North Lake Island
I am certainly far from what most would call a philosophical artist. Nostalgic yes, but I’m not one to attach deep caverns of meaning in each of my paintings. That said, there have been exceptions.
North lake Island is just one such painting and when you look at it you will understand quickly.
There are times in life when we become fed up with our surroundings, we long for some rest, away time. We desire to see less people and have time to focus.
I went through a very lengthy time like this, without giving up all the boring details lets just say that kids moved away, separation happened, and ready or not I found myself isolated and alone.
I joked for years about how I could live alone in the woods and all I would need would be my brushes and canvas. I never imagined how close I would come to becoming exactly that very picture. For the most part I have learned to function well, but my isolation from what used to be a socially busy life, surrounded by my very busy family life. Seemingly happened almost overnight.
Separation from ones life as one knew it can be fairly traumatic, for me that was and still is very much the case, I truly wasn’t ready for what I brought on myself.
In reflection I began this painting.
Although the island is isolated on a northern lake it would be easy to overlook the family of trees existing together therein. They are their own social circle, they exist together and are nourished by each other. In life, as it goes, change is the only thing that doesn’t change, life constantly throws curve balls at us and change happens. Kids leave, age takes us to new places.
I have memories, of being on that island, and this painting captures the entire story.
Perhaps you identify.
It has been painted not just for me, but for you.
North lake Island
36"x48" oil on canvas
available at email@example.com
As artists do I also love to walk in the woods, and my favorite time is just before the sun goes down. The light that plays through the trees and tall strands of grass are very evocative.
Certainly there are no end to the millions of sunset photos and paintings and so I chose to represent my version of it by being somewhat painterly. Dabs and splashes of paint, segmented and broken up. The reason for this is so that the shadows can be populated with individual colours, making the scene even more interesting to enjoy, or so I hope.
I hope you enjoy “Dusk”. It is 24”x30” oil on a cradled birch panel and it is completely dry and ready for shipping anywhere in the world.
Msg me at firstname.lastname@example.org you feel it as I do.
An artist Journey
It’s easy to get distracted by the occasional meteor flaming towards earth and almost certainly headed right for the very spot you are standing on, am I right?
That’s how I would describe the year 2018 as far as my career in art has gone. World news is distraction enough, but there are always the local matters that get in the way of the noble things you are trying to accomplish. Like the impending laundry load that seems forever as high as my knees, or the thing that needs to be serviced before it explodes and ruins our entire life, like the transmission light that’s been on for over a month. These things just need to be dealt with ASAP. I’ve certainly had my share.
Then, of course are those darlings you are blessed with caring for, and if you think I mean children, well, you’d be forgiven. I’m talking cats, plants, etc, etc. The kids are mostly taking care of themselves at this time but what I have to do for them is my honor and privilege.
There are things, and people who can be dispensed with. You know the kind; friends who mean well but are really just looking out for self and seeking to milk you for whatever self serving bits they can get out of you. The acquaintances that meander in and out of your days just seeing if they can pick up on some little juicy tid-bit to feed the gossip at their next social groups tea party. There is, of course the ones who really go out of their way, convince themselves even that they are exactly what you need in life. How you got along all these 56 years without them is just simply confounding! Never mind all the success you achieved prior to them moving in, they want to enhance your life with their wealth of knowledge. It never ceases to amaze me how little of they’re own advice they self apply.
I allowed myself to get royally distracted by the stock markets this past year, oh yes. Suffice it to say even though I have a substantial depth of experience in market life, there are forces involved n the world stock markets that you nor I or even your fancy high paid broker have any control over no matter what. Those guys can always cover themselves by that small clause in your client agreement that states that they in no way guarantee or are not responsible for the outcome of your portfolio, simply providing guidance with which you are the final decision maker. Then you pay them the commissions for that.
Yes, I was distracted by that too. Lost some money too.
My mother always said, “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Most valuable advice ever given. To me anyway. I’m still learning that lesson for myself, and as life goes on those words ring true and deep more and more. 2019 for me, as I have decided, needs to be a year of side show reduction.
Ignore things that don’t need to be dealt with.
Be kind to everyone but ignore those who inadvertently take valuable time away from you.
Be genuinely interested in what real friends have to say, glass over your eyes at the rest.
Forget things that you have little control over. Stick with what you know.
Live each day as if it’s your last.
Work well at what you do well so that for each of the days ahead that you areblessed with you will continue to live to the fullest.
The best bit of advice to finish that book of golden rules with:
Some things and people will just waste your valuable precious time. Pay attention to the ones who are precious, the rest will find another shoulder to plead their woes upon.
In a poignant kind of way there sits one last Target shopping cart. Amidst the dust and crashing of what was just a year ago a sparkling brand new bright red department store with three giant red balls at the entrance.
I remember walking down those fresh polished lanes with fully stocked shelves with brand new merchandise. I also remember being the only one in that sprawling massive white elephant that never ever seemed to gain any traction in the Canadian retail environment. A massive and colossal failure on every level, from the very inception to executive (supposed to know these things) who implemented the design and build of all those Target stores. And there they sat. Empty behemoths that could not be saved even with Starbucks at the front doors.
We are asked to put so much faith into the decisions of the elite, the business know it alls, of course, they should know better. Then there’s the story of all those employees whose jobs were doomed right from the hiring date.
There have been others since. Sears...how I bite my tongue and resist a rant about that bunch, pilfering the pensions accumulated over lifetimes, so executives could be kept on board to completely pound that business into oblivion. But I digress.
There you sit, you lonely red shopping cart. You intended to carry groceries and merchandise to people’s cars for decades and you were so excited for your new life...and now it’s over. There you sit. The last remaining remnant of what was touted to be the next big retail thing in Canada.
It could be a painting. Like my lonely twisty pines, or an island in the middle of a pond. I’m so glad the paintings stand a better chance at survival. In fact, they will outlive Target, Sears, the buildings, the people and everything else. Because they are paintings.
There’s an elephant in the room. If you’re an artist you know what I’m speaking of.
The part of the artists life that everyone sees are the days when we are out in public. Painting, doing shows, hanging paintings, instructing, etc. We do tend to be a smiling cheerful bunch, who doesn’t love to talk about our own art? Artists tend to have a knack for blabbering on and on with no gates when it comes to talking about our own art.
Generally speaking artists have a pretty cheerful demeanour and are pleased with the life they’ve chosen. But ask any artist how’s it going and you’d be hard pressed to get an honest answer when they are really in the basement digging holes.
In any normal career the bi-weekly paycheque is usually all that is needed for confidence building or just feeling valued.
Artists, on the other hand are emotionally attached to most if not all of their paintings. We always think our last one was the best one yet, and it will be sold fast, for sure! Right?
But then time passes.
Soon we’ve moved on, painting another, then another, etc.
Sometimes many days, weeks and let me tell you, I’ve seen months pass between sales. It’s very hard for artists to make it through those long dry times.
While not so much in recent years, but I do know the long droughts. How miserable an artist can be! My uncle Jack Reid ( Passed) used to say of himself, “I’m very hard to live with”.
As time passes we become mature and come face to face with the real reason we paint, it’s truly because we must. It’s an internal drive like no other. Painting fills a void inside like nothing else. So regardless of compensation we simply must paint!
My message to all artists who are discouraged and feeling the pain: Keep painting! Heads up and forge on. I know you’re hardship as well as anyone could and I’ve certainly acquired my scars fair and square. I’ve also seen the rewards and yours will come.
I still allow myself to roll around in the muck from time to time but Thank God every day, blessings come. So hang in there. Better days are coming!
The Artists life
Advise to the young budding artist.
So peaceful the artist looks, over there on that river bank painting such a beautiful scene.
Have you ever heard the term "tip of the iceberg"? That's how I see that scene of the artist painting. I suppose that's how I appear to most who see me painting or just see my art. For the most part as it appears the artist life is and can be very deeply rewarding, I for one can say it has surpassed my wildest expectations and any dream I ever had about life in art. But there is that part of the iceberg that lies beneath the surface of the water that not many see, or understand.
I think of a Doctor I know, a neurosurgeon who has become very successful. How celebrated his life is and with all the trappings of it. But he is quick to remind me of the years of education and practice, where next to no income was the norm. The build up of the practice and the bills that had to be paid all along the way.
An artists life, while largely non academic is very much comparable to the neurosurgeon. Those early years of slogging through the mud.
The "mud" I refer to is not always ugly, just time consuming and seemingly endlessly fruitless. I have paid many a dues enduring art shows where nothing seemed to transpire. Passed out many many cards that seemingly fell by the wayside.
And then there are the piles of paintings. I believe for every one I have sold (over 500 over ten years) I have at least 3 that have never sold and my vault is full to the brim! Lol.
Lest I forget, there is the collateral damage along the way. An artists life can often and is often a solitary life. How else can one devote the focus required to fine tune his/her craft but to be alone with nature and the brush. I have been fortunate to have had the most understanding family around me most of the time but there are those both close and far who always wonder "that's a great hobby Rob, so how's the job search going". Lol, I laugh to myself every time I hear any version of that line.
I knew an elderly man who loved the woods so passionately that he went out weekly for hikes and to take photos. One day he went out and never came back. When they found him he had was sitting up against a tree, lifeless. His family knew that he had gone in the best way he could ever have.
The life of an artist is very challenging, one of the greatest challenges is getting people to understand that it is a privileged life, and a life of a calling. That call for some comes early and for some late, but once called it is inescapable. Undeniable. Usually only the artist can truly understand it. Leaving all others to wonder how it must feel to be an artist.
I love what I do, I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope this blog benefits someone out there who needed to read it. Pass this on if you know someone who has ventured out on the road of the artists life.
Blessings to you,
Special Thanks to Elizabeth McGlaughlin for the use of this photo.
We all love to talk about the weather, don’t we? Seems to fill our gaps, bridge those silent moments. Talking about the weather is an ice breaker, pardon the pun, a conversation starter.
This year we have seen it all, storms of such magnitude that we talk about them even if such subjects are avoided. Climate change? Seasonal? Man made? Who really knows, but we certainly are seeing anomalies.
Our personal lives are no different, these days things are happening to each of us on levels and at rates unheard of. Rampant are the tragedies, chaos around every corner. This blogger can certainly attest to that. Where life seemed so predictable, so relatively normal, the earth has shaken and the tornados have ripped paths through my normal.
Through the course of those troubles there has always been a light, a source of refuge. Assurance that all hope was not lost. I bowed my head and looked to him for strength and guidance.
Today I see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is hope, all is not lost. In his mercy and great kindness he carries me and comforts me. Through times of great fire and trouble his presence is firm and reliable.
I created five “Storm” canvases, each no more than 36”x36” and then one 48”x48”. This last one, the only one remaining available I am now releasing for sale as a testament of hope. It is called Beyond Storms, because it represents the breakthrough.
Canadian landscape Artist, instructor and publisher
"I really don't know clouds at all..." (Joni Mitchell)
“Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all…” Joni Mitchell
As these words go, as reflection of the songwriters look at life, and how things seem a certain way, but in reality are so different. These words echo my heart.
There are seasons in life, there are changing conditions and for all of us these things come about without warning. Then we must process and adjust to meet the challenge. Seems such clinical approach. In reality nothing ever is clinical. Nothing really is predictable. And emotions get in the way. “Something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day”. In the end we don’t really have much control. My life is in Gods hands. Each day I am more and more resolved to this end. I remain in his mercy and care, every day. He provides for me in spite of myself.
I really don’t know clouds at all. I just take each day one minute at a time.
Reflections over time
available. email@example.com to inquire.
I reflect many times in my life the wonderful memories my father gave me growing up. He gave us all of his vacation time and toured us around this great land we call Canada. usually the trip consisted of routes to and from New Brunswick to visit his parents and family, but we interrupted those routes almost every time to wander all over the land in search of yet another beautiful camp site or rock to climb on.
So much learned, so many memories stored away in the data banks of our minds. My paintings are reflections of those reflections. They carry me, and hopefully you to another time and place, right from the place where we sit. That's my job, to transport you.
The Stockyards Gallery: Opening Night
A great night at The Stockyards Gallery in Toronto, at 116 Dupont Street in the Junction area. The grand opening of the gallery which featured artists Robert McAffee, and Brigitte Granton. Many notable guests attended including Toronto’s Interior Décor icons Colin & Justin from wnetwork.
Special thanks to Lola Kerecki and the Stockyards Gallery and her amazing team for a great And successful opening night!
See more of Robert McAffee's original works at www.robertmcaffee.com
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.