Changes in latitudes and attitudes-Art.
The pilothouse yachts I had been specializing in for the past 35 years haven’t been built since 2010 (2008 recession was a killer) so time has reduced not only their availability, but now, sadly also their demand, so instead of tilting at windmills (waiting for the phone to ring, or soliciting listings on boats with no buyers) all day I’m spending my time either mountain biking, or on my original love and passion: Art: which usually goes up in value over time, and unlike most machines- the care and feeding is simply a nail in the wall.
Starting in the mid seventies I used to bounce between New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, and San Francisco buying and selling Fine Photography, and exhibiting my works, now it’s Highwayman Painting, and the only bouncing I’m doing is from Stuart to Vero Beach.
Meeting the incredible painter James Hutchinson. He not only painted alongside Beanie Backus in Florida and Jamaica, but his sister was married to Backus. His story is amazing! He lived with the Seminoles in the Big Cypress for six years, and did a series of quite large (look behind him) portraits under the commission of Arthur Vining Davis. “Hutchinsongalleries.com”. He represented Florida in the 1964/65 Worlds Fair in NY.
Buying a Kevin Hutchinson painting. The son is a incredible painter too. Not only that, but he designs the large Jim Smith Sport Fish yachts. If you ever need to commission a yacht painting-Kevin is the guy.
Sylvester Wells b. 1938. Oil on canvas 24” x 36”.
James Gibson 1928-2017.
James Gibson oil on canvas18” x 24”
. James Gibson (1928 -2017) 28” x 24” oil on masonite. 2001
James Gibson. palette knife oil oil on Upson Board with a original ‘sand’ frame. SOLD at auction.
Blake and Ilioara Davis meeting the Highwayman R.L. Lewis. You don’t get any “deals” at the artist shows, one is more paying for the experience of meeting the artist, and their SUPER salesmen sons.
Here on the Treasure Coast, Highwayman paintings are like BitCoin, classic cars, or gold in that people collect and trade them because they’re easy to liquidate (because of the healthy auction, and dealer scene with documented auction results going back a decade or more) but mainly it’s because they’re BEAUTIFUL, still quite affordable, and it certainly doesn’t hurt ones eyes to have these original painting hanging on your walls as they appreciate. If you loved Florida before it was paved over, then these are the visual connections to that time.
One of the regular Highwaymen auctions in Vero Beach. Porpoises were feeding right next to us. How cool is that?
You can watch YouTube to learn the history of the Florida Highwaymen and the story of their uniqueness that makes them so collectible.
Charles ‘Chico’ Seymour Wheeler Highwayman b. 1946- July 12, 2019.
the most unique of the 26 artists
Chico is the one on the far right with the white Beatle haircut
Edward Munch meets Ft. Pierce. Oil on masonite. 24” x 48”. Lots of texture in this painting.
Livingston ‘Castro’ Roberts Highwayman 1941-2004.
Oil on canvas. 24”x 36”. NFS
Rare jumbo 48” x 36” oil on canvas. $3900.00
24” x 36” canvas. $2100.00 (the color is off in this photo, the wall is white, must be the fluorescent light) SOLD for $2600.00 at auction
Al ‘Blood’ Black b. 1947.
There’s some great videos of him on YouTube.
Chico’s studio in Ft. Pierce.
Chico was extremely private, he gave no information about himself when inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. You will find no info about him in any of the Highwayman books, much less where he lived. I tracked him down after looking for weeks- on just a clue of “he lives in a real old trailer in a very old trailer park in Ft. Pierce off of US1”. It took weeks to find him because it’s quite amazing how many old trailer parks there are here.
This is where he lived and painted. He was quite prolific. He just stayed inside, smoked cigarettes, and painted. He’s buried in the veterans cemetery in West Palm Beach, so obviously he was a veteran too. Yet more mystery behind the most original of all the Florida Highwaymen.
Daniel AND Robert Butler painting. 48”” x 24”. Daniels painting sell for a $1,000 each, so what value does the fathers (Highwayman) painting and signature add? $1000.00?
Robert Butler oil on canvas 24” x 36”. Turkeys in the Morning Mist. $2100.00
Danny Garcia (1929 – 2012) done in 1964. Oil on masonite 25.5” x 36”. Not a Highwayman, but a well known Northern California artist who had a gallery in Carmel Ca., for DECADES. It has heavy texture that the photo doesn’t show. I love this painting. $2800. Has a new $$ frame.
Sylvester Wells Highwayman b. 1938
Sylvester Wells 24” x 36” oil on canvas. Self portrait as a cotton picker in N. Florida. Mr. Wells went blind years ago, so what paintings exist are all that will ever exist. NFS
Sylvester Wells. Oil on canvas 24” x 36” NFS
Sylvester Wells. 24” x 36” oil on board. NFS
R.A. McLendon Highwayman b. 1932
Oil on canvas 30” x 40”. Certainly our most expensive painting purchase yet, My wife will not let me sell it, but show me $7k, and I will.
Ilioara meeting R.A. McClendon at a show 2019
Tracy Newton 24” x 36” oil on masonite $475.00
Tracy Newton (2nd generation artist. Son of Highwayman Sam Newton, nephew of Harold Newton) 23” x 20” oil on canvas. Great frame. NFS, but you can buy his work all day for $300.00 – $600.00 depending on their size and quality. Large works bring large prices. He’s a great painter. Both him and Mike Sears are artists who’s (now) affordable prices allow an inexpensive entry into collecting.
A self portrait of Tracy Newton! I don’t own this painting. It was shared to me by another collector.
Mike Sears b. 1962
2nd generation artist, but in reality is closer to the spirit of the original painters in that he still lives in Gifford, where many of the originals lived, and goes out across the state to sell his paintings from the back of his car to make a living. Once you factor in our currency depreciation, he’s probably selling for lower prices than the original artists now known as the Highwaymen. Two hundred dollars in 2019 money is less than $25.00 in 1969. I give him props, because art supplies today are crazy expensive! I’ve had old snobby rich white women in Vero Beach (there’s a place I totally DON’T “get”) who’re are supposed to be dealers tell me “he’s too pushy”. Well guess what Missy, you gotta be “pushy” to close a sale on a cold call! Anybody collecting because of “the Highwayman story”- then Mike Sears cannot be overlooked. His palette is rather “cotton candy ish”, perhaps his painting lack the depth of the other Gifford masters of yore, but they ain’t bad. You can buy his work already framed from $120.00 -$500.00 all day long depending on the size and quality, although I paid $900.00 for this one, because it winked at me.
I met Mike Sears today
Oil on masonite. 24” x 36” NFS
You can find his paintings for between $125.00 -$1200.00 depending on the size, quality and the frames.
Mary Ann Carroll b. 1940. ( passed away December 3rd 2019) The only female Highwayman. Her paintings were in great demand. I imagine their prices will now skyrocket.
Mary Ann Carroll oil on Upson Board SOLD
Mary Ann Carroll oil on Upson Board 24” x 36” SOLD
my wife liked the old French artists, I rather liked the Italian dudes pastel drawings, which I gifted to two young guys as a tip.
Not a Highwayman, but a damn cool oil on canvas painting. 21.5” x 27.5”(image) $450.00. Sorta a landscape.
Blake E. Davis Jr. b. 1952
Portrait of the young artist/sailor in his twenties.
This drawing was just one of a series of large paintings and drawings of mostly Cadillacs . 1972. The grid led to the drawing below:
The grid of the one above led to this pencil drawing of the reflections in a building 1972, which led to a whole series of works with blocks in them.
Which by 1975 the blocks became the backgrounds til they eventually disappeared. Pencil drawing. No paint, not a print-all pencil. 18” x 24”. I did a whole series of ‘pop funk’ pieces from 1974-1976.
Pencil drawing. Just one of a seres of drawings of looking down at shoes in different bar rooms and clubs. There were cowboy boot drawings, there was high heeled drawings. Took a lot of “research “, all which led to the pivotal Art Bible dream. 1976
1976. The PIVOTAL painting “Bringing The Art Bible To Earth Under Special Orders Of God” . Acrylic on. Canvass 60” x 54”.
This painting documents a dream I had of me coming back to earth after dying, meeting God. Got in an argument with God. After his fury of being argued with, he agreed “you were right “and rewarded me by sending me back to Earth with the Art Bible a book of ALL the esthetic combinations that exist (looked a lot like the Yellow Pages except it glowed) and the promise of his protection. I never bothered to get health insurance because of this promised protection. Boy that was a great saving! I will not elaborate on the many insane feats I’ve safely carried out, because you strangers wouldn’t believe it, but those who witnessed them KNOW. So here I land back into a intersection in downtown Philadelphia with traffic and the ugliness of man. I walked the streets shouting “I have the Art Bible” much like Moses with the Ten Commandments, then a old woman looked up from her shopping cart and said: “who cares?!” I then woke up. Yeah, who cares?
So basically Mohammed ain’t got shit on me of having conversations with God! And yes I’m protected.
Hey Macaroni Let’s Dance 60” x 54”. 1977. I remember the year because as I was working on it in my New Orleans studio, it came on the radio that the airplane carrying Lynard Skynard had just crashed in a swamp outside of New Orleans and they were searching for it.
Which spun me off in a total different direction, a direction that brought critical acclaim, exhibitions, and sales which led to classic cars, home purchases, and sailboats, which directly led to me becoming a licensed Captain and a Yacht Broker in 1984.
Blake and Bobby Jo Davis at our show at Georgia Tech in 1977. They purchased my big red painting, and it’s been hanging at the top of the stairs at the Student Center ever since.. All my abstract paintings sold.
1979. 36” x 22” drawing on paper titled “On the level” which led to the one below:
1981 Pencil and charcoal on paper.
Which led to this series called “The Methods and Means of Proof” which sold well for years up til I moved to Miami, where I had the fame, the best galleries (Gallery 99 in Bay Harbor, and Virginia Miller in Coral Gables), but not the sales of Tampa, Atlanta, and New Orleans.
30” x 22” on paper. 1982
30” x 22” on paper. 1982
29” x 23” on paper. 1982. This series sold very well. These are what’s left (there’s more) not for sale. The best ones are hanging in bank, and private collections. One hangs in the Tampa International Airport.
This below is the original drawing of what was to be the poster for a tv show in Tampa that was to feature me in my prime.. My then 2nd wife, the “mad Italian” put an end to that when she discovered me having cocktails with the rather lovely producer in a local jazz club.. Did y’all know that Italian women are great at making scenes in public?
Mixed Media indeed. Bout sums it up. I still enjoy looking at it.
Art money bought a lot of cars, boats, and motorhomes back in the day.
These are the works I still have, that were easy to take a photo with my tablet. I would have to dig into my old photographs to find images of the large paintings I sold. Not going to do it.