Mar 24, 2014

You reap what you sow!

A few days back my little girl and i visited the Venice Fishing Pier just outside of the town of Venice, in Southwest Florida.  The Pier extends seven hundred feet into the Gulf of Mexico and provides locals and tourists alike with ample fishing opportunity and stunning views.

Half way out the pier sat on a bench under an umbrella was a gentleman with paintbrush and clipboard in hand, adding the finishing strokes to a water-colour painting of a beautiful sea turtle.

Since choosing to photograph for a living i enjoy speaking with artists of all kinds about their work, and usually inquire whether they do it for a living or for pleasure.  I had to kick up a conversation.

I asked, "Excuse me, do you sell your paintings"?   He replied, "i do, both online from my website but also in person where i offer much better deals".  I asked if he did this for a living to which he replied that he works with computers most days and leads a very stressful life.  He explained that his painting helps him relax and was also good for relief of high blood pressure.  He then broke into a rant about how painting was real art as it came from the heart and soul and was so open to interpretation by it's audience.  He mentioned that images from digital cameras (Fujifilm XPro1 hanging on my side) can't be considered real art for several reasons including the artist being limited by the photographic medium as it stifles the minds creativity and also because giclees (digital prints created with inkjet printers) utilize only eight base colours to reproduce entire palettes of colour.

I was at a bit of a loss for words.  What started as keen interest in his art and a possible sale for him quickly diminished into me feeling resentment towards this individual.  Why on earth would he feel the need to praise his art form while belittling another?  I felt no need to disclose to him how i help feed my family.  And I want to be clear to you that i don't consider myself to be much of an artist, instead more of an observer/recorder of happenings.

During his spiel one of his paintings sitting next to him caught my attention.  I noticed that one edge of the painting was bordered with a perfectly straight line of paint.  There wasn't a single brush stroke that extended beyond that line.  It looked suspiciously like he was painting over an image that was pre-printed on paper.  Was he only adding brush strokes on top of prints?  They seemed very similar to images i've seen in souvenir stores in Florida.  Now i'll be the first to admit that i'm more than likely wrong about my asumptions.  It was probably my subconscious looking to find fault with him.  This person may be an incredible painter but regardless i was still quite dumbfounded by his disparaging words which seemed to spew out of nowhere!

'Thank you for your time but we have to be on our way as we have much to see and do today."  I'm not sure if he bothered to offer a goodbye or not and by then i could have cared less.  I just wanted to walk away from him.

My daughter and i continued to explore the pier and it's denizens which included some very friendly teenagers successfully fishing for shark from the Pier.  If you are wondering the little miss wasn't too keen on getting close to sharks, even if  they are only fourteen inches long and still on the hook!

On the way back i preset my camera's focus and exposure settings so i could shoot from the hip to get a candid image of him in his setting.  If you are curious photographing an individual without permission is legal in any public place in the U.S. and Canada.  I honestly didn't care if he would have been upset with me doing so.

At the base of the pier I found a very pleasant lady selling stretched canvas reproductions of her water-colour paintings.  One of which depicted three of my favourite herons.

Any wonder who gets my cash?

You certainly reap what you sow!


  1. Very interesting. I can picture the piers, they are wonderful infrastructure to the Florida area. the guy obviously has issues, maybe you brightened his day.

  2. You are so right Scott! This guy is like no artist I know. Most people in the art world love talking to and seeing other forms of art. This guy is obviously the Exception! His loss, not only to business but to life in general.....