Some of the folk noted below as "professional artists" certainly earn their living from association with living, breathing artists, but teachers are professional art educators, and isn't it a caution, many of these art educators are also part-time art critics. There simply isn't enough money in that latter profession to work at it full-time, probably less return than poverty-stricken artists get from there work! Having a nine-to-five job is also a good move for feathering the nest against crass commercialism. "Art for art's sake" can be easy or a very hard concept to understand and appreciate.
Since others have usurped the titles which were once reserved to working stiffs in the art community, many of the latter are now seen to describe themselves as "full-time painters." This doesn't work as well as it should, since there are "house painters" as well as dabblers on plane surfaces of paper, canvas and what-have-you. Possibly one should hold out for "professional fine artist" but that is a little cumbersome and is not a description reserved to painters. Any suggestions?
John Marin was not quite an abstract-expressionist being one of those mid-century painters who did not want to break free of the natural landscape. He noted that artists needed "Encouragement." "Though courageous himself (in the face of living without a salary) he must have, like others about him, a good living, to do good work...the art-conscious public must help to bring that about by purchasing that which they profess to love."
What do you think?