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Q & A with Jeff McKay

Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography

An avid trout fisherman, Jeff McKay initially considered painting a reasonable alternative to spending time on the river while his children were young. He’s a family man. His wife and six children bring great joy to his life and he considers his art a reflection of his most treasured experiences. This Little Rock native is deeply committed to his alma mater Catholic High School and will serve as president of the Catholic High School Foundation Board of Directors. Jeff shares his insight and unique perspective to the people + places that influence his creations.

Inspiration? I believe we are a product of our childhood; almost everything I paint is inspired by something, some place or someone from my childhood.  I paint because it connects me to people I love and places I’ve been with them.  I have thousands of memories embedded in my mind from childhood trips out West every year for vacation.  Those images were buried inside me for almost 30 years…they surfaced when I began painting.  I have more memories from our time out West than I will ever paint!

Favorite Art Forms? I work in watercolor and oils.  It’s hard to pick a favorite.  I love the unexpected surprises of watercolor, but I love the texture of oil paintings.

Evolution as an Artist? As an artist, I learned that nothing is impossible.  I don’t think I have a natural artistic talent, I’m not sure anyone does.  What I do believe is that I have something inside me that allowed me to focus on my objective to pursue painting until I got pretty good at it. We are all evolving creatures and our art evolves along with us. I realized that sometimes a painting takes the artist in a direction he never intended to go.  The trick is to follow the painting and not fight it.  This sounds rather odd, but a painting will tell you what to do if you listen to it.

Advice to aspiring artists? If you create meaningful, quality art, the sales will happen.  Focus on the act of creating great work.  Find something you love and paint it.  Keep painting it, over and over and over until you get good at it.  It takes an artist hundreds, if not thousands, of paintings to produce quality work. Paint what you love, don’t give up, paint every day and stay focused.

Artwork available at Red Door Gallery / reddoorgalleryonline.com


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