How to become a successful artist
How to become a successful artist
First of all let me say right out of the gate, success is a measure for which each person has to measure by his own rule. There are many forms of success and artists typically have the most difficult time answering that question in the measure of them selves.
My late uncle Jack Reid used to say, “If you want to know how good an artist is, just ask him”. How true that seems to be. We all have our own usually lofty opinion of our work, which is higher than the opinion of most viewers of our work. Funny how that is, isn’t it? We alone know the hours, weeks, months and years we have had to put into Crafting our skills as painters, song writers, sculptors, etc. We alone have the total sense of the experience that we have gained for the results presently seen in our work. What then is the true measure of success and how do we attain it?
There could be a long discussion had on the subject, Lord knows there has been already in many artist groups as they sip tea and critique each other’s work to death.
For me the important measure of success comes down to ones ability to feel confident about his/her work, and to be able to place in the view of the public, knowing they have done the very best they could possibly have done.
That suggests there has to have been a significant back story behind the artists work. I know there are overnight “success” stories as are present in every walk of life. Pop stars whose lyrics and even music are written for them and conglomerate record firms create overnight sensations. Or a new young artist/painter whose work is embraced by some mega gallery and promoted to the max, creating a “star”, even though the artist has never sold a previous painting in his/her life. Those are always going to be present in this world and we must simply accept that as a fact of life, like it or not.
I am an old school artist. I have been painting since I could hold a brush 50 years ago. For the better part of those years my work was not in any way successful. I neither liked or felt confident showing any of it in public places. What had to happen was a gradual and methodical evolution of my painting style and technic over the entire 50 year period. Even today I am my own worst critic, but I have arrived at a place where the majority of my work, I feel, holds enough merit to put it forward for public viewing and acquisition.
I also feel that on a scale of artists living or dead I am certainly the least of all. No doubt. However, I do feel that my work is worthy of exposure and possibly even ownership by others. The artist is obligated to spend the time and effort each day into painting, creating new work. It is only n this way that one improves and overcomes barriers. An uphill climb which at times seems like a sheer mountains face. I’ve been there many, many times. My uncle Jack Reid used to also say, with every greeting to me, “Keep painting Robert! Keep painting!” That has become my whip, my carrot at the end of the stick. Keep painting, you might eventually like what you have done!
One of my practices is to paint the same painting over and over again, often on the same canvas! Yes, repeating the strokes but each time making it better and better, to my own satisfaction.
Success comes from hard work, and I do say God’s blessing, for which I believe in wholeheartedly.
So I say Keep painting!
Harrington Lake 30"x60" oil on canvas 2016
Why Buy Art?
I just can't leave this one alone,
I have to say something before I sleep.
Art is something you behold. When you decide in your heart that it has spoken to you and you would like to acquire it...that's all there is to it. It has done it's job, it has touched someone and connected on a deeper level.
After listening to the point of feeling ill, an interview with an artist who required many questions from the "Respected Arts Journalist" to eventually help the listener to finally understand the point of his art installation, I threw up my hands in amazement! What for? Why do it? Here's my underlying point:
If you need someone to tell you how good it is and that you Should buy it, you probably shouldn't buy it. It's lost on you (and probably most other people).
Buy because you have been reached by it, you have been touched by it, you have received the final connection.
How to paint a tree in snow
Dogwood in snow
30"x30" oil on canvas
available at: https://www.facebook.com/ArtWithPanacheGallery/?pnref=lhc
How do I paint a tree in snow?
That is a question I have been asked many times over my years as an artist. A little background for you: I am the nephew of the Canadian artist who was widely respected as Canada's "Master of snow", Jack Reid.
Jack was a master watercolourist and for forty years was the much sought after and go to artist for instruction on how to paint snow. I was one of those as I spent the first 35 years of my life painting in watercolour. Those watercolour years instilled in me a deep understanding of snow effects such as shadows and colours of snow. For example, one common mistake by beginning artists is to assume that shadows in snow are grey or black. This just isn’t the truth if you stand and look at snow shadows as they actually are.
The colours I see when I study a snow scene are Cobalt, Prussian and French Ultramarine. These colours make up the basic shades of the shadows in snow. The lighter colours that occur beyond the shadows are not white, as one would assume, actually, they are titanium white with a touch, just a touch of Cobalt blue, Paynes Grey or on the much lighter side, just a very slight touch of Azo Yellow deep. Snow is a reflection of the light around and above it. You can even see green shades from the pines and spruce that hang above it.
Then we come to the trees in snow.
Trees are often painted as an after thought. Not much detail is put into them beyond some bark detail and one or two shades of brown. In my foreground trees I like to dab my colours. This is done in short strokes and using many shades and colours that accent dramatically against the snow. Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Azo Red Deep, Quinacridone Rose and even some Azo Yellow deep. These colours are what I affectionately refer to as Compelling colours, rather than Repelling colours. My effort is to render snow with a warm feel rather than a cold feel. In my experience snow paintings are quite polarizing with art lovers, they either hate them or love them, never in the middle. So what I try to do is take the "chill" out of how they appear and make the viewer fell.
In the attached video and at www.robertmcaffee.com you can see examples of how I employ colours into the snow paintings I have rendered over the years.
Have a comment on this blog? leave them in the comment section, I'd love to know your experience and questions. Has this blog been helpful to you? Please share with others.
Visit the Robert McAffee Gallery in Whitby.
Downfalls Lifes beauties in disguise
It's life, isn't it? curve balls, detours, pitfalls?
We get them all the time and we can handle them one of two ways. We can let them get us into a funk and wejust roll around in the mud, or we can learn from them.
In 2009 I was gainfully employed at a major banking institution in Toronto. Lamenting about my seeming inability to be a full time artist. So I dream. But one day all 63 of us in our devision we gathered around by the "Suits". You know the ones, they wear the dark suits and a few of them have bundles of white envelopes in their hands. Then, and you know youre toast when they start with these words: "We want you all to know how valuable you all are to the Bank..."
while the envelopes are being handed out and HR reps are quickly assembling themselves in nearby offices to console the newly dismissed, outsourced, downsized sad faced employees, non of which saw it coming and none of which are remotely ready for retirement, they file one by one like a bunch of hogs being hurded off to the slaughter house.
I was there. I was one of those hogs. For just about 20 seconds. I watched grown men and women all around me crying and some even begging their (now former) bosses to save their jobs. For a few brief seconds I felt it too. My kids, my house, my mortgage, my car, etc, etc. Yes, pretty sobering.
And then it hit me. I had just realized a life long dream. To become a full time artist just became a reality!
It could have been a depressing time, it tried to be from time to time, but I was determined that I would get up each morning as if I were going to work at the bank. I would take my breaks as if I were at the bank and I would work till 5pm daily, just as if.
It's been 9 years. No looking back. Desperate men take desperate measure? Yes, I was doing many crazy things to keep the ship afloat. Mostly I thank God every day for his provision and blessing. I am thankful that he gave me the tools through the course of my life to be best suited to do this art career when the time came. 14 years in retail learning selling and marketing skills, 12 years with the bank learning business and money. Never thought the day would come when I would realize this dream...but dispite the downfalls, it came to fruition.
No looking back! Full steam ahead!
CAREER, BANKING, ART, MONEY, LIFE, HONESTY, FINANCE, ART, CANADIAN, ART, Toronto, Collect art, Group of seven, Art Gallery of Ontario, McMichael Gallery, Kleinburg, Modern art, Contemporary art, impressionism, Monet, Rothko, Tom Thomson, Lawren Harris
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.