There is a story about Kearfott painting R.J. Reynolds’ portrait, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Kearfott was smoking a Lucky Strike (not made by Reynolds Tobacco). Reynolds said that wouldn’t do. Kearfott said, “I’ll never give them up.” It is said that he never worked in Winston-Salem again.
He exhibited his work in Roanoke, Virginia, a number of times. Mary Bland Armistead wrote a long article for the Roanoke Times about the 1958 exhibit. “‘Modern art is pretty full of fakers,’ Robert R. Kearfott thinks, ‘and the trouble is you can’t tell which artists are faking.’ The handsome white-haired portraitist, Virginia native and resident of Mamaroneck, NY, is in Roanoke for his second private art show in four years. He has selected 25 of his more recent works, mostly portraits and several of Roanokers, for display at the Bank of Virginia, from November 24 to December 2.