Who’s Who Top Artists and Entertainers

Dr. Robert M. Appleman

Title: Watercolor Artist
Company: Appleman Art
Location: Kamuela, Hawaii, United States

Robert Appleman, Watercolorist at Appleman Art, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Artists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the medical and artistic fields.

Dr. Appleman practiced general surgery from 1965 to 1995 and this included being drafted for service in the Vietnam War in 1966. He was given 90 days to decide on which branch of service he would choose. His uncle, a retired Navy dental admiral, convinced him to select the Navy as his branch of service. As an active practicing surgeon, he realized the best way to close his practice would be to find a military program that began on a specific date. The Navy flight surgery program in Pensacola, Florida was a perfect solution to closing his office and making sure his patients were cared for during his absence. After flight school and successfully soloing, he began his duties as a lieutenant commander and senior medical officer aboard the USS Kearsarge , an antisubmarine aircraft carrier heading for the Gulf of Tonkin adjacent to Vietnam. He became a full commander during his two years aboard the carrier which was home ported in Long Beach, California. After two-and-a-half years of service in the U.S. Navy, Dr. Appleman returned to his solo surgical practice in Sacramento until 1995. Following his retirement, he obtained a part time job with Sacramento County as a disability evaluator from 1995 to 2002. This position was very interesting, but it also allowed him to return to his youthful interest in art.

From the nineties on, Dr. Appleman spent his spare time taking a variety of art classes including drawing, all types of painting, types of print making and sculpture. He found studios of figure drawing and attended as many as possible. As he progressed, he was encouraged to exhibit his art. To his surprise, he sold two watercolors in his first show in the late ‘90s, and from then on, he exhibited frequently. He made a decision to make watercolor his primary medium.

In 2003, he and his wife, Joy, moved permanently to Kohala in the county of Hawaii. The grandeur of “Big Island” terrain and the beauty of it all soon encouraged him to paint outdoors “en Plein air.” He joined local groups and eventually created his own group of North Kohala painters with weekly destinations on the west side of the island. This group attracted artists from many parts of Hawaii plus visitors from the mainland and winter residents from Canada and other countries. At 80, he turned leadership of this group over to one of his weekly followers but still continued his trips around the island with them for several years. In 2012, he became an artist-in-residence at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, as he had visited this wonderful vacation spot since 1972 and the current manager liked and exhibited his dozen full sheet orchid watercolors in one of their meeting rooms. As resident artist, he has full range of this environment, gives demonstrations and painting lessons and has a small gallery of his own on the lobby floor of the hotel. His work was accepted in many Hawaii galleries, and he received Best in Show for a countywide watercolor show at the Kahilu Theater in Waimea in 2015.

Dr. Appleman began college at age 15 at the University of Chicago. In 1952, he transferred to the University of Michigan where his mother had been a student in the ‘20s. After 3 undergraduate years, he entered medical school in 1955 in a combined program awarding a Bachelor of Science in 1957 and an MD in 1 959, He was a track and field athlete, and he captured the Big Ten Outdoor championship in pole-vault in Columbus, Ohio in 1955. He took a general internship at Minneapolis General Hospital, now known as Hennepin County Medical Center, and in 1960, began his residency in General Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After 4 years, he added a year in the laboratory which provided him with a master’s degree in surgery that topped off his formal education.

Over the years his love of caring for patients and a subsequent career in art after retirement have led to much satisfaction. His Navy time in service of our country was a highlight for him, and as he ages, he aspires to continue making better paintings until he can no longer hold a brush.

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