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Franklin A Bates

 (- 1974)
Franklin A. Bates was active/lived in Ohio.  Franklin Bates is known for rural landscape, boat and harbor scenes.

Franklin A. Bates

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Franklin A. Bates
The following, submitted November 2004, is from Richard Ocepek, who wrote:

Franklin Bates was a good friend of, Joe Vanckunas, my wife's father who was the owner of Van's Camera in Akron, Ohio from the 1950's until the 1980's. Over the years Joe acquired a number of Bates watercolors and Whiskey Paintings. Joe and his wife have both passed away and the paintings were inherited by my wife and her brother. All of these paintings involve boat and harbor scenes. When we went through papers after the death of Joe's wife, we found an old brochure about Bates which reads as follows:

"MEET Franklin A. Bates, The Master Artist, Lecturer, Instructor, Demonstrator, Television Personality Creator OF THE AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION "Paint Along with Bates" Program for TV - Art Groups - Civic Clubs - Banquets Etc. Ask anyone in Medina County who the master artist is and the answer will be 'Frank Bates...he's the best'. It is true. Franklin A. Bates is a master of watercolor. He didn't earn this status overnight, however. It has taken him more than 50 years to reach the success that surrounds him today. 'I've never worked at any other profession," says Bates. "I've always been an artist.' "

"Other than his tenure with the U.S. Navy during World War II as a camouflage artist, Bates has maintained his home and art studio in Lodi, Ohio. 'It hasn't always been easy' he says. 'There have been hard times and some large adversities along with the good part of my life as a professional artist. But with each experience, good and bad, I learned...and I think my art was further enhanced for it.' "

"Through the years Bates has won most of the top Ohio Art awards. It would take all of the space on this brochure and then some to list these along with his national recognition and honors that critics and competitions have bestowed upon him. Since his reputation as a critic and judge for art exhibits has now grown to the national level, the demand for his services in this capacity are abundant. A rigid schedule of other interests and his health only permits Bates to accept the judging of a few shows each year, however."

"An art teacher for over 40 years, Bates has conducted classes for as many as 50 students at one time. Most of the more noted artists in the area have studied under Bates. Although they have developed their own style, a touch of the old master can still be seen in their paintings. This is an asset to them and a compliment to their teacher. Today, Bates limits his teaching to individual students, who are usually well advanced in the art field. Some travel from as far away as Cincinnati and Toledo for their weekly lesson. One man jets in once a month from California for a week-end tutor session with Bates."

"The realm of Bates success is not limited to Medina County. His paintings grace the walls of homes in every state, and several foreign countries. Galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada exhibit his works continually. Many Eastern collectors come annually to select paintings from Bates newest works. Recently he has been discovered by Western collectors and his works are now in demand there. Periodically he is a guest on the Mike Douglas show over coast to coast TV network and is remembered by many for his "paint along with Bates" program. Through years of hard work, Bates has helped to transform watercolor from a secondary to a primary medium of the artist and collector."

The other side of the brochure reads as follows: "paint along with BATES" A master showman, Franklin Bates has originated a most popular feature for both Television and personal appearances called 'Paint along with Bates'. This is an audience participation where even the less experienced can do presentable paintings the first time they try. He points out that once one learns to be 'fast and free' in his art work, the rest comes easier."

"Always the innovator, Bates has evolved two unique methods of painting which he demonstrates very dramatically in his appearances. A Water Color painting contest conducted over WEWS-TV in Cleveland pulled one of the largest audience responses in the history of the station. The brochure includes several photos of Bates paintings including those in the private collections of former Ohio Lt. Gov John W. Brown and Former Ohio Governor James Rhodes."
The following, submitted May 2005, is from Linda Bahre:

I inherited two pieces of art painted by Franklin A. Bates from my mother, Ruby
Bahre, of Medina, Ohio. Both paintings are of Birds of Paradise. One piece is painted on glass and is over my fireplace. The other piece is very large and very heavy. It hangs over my buffet and the full length of my buffet to give you some idea of the size. I have no idea what medium they are painted in.

They were painted in the late 1940's - probably around 1947-1948. They both appear to be in a very distinctive 1940's style. Both pieces are signed.

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Franklin A. Bates

The following was submitted by the artist's daughter Barbara:

After the war, my fathers profession was as a sign painter, not as an artist.  It was not until around 1958-60 that he became involved in moving his talents to art.  He did many oil paintings, pastels but felt a great freedom with watercolors.

He often worked late into the night, in the solitude of his studio, trying new techniques.  I remember once going downstairs to his studio, and watching him  use a torch and some leaves.  When he finished burning the watercolor paper, he then painted over the burned areas, beautiful flowers.  The rustic areas of the painting were actually scorch marks from the torch.

For his lectures and "Paint Alongs"  he was the first to build a mirror system that the audience could get a clear view of his painting.  This allowed everyone to see, not just a few.  He was able to teach almost anyone to paint in watercolors. He was somehow able to give them the basics, and then allow them to expand on them.  He gave them confidence.
I also remember years of going without, because he was trying so hard to become a watercolor artist.
He was also an alcoholic, which unfortunately in the end contributed to his death. 
He loved to be the center of attention also.  He would often throw elaborate parties for his friends.
My father died in 1974, on Christmas eve night.  He had just finished, what would be his last painting, of himself as a fisherman mending a net.  It is now in the Library in Lodi, Ohio donated by his late wife.   That evening, he came to the living room, kissed my mother and me and stated that he was done with painting.  We thought he meant with the one he had just completed.  He however, knew he would paint no more.  He had a note in his pj's with some last words to my mother.  My mother awoke the next morning to find him not breathing. 

When we went to his studio, we found the painting.  All his brushes were clean and put away. 

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