Just a reminder


Dear Artist,

Readers’ emails arrive here in Ireland on my Blackberry. These days, with the blessing of laid-back leprechauns, I’m reading every one. I sincerely appreciate your input and the confirmation that these letters are in some way affecting your life. “Reinforces what I’m doing,” and “Needed to be reminded of that,” are sentiments frequently expressed by readers.


“Horn Head from Ballyness Bay, Donegal, Eire”
acrylic and sand on canvas
11 x 14 inches
by Robert Genn

I’ve always had the same idea as the motivational writer Richard Bach: “Learning is finding out what you already know.” Time and again people write, “I knew that — thanks for reminding me.”

Indeed, recent studies show that regular reminders, particularly by email, can change lives. According to a study published in the June issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine, simple reminders to eat more healthfully or increase physical activity had a significant effect on recipients’ behavior. In one obesity study, 700 individuals who received regular email reminders of healthy lifestyle choices lost more weight than a similar non-emailed group.

So there’s a purpose to these missives. Lone workers as we tend to be, the Twice-Weekly Letters may be simply a way to remind us we are not alone. Right now I’m hunkered down out of the wind in the dunes on Ballyness Bay, Donegal. The Blackberry sits on the side of the paint box, and some distant subscriber causes it to buzz every five minutes or so. It’s not a distraction, it’s a confirmation — the warm sharing that goes on within our worldwide Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Artists. Thank you.

Here in the painting department, it’s the interminable struggle between lofty aspirations and the reality of my limitations. Blown sand also runs interference, but it could be anything — a shortage of white paint or the disappearance of a favourite brush. Right now there’s only gritty stuff adding texture to the acrylics. “An inconvenience,” said Confucius, “is an unrecognized opportunity.” This could be my “sand period.” Further, with travel, drying becomes a factor. I’m trying to find the “sweet spot” using Golden’s slow-drying “Open” acrylics and the regular fast-drying ones. I know that you, too, are finding inconveniences that lead to opportunities. Thanks for reminding me.


“Horn Head from Ballyness Bay II”
acrylic and sand on canvas
11 x 14 inches
by Robert Genn

Best regards,


PS: “As a doctor, I am convinced that most people know the healthier choice; they just need frequent reminders to make it.” (Sanjay Gupta, MD)

Esoterica: In these letters we’ve often talked about multi-tasking. While writing this one I’ve painted two modest sketches. I’m not saying they’re brilliant, but they are a record, and the results are in a way more casual and understated, having been painted while writing. Shoot them down if you like. For those of you who write informative, insightful and often amusing notes, please consider copying them into the “live comments” section on our clickbacks. That way, everyone can share them. Right now I’m going to have to get the sand out of this Blackberry.


Appreciators bring life to art
by Sujata Tibrewala, India


watercolour painting, 15 x 11 inches
by Sujata Tibrewala

I signed up for your letters when I was still working and they were a great inspiration for me to leave my job and pursue my art full time. In fact, I remember the first time I had responded to you; you had selected my letter for your clickback. Now I am an active artist and I still read your letters. And like you said, they reinforce what I know already. So far my paintings have met very favorable reviews and have also found good critics. I attribute a part of my success to your letters. I know as an artist the greatest thing we want to do is leave our footprints. So when I get a good review or somebody says they can identify with one of my paintings, it means more to me than them buying it. Of course we need money to live, hence we need buyers too, but appreciators are more like a breath for our art, without them we cannot create.

There is 1 comment for Appreciators bring life to art by Sujata Tibrewala

From: Rene in Huntsville, AL — Jun 19, 2009

Love the Cosmos painting. I can’t believe it’s watercolour. So colorful and such great movement!


Happiness kicks in
by Cindi Hiers, Fort White, FL, USA

I have been reading your letters for years now. They go much farther than “reminders,” they have become connections to my inner art self. Without your words I would not connect as often, which in turn might slow my art making, thus causing a possible depression. I get antsy when I am not creating, sadness kicks in. So, in view of this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please continue. The energy you send me transcends to the world around me on many different levels.


Travel and supplies
by Merv Brandel, BC, Canada


“Spring Wetlands”
oil painting, 22 x 28 inches
by Merv Brandel

We did a house exchange with someone from England a few years ago. He is an artist so I had the pleasure of working in his studio for 6 months. I brought my own supplies because I didn’t know if I could purchase them in the small village where we were going to be staying. When I arrived at the airport in Vancouver to go to England, they made me take all my oil paints out of my carry-on and put them in my checked-in luggage. Now if that had been acrylic paint I think it might have been frozen when we arrived in England. Do you purchase your supplies in other countries when you travel or do you take along what you need?

(RG note) Thanks, Merv. It’s a good idea to put your paints and paintbox in the checked luggage. I’ve never had a problem with frozen acrylics, even in Alaska. Aircraft luggage-holds are somewhat heated. I take a basic supply of canvases (primed, ready to go) but I always keep an eye open for an on-location supplier. (Googling “art supplies Donegal” got me a few nearby here). Besides, it’s always good to find out what the locals are using. Last year in Italy I used a lot of Maimeri (Brera acrylics) and loved the stuff.

There are 2 comments for Travel and supplies by Merv Brandel

From: Susan Moger — Jun 19, 2009

Your painting “Spring Wetlands” delights me; woke me up as I start my day here in Maryland, a writer alert to the endless allure of light. Thank you.

From: Patsy — Jun 19, 2009

I love your painting, Merv, particularly that brilliant green. I have seen and painted grass like that, only to be told by the “experts” that it spoiled the painting because it wasn’t realistic, and I’d toned it down!

For anyone else considering staying in similar places in the U.K. to Merv, remember that it is a rare village that is not within easy reach of a major shopping area, so you should be able to buy what you need quite easily.

Ireland is similar; I will never forget the lady who gave my husband a rebuking stare and declared: “Nowhere in Ireland is in the middle of nowhere!” ;-)


Aspirations and limitations
by Brenda Jacobsen, CT, USA


“Pilgrimage to Peggy’s Cove”
oil painting, 8 x 16 inches
by Brenda Jacobsen

I am writing my first note to you — a fellow Canadian — though I live in the States. Don’t hold that against me! Your words are fitting as they often are; painting is a lone road and I am fighting with my brush and paint. You might be in the sand period; and I must be in the “can’t get the background to stay in the background” period. I decided to take a break and here was your note. Ireland sounds fabulous — I have been reading your letters for a long time and find them very encouraging and enlightening, so thank you for extending yourself as a teacher to people like me. “Lofty aspirations and my own limitations.” Wow that is me. For the past year I have taken on the joy and challenge of oil painting — after working with gouache and acrylic. One aspiration is to send my work to your site (as well as making a living selling my paintings!) but today my goal is to paint and paint some more — it is in the doing that I improve along with reading your letters.

There is 1 comment for Aspirations and limitations by Brenda Jacobsen

From: Brenda J — Jun 18, 2009


How did you do this? You just made my day! Here I am reading the letters late at night as I often do- I find it so interesting to read and see what artists are doing today. I was just about to close the screen all the while thinking about the letter I wrote to you on a whim a few days ago- I was thinking- did I send it to the right place- did he really get it on a rocky crag in Ireland? And then I see the box that shows Featured Responses- is that my name on the list? Am I seeing things? I quickly scroll down- yes it is true- you got my note and posted it- I really had know idea this would happen and to top it off you found a painting of mine online and put it here- how did you do this? Now I will really lose sleep. I thought I was years away from being introduced on this site. Technology is really incredible and honestly, you and your team of techies (is that what they are called?) – well, you are in the business of empowering new artists- and have gotten me off to a great start. I will be back- no longer an anonymous reader but an active participant. Thank you so much.


My own little world
by Brenda Swenson, South Pasadena, CA, USA


“Locke Haven House”
watercolour painting
by Brenda Swenson

Thank you! My life as an artist can be very solitary (by choice) but you have helped me not feel alone in my own thoughts and realizations as so often you validate what I am thinking or experiencing. I do participate in the larger art community and have served on numerous national boards for watercolor societies, teach nationwide and abroad, participate in shows but the paintings require that I spend long blocks of time, focused on painting alone. So often your emails remind me that I am not really alone in this world of art! Recently I came across this simple one-liner and I posted it in my studio. I hope you enjoy it too. I know I’m in my own little world but it is okay, they know me here.

There are 6 comments for My own little world by Brenda Swenson

From: Linda Mallery — Jun 18, 2009

I am in awe of your watercolor skill. The way the porch comes out and the rest of the house becomes background is wonderful to see!

Thanks for showing us what we can aspire to do.

From: Brenda Swenson — Jun 18, 2009
From: Sandy Sandy — Jun 19, 2009

Impeccable Classical Watercolor Brenda! Very impressive. I would highly recommend your books to others interested in learning a beautifully stylized masterful representational approach.

From: Brenda — Jun 19, 2009

Sandy, Thanks for the good word!

From: Bev Searle-Freeman — Jun 19, 2009

Beautiful work Brenda. You are inspiring! :)

From: Brenda — Jun 19, 2009

Hi Bev,

Inspiring is a wonderful word for artists! I think we are called to inspire and lift each other to achieve our greatest potential.


Medium par excellence is watercolor
by Raynald Murphy, Montreal, Canada


Raynald Murphy

I started writing my blog almost three years ago, being influenced by your letters, and I get on average 70 hits a day passing on art tips — mostly about plein air and drawing — so, yes it is comforting to see some are reading them. On the subject of painting outdoors as you are doing, I feel the medium par excellence is watercolor. Time tested by the masters such as Turner et al who ran up and down coasts and towns quickly sketching in watercolor. The reason I turned to watercolor many years ago for outdoor work rather than my oils was simplicity. Now I hustle down town or to the country with small back pack and in 30 minutes to an hour at most I have a small watercolor on paper, which, I can redo larger in studio. Most, though, are finished works. As for liquid acrylics, I feel that means lugging a lot more stuff than for watercolor.


Laid off
by Wendy Packard

I can relate to what Confucius says about an inconvenience being an unrecognized opportunity. However, this is not directly connected to painting but somewhat of a parallel situation. I was recently laid off from my job which will end June 30th. In the transition there are lots of politics that seem to prevent the current dedicated hardworking program staff from receiving the much needed support and honesty from the powers that be. As a result, I am letting go of what I thought were great relationships in my life and seeking new employment which is an inconvenience, no doubt, but in my heart I know it will be much better for me in the long run. I have a second interview for a great opportunity on the horizon. And I do read many of your letters and can relate to needing that connection to my brothers and sisters. Thanks. I am already more relaxed, living a more balanced lifestyle and hope to get back to painting soon. An inconvenience has become an unrecognized opportunity.

There are 2 comments for Laid off by Wendy Packard

From: Anonymous — Jun 18, 2009

Hi to you and good vibes in your new endeavors, alas another door always opens, I went through the job cuts a numgber of years ago and decided ith was the oppotune time to paint full time, I don’t always make huge sums of money, but I bring joy to myself and for people who love what they see and memories that are brought back to life. see my web site? www.savannart.com or e-mail @savannart@sasktel.net Thanks Eleanor

From: Wendy Packard — Jun 23, 2009

Hi Eleanor, Thanks for your support of my transition in jobs. It has been tough. I looked at your website. Your artwork is beautiful. I too love animals. I have two dogs and live in Pennsylvania. I also think my best paintings have been of my two dogs. They inspire me. And just an FYI, My brother lives in Montana, married a woman from Montreal Canada and my niece and nephew went to college in Victoria. Life’s best. Wendy


Sharing a moment in time
by Edith Rae Brown, Greenvale, NY, USA


“Sacred memories”
bronze sculpture
by Edith Rae Brown

In my hectic life, balance has not yet been achieved. I need to let you know how very much I appreciate and respect your writings. You have an incredible talent with expressing thoughts that touch all of us as artists. I look forward to reading your twice-weekly letters; they are an awaking to what I feel and who I am. One day I will start responding in the open dialogue but at the moment my time is just too limited with taking care of family matters after losing both parents in the last 3 years. There is a lot of paper work for me to take care of which has a priority at the moment. Please know how much your letters mean to others and especially to me. I am so glad to be alive at this time when technology has made it possible for you to be on the Donegal Dunes in Ireland and I can be in my house on Long Island, New York and we can read each other’s words in a moment in time. I just love reading your letters and look forward to receiving them.

There is 1 comment for Sharing a moment in time by Edith Rae Brown

From: Susan C. — Jun 19, 2009

Absolutely fabulous! I love this piece. I hope you have a website!


‘Original’ art thoughts
by Jen Castle, Bennettsbridge, Ireland


“Kilkenny Castle and Roses”
original painting
by Jen Castle

Welcome to Ireland! I have been here for 3 years now (out of Africa) and I thought you might like some Irish companions for your trip, so have attached two oils. And should you find yourself in County Kilkenny, I have attached an oil of Kilkenny Castle for you. If you are passing through a small town called Bennettsbridge in County Kilkenny, you are more than welcome to visit my studio to see the originals. Thanks you for your inspirational letters — sometimes quite un-nerving to have your seemingly ‘original’ art thoughts so eloquently expressed each week.



Debate on quality
by Danielle Laffitte, France

I live in a small village in the centre of France and feeling connected with other artists is more a matter of imagination than fact. Your letters help. The problem in getting more involved is that I don’t like most of the work shown on your site. I don’t feel related to it. Sometimes I don’t even respect it. Is it arrogant to say this? Probably. Does it matter? I keep telling myself that it does not, and that I just have to dig more deeply into what it is giving me and forget about the rest. But it does not always work. It does bother me. It is important to know whether what one is doing is worth the time and the involvement or not. Reassuring talk is not enough. There have been endless discussions about “the quality of work” on your site. Often the debate was really lively and interesting. I read some of it, and there again I felt ill at ease because much of it sounded like patting each other on the back, not a serious, disinterested discussion on what makes a painting good or not so good. I would have liked to participate but I am not brave and have no answer to offer on the question. I don’t think it is either skill or professionalism or even sincerity which makes a good painting. I don’t think it is just a matter of taste. It is not. I ask myself constantly about the quality of my own work. And as with you and your readers, it does not stop me from working. Maybe this is the answer to my question.

There are 7 comments for Debate on quality by Danielle Laffitte

From: Anonymous — Jun 18, 2009

Your comments are interesting and relevant. I would love to see some of your work. Where could I see your work on the www.

From: Lanie — Jun 19, 2009

Interesting that you feel brave enough to submit your comment but not a picture of your work.

From: don — Jun 19, 2009

Perhaps it is time to dig a little deeper into the work of others and discover that taste does have its place and that quality is probably more subjective than you’re willing to concede. Just look at what the museums are filled with, from Art Brut, to Naive, Landscape, Portraits, Abstracts, Regionalism, Impressionists of all kinds, Anger Art and anything else you can think. Avoid the quality debate (trap) and surround yourself with better people.

From: Anne Cherubim — Jun 19, 2009

With regards to quality of work: I think we really need to use our objectivity to look at art. To be fair, we really have to let all preconceived notions fall away, and become detached from our personal aesthetics in that instant. We can tend to judge work by whether we like something or not. Liking something and whether there is quality to the work are actually two separate things in the realm of art. These past few years, I have come to appreciate the quality of work, regardless of style. I will sometimes think to myself, I do not like this type of work, but I can see that there is quality in this work, or good technique, etc. Recognizing that you may not care for the style of something, but yet being able to see quality in it gives you an idea of whether you are being truly objective. That’s my two cents. I think you are right, Daniel. It is not any one thing. I think it is many things in just the right combination that makes for quality.

From: Arlene G. Woo — Jun 19, 2009

I often wonder about “quality” when I look at a juried show. It seems to me that a lot of artists have more self-esteem than talent. But who am I to judge such a subjective concept.

I suspect that you are not one of those artists since you did not submit one of your images.

From: Timothy C. Tyler — Jun 21, 2009

Taste and quality only matter in art to the same degree they matter in music, writing or life. There are several places where you can read very deep discussions about the craft of painting which includes nearly no back patting. These are heavy on the technical stuff and nearly everyone is a respected professional, experienced painter. I must agree with others that your remarks make me want to see your work. A picture IS worth a thousand words.

PS. as an artist I resent the math question below

From: Anonymous — Jun 22, 2009

It is an amusing thought that my art published on this web site may be causing distress to a fellow artist! I just don’t see a value of that statement – you don’t like it, but you still read and look at our art…so why did Robert publish this letter? Perhaps just to ruffle feathers? What good can this letter do?


Breaking away from the line
by Charlotte Lyon, Amsterdam, Holland


oil painting, 24 x 24 inches
by Charlotte Lyon

I am writing to you on a wet morning in Amsterdam. I receive your mail every week and am very grateful for it. A couple of years ago I was completely stuck. For ten years I had been producing the same work at the demand of the gallery. It sold and that what was important to them. But I became a production line and could hardly face it any more. So I wrote to you. I received so many encouraging letters from all around the world! It made me realize that firstly I was not alone and secondly to take the brave step to change. So I did. I took time out away from the galleries. The results, in just a few months were life-changing for my work. Since then I have not looked back. My style has changed, yes it’s possible, become more spontaneous and open and as a result looser and lighter. I am happy with my work again after so many long years in the doldrums.


Globs of tar and other crud
by Angela Treat Lyon, Kailua, Hawaii, USA


soapstone sculpture
by Angela Treat Lyon

Ten years ago, I got over my own suicidal depression using the Emotional Freedom Techniques. After, I started to teach teleclasses that help people become emotionally sane using EFT. I used to wonder why people kept coming on the calls over and over again. Didn’t they ‘get it’ after two or three? But then I realized that as we float down life’s river, globs of tar and other crud stick to our boats, we get cracks in the hull, the storms rip off our sails, and we need to go to port to refuel and take on water on a regular basis.

It’s the same with our inner selves: we need reminding who we are, to know how to clean out limiting thoughts, beliefs and habits, we need to see how glorious it is to do what we do, how precious and valuable our little lives are within the context of the Big Wow. So now every teleclass and local group I do is as meaningful to me as the ones before. And I feel much better about buying book after book on how to deal with life and business! And here I’d thought I was just a thick ninny!

There are 2 comments for Globs of tar and other crud by Angela Treat Lyon

From: Suzette Fram — Jun 19, 2009

…as we float down life’s river, globs of tar and other crud stick to our boats, we get cracks in the hull, the storms rip off our sails, and we need to go to port to refuel and take on water on a regular basis.

Lovely way to express life’s effect on us. Thanks for that.

From: Helen Tilston — Jun 20, 2009

Angela- your words are so rich and meaningful. You are also a master with the pen. Have you a book in the works?


Completely unique
by Polonca Kocjancic, Slovenia

What I like about your letters is that you really are a person on the other side. And that you write them as you go along the way. It is wonderful to see how you develop. Please put more of you and your results online or let us know where your e-gallery is.

Painting is also very close to me. My mother started painting passionately and with a lot of constant discipline after retiring. I, on the other hand, am trying to paint before retirement – despite the constant lack of time. When you go through all the battles and remain alive with the result in front of you, you get a feeling of uniqueness. And indeed, it is unique. No one can repeat it, not even the author themselves, as they have been changed by the process. Everything that contains personal effort is unique. After the effort, a feeling of satisfaction emerges.

With me, you broke the ice some months ago with a fantastic letter about habits. I really liked that and immediately printed it out and hung it so that I can see and read it every day. It is good to know that you like our responses. So indeed we are becoming a community and we all grow closer to each other by doing and learning similar things.


Sailing with a gypsy heart
by Sue Bayley, Maui, HI, USA


“Mountains to the sea”
acrylic painting, 24 x 20 inches
by Sue Bayley

As a completely nomadic artist with my studio in my suitcase, I look forward with great anticipation to your letters. They are my link to the worldwide artistic community and I delight at your stimulating missives and everyone’s replies. Most of my time is spent in the tropics so I am well used to blowing sands, insects and other creatures that make their way onto my acrylics. I have tried all sorts of ropes and bungee cords to hold the panels in the winds but it is hard to paint around them, so I just hold them in my hand now. I found some ‘Open’ acrylics in Hawaii and have been using them in combination with my regular ones for quite a while and love them for use in the tropical heat. As much of my travelling is done by sailboat, I have additional challenges and multitasking is the rule rather than an exception. Fresh water is usually scarce so I always use the ocean and it doesn’t seem to harm the paintings. I am always finding inspiration when coming toward land and then I am supposed to be navigating and avoiding said land!! I have attached a sketch done with one hand while steering a 44′ catamaran into the harbor at Bonifacio, Corsica. Then hiking above the town I added another study to my sketchbook. I cannot carry canvases in my one bag so I have a collection of strong paper pads that I work on.

It is often hard to find art supplies as I travel so I combine some acrylics with children’s wax crayons, pens etc. Whatever I can find in the stores. After the South Pacific, Caribbean, Latin America and Bahamas I have the luxury of art stores now I am in Europe. In France house sitting while I wait for a new crewing job in the Mediterranean, I revel in painting without the constant motion of a boat. There is no rush to the next harbor, just time to wander the beautiful countryside and paint on solid land. Whenever I am in one place for a while I buy some canvas panels and have often sold them off the easel as I am painting a tropical beach. Tourists love to take home an original and affordable piece of art, and I have used others to barter for accommodation. Two paintings got me a month in Antigua!! So although I have little money, I have a rich life following my gypsy heart and fulfilling my artistic passions wherever I may be.

There are 2 comments for Sailing with a gypsy heart by Sue Bayley

From: James Hey — Jun 19, 2009

WOW….you have a life that many would wish for….if only I was bold enough.

From: Anonymous — Jun 19, 2009

Sue, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. they make me want to leave city life far behind. I painted on an extended sailing trip through the Canadian Gulf Islands years ago and I remember loving the feeling of being cloistered and unreachable, completely at peace with the natural world. While we were anchored at an uninhabited island, I remember a large magnificent bald eagle landing on a branch high above the boat, and quietly watching my cats sunning on the deck. I thought, uh oh! I scooped them up quickly and put them down in the cabin out of harms way. Thank you for reminding me that I was a gypsy once, and that I can be one again. I hope you continue sharing your painting and travel adventures. I love visualizing what you have described. What a treasure you are!




Golden eagle

original painting, 16 x 20 inches
by Ken Cochrane, Kelowna, BC, 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 Jim Pallas of Applegate, MI, USA, who wrote, “I’ve always had the same idea as the motivational writer Richard Bach: ‘Learning is finding out what you already know.’ So did Socrates. In fact it is the basis of his questioning method.”

And also Anand Channar of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, who wrote, “You are doing a great job. I eagerly wait for your mail and forward all of them to my artists and other friends. It is informative and encouraging. Keep the good work going.”

And also Parviz Rad of Tehran, Iran, who wrote, “Your twice-weekly letters and others’ inspirations are an open door to the art world. Especially in hard times as now, which I’m witnessing in my home town, Tehran, where there are many uprising and demonstrations against the showcase election. It is something I may sketch in watercolor.”

And also Allie Lull of Southport, NC, USA, who wrote, “Not sure how it would work, but could your BB be kept in a zip lock bag you could see through (for sand protection?). Happy painting, the western coast of Ireland is also one a great inspiration! And no sand!”

And also Dabau Singh-Heer of New Zealand, who wrote, “I think sometimes it is hard to ‘remember’ when you need to and that’s especially when it is timely that someone else’s input helps to get us back on track. Reminders and/or new information is important knowledge that makes us more aware of ourselves and others to enrich all our lives. Thank you for the twice-weekly letters and yes, they sometimes motivate me, or reinforce, or make me question, or remind, or encourage me to seek my own answers.”


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Just a reminder



From: Nancy O’Toole — Jun 15, 2009

Robert…If that’s what happens to paintings while writing.. then I am going to take up writing! I love your sketches..sand & all! They are loose, simple, to the point..in a word “lovely”… and they have captured Donegal to a T! You have a couple of winners there!

We were in Donegal just a year ago and must have been on this same beach( or one very similar), as you have brought back that day to me in memory! It was threatening rain but still a promise of sun behind the clouds, and a kind of glow over all! Unfortunately the heavens opened up for a good bit of our stay in “Dear old Donegal” and we spent a few days just nestled in beside the peat fire in our little old cottage overlooking Lough Swilly. Thanks for the Memories and happy painting in the ould sod!

Cheers, Nancy

From: Margy — Jun 16, 2009

Robert, I look forward to every letter. I do feel isolated and alone in my studio at times. An artist friend emailed me one and I have relished them ever since. I envy you in Ireland, one of my favorite places in the world. Keep your wonderful support through these letters coming.

From: Rick Rotante — Jun 16, 2009

One of my art teachers used this ‘reminder’ method. I would listen to him every session and think he has said this before several times. One day it sunk in and I haven’t looked back. I’ve found that you hear things only when you are ready to hear them, especially when it involves change.

From: Dwight Williams, Idaho — Jun 16, 2009

I’m writing partly because I think it’s cool that you’re getting these In Ireland, hiding out and painting. Second, I think I like #1 sketch (at the top) best. And third, get out you watercolors. The sand won’t bother as much, drying is not a problem (if you paint quickly, as I do) and after a life-time of using all media, I think W/C is the most fun.

From: Juanita — Jun 17, 2009

Your letters are wonderful; a real boost to my confidence. Thank you!

From: Chester Specht — Jun 17, 2009
From: Joan Constable — Jun 17, 2009

Today is a glorious June day with blue skies, fewer burling clouds and the smell of summer heat on its way. How true you write about tuning into the limitations as opportunities for hinge changes. I was working 14 hours a day preparing for a one month solo show in western Canada when my magic carpet was yanked out from under me and I spent 42 days in the hospital with a very serious illness. After a month at home as an ‘invalid,’ I called the rental company to come take away all vestigous of sickness and returned to as normal a day as possible – sleeping in my own bed, walking on my own, returning to my household and studio demands. Mobility increased and pain lessened. Obviously the decision to go forth starts in the mind and the body follows if the mind respects the limitations and encourages the body to reach a little beyond its current abilities. A mutual respect between mind, soul, and body with the goal for all three to advance at the same pace.

As to the artwork I have a question concerning the medium I’m working in. Since you are in touch with artists on a world-wide scale. I became enamored with using paper as paint many years ago and used the collage method from simple to complex applications on canvas. This past year I have collected the colored tissue paper wrappings at parties and began using it, along with clear acrylic glazes and gels, as paint on canvas. Sometimes I mix junk-mail paper I’ve made in the pieces along with dried rose petals which retain their colors. With all the emphasis on recycling and uses of found objects in painting and sculpture, I haven’t found any other artists using colored tissue and ‘sculpting’ it on the canvas in low relief. Is this falling into the category of “there is no original thought” or am I on to something new on the edge of Green Art?

From: Brian Young — Jun 17, 2009

Welcome to the land of the Celts. Thanks for your latest email. Re sand in the mixture, an art lecturer of mine told me to always take away some piece of the landscape you’ve been painting, to remind you of the colors or texture. Good advice, if its do-able. More of a challenge is to try capturing some of the thick atmosphere in a Donegal pub, unless of course you just take some Guinness home with you.

From: Linda Flaherty — Jun 17, 2009

Just three years ago, I took a new job – it has great benefits, respectable pay, not terrible hours, but my time to paint suffered and I did along with it. It’s taken me some time to get back on track enough to see that my former way of painting – my intuitive landscape style with all the bright colors – wasn’t necessarily the only work I could do just because it seemed to be what came naturally. I had to find a new way for my painting life to be alive and well. I moved the studio out of the little room I had rented for a few years, and took everything back home, fixing up a nice spot that was available to me anytime I was in the house. I began setting up still life from old things that brought back memories – of my mother, the farm I grew up on, places I had lived, and other fondness’s. Oddly, I also changed my palette to the subtle neutral hues that reflected the quiet nature of the subject matter and probably, my personality. This won’t last forever either, but that’s okay too. Your letter today reminded me that I had continued for some time to try to paint in a way that no longer fit my life. Change is always pushing us through some kind of a difficult transition, but even so, all is well with all of this.

From: Bonnie — Jun 17, 2009

You thanked us for our input and confirmation, but I feel it is you I should be thanking. I very much look forward to your emails and the support and encouragement they contain. You also encourage us to dream, to dream and work toward a goal. As I work a 9 to 5 job, I know that I can still go home at night and paint, and every brushstroke is getting me closer to my goal of being a full time artist. Your emails encourage us all to keep at it and so I am. Thank you so much. Also, it is quite exciting to see where in the world you are each week.

From: Michele Amy — Jun 17, 2009

I hesitate to respond to such things, as I understand about overloaded mailboxes. ( I’m a Blackberry user too.) I’m not an artist, though I love to draw and have some success. I’m a musician. I keep your letters in a file because they pertain to my daily practice and creation of music, and I enjoy the messages, reminders and motivational ideas.

I often receive your message/ letter on my blackberry, and am able to read it in odd places, and am reminded at these times of my important journey. Thank you for your efforts and your sage advice… applicable to visual artists… AND musicians!!!

From: Ralph Christianson — Jun 17, 2009

Not to worry your letters are an inspiration. I have only been getting them for two weeks and have enjoyed each one. Thought I would share a small story with you on CBC radio in Canada there is a show on symphonies. The head fellow for the Toronto Symphony was introducing a tune and said this next item represents how we think flowers would sound if they could sing. What a 60s concept, just made the music more visual. Thank you for the good work and hope the sand stays out of your paint.

From: Nancy Boren — Jun 17, 2009

Robert, one of my favorite location sketches (an oil) I ever did was on Carmel Beach, CA. One quarter of it got coated with white sand 3 minutes after I finished it, but it mostly brushed off after the piece dried a couple days later so all ended well. They say many of the great Joaquin Sorolla’s paintings have sand embedded in them so you are in excellent company. I’m not sure it is so good for your blackberry though!

From: Jill Brown — Jun 17, 2009

Thank you for sharing your work online. Today, when I went to the clickback I was transported. I love the simpleness of the sketches. It’s like a casual conversation rather than a prepared speech. I immediately thought of Cezanne and how he went out everyday to paint his mountain and try to convey the “feeling” of the place. I must say the colour choices give me 2 different feelings about the place and the cloud formations. Anyway, thank you again for sharing. I love the simplicity and think these are more communicative about where you’re at both physically and spiritually. Looks like a pretty good place to me. Shape, line, and colour; the more abstracted a piece the more masterful the elements of composition and design need to be, me thinks. If you have time would you consider abstracting a sketch even more, as less a record of where you’re at physically and more like a little poem from the soul? While I appreciate your polished paintings, as an artist it is fun to see how other artists play. The “what ifs” and “having at it” with no sales in mind, just communing with the universe.

Sure appreciate all the time you take sharing ideas and keeping my pump pumped. I can keep it primed but shared energy is a beautiful thing!

From: Susan Evans — Jun 17, 2009

Yes, you do impact my life. I have been receiving your letters for about two years now and look forward to them greatly. They have managed to keep me loving painting and at least watching someone who paints through a bad illness last year. I am now well and have taken up the brush and pastel stick again. I am even on the go managing to do some plein air lately. Your positive messages let me know that I can continue in my way. Thanks so much for your work I enjoy everything you say.

From: Joan André — Jun 17, 2009

Art is a way of life. In fact life is Art. I am sure somebody has said this before. Maybe you know who it was. Your letters for me most times ring a bell and give “reminders” of not only how to paint, but how to live. Attitude is 99.9 percent it seems to me. Many spiritual thinkers say you already know what you need to know, just remember it, and the reminders from our friends to notice what we need to be aware of is such a blessing. Thank you for your dedicated and faithful “reminders”.

On another note, one part of my family came from Ballyshannon in Donegal. I have not been there yet and so appreciate your two paintings at the top of the clickback as a bit of insight to what I might see if and when I go. The serenity of the painting on the left appeals to me, but the rock which interferes with that in the one on the right also appeals. I find myself leaning towards the right one because it is more interesting, more stimulating. I enjoy work done on site as it usually is so much more spontaneous than a study worked up from it done in the studio. But of course it is a different thing altogether.

From: David Fitzgerald — Jun 17, 2009

I’m just chiming in about how valuable your letters are to me and many of my friends. We often bring up your letters while talking about our art making. Personally I find it encouraging to have someone out there offering this kind of help and support. Thanks for all you do.

From: Rick Woods — Jun 17, 2009

Maybe. But sometimes the sketch holds the place of honor while the full-sheet watercolor lies in the “maybe someday I’ll stick this in a frame” pile. I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes the sand in the paint is the something that goes missing when I try to translate the scene in the studio.

From: Melanie Frey — Jun 17, 2009

Well I’m one of those that appreciate your letters but haven’t really thanked you. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share and discuss so many things. I’ve learned a lot of interesting things from you.

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

From: Dave Reid — Jun 17, 2009

One of the best things I’ve done is sign up for your letters. Both the Lotto and the Reminders letters have immediate meaning for me.

Early this month I ‘retired’ to do some things I’ve wanted to do as well as share some of the household duties. Something I’m working toward is doing some painting and printing. In order to accomplish this I’m making up schedules (aka reminders) to ensure I leave enough time between duties to accomplish some personal goals. Doing pictures means putting my own stamp on images that may have been done before; the Lotto letter clarified that I should carry on with my own take on how to interpret and portray what I see.

In a wild moment I critiqued the stream picture when you asked for feedback on it and have felt uncomfortable about doing the critique ever since. So for these pictures I will offer only that as well as using the sand that has been given to you by the local breezes you might try taking along some coarse pigmented soft pastel in colors you like to be added to give some texture to selected areas of sketches . . . . .

From: Becky McMahon — Jun 17, 2009

I had an excellent reminder on Sunday. I went to the Sun Yat-Sen Garden in Vancouver for a talk on Chinese Calligraphy in conjuncture with a memorial show for Lam Chin Shek, put on by his students. During the entry process they were asking people if they would sign a commemorative sheet for the show. I used my ‘Chinese’ name, the one I sign my paintings by. It lead to a talk with one of the Calligraphy masters and then I went to the talk. During the talk, Tse Yim, covered the basics of Chinese Calligraphy and the history of it. I knew most of this as I taught myself Chinese Calligraphy a few years ago and as always had researched it. He then did a demonstration on a 4 foot sheet of paper and when he had finished the talk, handed to me and presented the paper ‘From one artist to another.’ I was deeply honored and as one of the few non Asian’s at the talk I was very touched.

I really needed this at this time. I have been doubting my work and feeling pressured to change how I do things. I know I do my best work in the traditional style and am now very determined to stay with it. I have found that most of the Asian people who see my work are very encouraging and seem honestly appreciative of my attempts. It’s the Western art world that sometimes seems less than accepting. However, that is not entirely fair. It’s mainly my traditional work that gets into juried shows.

From: Deloris — Jun 17, 2009

I am so glad you are having a great time, I have enjoyed so much your letters. Due to illness I am trying so hard to get back to my painting, but I have been away from it so long, that it is looming over me to paint, and I hate that….how can I find ” just the pure joy of painting” again that was always there in my heart and mind? That first step that I am trying to take right now, seems to be insurmountable, I know it is the fear of failure…but, it is so hard to get back to what I have missed so much. With fond wishes for a wonderful time in Ireland.

From: Carol Green — Jun 17, 2009

This was a great letter to get this morning. I am heading out Friday from Calgary to drive to East End, Sask. for two days to plein air painting, a new venture for me. To hear about you sitting in the sand in Ireland was inspiring — surely I can handle the prairie wind.

From: Farall Canning — Jun 17, 2009

I’m so happy to have your “love letters to art” and your emails each week. Your emails are like conversations with another artist to jolt me out of the same old same olds.

From: Tom Andrich — Jun 17, 2009

For paint try the water mixable oils,either the Lukas Berlin or Winsor & Newton Artisan. So far those are the best I have tried. The Open by Golden gets too sticky when brushing but do stay more workable on the pallette.I guess with the way you work with heavier paint it is more workable on the canvas.

From: Rodney Cobb — Jun 17, 2009

Thank you for the request to e-mail you back. It is important to realize how connected we all are as humans, especially as artists, and especially as plein air artists. So this is connected to the exponent of three, in a sense.

Just returned from Chicago last night back here to Scottsdale because my mother in law is in and out of the hospital etc. Will write more when I get things under control here and thank you for the invitation.

From: Sharon Cory — Jun 17, 2009

This is exactly why I tune in every Tuesday and Friday. You remind me of things that I know and am not using properly or taking for granted. You replenish my spirit when I’m sure I’ll never sell another painting or I’ve run out of passion or I’ve just listened to ten minutes of someone trashing my work.Thanks for being the glue that holds this artists’ club together.

From: Holly Burguieres — Jun 17, 2009
From: Lucia Thomas — Jun 17, 2009

Just want to thank you for your letters. You are such an inspiration and your wit and humor are wonderful attributes that give me energy to continue with my artistic pursuits – still trying to determine what direction I am going though. .. .but that is ok….the journey IS the destination.

From: BJ Adams — Jun 17, 2009

I partially disagree with Richard Bach’s quote: “Learning is finding out what you already know.” I usually learn something I know nothing about, especially from your letters.

Otherwise I totally agree with your reminders of what one does know. Otherwise we tend to forget. I once read that if you hear or read something you forget it within a short time frame. If you see and are demonstrated the thought it will stay with you longer and if you do it yourself (draw it?) there is a very long remembrance time frame. But even then we need those reminders.

Please keep up with both new information and reminders in your Art Letters. I would miss them if you did not. Your travels are wonderful to read about.

From: Karen Martin Sampson — Jun 17, 2009

My mouth fell open when I saw the two pieces you painted in the wind, sand, and Blackberry interruptions.

These are your best things in my opinion! Love them.

From: Cathy Ferrell — Jun 17, 2009

Loved your mapbook report, and the timing could not have been better. Our coop gallery had a salon, and the subject was journals and sketchbooks, so we were able to connect more artists to your Twice Weekly. Keep up the good work, it’s much appreciated by us all!

From: Laurie Sartwell — Jun 17, 2009

Thank you very much for your twice-weekly letters. They inspire me in many ways. The construction of the letter is done a way in which the humor, practical advice, inspirational observations, and a wise lesson are all integrated into enjoyable reading that supports and guides me forward in my often chaotic life/ artistic mind. So, your consistent letter assures that I can bring all of life together with the serenity that you seem to do in your emails. Thank you for that. It’s a one of a kind motivation.

From: Mary Moquin — Jun 17, 2009

Plato believed that true knowledge lies within us and that with the right questions we can find all the answers we are looking for inside us. The trick is having someone prod us with the right questions. The more we understand “why” we paint, the better we can figure out “how”. Your letters help us continually question, and occasionally shakes us from complacency.

From: Carrie Imai — Jun 17, 2009

Count me in on those who appreciate a reminder to keep at it, to not be so critical, to be brave… and that I am not alone in creation, but that we are all brothers and sisters in art. Your letters are a blessing.

From: June Francis — Jun 17, 2009

I was really pleased the other day when I contacted a lady in Adelaide University (Australia) about a painting I had donated to Medical Research (one of my pet charities), to be told that my painting had been bought by one of the University Professors to give as a gift to an overseas visitor. I was really pleased. The painting was of a Tasmanian Coastal Reserve and my husband liked it so that gave it the seal of approval.

I will be having my first solo exhibition that will open on the 3rd of July and all of the many things you have said about putting yourself/work out there are whirling around in my head. I will be exhibiting in “The Lady Franklin Gallery” the home of The Art Society of Tasmania, the foundation stone for the building was laid in 1842 and is a small classic Sandstone Greek Temple set in Acanthe Park. I am calling my exhibition “When East Meets West” because I also teach Chinese Brush Painting so will have a selection of both.

From: Pam Huggins — Jun 17, 2009

I’ve subscribed to your twice-weekly letters for almost a year now and I read each and every one with anticipation and delight. You continue to expand my mind and provide a kind of connectivity that words cannot express. So THANK YOU for reminding me and for teaching me about art and being an artist. And thank you for all the other life lessons in between.

From: Diane Overmyer — Jun 17, 2009
From: Sandra Bos — Jun 17, 2009

I for one, love being reminded of the ‘important stuff’, so, yeah, Thank you Robert for your twice-weekly letters. You are surely doing a good thing by sharing your knowledge and your experience while traveling the world, since most of us can’t go to these far off places. I love your beautiful words, and your great sense of humor. You are, indeed, our modern day “Robert Henri”.

From: Rick McClung — Jun 17, 2009

I agree, we all need reminders. I believe it is beneficial for all mature artists to teach at least a workshop or two during their careers. I find that being forced to put into words the things that have become habits to you, will often help you more than the student you are attempting to help. If only to review exactly the results of the procedure. You may find a reason to adjust or try something new that could improve your own work. It could be another way God repays you for your unselfish sharing of your gift.

From: Kelley MacDonald — Jun 17, 2009

I just finished a workshop with Colin Page. It was wonderful. I felt enriched. Yes, I learned things, but when I sent in the ‘evaluation’ (just a casual email) to the group that sponsored the workshop I said I learned about “value, composition and color” – um…. which I’ve been ‘learning’ about for about 20 years. Not really anything new under the sun, these were things I ‘knew’, but enjoyed being reminded about in a fresh way by a new teacher. Your letter is timely, and resonates with all of us. And it is this way, I think, with everything in life. I have diabetes. Last visit my doctor said “You should drop some more weight… I’ll set you up with the nutritionist.” “Don’t!” I said, “I can recite her advice word for word! I KNOW how to drop weight (what woman doesn’t), I just need to be REMINDED to do so!” And here’s your letter, saying the same thing about our work.

From: Julie — Jun 17, 2009

I’d like to thank you for reminding me that others are being inconvenienced too! Seriously, I guess I tend to find fault with my life (or lack thereof) and your letters reminded me that I’m not the only inconvenienced and frustrated artist out there. People who have support are the strongest people there are and a note that reminds us that we aren’t alone provides that small bit of support.

From: Sara Harned — Jun 17, 2009

I predict that you will be inundated with appreciative notes and I simply wanted to take a moment to add my voice to the chorus. Thank you for what you do. Your thoughtful letters have inspired, stimulated, and comforted me.

From: Jerry Laktonen — Jun 17, 2009

I forwarded it on to my daughter, a health educator in Alaska, with a note about how this might work for her programs. These are to help people eat properly, exercise, and quit smoking. I think especially in what she does, a periodic notice that we are not alone, would help with the little boost we all need. It could be vitally important too. And email might be a practical medium. Even using your twice-weekly letter as a model.

From: Yvette — Jun 17, 2009

Don’t ever doubt that what you’re doing is enriching our lives. My husband also loves to read your letters and he’s a computer programmer. So you do not only benefit artists.

From: Judi Whitton — Jun 17, 2009

Thank you so much for all your wonderful letters which constantly help and encourage us ‘artists’ and ‘teachers’ who can feel very isolated at times. I loved your ‘sand and acrylic’ paintings from Eire and wondered whether you have any advice for me!

In August I have been invited to take a 4 day class in West Cork for 14 enthusiastic watercolor painters (mostly from Eire). I live in the Cotswolds and have not been to Eire before! I am anxious to be well prepared and wondered if you have any painting advice (however brief) which may prepare me for my approach to this wonderful subject matter.

From: Barbara Felkel — Jun 17, 2009

Sitting alone in the gorgeous but isolated NC mtns, I, too, take heart from my blackberry messages. Your comments and insights truly do place me back in community!

From: Evelyn Dunphy — Jun 17, 2009

I love the image of you sitting in the dunes, painting and writing! I am moving myself steadily along the technology path and since I’ll be doing a residency in a fairly remote area where there is no electricity, cell reception, etc. your email gave me an idea. Could a blackberry possibly be the answer? I could even have a blog with this? Thank you for the “shot in the arm” I needed on this subject! And have a wonderful time. I know you are, and will.

From: Suzanne Kelley Clark — Jun 17, 2009

I hope I am not interrupting a sand/acrylic painting by asking a couple of questions.

Having a very Irish background, (both sides of the family for a few hundred years), I have a dream to go paint there sometime. When is the best time or season to be there for painting?? My brother has visited Ireland a few times and reports that the people are very cordial and generous and that it is frightening trying to drive there. He refers to Ireland as “home”. The landscape looks stunning to me.

Your paintings on the beach are super!! It looks as if you are blending just a bit more with those new acrylics. I am toying with trying the Golden Open acrylics and wondering how pro’s like yourself like them. I used to try acrylics and then give up on them because of the drying speed. I wanted to fuss and blend longer than they would allow. Working outdoors fairly thin, how long does it take to dry?? (I know it depends on wind and humidity, but generally??)

From: Claire Kendrick — Jun 17, 2009
From: Ann Snow — Jun 17, 2009

I am finding your bi-weekly emails very helpful. I think it is because I am an encaustic artist, using the method from England, Scotland and Wales. Some artists tend to look down on my art but galleries in Connecticut are including my paintings in their shows. As one friend said, “It doesn’t matter how you get the medium on the paper, its the results that count. I find encaustic art to be very freeing and lots of fun to do. Mainly the result is abstract, which suits me just fine!

From: Ruth Howard — Jun 17, 2009

Your two Ballyness Bay sketches instantly transported me back to Donegal, where I spent two magical weeks a couple of summers ago. Thank you. I’ll have to get my photos (I do travel photography) out from that trip and work on them.

From: Anna Horsnell Wade — Jun 17, 2009

Reading your most recent email this morning, you took me with you to Ireland. Thank you. Though I’ve travelled in the past, it’s been many years since I’ve been outside Canada and for all those years, Ireland is the one place I still long to see … and feel, and taste. You know? Your mention of the wind, the sand … made the vision real. And I loved the two small sketches on the Donegal dunes. Thank you for that little bit of Ireland. Here in Nova Scotia, your twice-weekly emails constantly seem to come just at the moment I need that boost… or reminder. Thank you so much for sharing and reaching out to all of us in our studios or wherever we work away, creating.

From: Tommy Barr — Jun 17, 2009

I see you are here in Ireland. If you have any intention to travel East into the little part we call Northern Ireland, I would love to meet up. If you look at your map I am in a town called Banbridge in County Down. If you get anywhere near a place that looks like traveling distance from there, let me know and I will get myself there. Enjoy the texture in your paint, it introduces a randomness that keeps you on your toes. By the way I also have drying time issues and the solution for me is Griffin Alkyd (though some of the colors are useless).

From: Margaret van der Werf — Jun 17, 2009

As a loyal reader of your Painter’s Keys, I noticed you are in Ireland right now. We live in Ireland, so if you are visiting the area you’re most welcome to stay with us. I would love to meet you.

From: Wyn Rossouw — Jun 17, 2009

Having read, been inspired, reminded and comforted by your regular email letters, ‘gems and pearls’ of wisdom for about a year now, I felt it high time I responded…..Thank you so much. You really are a gifted writer and superb artist.

Being a working artist is very solitary at times. I find painting quietly on my own very necessary (and not at all displeasing), to really get lost in my work and nuture the creative spirit. However it goes without saying, that contact with other artists is just as vital to broaden one’s horizons. Modern technology dumbfounds me, but I am grateful for it when your letters arrive via email.

Thank you for sharing so much of your wisdom and for coaxing me forward on this journey of discovery.

From: Dayadevi Heart-Catterall — Jun 17, 2009

Try DecoArt Traditions texture medium. will not ruin the brush, can have color added to it (you do this) and is not at all gritty. small glass balls, you can’t see these pieces of glass but they refracts light. I use it as a wood filler, after dry and sanded you can’t tell it is not the wood grain….. absolutely wonderful. It refracts the wood around it making it very very difficult to even notice it is not the wood. It lets light in to ‘shine’ refract color of paint great too! If you want to try a sample of this, let me know how to get it thru Canadian customs and I’ll make us a small amount for you and send it….. I’ll need a address too….

Now that i write all that, i am wondering if it was only an example like the brush not being made or the white paint not being available. So let me know….. it is great stuff.

The sample would be free of charge to you. I do not sell the stuff but can put you in contact with someone who does. After all you have been the encouragement and motivator of MY endeavors for many years…… and I’ve given your book of encouragement to at least 3 people now on your list. This is the least i can do. Now if it turns out to be an example, please let me know that too!

From: Michael-Ann Belin intrepidfrog@gmail.com — Jun 17, 2009

I just wanted to say, of all the newsletters I receive, yours is one I always find the time to read no matter what crazy stuff might be going on in my life. Most of the time I find something relevant and meaningful within your words and want to thank you for the gift of inspiration you share with folks.

My intention is not to solicit traffic to my website, so I won’t bother sharing a link… just wanted to tell you about something I am doing that might help someone else, but most importantly and delightfully SELFISH, in the hope of forcing myself back in to creative “mode.” I recognized a long time ago that I need some kind of creative outlet to feel right with the world, but despite all, any urges have eluded me for a couple years now… and yes, I’m sorry to admit even as insightful as one of your past creative block themed letters was, I still remained in a disillusioned “blah” place.

A creative light went off last friday… and I started a sort of “doodling for donations” thing. Any money sent to me goes toward helping someone I know who has been needing work on her home ever since hurricane Ike… But the biggest part for me is that I have committed myself to sending each donor a doodle as a thank you. So far I have had 4 donations *grin* – this past weekend I drew more than I have in a year! Having to follow through on my offer has been a nice exercise in drawing SOMETHING no matter how uninspired I feel, which is a good thing.

From: Mary Wells — Jun 17, 2009

Rest assured, when I get to read your writings (some I have to flag to read later because I’m a busy mom) that they always resonate with me! They’re GREAT! And of course I’m always jealous of where your work finds you – I’d LOVE to be in Ireland right now! I’m too in debt to travel, but maybe that will change one day! For now, I live vicariously through your brushstroked words from a distant land.

From: Sherrie — Jun 17, 2009

I really like the 2nd one, nice colors and composition. It goes against what my coach says; she tells us to try to focus on doing just one thing, whether it’s eating, teleconferencing or creating, but I definitely see the value of combining one boring activity and one fun one.

From: Tricia Reichert — Jun 17, 2009

I must comment on the second sketch, that you completed while writing the letter this week, ‘Horn Head from Ballyness Bay II’.

Compositionally all of the large elements are on the right hand side of the painting and all are stacked one above another – the largest clouds in the sky, the headland and the foreground rocks. The colors are lovely but the composition spoils this painting for me. The first sketch, even though it is still a little right heavy, has a better balance.

From: Mary Ann Fleming — Jun 17, 2009

Here is a sincere thank you for your emails. I only ever read your emails and nothing else on the site. I find by the time I’ve read and digested your email……that’s enough food for thought. The rest is TMI . Maybe someday when I have the time but I am too busy living and painting. Also it never ceases to amaze me that just when I’ve been thinking about a subject…..it is not long before you touch on it too. Must be the universal artistic mind at work.

From: Joan Martin — Jun 17, 2009

I open each of your e-letters with anticipation that you will either put things into an interesting perspective or remind me of why I paint at all. Upon closing the link I marvel at the many topics that you can and will write about. I love reading them. Thank you.

From: Katherine — Jun 17, 2009

Trying to find time to stop and write sometimes a little difficult to do. But I do know that it is important that you know that when I receive your letters, that it reminds me of who I am, an artist. I would like to continue to receive your newsletter. I am struggling to get back to painting, being that the everyday demands on finances keeps me from what I love to do. So it’s a nice reminder when I do get your emails.

From: Carmen M. Gardner — Jun 17, 2009

Here’s one for you. What defines “original?” We just finished opening “Art Maui, 2009.” Our “most prestigious” juried exhibition. This year there were 519 pieces entered by 326 artists. 111 were selected for inclusion in the show. This Saturday a question was raised regarding a quilt juried into the show. Apparently, it was created from a quilting book. The design, while spiffed up a bit, was very similar to the quilts in this instructional “manual.” When this info was brought to the attention of the board of directors of Art Maui, it was determined that they’d let the juror make the call. The piece has already been purchased by the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts’ to add to the State’s permanent collection.

The fact that the piece in question was made from a pre-existing “pattern” caused a flurry of emails and a heated debate on what exactly is “original,” and what exactly is “not.” The prospectus clearly states: ” All Art Maui entries must be original and have been created within the last two years independently and without supervision.” Several art quilters weighed in. They were adamant that this piece wouldn’t have made it into any “quilt show” anywhere. I’m certain you can see the dilemma this could present. The juror’s call was that it is original, yet you can see many that are very similar simply by “googling” the quilt. The quilters stand by their unanimous belief that this piece does not meet the criteria for the exhibition.

From: Bruce Haley — Jun 17, 2009

Wish I was there with my camera creating my own works of art. I’ve found that when the weather isn’t cooperating, I just let her do what she wants to do and capture what Mother Nature gives me.

From: Steve Ruiz — Jun 17, 2009

I am an artist and gallery owner along with a group of artist that form a co-op named the Blue Core Group, we have monthly meetings in which I incorporate your emails as a forum to start the meetings. You have great insight as an artist, so I want to thank you for those inspired words of wisdom.

From: Marney Ward — Jun 17, 2009

For years I have kept a monthly “To-Do” list, but now I find it also helps to write a daily post-it note with 4-6 things I want to accomplish that day. Won’t necessarily do them all, might do something completely different, and that’s OK, its good to be able to be spontaneous, but a daily mini-list does help keep me focused and wasting less time. The monthly list helps prevent me from forgetting something entirely. And it does feel good to be able to check things off!

From: Jacqui Douglas — Jun 17, 2009
From: Lavinia Young — Jun 17, 2009

I too have discovered Golden Acrylics but as they are expensive I use cheaper fast drying ones for the base. I like to think my paintings are better for the addition of a bit of sand, authenticity from the scene!

From: Stacy Hurt — Jun 17, 2009

Yes your emails matter to me. They help me and I’m grateful to know there are others out there who are the same. My discipline is fiber art and my calligraphy work is often done in acrylics on fabric. You are currently somewhere I would dream of being in my life… (Ireland) You are lucky even with the inconveniences.

From: Christina Hepburn — Jun 17, 2009

Oh my god, I read your emails everyday! I have had a profound spiritual awakening recently about my purpose here and the fact that…I’m an artist!…I want to paint! I’m working on an acrylic and oil series completely different to my past watercolor work!

I have been a Realtor for 20 years and an artist with a broken heart for 11 years…it’s time for me to live my dream! And I thank you for your contribution to all artists and especially for me.

From: Lynda — Jun 17, 2009

Ok, I give up – how do you write and paint at the same time??

art teacher here – left brain/right brain… always attempting to quiet my students’ chatter (left brain) while they’re drawing (right brain) to optimize their rightbrainedness… so how DO you do both simultaneously?

From: Lori — Jun 17, 2009

I always look forward to your beautiful thoughts and words. You make my life so much richer.

From: Helen Tilston — Jun 20, 2009

You are heartily welcome in our fair land of Ireland

Your paintings exude passion, soul and peace

You are leaving us “as you found us”

So many have wanted to change Ireland with so many well meaning suggestions but you have chosen to give, you are giving us your heart, soul, brain and that special talent that is unique to Robert Genn

Agus Go Ndeiri on bothair leath (May the roads rise to meet you)

Helen Tilston

Aughnish, Kinvara, Co. Galay


From: Liesbeth Groenewald — Jun 26, 2009

I have just completed my MA in Fine Art on the subject of ancient Bushman art. At the same time I visited Australia and had the great fortune of attending an Aborigine art workshop. The two cultures are much the same, and I fell in love with this alternate way of making art. Conundrum!! How to marry what I am now in love with with Eurocentric sensibility? Any suggestions?



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