The art of generosity

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Dear Artist,

I was in the garage searching for last year’s car antlers when Joe Blodgett pulled into the driveway. “You need to write a letter based on your subscribers,” he said. “They’re a pretty generous bunch.” He was bearing Scotch so I invited him to the studio. “Not just the direct subscribers, but all those thousands of living artists who contribute to the Resource of Art Quotations,” he said, holding a couple of my tumblers up to the light, checking for soap spots.

“I’ve been gathering stuff,” he said, fumbling a sheet of foolscap while I dropped the ice. “‘Artists are among the most generous of people. Perhaps inherent in the appreciation of creativity comes a deep, underlying love of humanity and our Earth.’ That was from Kelly Borsheim of Cedar Creek, Texas,” he said. “Good eh? I mean, this stuff is pure genius.” He read from his list:

Mickie Acierno wrote, ‘I’m filled with gratitude for the ability to live the artist’s life. In my studio. Being an artist. Every day.’ And Hap Hagood: ‘Be grateful for the talent you have, the people you’ve met, and the experiences from which you’ve benefited.’ And Jim Rohn: ‘There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens up the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way.’ And Linda Saccoccio: ‘How fortunate we are to make our life’s work centred on experiencing life with depth and creating a soulful response to it.’ And Miles Patrick Yohnke: ‘We can’t catch kindness in a net or a gun. When kindness is given to you, it’s by choice. One must adopt an attitude of gratitude.’ And Janet Badger: ‘You only get to keep what you give away.’ And Jane Champagne: ‘Generosity pays off in myriad ways.’ And here’s one of mine that you’ve never paid me for: ‘Those works I’ve most profited by are the ones I’ve given away.’ ”

I told Joe I’d been meaning to straighten up with him. I asked him if he might like a nice pair of used antlers. Darned if he didn’t take them. I gave him a painting, too.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Remember to be kind, thoughtful, grateful and generous.” (Alyson B. Stanfield)

Esoterica: We started talking about how we become what we focus on — what we pay rapt attention to. When we are gracious and open to the miracles of the universe, the dynamics of human intercourse and the service of our art, we are in turn fed. We were fully into the spirit of Christmas. “I’m gonna go for it,” I told Joe. “I’m gonna be a better person.” He gave me the whole list. “Give whatever you’re doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.” (Jim Rohn)



Mini highlight
by Jackie Fyers, Sussex, England


A big thank you for the generosity of your twice weekly letters. They have become a mini highlight of my week and an enrichment and stimulant of my solitary thought process while I paint. I am fortunate enough to earn a crust from painting and that is justification enough for me to do what I love. Despite my wonderful family, friends and husband, there is a companionship that comes from your letters and those of the contributors to your site that I really appreciate as an artist. I wish you a great Christmas, and Happy New Year. With kind regards to you and all those involved in distributing your letters.

(RG note) Thanks, Jackie. And thanks to all who wrote just to give Seasons’ Greetings. The connections are very heartwarming indeed. All the best to all, no matter where you’re coming from.



Painter’s paint exchange
by Linda Blondheim, Gainesville, FL, USA


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“Lilies and Cones”
acrylic painting, 18×24 inches
by Linda Blondheim

Having a generous spirit is necessary in the arts. When art is marginalized in society there will always be need. I started a program in my loft studio for artists. It’s a paint exchange. Artists can put all kinds of paints and mediums in a box in my studio and take out whatever they can use. I started it by cleaning up in my own studio and donating the beginnings of the items. This was such an easy way to help other artists in this economy. I don’t see why every town could not have this exchange and I hope this idea catches on. I wish art supply companies would lend a hand. Their sponsorship would be wonderful in making these community exchanges possible around the world.

There is 1 comment for Painter’s paint exchange by Linda Blondheim

From: Ron — Dec 29, 2010

Really great picture Linda,love those flowers….





Keeping what you give away
by Bill Skrips, Blairstown, NJ, USA


Wow — the gift of paying your attention — in all honesty, that is one of the more precious commodities in my life. How easy and necessary is it to turn away from all the static out there? Or how much to we start to hear and then clap a filter on, straining it for bits of relevant information? I printed out the quote from Maya Angelou, which was a good ‘un. I’m trying even harder now to think about throwing more back — guess I never did think about the fact that you only get to keep what you give away.



Thankful for bits of beauty
by Terry Wynn, Jefferson City, MO, USA


I search for lots of things but I have yet to search for last year’s car antlers. That statement made for a hilarious picture in my mind. Robert in the garage surrounded by neatly hung antlers, little plaques underneath “1989 bumper”, “1992” hood (bonnet)” — then I really started laughing. Of course, were they neatly hung and marked on the wall you wouldn’t have been searching! Anyway, I was so enthralled in my little mind game of you and your poor dog (I am beginning to think now she must be a guide dog because possibly some of your senses are heading out the door!) wandering around in your garage looking for lost antlers, that I almost lost the thread of your letter. Generosity, good will toward men. I think we as artists do sometimes feel almost a bit guilty — we see sunsets differently, we see the glimmer of the morning dew. I wonder how people could not “see” these things. We notice and I am so thankful I see these bits of beauty.



Best wishes
by Doreen Flanagan, Cape Town, South Africa


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Untitled
original painting by Doreen Flanagan

I have received your letters for quite a few years now, with much pleasure and a great learning curve as we go on the creative journey. For you, your family, and all the extended family of the Painter’s Keys and the people who help you produce the Twice Weekly Letters and all the other valuable services on your site, I just wanted to wish you all a blessed Christmas and lots more growth and learning in 2011. I look forward to go on receiving your letters. I have, in many cases, followed your advice and have done quite a number of variations on a theme and will continue to do so. I can see the value of pursuing and developing one theme in one’s portfolio, otherwise, as you said, we are just all over the place and nobody can identify your work.



Find the universal through the personal
by Kelly Borsheim, Firenze, Italy


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“Borgo degli Albizi – Firenze, Italia”
pastel painting by Kelly Borsheim

Wow, Bob, this was the last thing I was expecting to read today! Thank you very much! I think the best thing I have been telling artists these last few years is to “Find the universal through the personal.” My strongest pieces and ones that seem to make the strongest connection with viewers are ones that were born as my personal “art therapy.” Use your own experiences to make your authentic art. It is what you are really here for. Thanks again. And I would send Joe Blodgett a hot toddy if I could.

(RG note) Thanks, Kelly. And thanks to the others who noted we used their quotes in this letter and in other places. Over the years our staff have lifted sentences from letters sent to us, both published ones and not. It’s difficult to get a proper tally, but we think there are about 9000 quotes in our Resource of Art Quotations from our subscribers alone. If you have ever written to us in any form, you might go in there and plug in your name to see if we’ve quoted you properly. FYI, we occasionally get letters from subscribers asking us to remove something they wrote. The reason: “I don’t think that anymore.” No problemo.

There is 1 comment for Find the universal through the personal by Kelly Borsheim

From: Liz Schamehorn — Dec 28, 2010

You’re in Florence! I spent some time there and have never gotten over it. Say hello to Zecchi’s for me. Your painting really gets the dismal weather of this time of year, and yet, I would go there in an eyeblink if I could. Ciao, Auguri, Liz.





Stick-handling our charitable generosity
by Jim Lorriman, Shelburne, ON, Canada


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“Cottage Summer Evening”
wood sculpture by Jim Lorriman

Joe is right. We are an amazingly generous bunch. The community I live in knows this and leans heavily on us whenever they want to raise funds. They are all good causes and artists give away far more relative to their income than most other groups. In return for our generosity we are offered recognition and usually a tax receipt. The former is of dubious value as many of us are well-known in our area and the later is possibly of no value as the majority are not making enough to put it to effective use. I donate about 10 – 15% of my work to various charities. This year I have had a large number of requests and came up with a way that is a three way winner. When someone asks for a donation I suggest that they get one of their patrons to buy a piece from me at the wholesale price (usually 50% of retail). They then donate the piece to the charity. The charity gives the patron a tax receipt for what it sells for or the full retail value depending on how they do things. The charity wins as they get the money from the sale. The patron wins because he/she can make use of the full value of the tax receipt. (The difference between what the patron pays for the piece and the value on the tax receipt accounts for the discount that the government puts on the tax receipt. Therefore the patron is getting a valuable tax receipt.) The artist gets the full price that they would have received from a gallery. Everything ends up in the right place where it is most effective.

There is 1 comment for Stick-handling our charitable generosity by Jim Lorriman

From: Lynn Digby — Dec 28, 2010

Brilliant!





Don’t give the duds away
by Roberta Levy


‘Those works I’ve most profited by are the ones I’ve given away.” I hope you are right… I gave two very nice paintings to my women’s organization for a silent auction last week. I had them under glass as they are pastels, one a floral and the other a landscape, and decently framed… (50% off at Hobby Lobby stuff… not expensive but looking good…) and I had heard from an art auction director for public TV lecture earlier in the year that an artist MUST NEVER give away something they don’t believe is absolutely fantastic because to give a dud away is to have the viewer think you are a lousy artist… so I was very proud of them… they looked really good!

Since I recently discovered that Monet and I share the same birthday each year, I have been working very much in the same vein he did in his Giverney work… so really, they were very nicely done… and pastel is a wonderful medium to do work in his shadow.

I specially asked the committee to put a bottom line price tag on them… and we agreed on a $10 price for the small one, 11×14 (2 1/2″ matting all around) and $25 for the one in the 20 x 16 frame… I had a conflict of parties that night so I didn’t attend the party where my paintings were in the auction.

The next day, I got a call from the president saying that whole groups of the women were clustered around the table with my two paintings and the words were very complimentary on all sides… she didn’t know what they came in for but said there were several bids on each piece…

Well, this week, I went to her house to pick up the two little easels I left with her to use for the auction and she handed me a note which read: small floral: $12, garden scene: $37… sorry but there were very few people at the dinner and the auction was very grandly over donated… these prices don’t reflect the value of the work or the labor put in them… but nothing sold for very much this year.

I had figured, being not at all overpriced, the small one could go out at $25 but the large one would bring in at least $75… I’d put it in our association gallery for at least $125…

Go figure. Hopefully, your above words will have some relevance to me too as time goes by…

There are 2 comments for Don’t give the duds away by Roberta Levy

From: Liz Schamehorn — Dec 28, 2010

Regarding charity auctions, don’t be disheartened. I have donated many pieces over the years, and only once has a piece of mine gone for its retail price, after a decent little bidding war. People go to art auctions to support the charity, but mostly to get art at bargain prices. Sometimes it’s to get a “name” on their walls, in which case they will be willing to part with more. Just consider it part of your charitable giving, and part of your publicity.

From: Suzette Fram — Dec 28, 2010

Thanks for sharing this story. I’ve been there, done that too. The problem with auctions that are not well thought-out and organized is that they end up with too few patrons, or the wrong kind of patrons, and the art sells for far too little. That hurts the donating artists in several ways: one, the artists don’t recover their costs; two, for every piece that sells at auction, there is one less sale for an artist somewhere; and three, it devalues the work and that hurts both the artist and his collectors. While it’s nice to support charities, it irks me that artists are so often the ones expected to give away their work. Why not doctors, plumbers, businesses?? Too often, fundraising is done on the backs of artists, and artists are very often the ones who can least afford it. I like Jim Lorriman’s idea. That seems the most equitable way to do things. Either that, or a minimum bid that makes sense, and 50% of the proceeds to the artist. Charity is nice, but being taken advantage of, not so nice.





The wisdom of Bahu’u’llah
by Bill Skuce, Sooke, BC, Canada


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“Seaside playhouse”
original painting by Bill Skuce

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer to the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.” (Baha’u’llah, Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith)



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You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Gloria Garner who wrote, “Something I read recently: ‘Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. What we do with the in between is the important thing.'”

And also Jack Adams who wrote, “This is the precept by which I have lived: ‘Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes… (and make the Best of it!!)’ (Hannah Arendt, 1906 – 1975)”

And also Teresa Chow who wrote, “I can’t join you with a shot of Scotch as I get tipsy but the car antlers will do. Put them on your car and ride like the wind.”

And also Gail Guenther-Mazer of New Jersey, USA, who wrote, “I can’t tell you how many paintings given or painted for $100 (token) have been received by people all over the country with tears in their eyes!! Tears of joy and love of the subject and their appreciation for a connection.”

And also Scott Kahn of NY, USA, who wrote, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”



Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The art of generosity

       
From: Louise Francke — Dec 24, 2010

After all the marketing and selling is done, it’s fun to play Santa & give some part of my art away. This year it is my Bird 2011 calendars – every card with a different ltd ed drypoint or litho I’ve created in years past. It’s gratifying to see the recipient’s smile, you remembered me.

From: Bill Skuce — Dec 24, 2010

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer to the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.” (Baha’u’llah, Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith)

From: marell moore — Dec 24, 2010

The world is an oyster, my life is the pearl; cause no matter where I go, here I am.

From: Mira Kamada — Dec 24, 2010

Thank you for your generosity in providing us solitary folk with a sense of community. The most meaningful gift I received this year was your advice to start the day in the studio–‘before the coffee gets cold’. It has changed my life and brought a sense of well-being. In the past I scheduled all of my other tasks first–thinking that if I got chores out of the way, then I could luxuriate in the studio. Most often I ended up too depleted to paint. Schedule what you love first!

From: Vivian Chamberlin — Dec 24, 2010

Never have you spoken truer words than today! I am a senior and have been painting since high school, so the paintings pile up. I will never be rich and famous, but people like what I do. I have been involved in several galleries and had reasonable sales, but the ones that make me happiest are the ones I give – to the town I live in for “causes”- or my family and friends. Recently, I had a visit from a grandson who lives on a reserve. His mother was native Kwakiutl and his father, my son. He is about to get a new house there so I asked if he had a painting for it. When he replied “no” I took him to my studio and let him pick one. He “lit”up with pleasure and it totally made my day! A good Christmas for him and me!

From: Marko Madrazo — Dec 24, 2010

Thank you for that lovely and generous salutation to all those that read and contribute to you webpage. I am very grateful, to you and all those that contribute to your website. Isn’t Kelly Borsheim sweet. I love your website very much, even though I don’t paint much, very little, ok not at all. But reading what all these artist write still inspires me to love my humanity. That people are good and that there is hope for us as a race. I don’t think there is a person in this whole world that doesn’t find an emotion in themselves when they see a piece of art that they can relate to. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could take that feeling and share it with someone else and they with someone else; the world would be filled with people that find that were all not that much different after all. That we can share, as does an artist, good feelings with others. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.

From: Fran Taylor — Dec 24, 2010

Just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed your thoughts and information over the past months. I didn’t start watercolour painting till my late 50s and found my best work was pet portraits. I am always amazed and so pleased when I see the look on a customers face when they pick up their beloved pet portrait. Tears often flow and this has given me much pleasure and many new friends. Best in 2011

From: Linda Powers — Dec 24, 2010

This is a subject that’s close to my heart. Being an artist by birth, I find I am generously included in the community of artists–musicians, actors, writers and poets, interior decorators and landscape designers, flower arrangers, wood workers–you get the idea. We all love beauty, and from that springs a fountain of love that waters the earth. What’s more, this special gift of ours is oblivious to age, gender, race–well, you get the idea there too. God blessed us, every one!

From: Martha Rhodes — Dec 24, 2010

Thanks for this wonderful e-mail. I believe that as artists we are so sensitive to nature, the world around us and that hopefully, it makes us more sensitive to those around us. A certain awareness comes with creativity, a special gift.

From: Loretta Hauser — Dec 24, 2010

Loved this message. So true. Giving to others is a gift in itself.

From: Brenda Behr — Dec 24, 2010

I’m glad you’ve mentioned generosity because I believe that giving and sharing are inherent to being an artist. As we’re told, it’s more blessed to give than to receive, and so I know no better word for it than that we are blessed to be artists. Even though I’m paid for most of my work, a large portion of my work that goes out the door is a gift because I have put my soul into it. I hope that most of the artists reading this will agree with and relate to what I’m saying. Can there be any vocation on earth more rewarding than that of an artist?

From: Ann Hair — Dec 24, 2010

I am thankful for your generosity…you always make me think.

From: Edna V. Hildebrandt — Dec 24, 2010

Generosity comes from the heart of the giver and does not expect anything in return. I used to give cards on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas e.g. to my mother in law. Years later I found out she kept those cards carefully in a box while store bought cards were not. This made me happy that she treasured those cards.

From: Mel — Dec 24, 2010

And for your continued messages of artistic hope and resource generosity, I thank you. Season’s Greetings from your East Texas Art teacher.

From: Alyson B. Stanfield — Dec 24, 2010

“Aw, you shouldn’t have been stunned. You do such a great job with your writing. Thrilled to be in your company.”

From: D Gail Mazer — Dec 24, 2010

Great advice. I am not active right now, but I have a few prints out there that have not moved. I’m going to get them today! I believe that the subject matter may be too personal to appeal to horsepersons in general.

From: Elaine Deyo — Dec 24, 2010

I’d be thrilled to be able to come to your beautiful part of the world, a bottle of the best scotch in one hand, for you, and a bottle of great whiskey for me, if only I could. I enjoy your writings. I look forward to them. And I’d be grateful to help you rid yourself of any antlers, if only I could come away with one of your beautiful paintings.

From: Marti Adrian — Dec 24, 2010

Many Blessings this Season and through 2011, Robert, and thanks again for the many smiles and words of wisdom you’ve given. Loved the quotes this week!

From: Norman Ridenour — Dec 24, 2010

I woke up this morning to the radio, and Frank Sinatra was singing, I Did It My Way. I was wet eyed when it finished, at age 72 I can pretty much say that I did it my way. Once one decides to follow his ‘ART’ what ever it is, there is no other way. Thank you or the massive effort involved in keeping the blog going.

From: Keith — Dec 24, 2010

What better act of generosity than to realize you are just one of billions, trillions of organisms that make up the connective tissue of our biosphere, and live with the care and kindness they all would require every waking day.

From: Angela Treat Lyon — Dec 24, 2010

As a holiday ‘orphan’ it’s always wonderful to be invited to a party where I can share the glad feelings of Christmas or whatever. I always enjoy being able to do that. Your newsletter is that for me, too, as I see so many names familiar and dear to me in your posts. Some of whom are on my facebook page a lot, too. What an amazing world we have created! I hope you have a fabulous holiday and a 2011 that knocks your socks off!

From: Anne — Dec 24, 2010

Everything I need for happiness is right here within me. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change how I respond to the world around me. When I find my own happiness, then I can greet each day with joy, and be thankful for what I have been given.

From: Annette Waterbeek — Dec 24, 2010

Hi Joe…have not read your stuff in a while nice to see you are back. Man oh man are you right about how we become what we are focused on. Giving is GOOD…when you see the results…a warm fuzzy feeling…ALL GOOD!! Merry Christmas Bob and your good friend Joe.

From: Jan Chalupnicek — Dec 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. I am glad to met with you this year, Robert, because you changed my Art World.

From: Nancy Ness — Dec 24, 2010

I spoke to a teacher that works with inmates not too long ago. I ask him if there were some inmates whose talents helped them get though being in prison. He said criminals and artists are opposites. The artist is will to share and expose themselves while the criminal hides behind a tough wall. Thought that his understanding was very interesting and related to your artist’s generosity letter.

From: Daniel Andre — Dec 24, 2010

I’d like to thank those regular contributors Paul DesMarais, Rick Rotante, Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, Russ Henshall, Norman Ridenour, John Ferrie, and all the others who appear here regularly either in the featured comments or the live comments. Such a lively forum.

From: Michelle Stuckey — Dec 24, 2010

This is the first time I have written to you, but I have been reading your posts for quite some time now. I want to thank you very much for your wisdom, insight and humor. Wishing you all the best this season and many more. Portland, Maine

From: Valery Satterwhite — Dec 24, 2010

Thank you for your generosity. I’ve been blessed by your wisdom, purpose and passionate pursuit to bring out the extraordinary in an artist’s potential. Art, in all of its magnificent forms, is the finest expression of the human spirit. And for that expression, we are all blessed. valery@moxietherapy.com

From: Bill and Joan Mayberry — Dec 24, 2010

Some great stuff here. I never take for granted how art has shaped my life – my wife, my two sons and two nephews and possibly the future of my grand children. All from a little ad in the Winnipeg Free Press 40 years ago that said “Picture framer wanted.” Thanks for the gift of your time to these letters.

From: Kittie Beletic — Dec 24, 2010

Just a note to say thank you for another year of great food for thought and laughter and growth. Wishing you a warm and loving holiday season and a fantastic 2011!

From: Raymond Hawkins — Dec 24, 2010

My family & I wish you and the fine folks close to you a Happy & Healthy New Year. Please keep up your excellent letters. We appreciate your wisdom and keen philosophy. Pinson, Alabama, USA

From: Jordan — Dec 24, 2010

I am continually amazed and grateful for your words of wisdom. Thank you for your generosity to us. Wishing you love and joy now and forever. artjpr45@peoplepc.com

From: David Diggins — Dec 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to you Robert and all the team at Painter’s Keys. What a great legacy. London, UK.

From: Page Newcomb — Dec 24, 2010

There is no substitute for quality, unaffected writing when it comes to art, and this site has it. Bravo. Devon

From: mayannahoward@comcast.net — Dec 24, 2010

I live in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The four or five hundred artists here are the most generous people in the world and most giving and sharing of their knowledge and connections to help further each others careers.

From: Eddie Gibson — Dec 24, 2010

Sounds like one big happy Brotherhood and Sisterhood on this day of giving. I think everyone should get their own antlers and wear them proudly as a flag for their creativeness.

From: Ina Beierle — Dec 25, 2010

I am most grateful for this end-of-year “Robert Genn letter”; it was a perfect way for you to wrap up the year. The words were confirmations of how I feel about my chosen direction in life, and will help to sustain me in the New Year…pinned up on the wall to read and reread. Thank you and have a very happy, creative New Year.

From: Angelika Ouellette — Dec 25, 2010

It is Christmas morning and I just finished reading your latest letter “The art of generosity”. Absolutely appropriate to the Season and well… life. Our family celebrates the 24th Dec (an old European tradition) we have our turkey dinner and open gifts. Those who marry into our family enjoy it because they get dinner and open gifts on two days. What I’ve noticed in the last few years is I really don’t care what I receive for a gift… guess being older I pretty much have everything I thought I needed or wanted in this lifetime. What I’m left with is a deep appreciation of watching others respond to the joy of giving and receiving, that and Jim Rohn’s quote: “Give whatever you’re doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.” Works as an artist, and works as a fellow human being. Must say I appreciate Scotch over ice (in a clean glass), excellent as well.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 25, 2010

Re Daniel Andre- And a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

From: Brad Michael Moore — Dec 26, 2010

I admire your drive I have witnessed during our association. The effort is always more worthy than the prize… Hmm… Maybe that’s a quote as well! “Drive,” might also be a nice topic of the intangibles to broach in your series. Happy New Year – may it provide you unimagined insights that help you make sense of your place in our crazy world… QUOTE: “What we may find with our imagination – we learn to achieve by stretching our abilities…” – BMM

From: Nola V. Tresslar — Dec 26, 2010

“Life Happens…..Suffering is optional!”

From: Joyce Wycoff — Dec 26, 2010

Thank you for all that you do. This letter is two bright spots in my week. Happy holidays and may 2011 be your best ever. Curiosity is the crack in the door that allows in new possibilities. — Joyce Wycoff “Beauty is not a luxury, nor an art. It is the soul’s breath of life.” — Joyce Wycoff

From: P. S. Picard — Dec 26, 2010
From: Pearl Rogers — Dec 26, 2010

Thanks so much for this forum. It is so valuable. Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year to all.

From: Jason Brown, Ontario — Dec 27, 2010

Jane Champagne passed away about a year ago, but her art and her significant teaching, as well as her memorable quotes, live on because of this site. Those of us who knew her miss her.

From: T. J. Miles — Dec 27, 2010

I’m often asked by women if I will paint them in the nude. My stock answer is always “Sure. Of course I will, but if you don’t mind I’ll have to keep my socks on as I’ve nowhere else to put my brushes”. I do love the look of confusion on their faces. It’s a great ice-breaker.

From: Rodney Mackay — Dec 27, 2010

Precisely. Now that I am finally feeling my age, I’ll be giving away a great many more paintings!

From: Sandy — Dec 27, 2010

I teach art/art history to little kids. My fall program is western art classics. I explain when the Kings owned everything, even people, he told the painters what to paint. When traders came into kingdoms for outside with stuff to sell, then the Kings bought from the traders, and we get the beginnings of a middle class. Suddenly painter had money, well some of them, and could paint what they wanted. i encourage the kids to learn from these experiment. It is amazing that some kids have vision and some can only do exactly what they are told.

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 28, 2010

The holidays are a blessing in disguise. I know we celebrate with gift giving and parties with family and friends. We wear funny hats and clothes. Many dress their houses as well with lights and statues of the Nativity scene or jolly ole’ Santa and his reindeer. Boughs of fresh holly now hang from the doors to welcome those who stop by. There is eggnog to consume and hordes of freshly baked cookies and candies to be eaten… And those presents finally are taken from their hiding places and displayed either under the tree or on the fireplace mantle. Some organize groups to sing carols in their neighborhoods or at the office before everyone finally heads home to friends and family. Some areas get that very special gift of snow lightly covering the rooftops and streets. But these are not the blessing to which I am referring. The real gift is generosity. We see it at this time of year everywhere we turn. Municipalities like Police and Fire Departments cooking food to those without a hot meal, or organizing toy drives for children who would otherwise get no gifts. Ordinary people going out of their way for total strangers who have fallen on hard times. Hard earned money given to charities. I realized that this gift should be given all year round, but the holidays make it all worth doing for some reason. Hearts that are locked up the rest of the year willingly open . Maybe that’s the true gift of Christmas. It gives us a reason to be the sort of person we might not otherwise be. And we can be renewed and enriched without mockery or suspicion. Dance or sing in the streets without ridicule. I realize that Christmas has been commercialized but without this short season, would we take the chance to open our hearts and give freely to others? This holiday above all others is the one chance we get to make things right. To feel we can make a difference, to put our prejudices on hold. To make amends to those we hurt and accept forgiveness from those who hurt us. I’m not sure how to label this feeling that pervades us at this time of year. If we could bottle it and sell it throughout the year, the world would certainly be a better place for us all.

     
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