It's a real honour to be an artist. much more a really big honour to be able to make an entire living from the proceeds of art. Not just any art, but my very own. Many artists have to resort to teaching, opening galleries with other artists, or taking on part time jobs to make ends meet. I get to paint for the love of painting and my time is divided only by my obligations as a father and husband, and that is just fine.
In the process of making a living, schmoozing, networking, marketing, etc, etc, it is very easy to get off the rails when it comes to the very reason I do what I do. I paint paintings, you see. That means I am presenting ideas on canvas. Say what? what does that mean? Why don't I just sit by nice littles brooks and paint cute little streams babbling over rocks like so many artists do? Why don't I do lots of simple sunsets and beachy paintings, like so many artists do? Why? Here is why:
Conviction, challenge and drama.
I cannot just bang off a boring sunset scene just to make a quick buck. Neither can I feel comfortable splashing off a silly beach scene to satisfy the publishers demands for commercial appeal. As well I cannot do Brown or Green or Red because someone said it would sell more.
I have a heart. I feel. I am moved. The things that move me are what I want to paint and I feel that by following that inner voice I am being utterly honest with those who follow my work. Because of that honesty it is highly unlikely that everyone will like everything I do. In fact, most will not like most of what I do.
But for certain someone will like one in particular. That one painting in particular will call out to them, speak to their soul and we, the viewer and the artist will in that moment be one soul. We will have touched hearts in a way no other experience can bring to pass.
I paint to reach my hearts desire, to transport myself in that moment to that place on my canvas. I paint to allow you to go there too.
The role of this artist is to offer you a porthole to my place of peace or drama or tranquility. In the case of my paintings about political issues, such as the massively shameful treatment of Aboriginal children in the Residential schools, I hope somehow to bring you to the place where I am with my head bowed down and heart broken for each of the little lives our Country has abused.
I just cannot be satisfied with mundane mediocre paintings.
Have to reach deeper.
Thats the role of an artist.
5"x7" oil on an old piece of masonite.
This is a question I am asked from time to time; who are the typical purchasers of my paintings? It's always assumed that it is high income professionals with a slant toward investment. In truth, and in my experience the buyers of my art are people who love it. Or rather, who fall in love with something I have done. They may not fall in love with everything I do, no, rather, they fall in love with a piece I have done. They love it because it connects with something in their lives. It speaks to a part of who they are.
There are many reasons to buy paintings. Some buy for decor, some for investment, some as a gift, but those make up less than 5% of the total buyers. This means that the one who makes the call, comes over for an appointment to view a particular painting and ends up taking it home is a person who may or may not be into high priced art, they are most likely a person who see's a piece they simply have to have and cannot allow it to go to someone else. It expresses something they identify with and like buying a car or some other expensive item they find a means to acquire it. Payments are an option which some explore as a means to be able to own the one they love.
It's almost never about the money. It is almost always about the love.
On that note I have to say this is one of the most rewarding experiences for me as an artist. To see my work being sought after by someone who's heart has connected with mine through the paint I have applied to a canvas with some brushes. Someone who feels what I feel when looking at the scene. When experiencing the colour, the movement, the drama!
That's who buys a Robert McAffee painting.
I cannot let the passing of Steve Jobs go without saying my two bits.
For thirty years I did my utmost to expose my paintings to as many people as possible. I used conventional Galleries and agents. Without going into the politics of that whole game I want to devote this post to the Steve Jobs effect on my career as an artist.
By making the internet as available as he has with Apple products and challenging others such as IBM and Google to better themselves...Steve Jobs and Apple have singlehandedly opened the door for an artist like myself to put my work in front of thousands of faces each and every day. Therefore virtually sidestepping the gallery system, with some respectable exceptions.
Thank you Steve Jobs, I will miss you. But your legacy lives on.
On June 3rd, 2010 we enjoyed a wonderful new (for robertmcaffee.com) way of presenting art. We were invited to present 25 paintings at a private party at a home of one of my most faithful supporters. Gusts arrived, enjoyed fine food, fine wine, fine music and 25 of my paintings. In the end many paintings were taken to new homes where they will have happy lives with their new owners. It was a wonderful success and I would like to express thanks to the Henderson's for their continued support of my work and passion.
As it was so successful I have decided that I would make my art available to any one who wishes to stage an art show in their home. Be sure to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to do an art event in your home.
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.