W. Robert Paine was born in Saratoga Springs, New York. He served in the U. S. Navy for nearly four years and as a result of the G. I. Bill, he received his formal art education at the New York Phoenix School of Design. He went from being a freelance illustrator in 1950 to becoming an art director at Ted Bates & Co., Vice President at Geyer-Oswald, Inc., creative consultant, and finally President of Advertising and Creative Services at Paine-Zdinak Assoc., Inc. In creating storyboards for television commercials and layouts for magazine advertising, he oversaw several major publicity campaigns with clients as diverse as Marx Toys, Colgate-Palmolive, Chase Manhattan, Mobil Oil, Sunkist, the Association of American Railroads, and Irish International Airlines. He also founded and taught at The Village School of Art in New Hampshire the late 1970s.
Paine ultimately wanted to become a fine artist and saw New England as the place to accomplish that goal. He began coming to the Kennebunks in 1981. In response to a want ad he placed in the York County Coast Star—“Artist seeking living quarters to lease or buy”—he received a call from Eleanor Woodman, who had inherited from her father (Bernie Warner) a house across the street from Warner's Boatyard in Kennebunkport. Paine initially leased and eventually purchased the house and has been there ever since.
Paine “paints the people, places and things of New England” using watercolor, egg tempera and oil. His work hangs in the homes of collectors across the country, and several of his paintings of Walker’s Point and the Maine coastline are owned by President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush, have hung in the White House, or have gone on loan to the Bush Presidential Library. Today, Paine continues to paint and operate a gallery out of his home on Ocean Avenue. In 2006 he published a retrospective, autobiographical book entitled, Many Thanks to Many People, which is on view in the display case along with several original sketches and his can of brushes.