognized as an important American writer. His work is contemporary in a way that is timeless, about shared experiences, hardships, love and persistence. To me that describes what life (and even a good painting is about). Words, music, art and personal expression are integral to a life lived to it’s fullest. I wish I could personally thank Mr. Doig for his writing, but hopefully, sharing his work with you, my audience of friends and artists, will help grow his legacy and provide you the hours of enjoyment I’ve been fortunate to discover in his work.
I suggest you get on “The Last Bus to Wisdom.”
Laugh, learn, live....
It is well worth a trip to LA to see the current CAC Gold Medal Exhibition at the Autry Museum.
The quality of the paintings and sculpture represent the best work of many nationally recognized living artists. You'll want to spend several hours there, the scope of the work is amazing. (Don't miss the life-size giraffe sculpture and wall of small format paintings, all beautiful gems, worthy of your attention.)
I'm fortunate to have 3 paintings in the show, and honored to have work alongside artists with national reputations I've admired for many years. Some have become friends and mentors. All the work is available for purchase.Hope you'll be able to see the work in person. If not you can view the exhibition by clicking here.
Don't wait too long. The exhibition ends April 24, 2016!
I'm really enjoying teaching painting classes and wanted to share samples of work by the students in our last 8-week session in downtown San Diego. I hope that if you've thought about taking a painting class you'll join us on Tuesday mornings for an affordable way to gain insights into taking the "pain" out of painting. I share simple things I've learned over the last 3 decades of painting that will save you time, frustration and energy and improve your ability to start and finish your paintings efficiently and produce results you will be proud of. Like anything, if you practice you'll improve and I'm really proud of the students who are shining examples of this.
Tuesday mornings from 9:30-12:30. Join us!
Click here for more information or to register.
backlit backside 16x20
an early surf painting( from when I painted with a very bright palette!)
I have to share a great recent experience. I'm a reluctant blogger and FB user but my opinion changed dramatically this week. Although I live in San Diego, I'm frequently in Laguna Beach at Studio 7, where I show my paintings. Last Monday, my wife suggested I let people know the days I'm planning to be in Laguna, just in case people who know me, or my work might make the effort to stop by.
Sure enough, yesterday afternoon a surfing buddy from high school (Scott English) and his wife showed up unannounced (and really put me on the spot.) After 40+ years I didn't recognize him (embarrassed, I really tried) but we spent the next hour or so catching up on each other's lives and "talking story". They're down from Paso Robles visiting their new grandchild and stopped in. All because of my FB post! It was so cool -- the afternoon flew by and to reconnect was "priceless" to quote that VisaCard commercial.
What I learned -- make the time to use social media a little more. It can open new doors and old ones as well.
I'm always amazed that Crystal Cove is kind of like Catalina Island. So many people I know live in SoCal have never been to either place or sometimes even know about them. Both offer a feeling of being 50 years behind the times and a lot of painters have documented them during the last century. This is my newest painting of Crystal Cove (24x30) at Studio 7 in Laguna. I'll be there this coming Friday (Mar. 4) from 11-5pm and hope you'll stop by to see it and say hi!
crystal cove 24x30 oil
a view from coast highway
The weather is amazing today and I feel like sharing a recent small view from a trip to Mexico recently. A decent swell had a couple guys in the lineup and I'm enjoying trying to keep it loose and still express the feeling of the beauty of catching a wave. This one is 6x12" and titled "Morning in La Mision" a favorite beach of ours just below Rosarito Beach.
morning in la mision 9x12 $300 www.jeffyeomans.com
I've found that as I go in search of the next exceptional painting, the harder I look, the more likely I don't find what I think I went in search of. I often find what I'm looking for when I least expect it. I'll turn around and start to head home and suddenly there's a "eureka" moment. By looking back at what I overlooked going in a different direction, the light, the scene, the subject matter, something,reveals itself. There's the painting, staring you in the face. Paint it, photograph it, do something… but don't overlook it. The past was yesterday, the future is tomorrow, that's why they call today "the present". This painting is Catalina Island's west end, far less visited than Avalon, Catalina's main town. I found this view walking back to the Banning House after a long day of painting. It reminds me of how almost all of California's coast looked 100 years ago. (Day 3 of the 7 day challenge from Robert Goldman.)
Hills at Two Harbors
santa barbara chevron 9x12 oil
I like the challenges of painting night scenes. There's something compelling about light and shadows that are a real challenge to paint well. I think Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks at the Diner" is one of the most well-known nocturnes in the world. It has a familiarity that is universal, It could almost be in any town in America, but we have all seen something like it in real life, in our lifetime. These are 2 gas stations, one in Santa Barbara, one in Laguna Beach. I was drawn to paint them because of the light, like a "moth to a flame".
classical gas 12x16 oil