Love and anger

Dear Artist, During the past year, Canada’s Leader of the Opposition Jack Layton, died of cancer at the age of 61. In his final message Jack said, “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” These words resonated across our country. It has always struck me that both love and anger are two of the main motivators in the making of art. Both emotions can work equally well. It’s just that love is so much the more pleasant of the two. Discouraged early on by economic conditions, disabilities, contrarian parents, peer pressure, teachers or others, a few artists are able to fight the uphill battle to overcome or at least channel their anger. Daily they are driven to “show the world.” Other creatives take a more gentle, loving path. It can be a love of some particular someone, a family, a principle, a passion or a charity. It can be that peculiar and miraculous state of simply doing something for the love of it. Each work we produce is our very own baby brought into the world for a span that may extend beyond ours. It’s been my observation that these main brands of working love can be bound together into a wholesome bundle where tangible, finished work is key to hope, optimism and a sense of well-being. “Work,” said Kahlil Gibran, “is love made visible.” The finding of love within our work unlocks the studio and prompts the actions of hand and mind. The extraordinary prevails and even ordinary and well-trodden subject matter can be freshly explored and rejuvenated. One might even be blessed with the aura of popular greatness. “He alone is great,” said Gibran, “who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.” In my last letter of the old year I mentioned the gentle productive hum of studios. Between the turning on and the turning off of the lights there’s a span of privilege. Held steady by the gentle hand of love, we begin, we keep going, and we sign off. There may not be a higher calling. Best regards, Robert PS: “In the arts, as in life, everything is possible provided it is based on love.” (Marc Chagall) Esoterica: One of the great features of studio life is the capacity for renewal. Daily love manifests itself and is a fairly reliable prod. Some projects can be measured in no time at all. Sometimes three or four projects can be performed and completed in a single day. Other projects progress over days or weeks, dependent on the uncanny sleep-work that lies between. “Love does not just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” (Ursula K. LeGuin)   Love in the lovely environment by Sarah Zoutewelle, The Netherlands  

“Living tree”
pastel painting, 15 x 16 inches
by Sarah Zoutewelle

All my creative activities are ultimately driven by love. I love my materials which makes me take care of them. I love the privilege, as you say, of having my light, airy studio to quietly work in, and being surrounded with my paints, books, the work I’ve done, and am yet to do. I’ve even realized that cleaning the house is directly linked to loving my painting work, because caring for my surroundings isn’t separate from the caring I do in the studio. A clean, orderly house (well, ‘clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy’) spills over into the studio and brings a sense of peace. There are 7 comments for Love in the lovely environment by Sarah Zoutewelle
From: Anonymous — Jan 05, 2012

As is said…there is “Clean dirt & dirty dirt”:) And~~” A creative mind is seldom tidy”~ author unknown

From: John Salvi — Jan 06, 2012

I’m struggling with trying to love my work. I read this post and realized that I have been working against my own progress as a painter and printmaker. . . feels refreshingly revelatory and a bit sad. I realized that I have been neglecting the reason I make art, ‘I am an artist.’ I had a moment of clarity that reassured my status and is bringing me back to my beloved materials, work space (far from perfect, orderly and only moderately ‘clean’), and to what it was that, months ago, seemed nonstop, consuming, compelling art making. What happened? I believe I lost my way in the self-marketing and poor decision to abandon where the art was taking me. Choosing instead to orchestrate, manipulate and divert my art life toward what other artists seemed to be questing for, ‘some smidgen of recognition.’ I can’t bring myself to include the dreaded, ‘fame and fortune,’ oh, there, it is. Wondering now if I have sacrificed too much squandered time on that smoke blackened altar of burnt offerings of work that was not of my heart?

From: Dottie Dracos — Jan 06, 2012

Well said, John. Thanks.

From: Sarah — Jan 06, 2012

Although not usually drawn to abstract works, I love your “Living Tree”. It is so fresh and bright, with beautiful composition and colors.

From: Bev Searle-Freeman — Jan 06, 2012

well said Sarah

From: Sarah Z — Jan 09, 2012
From: SarahZ — Jan 09, 2012

reply to Sarah: thanks for your kind words about my art. The one pictured is from an old series, delighting in those creamy, vibrant oil pastels. My work looks a lot different now.

  Artists show the world by Rick Rotante, Tujunga, CA, USA  

“Gypsy woman”
oil painting
by Rick Rotante

At the end of this year there were reports of spontaneous “love” happening. Reports of people doing good things for others with no rewards for it. It was heartening to hear, especially when it’s not so newsworthy. We are told by skeptics, “When things are bad, people close up and turn away.” I’ve found the opposite to be true. People band together to get through — we just don’t hear about it on the news. Last year may not have been a banner year for art in general but it hasn’t stopped many from continuing to create, teach and exhibit their work. Being an artist is a privilege even when unnoticed by the populace. If artists go away, the soul and conscience of humanity will lose its way. Artists show the world as many don’t take the time to see it; we show how it can be if we take the time to try. There are 4 comments for Artists show the world by Rick Rotante
From: Jean McLaren — Jan 06, 2012

your words brought a wee tear to me eye, Rick. I totally agree. In any turmoil (which I am going through right now with a move of house) I try to stay calm and happy and of course I cant stop painting! And my friends in our wonderful art group on Gabriola Island BC are my standbys!

From: Ezshwan Winding — Jan 06, 2012
From: Dottie Dracos — Jan 06, 2012

Rick, your words are poetic – and prophetic. The Gypsy woman painting is beautiful.

From: Kay Christopher — Jan 06, 2012

“…we show how it can be if we take the time to try”. Love this, Rick. Thank you for your entire beautiful post.

  Love what you do and try to get better by Phil Chadwick, Southampton, ON, Canada  

“Northern Trickle”
original painting
by Phil Chadwick

Love is better than anger… goodness knows there is plenty to be angry about. “Generosity is better than greed” might have been added to Jack’s list. Frankly I doubt that the CEOs making 189 times the average annual Canadian income could care less about artists freezing their butts and occupying a park in Downtown Anywhere. Most artists only dream about achieving the average Canadian income. But rather than being perpetually angry, it is better to love what you do and try to get better. Changing the world could begin with improving your art and yourself. Loving your art and being hopefully optimistic that your next canvas will be better could make you a happier person that $8.2 million can’t buy. I don’t need much — just my paddle and a brush… There is 1 comment for Love what you do and try to get better by Phil Chadwick
From: Phil the Forecaster — Jan 06, 2012

Most anyone will recognize this as a Tom Thomson composition “Northern River”. I revised his “swamp picture” to reflect the impacts of climate change. Simply, increased temperatures will bring more evapouration. The same average precipitation will fall in more intense storms separated by longer periods of drought. Tom’s swamp is likely to dry up!

  Art is to love by Mona Youssef, Ottawa, ON, Canada  


“Covered with snow”
oil painting, 16 x 20 inches
by Mona Youssef

I’ve always believed that Art is a manifestation of love, loving the nature around us and the people we share our world. Art reflects a wealth of culture, history and identity as affirmation of man for it is a self-expression of how one perceives matters. In turn, art will work as a powerful tool and a silent international language that can convey messages to the world reflecting culture, history and civilization. This language can speak up, announce, express, make known, unify, bring together, support, encourage, share, care for, show compassion and kind feelings toward all. When we truly love what we do, we do it whole-souled and become professionals at it. In two words; Art is to love. There are 2 comments for Art is to love by Mona Youssef
From: Ezshwan Winding — Jan 06, 2012
From: Mona Youssef — Jan 06, 2012

Ezshwan, Since you deeply feel that art making is a manifestation of love where angry paintings are the opposite of love, then hold tight on your beliefs. You are the artist who conveys message to the world through your art and the gallery is the salesperson. Therefore, you chose the subjects that conveys your beliefs not someone else, otherwise, you are allowing others to influence what you truly beliefs and this will eventually affect your message, the quality of your art and change the path of your career.

  What I did for love by Deb Lacativa, GA, USA  

mixed media
by Deb Lacativa

This post cuts to the chase of the question I have been hearing from a lot of my fellow artists lately, myself included. We have looked back over a year of work and have asked out loud, “Why?” One or two sales, one or two exhibits? No. It must be love. Just recently, I dyed a piece of cloth (the raw material of my work) using a new technique. I was so pleased with the results that I put it up on the studio wall, took a picture and out of expediency, named the image “Ilovethis.jpg.” Sometimes this is a problem for fiber artists, falling in love with a piece of fabric making it difficult or impossible to cut into it or use in conjunction with others, its reason for being in the first place. It’s akin to mixing a particular color on your palette and saying, “I love that blue,” and being unable to move it to the canvas. But it will be the combined love of the process and the outcome that will move me to use that cloth and go on making art. And “I love that” remains my highest praise when I look at art others have created and hope that they said it to themselves when they first stepped back to call it done. The haters will say that this is naive and uninformed. I say it’s the distillation of the truth behind my motivation and I’m glad I don’t have to live in or even visit their heads. There is 1 comment for What I did for love by Deb Lacativa
From: Deb Lacativa — Jan 06, 2012
  Unlocking the imagination by Sharon Cory, Winnipeg, MB, Canada  

oil painting
by Sharon Cory

The past year was a challenging one for me as I made a major change in my thinking processes. I have always been driven by the need to create art to pay the bills. I am now attempting to unlock what I hope is an imaginatory wealth of ideas that have been sidelined so many times in the past. I won’t be able to use the old benchmark of someone pulling out a credit card to gauge my success, so I’ll have to trust my instinct and the belief that I started the project with love.   There is 1 comment for Unlocking the imagination by Sharon Cory
From: Liz Reday — Jan 16, 2012

Paint from the heart. You may find that the excitement of discovery and really getting on a roll brings a satisfaction that no credit card will provide. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but I feel that following your own path regardless will uncover riches you never knew you had. Having the passion to get up in the morning itching to paint and spending what seemed like five minutes in the studio turn into five hours are somehow payment enough. A life worth living, and happiness to boot. Keep painting!

  Anger turned to charitable love by Ryan Wollard, Maitland, FL, USA  

“Maya Angelou”
oil painting, 8 x 10 inches
by Ryan Wollard

I couldn’t agree more regarding the power of both love and anger as inspiration. I started a project in anger last April. I felt the tone of politics was toxic. Foreclosures cluttered every street, banks were bailed out, and public servants were paying the price in a battle in Wisconsin. Vital services were cut in every state.

I started Charity Paintings to deal with my frustration. I decided to paint portraits of inspirational people then sell them and donate 100% of the proceeds to organizations that fight poverty, support public education, the arts, feed the hungry, and improve our environment. Over time the outpouring of support and gratitude has helped my project evolve into one of love. When I paint a portrait of someone’s deceased parent, then donate 100% to fight cancer, I can’t help but swell with love and further inspiration. I started with a goal of 20 portraits in six months resulting in $1000 to charity. I’ve painted well over 40 and donated over $3,000 so far. Every portrait seems to add to the love I feel and my appetite to do more. Interest in my project has lead to articles in The Huffington Post and Orlando Sentinel. I’ve set a loftier goal for 2012. I want to surpass the $10,000 donation mark. There are 3 comments for Anger turned to charitable love by Ryan Wollard
From: Anonymous — Jan 06, 2012

Love in action..lovely.

From: Sarah — Jan 06, 2012

Yours is an inspirational story. Good luck in your excellent idea to raise funds for charities in 2012!

From: Anonymous — Jan 06, 2012

Bravo! I predict with love being your inspiration and drive you will meet that goal.

  New studio, new environment by Pam Carter, Wellington, ON, Canada  

building Pam’s studio

As I type, my Builder Boys are outside, in -15 degrees, hammering away happily on the studio I’ve been dreaming about all my life, but have only now been able to realize. Though I’ve been on a high every day since I first did my little sketch for the designer over a year ago, the thrill of seeing it actually evolve, day by day, is something I never anticipated. I may have included too many windows, but I couldn’t block out all this amazing country light and I figure I can always draw the blinds when need be! Moving from Toronto to Prince Edward County three years ago, when I bought this 100 year old farm house, I’m in a painter’s paradise with the shores and beaches of great Lake Ontario steps away… towns and villages that haven’t changed much since the Loyalists came here generations ago. I never tire of the beautiful farms, pastures, old barns and out buildings, the orchards and vineyards… there’s a painting in every direction. There are 2 comments for New studio, new environment by Pam Carter
From: Michael — Jan 06, 2012

Ahh….the rural Ontario landscape. How I miss it. And how I envy your purpose-built studio ! I’ll get there someday !

From: Ron — Jan 09, 2012

Looking good Pam.Makes me miss the corn and bean fields in Southern Illinois.

  Stolen image by Mady Thiel-Kopstein, Turner Valley, AB, Canada  

“When Harry met Sally”
original painting, 24 x 36 inches
by Mady Thiel-Kopstein

Recently, I have become part of a situation that has left me in an awkward conundrum. I was wondering if you could address this in one of your letters. I will tell you the story and try not to project too much attitude about it, so you can talk about it freely. A couple, who are both friends of mine, have been after me for the last couple of months to reproduce an image that I had painted. They had gotten the image from a flyer that the gallery had used to advertise the show that I was part of. The art piece had already been sold to another person. The couple had a small image, about 3″ X 3″ cut out and stuck to their kitchen wall. It looked harmless enough. After constantly asking and coming up with various schemes that I could do, such as making several copies on canvas for them, they went ahead and had the image copied into a much bigger than the original piece without my knowledge (approx. 24″ X 24″). They have proudly hung it, framed in their living room. Some of this is my fault for not being assertive enough and just saying no — though I did act very reluctant and also mentioned that my original photo of the painting was not good enough to reproduce. I had hoped that this would put them off. I also had a talk with the gallery about protecting images on flyers to prevent this from happening again. They were reluctant to do this but would rather work from a position of trust that no one would actually do this. What has shocked me is the total lack of understanding and knowledge that my friends have. I guess it is up to me to be the educator and try to portray how upsetting this whole experience has been to me. I could start throwing around terms like intellectual property, legal rights, and unethical. This would be easier if it was a total stranger! (RG note) Thanks, Mady. This is their problem, not yours. Don’t give their pirated photo blowup of your work another thought. Take the high road and carry on with the positive energy you get from working. There are 11 comments for Stolen image by Mady Thiel-Kopstein
From: Sheila Minifie — Jan 06, 2012

Probably too late to comment, but I’ll add this – not with regard to copyright issues – but friends. I’m afraid they can be very dense sometimes. Some years ago, I did a couple of small drawn portraits of a friend’s 3 small children – not for money, just for the pleasure of it and gave them to my friends. Two were abandoned on the floor (not by the children) – and trodden on, so I retrieved one and kept it. Even now, (and I don’t normally boast)I can see that it is a beautiful drawing and astoundingly like that particular child. A short while later, the parents got their portraits done at the seaside — the ghastly stereotyped kind of drawings of appauling taste and ability and that bore little resemblance to the children and cost very, very little. Framed with pride on the wall, they showed them to me. I was so astounded, I could say nothing. They were oblivious.

From: David — Jan 06, 2012

I disagree with RG. Your friends have betrayed your trust and damaged the relationship. If they’re broke and can’t afford your art, then it’s a charity case. Otherwise, speak your heart to them and live in honest relations.

From: Susan Kellogg, Austin, TX — Jan 06, 2012

There is such a thing as being hypersensitive (from the voice of experience) and letting “professionalism” poison things. In this case, if it were me, I would be flattered; unless they were trying to sell it and make a lot of money. There is no way you can control people falling in love with your painting. What they did with the scrap of paper is sweet. I have several tiny tattered reproductions of things that I love and inspire me. I like your painting, by the way.

From: Anonymous — Jan 06, 2012

It is my experience that many people who do not produce intellectual property do not realize the problem in taking and using paintings, pieces of writing, speeches, training courses, etc. In my mind, it is a good idea to educate people so that, if they didn’t realize what they did, they will understand not to do it again in the future and why. It doesn’t occur to them what went into creating the work until it is explained because they don’t create and make a living from such work.

From: Sandra Donohue — Jan 06, 2012

I can sympathize with you, and would be quite upset as well. As well as creating art, we need to continually be educating our clients, friends, and the public about things like copyright and ethics. Having a poor reproduction of your painting on display anywhere, be it a public place or a private home does not represent you well. Your painting of WHen Harry Met Sally is wonderful. Now, put the irritating thoughts out of your mind and keep painting!

From: Suzette Fram — Jan 06, 2012

I feel that something must be said. Perhaps you could explain to your friends about copyright, how their actions inadvertently violated your rights to that image. Then, you could add ‘since we are friends, I am happy to let you use the image in this one instance only, but you must be sure not to make any more reproductions, and never to sell this image to anyone else’. I think that, said in a nice friendly tone, this can educate and let them know about their insensitive blunder. If you don’t say something, your friendship will most likely be irretrievably damaged. Good luck.

From: Jackie Knott — Jan 06, 2012

You’re upset because you’re the artist and familiar with copyright issues. Your friends are either dense or just cheap, maybe both. In this day and time it is hard to believe anyone is that ignorant, especially considering your acquaintance. I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to inform them of their infringement. If they did it once don’t be surprised if they try it again. I would think twice about inviting them to another show of yours. You can remain friends but still illustrate your displeasure.

From: Deb Lloyd — Jan 06, 2012

Without knowing the full story, I am in complete agreement with Susan Kellog. Sometimes we can be too precious about our work. Surely the greater gift in life is to have friends who love something that we’ve done, rather than to be uptight about the fiscal value of our talent and reputation. It seems more preferable to preserve your friends’ priceless feelings about something you have created than to sacrifice their friendship over what is, in the end, only paint on canvas. To Sheila: you have my fullest sympathy. I’ve been in that situation where I gave someone a piece of artwork (not mine I might add, but something I would rather have kept myself than give away). It was a batik and served only as a tablecloth to the recipient. Needless to say it ended up with cup rings all over it. I felt it was a slight on our relationship and have never again given that person anything I valued so preciously.

From: Anonymous — Jan 06, 2012

hmmm, giving and taking can break a friendship. I had a friend who gave me things that I didn’t need but took them not to offend. When we agreed to exchange paintings, she took mine but didn’t deliver hers. Perhaps she didn’t like what she got, but I still don’t understand why she didn’t complete her part of the bargain. Giving and taking can break a friendship.

From: Nancy Cantelon — Jan 06, 2012

Mady Thiel-Kopstein, I really admire your painting, “When Harry Met Sally”…You make the crows come alive with personality! Love your loose style! During the last few months, I’ve been spending a lot of time at my town’s dock and on the seawalk, snapping photos and studying the quick and intense characters clad in black feathers. They’re fascinating; I want to incorporate them into paintings. Thanks for showing us your appealing work!

From: Ron — Jan 09, 2012

I love to watch crows,very smart birds.I agree with R.g.

  Sharing the letters by Annie Peinturlurer, USA   May I use some of your words to share with a support group for cancer patients? I would give you credit, etc. I find your writing to be so valuable in different walks of life. I am at this moment thinking in particular of your love and anger letter I have been spending time thinking about and processing. I only tell you that the group I want to use your words to help is one of diseased people, so maybe you can appreciate how far reaching your thoughts can go. You probably know this, but want you to hear it from someone.

(RG note) Thanks, Annie. The letters and their responses are meant to be shared, and we welcome the opportunity. Only now is the true value of art being studied and appreciated for its extended benefits among those in palliative care and those suffering from debilitating and terminal diseases. Please use the material as you see fit.    

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Love and anger

From: Richard Eaves Woods — Jan 02, 2012

A patron of mine, owner of a commission I did for him of a specific place and special time of year, died in early December after a long battle with cancer. He was undergoing chemotherapy when he picked up the painting, but I never knew he was ill until then. His family sent me a nice note, saying how much they, too, enjoy the painting, also knowing how much it meant to him.

From: Susan — Jan 03, 2012

Thanks Robert for your letter,it made me to stop and think what motivates my art. It seem like alot of people get depressed in Jan. and Feb. I can remember making a conscious effort to learn something new for the New Year that is how it all started, art classes. It has not been easy,it truely has been a love and hate affair. I persevered and I can’t begin to tell you what I have learned about myself and the world. It is good to be able to feel all the emotions one’s art can bring to the table. Peace and hope for your New Year! Susan

From: Renew — Jan 03, 2012

Thank you Robert for this very nice and inspirational letter. Not being a Canadian I have not heard of Jack Layton but he apparently touched a lot of people. He left a legacy for many Canadians to follow. Thank you again Robert for sharing this with us.

From: Nina Allen Freeman — Jan 03, 2012

Thank you for this very meaningful story and quote by Jack Layton. So many of us have been stopped in our creative journey because of anger, fear and depression. This most essential part of our being is driven by love and optimism and should be nourished. Who knows; if there were more love and optimism in the world, maybe artists wouldn’t be so rare?

From: Karla — Jan 03, 2012

There are those who select a life of artistic production. And there are those who simply must create, depressed under the weights of love and madness.

From: Carole Mayne — Jan 03, 2012

It is said: “Fear is only the shadow of the outstretched hand of God.” Anger arises out of fear. Behind every hurt is a lack of love. The talk about the end of the Mayan calendar spiritually could mean an end of ‘time’, which is mental process — SO BEAT THE CLOCK and upload everything through your heart as soon as possible. Art with staying power has a lasting magnetic attraction because of the vibrations of love present in it. (In my opinion)

From: Leni Enderby — Jan 03, 2012

Layton’s sentiments are interesting. In the US, what you hear from the lips of most politicians these days is anger and exclusivism, most of which is prepackaged, because few of these people could be as simple as their rhetorical turns. I am not familiar with Layton’s history, but had those things been said by a politician in the US I would conclude that the politicians career was at an end, for one reason or another. That’s a shame. It’s a shame that I think it, and it’s a shame that it’s probably true.

From: Phyl Brinkley — Jan 03, 2012

Sitting in a motion picture theater years ago, I heard a character say, “Say what you came to say, and then get out!” I thought, taken out of context, that’s good advice. Do what you came to do, and then leave. If you can accumulate style points, so much the better.

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Jan 03, 2012

Agree that love is better than anger. Disagree that paintings are like babies. Babies must be loved. You can do whatever you want with a painting. Big difference! I get your drift that loving paintings is better than being driven by anger, but when there is no wind in the sales any kind of energy can be helpful to get things moving. Anger can sometimes give a good boost. Worked for me a few times.

From: Mary Cannon — Jan 03, 2012

I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your twice-weekly letter. I guess I am what you might call a “hobby” painter with a goal of carving out time to be more engaged in it. It gives me great pleasure and some challenge when the hand can’t deliver what the eye and soul are seeing. Aside from that, you seem to have a wonderful treasure of quotes and bring interesting concepts from your reading and experience to the letters. They are great nuggets to roll around in my mind and nudge me to reach out more. Thanks and enjoy the year. Especially liked the Layton and LeGuin quotes. Keep up the great letters.

From: David Martin — Jan 03, 2012
From: Evelyn Dunphy — Jan 03, 2012

I had to write to say thanks for such a wonderful expression of what the artist’s life can be – yours is a grand voice in the world. Wishing you a New Year filled with blessings. PS: And listing my workshops on your workshop site works!

From: Ann Worrall — Jan 03, 2012

I love you Robert Genn! I can’t express the value I get from reading your letters! It is like you see my soul! It is overwhelming! My best to you always!

From: John F. Burk — Jan 03, 2012

Robert, I love your piece about studios. I have not, so far had a dream space to call my studio. But I have had dedicated spaces that serve. I firmly believe the foundation of a good working studio is in the head. Beyond that, you need little more than room to work and good light. Have a good and productive new year full of love, hope and optimism.

From: David Garcia — Jan 03, 2012

Thanks for this one… someone in the studio everyday I can verify all you say…thank you and thank you for your humor and wise words through out the past year…a happy and healthy and creative new year to you, Robert Genn.

From: Marie Lyon — Jan 03, 2012

Enjoy reading your twice-weekly letters and identify with many, especially the last one on love and anger. Three years ago I had three weeks to do 25 paintings and a non-family situation was making me very angry. I couldn’t do anything about it so I took it out on canvas – I had been given an unexpected invitation that I couldn’t turn down so the anger stress was a positive given at the time. Yes, I got the whole 25 done, and to my satisfaction, selling 15 of them so they must have ‘passed muster’.

From: Barbara J Owen — Jan 03, 2012

Your messages are so much appreciated and give reason to pause for thought. No matter what our individual politics, Jack Layton has impacted many of our lives both directly and indirectly. At the moment my husband and I heard the news of his passing, we brought forward our retirement decision plans to now, rather than 18 months from now. There are so many creative avenues to be explored, what a wonderful opportunity to enjoy life and the pursuit of artistic endeavours while we are healthy and have our thinking processes intact…..a love of life and a love of creative interests.

From: Haydee Rivera — Jan 03, 2012

Thank you so, so much for all the wonderful thoughts you share with us — it’s a delight to read you. I do bead work, fiber, polymer clay and paint a little bit, so all that I do enhances one another. Wishing you a HAPPY and LOVING NEW YEAR.

From: Peter Trent — Jan 03, 2012

A brief note to acknowledge that your letters are always a source of great pleasure to me whether I agree with you or not: they are always thought-provoking and, in days of dulling sameness, a voice that is uplifting and, at the same time optimistic ! Such a rare gem ! Thank for the time you take to enlighten us !

From: Lee Mothes — Jan 03, 2012

My love of nature, the ocean, and skies keeps me going.

From: Patricia Paine — Jan 03, 2012

I think for some people this is the best way they can express their love and the evidence remains and continues to send that love over time ..thank you for inspiring again.

From: Glen Shear — Jan 03, 2012

I really enjoyed your end-of-year message, and wanted to thank you for thoughtfully sharing your ideas & experience.

From: Tom Albano — Jan 04, 2012

A big thank you for your wonderful, creative blog these past years! Have a Happy, Stimulating & Productive New Year. Alsip, Illinois.

From: Carolyn Landers — Jan 04, 2012

Your “last of the year” letter is the best ever ! And oh so true. I’m a faithful reader in Atlanta, Georgia and Naples, Florida

From: Christopher Marion Thomas — Jan 04, 2012

Thank you Sir for sending out what has become a great inspiration to me. I appreciate the rays of hope that you write each week.

From: Vic Taylor — Jan 05, 2012
From: Aleada Siragusa — Jan 06, 2012
From: Miriam Friedman — Jan 09, 2012

I so needed to read Robet’s and Sara’s blogs today. The came to me via Karleen Koen’s blog and I needed hers as well. An unexpected rejection for a Reading Series came today, during an especially hard period personally and professionally. I thought my play funny and meaningful; my readers loved it — they are good critics. I needed to read your words to celebrate my creativity and ignore the pain of rejection. I need to wait for the critique of the series readers–and revise, with a smile, instead of a broken spirit.

From: Lois Dierlam — Jan 14, 2012

I just read your Jan. 3 letter. I agree to a point, however, I DO disagree. There is great power in anger. However, the use of this power is key. In solitude, and with the force of anger, Sudden disability problems can be overcome. There is a time when anger and solitude, can turn a non- productive period, into solutions. Talent is a gift, which can disappear, due to health, and only solitude and hard work can change a direction into something totally new and rewarding.

From: Barb Finelli — Jan 28, 2012

I find that we either operate from love or fear. I try in my life and in my art work to always make it the former.

     Featured Workshop: Margaret Dyer
010612_robert-genn Margaret Dyer workshops   The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. 


mixed media painting by Eleonore Esau, MB, Canada

  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 Marney Ward of Victoria, BC, Canada, who wrote, “When I teach, I ask my students to try to figure out what they love most about the flowers they are painting and how they can best express those qualities. All other decisions about the painting — the size, format, colours, composition, values, edges, etc — should be based on that primary consideration.”    

Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

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