What artists have written . . .

The following is a revised selection of remarks sent to us. Every day we get literally hundreds of emails in appreciation of my twice-weekly efforts. Some also write to comment or criticize, others send missives of evident disgust. Some include their notice to unsubscribe, while others enthusiastically pass on the names of their friends and fellow artists. The variety of opinion has been a real learning curve — in many ways useful in understanding the artist psyche in all its manifestations. Writing these letters is, for me, more fun than a sell-out show. Receiving these sorts of remarks puts it all in perspective. Only in very few of them have we attempted to improve grammar or spelling. Always, thanks for writing.

“I don’t know you, but when your letters arrive on my screen it is if an old friend is writing.” (Gerri)

“I have no friggin clue what this letter means!” (Kathryn)

“Did you send that message to me personally or is that just your normal twice a week message? (Laudine)

“I had a good chuckle the day I realized that your name was not Robert Genn Twice. I thought that for over a year. I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to how often your e-mail letters were coming.” (Sandy)

“Could you write a letter on the best way for me to sell my paintings? I need to get some money around here. They are oils.” (Eric)

“I just cherish these poetic pieces from you sooo much. They have really inspired me this past year. Please keep them coming.” (Ann)

“You are a wise man, Robert, and I always enjoy reading your letters. It is food for thoughts… and a healthy food.” (Guildo)

“You really need to improve your semantics. Be more specific because I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. PLEASE!” (Sally)

“Are you the other artist I met by the lake wearing shorts at Fort Custer near Kalamazoo on Wednesday about four o’clock? You had a beard too.” (Winona)

“Thank you for your positive comments on goat’s cheese. I’ve been raising dairy goats for about 30 years, and up until recently, it has gone unappreciated in the U.S.” (Regina)

“Please remove me from your free emails. They’re not worth it.” (Alan)

“Robert is the most respected person writing on the making of art these days. Nobody can touch him for the spiritual, motivational or the practical. A thinking artist — he knows his stuff. And he’s smart enough not to say how smart he is.” (Dmitri)

“In a more than a year I have got deleted your psycho-masturbations… but for what I saw from your psycho-garbage sending in words to the unknown public — you are a jerk.” (Peter)
“If I was a smarter person I would be able to read you. As it is they just stack up.” (Petra)

“Dear Mr. Genn: I am no longer interested in your “Kauder Welsh” — please stop sending me your palaver.” (Helmut)

“The art psychologists are like eunuchs in the harem — they see it done, they know how it’s done, but they can’t do it themselves. Unlike them, Robert knows how to do it.” (Hank)

“Your letters are a breath of fresh air when listening to a whole lot of verbal bull from critics and other art elitists…” (Teddy)

“I have just never red (sic) anything so boring. I find it all so totely (sic) unterestering (sic).” (Signe)

“I find a blood ruby in some, in others I find a pearl, an emerald, agates, or a wide variety of marbles.” (Judith)

“Painter’s Keys, for good reason, is one of the most successful, informative, and engaging websites on the Net and I look forward every week for the emails to arrive in my inbox and even if I wasn’t a painter I would still find the forum most interesting and a wonderful way of making friends with so many interesting people.” (Leonard)

“Please delete my address–since I began reading your letters I do not paint any more.” (Jane)

“If you need to write fewer times, though I’ll miss these Tuesday-Friday letters, I will certainly understand.” (Elaine)

“For a long time I was printing out all the letters and paintings, but I have had to quit that because I am now in the process of trying to clear out and cut down on all the ‘stuff’ we have.” (Bev)

“You are a smart guy, Robert, and the extent of that wealth of knowledge is a source of fascination for me.” (Bobbi)

“Who are you? …A human being on the face of the earth? Where do you live? …I’m on the face of the earth with you.” (Ginia)

“Please unsubscribe me now, it was only for the class.” (Juliann)

“This is the one community I count on the most. I am pretty much alone in my artistic studio. There are very few who I can talk the talk with in this area. I look forward to each of your letters. It is motivation for me.” (Rosalie)

“Even when I know you are right I love to delete you.” (Joseph)

“Never imagine for a moment that your letters are not appreciated — I have passed on details to artists who really struggle with feelings of isolation.” (Chris)

“I think the letters are perfect. I mean, perfectly unique and very human and inspiring.” (Mina)

“Our art instructor asked us all to subscribe. Sometimes we discuss what you are talking about. Other times you don’t apply to us but I think personally that sometime you will.” (Heather)

“I only started taking them because my ex-girlfriend swears by you. Now I have another and I won’t be needing you anymore.” (Peter)

“I am in a high school art program but I have now learned from your letters that art is a very very interesting and deep subject.” (Nick)

“Your letter is like what Ordell Robie said in “Jackie Brown” (the movie): “You are too cool for school!” (Rudi)

“These letters are a unique and valuable contribution. They are done in a very effective format.” ( )

“They are read and appreciated around the world more than you realize.” (Robb)

“Cognitive dissonance, my foot. You are in serious denial if you think you are making any sense–let me guess… this is a front for Scientology?” (Jim)

“You should stop writing about poverty because it is something of which you know nothing.” (Vince)

“I have never yet found nothing in any of your letters.” (Jack)

“Do you know where we can buy Winsor & Newton Mauve (blue shade) oil paint?” (Joanne)

“It’s the only positive news we get most days and very enlightening and uplifting.” (Pauline)

“Words inspire me; they bring on creative thoughts and pictures and ideas about paintings. Communication is what it is all about–words, paintings, and music provides artists the means to relate to others our passions. The circle is then restarted by more words and thoughts.” (Barbara)

“Sometimes reading the letters or clickbacks keeps me from getting up out of my chair and hurting some Neanderthal co-worker because I know there are artists out there!” (Jo)

“Stick to tips, Robert, we are tired of your philosophizing all the time. There is no room for philosophy in this business.” (Henry)

“I don’t want to subscribe to your letters anymore because I don’t want to be influenced by your writing.” (Jeanne)

“Who are you? I have been receiving your letters for a year now and all I want to say is, Thank-you.” (Joseph)

“It is like real conversations where one idea leads to another. Other people must feel the same way or the letters wouldn’t have expanded around the globe!” (Loraine)

“I read and enjoy it top to bottom, including reader responses. I have an online art community and I have included your letter in my site, along with the subscription options for anyone who might want to subscribe. Those in my group who read it also enjoy it. I look forward to each and every one!” (Christine)

“In the time I have been subscribing, I have found several typos, which I would like to bring your attention too.” (Laura)

“Robert, I usually read your missives with a mixed sense of bewilderment and amazement.” (Brad)

“I like to think, and you make me think.” (Frank)
“Your observations have a way of putting one right there with you. Almost as though one could touch, taste, feel, smell and hear with you.” (Sarah)

“They never make me feel like someone is laying a guilt trip on me.” (Don)

“Is the “G” in Genn a “G” as in God or a “G” pronounced like the “J” in Job?” (Betty as in Boyle)

“I have a cat who is my best animal friend. I enjoy reading your letters, but didn’t need to know about the cats that they eat in Hong Kong. I would rather hear about people or sights you are visiting.” (Mary Ann)

“I am canceling my subscription because you already know too much about me.” (Helen)

“Please unsubscribe me from your free letters. Too much. I don’t need to know any more.” (Phyllis)

“If I cancel now will I be eligible for a refund?” (Mary)

“I am unsubscribing because I think I recently subscribed under one of my other names.” (Xavier)

“Even though I am a sculptor and I really hate to paint, I find much treasure in what you write, and it is often applicable to what I’m working on in some manner.” (Sam)

“I have trouble painting alone. Diving into the letters helps to kick-start a day in my studio.” (Ag)

“Your letters are taking a downward and depressing spiral lately. If they continue I will have to eliminate you from my world. Unless you can explain yourself I will unsubscribe.” (John)

“You really are nasty! You confront me with my own self-deception and comfortable lies, though I’m probably going to have to keep on reading your letters.” (Margot)

“The readers who condemn you for touching their finely tuned sensitivities with your report are really getting it out of proportion.” (Faith)

“They are getting better and better and I wondered if you were getting more humorous or I was getting more able to comprehend the subtle humor.” (Judy)

“That one has been printed out in big letters and hung at the top of my easel.” (Andrew)

“Your letter created an absolute ruckus at our weekly painting group. Everyone just about killed themselves laughing at what they made out of it and in the end some of us were trying to kill some of the others.” (Helena)

“I always find inspiration or information I just “need” the week your letter arrives.” (Katherine)

“What I like about your site is that nothing pops up.” (Francine)

“Could you re-explain to me what you said in your last letter?” (Elmer)

“I think you let your imagination run away with you — and consequently make a lot of people mad! I ask you — is it worth it????” (Maureen)

“How did you get my name? How can you address me by my first name when we haven’t even met? I don’t know you. Do not send me any more spam addressed to me.” (Arnold)

“On Tuesdays and Fridays I cannot get going without reading what you have to say.” (Nancy)

“Could you please start sending your letters every day? I need your uplifting more frequently.” (Nicholas)

“You write to me a little too often. I am very busy and I get behind and can’t catch up. You might try dropping them down to once a week at the most, or perhaps even longer.” (Claire)

“What type of brushes do you recommend?” (Laurie)

“Where do you buy your art materials? Could you suggest a good place? I live in Wolcott, New York.” (Fred)

“When I read what you wrote I went back to bed.” (Nan)

“I have been printing them out but then I ran out of ink. Where do you get ink? Do you supply it?” (Margaret)

“My computer was down for a few weeks and I did not get your letters. Could you re-send the last five letters? Also, shorten them up a bit and do not make them so long. I print them out and they use up three pages. You would be well advised to get rid of all the subscription and other information that is the same on every letter.” (Gwen)

“Are you really in Galway? If so, come on down and have a drink.” (Seamus)

“Could we meet? I’m in Skibbereen right now.” (Mike)

“Someone helped me subscribe and I’m glad they did. How do I get off if I want to?” (Guy)

“I have been too busy to read you lately but keep them coming because they are appreciated.” (Christine)

“Please unsubscribe me for the time being. I will re-subscribe if I see something that interests me.” (Dieter)

“All you need is a hefty surplus in your bank account, to enable you to travel to such provocative places, and make such outlandish claims!” (Linda)

“Sometimes your words are too big and this makes you difficult for the average artist to understand.” (Barbara)

“What bothers me the most when I am writing a response to the letters is the thought of your finger on the “delete” button. Yes, it’s silly since thousands of emails you get must be killed. Many times I delete the letter myself before sending it, just to make your job easier.” (Tatjana)

“Your letter is dependable, timely, and for the price, well, you just can’t beat it for its value.” (Rodger)

“It seems like you just wrote it a few minutes ago and dashed it off especially for me.” (Marie)

“If one formula could be found for the letters to satisfy all your readers all the time, it would suggest a singularly dull pool of letter recipients.” (Yvonne)

“Please unsubscribe me for next Tuesday as we will be in Houston.” (Andrea)

“You are brief and to the point. You are the only one on the Net I have time for.” (Nigel)

“Would you please stop talking about your dog. Don’t write any more ‘pet’ letters.” (Lim)


“I have been reading you for a year. You have really helped me with my procrastination. I apologize for taking so long to let you know this.” (Tom)

“I have not opened you for 139 letters now. Tell me, is that a record?” (Jill)

“Where do you get all of your material? Do you have other artists handing you ideas? Are you more than one artist?” (PK)

“Are you really the artist Robert Genn who is writing this letter? I didn’t know you wrote as well.” (Gordon)

“I like sending comments to your letters… and from time to time I get a note from one of your other readers who has read my comments, and it often makes my day.” (Elle)

“You can’t help making it ‘special’… it’s how you feel and how you write. And if it were not extra-ordinary, it wouldn’t be worth writing about anyway.” (Tanya)

“I’m gonna keep reading the letters in the hopes that they’ll get better.” (Matthew)

“Like many painters I spend a lot of time at my easel, and with more than a little time spent in my own company. My old Springer Spaniel is excellent company but not a very inspiring conversationalist. The idea of receiving ideas and info on my favorite subject, from anywhere on the other side of my front door is quite a compelling one.” (Tricia)

“I’m going to pull my paint brush around your words… Thank you.” (Diane)

“You’re letters are very beautiful. Your letters are like paintings.” (Krystal)

“When I started getting the letters I thought I was a very poor artist. Now I know I am one.” (H.W.S.)

“I read your April letter today as in April when it was sent I was in the middle of getting married and did not read it till today and loved it and the way you worded it and the next letter following on how to get more industrious in the studio.” (Barbara)

“You give a working artist’s perspective on the art of art making. You have an easy-to-read-and-reflect writing style.” (Gary)

“Could you please start sending your free letters to my aunt in Birmingham? Please send hers by regular post.” (Grace)

“I ask all of my students who are on computers to subscribe. It provides an ongoing incentive to keep at it. Professionals and amateurs are all in the same boat. Your letter supplements my teaching.” (Alice)

“Your letters are a brilliant example of sharing. It’s the ultimate use of the Internet as an empowering tool — particularly for those of us with this special interest.” (Darlene)

“Our world is one world.” (Hans)

“Could you please send me your letters in larger type?” (John)

“Of course I get exercised occasionally, but isn’t that what art’s about? Challenge, response, questioning your own beliefs. Keep ’em coming Robert — they’re a breath of fresh air.” (Jane)

“I read the responses every time. I love the variety. I love the diverse opinions — even when they say you are loony.” (Julie)

“It’s kind of fun talking about your letters, etc. and sharing art-talk, views, etc. Like to do more of that, if I ever find the time.” (Tanya)

“I particularity enjoy it when you combine technical ideas and the philosophy behind what one is creating.” (Joris)

“You have helped to change my world, and as a result, the whole world will be changed as well. The things we do reverberate through history like ripples in a pond. Even a small splash will eventually effect an entire ocean.” (David)

“Palette pointers was your first letter that interested me.” (Joseph)

“I don’t know how you can come up with all the things to write about. I have stopped printing every one. I often print a meaningful letter for an underprivileged fellow artist.” (Helen)

“I have no idea how you came into my computer, into my consciousness… but this morning… I am loving reading and thinking about simplicity.” (Lynn)

“You have finally said something profound.” (Judith)

“Who are you? How do you know my name? How could you possibly know I need to hear all this?” (Jennifer)

“Reading your letters makes me realize that I’m part of something greater. In this lonely room I feel I am part of the brotherhood and sisterhood that you talk about. I feel a kind of cosmic awareness when I open them and think that artists all over the world are thinking about the small miracle that you have spent a lifetime considering and have just freely addressed to me.” (Shane)

“I only subscribed because we had to in order to get into the class. I’ve learned just as much from your letters as I did while at school. You can read between the lines.” (Pierre)

“The information you give is worth gold.” (Jennifer)

“I couldn’t be less interested in what you talk about sometimes.” (Heinrich)

“Please remove what I said as I have now changed my mind.” (Natasha)

“I like it because you don’t give me pat little recipes like some other instructors.” (Warren)

“I really appreciate all the little tips from time to time.” (Phyllis)

“Please remove me. I need to make my own mistakes.” (Jack)

“After reading your letters I have changed a few simple things without changing myself or my style and there has been a great difference, believe me.” (Zolt)

“Please change my name.” (Dennis)

“How do you write such corny stuff week after week?” (Joseph)

“I like you because you are in the real world.” (Genevieve)

“Are you the same Bob Genn whom I had a date with in High School? Or are you another one who knows something about art?” (Mary)

“What great insight! Who is Robert Genn? I have not heard of him.” (Mary Anne)

“yadda yadda……. explain again please.” (Kathryn)

“I would love to have a copy of Roger Glenn’s book. Who is he?” (Book Buyer)

“Do you deliver your letter?” (Sylvia)


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Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

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