The tribe

Dear Artist, In The Wandering Who?, Gilad Atzmon tells of the day in his youth when he first heard the saxophone of Charlie (Bird) Parker. It was on vinyl and from the only record store in Jerusalem. Young Gilad studied that disc night and day and then purchased his very own sax. The “miracle of music” was to take him to an international career as musician, composer and author, and permitted his escape from what he felt was the misguided direction of the State of Israel, where he was born. The idea that art has the ability to rise above religion, nationality and race is well understood. I’ve asked a lot of questions when speaking to art groups, but I’ve never found it necessary to ask people about those sorts of things. After a few months of study, Atzmon was surprised to learn that Charlie Parker was black. When you think about the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Artists, you might conclude we’re a tribe of our own, and a mighty wide-ranging one at that. Subscribers to this letter, for example, include creative people in 115 countries. Like the UN, we don’t always agree, but it can’t be denied that we all have a mutual love. From the emails I receive, some of which have to be run through a translation machine, I get the idea that art might even be a vehicle for peace. We artists certainly bring a world view based on respect, observation, play, learning, celebration and mutuality. In the machinations of humanity, these traits must surely hold some value. The Internet builds friendships between those who might otherwise be enemies. The Internet also facilitates foreign workshops, travelling shows, residencies, and international artist exchanges. Artists from one nation sell their work more readily in other nations. On The Painter’s Keys site, and on your own blogs and websites, art made today goes online in minutes to be seen within seconds by a world of others. To ensure that universal online freedom prevails, we may need to temper some of our baser instincts. We don’t need regulations to do this. We need character. Our tribe is in a position to show this character. Singularly and together the nations can make great music. Music needs to blow into all corners of our world. All art reaches out to shake the hands of strangers. Best regards, Robert PS: “After one month with a saxophone shoved in my mouth, my military combatant’s enthusiasm disappeared completely. Instead of flying choppers behind enemy lines, I started to fantasize about living in New York, London or Paris.” (Gilad Atzmon) Esoterica: We dine at a table of many nations. As artists we celebrate our creative joy and toast our mutual humanity. While we all speak with some sort of accent, we do so in the universal language of art. At your table, when you get a chance, please consider raising a glass to our tribe. It is a tribe beyond tribes, and in my heart of hearts I believe our tribe has an illustrious future.   Highland Art Games by Brian Crawford Young, Forres, Scotland  

oil and beeswax painting
by Brian Crawford Young

Here in Scotland we are used to the idea of being both Scottish and British in nationality (although the British part may disentangle in the next few years!). We are also very familiar with the idea of the clan, as I’m sure everyone knows. Clan in Gaelic means ‘children of,’ and as you know we have all the different clan tartans (plaids). So my big idea for artists worldwide is — How about we think of ourselves as members of the Art Clan? We could have our own tartan (would it be kind of abstract, like a Mondrian perhaps?) and we could have our own clan chief. Once a year we could have Highland Art Games, splashing paint around, tossing the giant caber paint brush and jigging to the sound of the Highland pipes. Surreal!! (RG note) I’m in, Brian. The scotch is on me. I’ll buy it on Islay when I get there. There are 5 comments for Highland Art Games by Brian Crawford Young
From: Nancy — Mar 01, 2013

I’m in, too! Love your painting.

From: Laura Colpitts — Mar 02, 2013

You might be on to something, Brian! Highland Art Games…I like it.

From: Mike Daymon — Mar 02, 2013

I’m 100% with you, Brian. The shortcut might be to just join the Games, stage a highland games painting party in kilt with palette in hand. Any of the games, everywhere. Wonderful, mysterious painting.

From: Laura Power Davies — Mar 03, 2013

There with bells on! Could we circulate the site of the Clans Art Games so that after Scotland, Australia, after Australia, America, Canada, Wales and – you get the idea.

From: Patsy, Northern Ireland — Mar 05, 2013

Hmmm – sounds like a good idea! Particularly for me, a short ferry ride across the water! ;-) Let us all know when it’s happening, Brian.

  The Pilbong Art Project by Pat Viles, USA  

“Backyard Series: Snow Day”
mixed media
by Pat Viles

This morning I read with interest your thoughts on global sharing of art, music, etc. After many years of exhibiting my work in Europe and Asia I firmly believe that art and music are universal and bring people together like nothing else! During my years of traveling all over the world to paint, and my exhibiting my work in Europe and Asia as well as the USA, I have made many life-long friends and learned much from all of them. Never have I encountered opposition or any kind of problem. Before Christmas I was contacted by Kim Juewhe for the Pilbong Art Project in Tokyo, inviting me to participate in an exhibit opening in Naples, Italy March 8. The title of this exhibit is “Chaos to Creativity: One Mind One Heart” and addresses global calamities like Tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, school shootings, terrorists attacks, etc. that have happened in the past years. Kim believes we as artists can make a difference, so there will be 50 artists from Italy, France, USA, Canada, China, Japan, Korea and other countries all working together, exhibiting our work in the Castel del’Oro in Naples. Each artist has submitted 2 paintings. This exhibit will travel to many different venues during the next year. I only wish I could attend the opening! There is 1 comment for The Pilbong Art Project by Pat Viles
From: Brenda Behr — Mar 01, 2013

Love the painting. Wonderful composition.

  Art without borders by Adam Cope, Lanquais, Dordogne, France  

“Vignoble, Boisse, Bergerac A.O.C.”
oil painting
by Adam Cope

La culture n’a pas des frontières Bravo for creative types from 115 countries reading your letters! So true that cultural exchanges are peace-making, enriching, thought provoking … and foster a sense of the Fellowship of artists. BTW, a fellow artist is either a confrere or consœur in French, so it’s interesting to note the use of sisterhood & brotherhood in your letter to ‘The Tribe.’ How we choose to behave to each other remains an individual affair. Anyone wanting a laugh/headache, and who is curious about how artists spoke to each other on the Internet way, way back in the early D.O.S. days, could read the yahoo group “World Artists”… it was before most of us had our own websites and thus had very little idea of to whom we were speaking to and where they were coming from. Blind Man’s Buff… a great recipe for confusion! Still it warped my brain from no Internet to Internet exchange between artists. I totally agree with you in the creative exchange that can happen in real life, around a table with a cup of friendship, maybe on a foreign workshop. (RG note) Thanks, Adam. You can check out Adam’s workshops in France and other international learning opportunities in our Workshop Calendar.   International connectivity by Brenda Behr, Goldsboro, NC, USA  

“Muddy and wet”
oil painting
by Brenda Behr

I especially love that you so loftily put art in a position that supersedes religion, nationality and race in its ability to connect different peoples. Every time I receive a friend request on Facebook from an artist in a country in the Mideast whose government is at odds with the West (or vice versa), I accept that friendship as I would extend my hand if I were to meet that artist in person. I want to say, “Let our governments do battle, let us do art.” How ironic that the Internet, designed originally as an instrument of war, failed because of its inability to maintain secrecy. This sharing of information has instead beautifully evolved into a potential instrument of peace. We speak a universal language, the language our ancestors used with their first cave paintings. Not all art depicts beauty, but even the most humble art is an attempt to connect with another human being. (RG note) Thanks, Brenda. And thanks for the three artful tins of cookies you sent the Painter’s Keys elves at Christmas. We’re still loving them. There is 1 comment for International connectivity by Brenda Behr
From: Brenda Behr — Mar 01, 2013

You are so welcome Robert. They were butterscotch. Wasn’t sure of the butter part, but knew that you are a scotch man.

  100 Thousand Poets for Change by Lisa Vihos, Sheboygan, WI, USA  

“100 Thousand Poets for Change”
by Lisa Vihos

This group was started in 2011 by poets Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion. We have had two worldwide events, “100 Thousand Poets for Change.” The next is scheduled for September 2013. Poets, musicians and visual artists from all over the world have been involved and I have made friends (through the miracle of Facebook) with artists in Greece, Nigeria, Australia, South Africa… oh and North Carolina, California, D.C., etc. etc… All in the name of peace and sustainability. I just thought you would appreciate this very clear example of the “the tribe” at work. (RG note) Thanks, Lisa. Readers can learn all about this poetic worldwide peace effort here.   Who’s an artist? by Angela Lynch, Toronto, ON, Canada  

“Across the Land”
watercolour painting
by Angela Lynch

My husband owns and runs his own manufacturing company in the Greater Toronto Area and has been successful at it for 26 years. His background is music, and along the road, he became a boss in a completely different field. He’s created a sustainable, thriving business for nearly 100 people, and since I started painting in 2005, he often compares what I am doing, where I am going, who I am with, my thoughts and ideas, my disappointments and failures, to his work. He is an avid goal setter and often tosses quotes at me which are laced heavily with meaning that can be applied to either of our respective works. He creates, just as I do. He creates jobs, ideas, the foundation for others to do their own creating. Engineers are artists as they create their own works of art for the customers. The folks on the shop floor are builders (artists) making their craft. He often promotes the idea that one does not have to paint, carve wood, knit… to be an artist. My husband is creating his business and pulling in his life experiences and ideas, his passion, into creating his work of art. Robert, can you expound on this idea of artists outside the typical “art” scene? (RG note) Thanks, Angela. On other occasions I’ve numbed readers with my attitudes on the fine arts of carpentry, plumbing, bird-house building, vintage car maintenance, scotch drinking, fly-tying and worm threading. I, for one, do not discriminate. All is art and art is all. There are 5 comments for Who’s an artist? by Angela Lynch
From: Jackie Knott — Mar 01, 2013

I couldn’t agree more, Angela. Business in this day and time demands creativity to survive. I tip my hat to my husband to not only have provided for his family for forty years, but to have left a lasting impact on an area still obvious a generation later.

From: Carla Mazzone — Mar 01, 2013

I just finished reading an article that makes that very same statement. The corporate world has changed considerably. Companies are looking for MFAs not MBAs to add to their staffs. Creativity is necessary for success. This comes from within and cannot be “outsourced”.

From: Darrell Baschak — Mar 01, 2013

What an exquisite watercolour painting Angela!

From: robin baratta — Mar 01, 2013

I teach art in nursing homes, specializing in Alzheimer patients, the most common comment I hear from my clients is ‘I’m no artist’. My standard reply is have you ever cooked a meal, planted a garden, decorated a room, sewed a dress, or built something? It’s all art, at it’s roots. Doing art helps reconnect them to the world, and to they’re creative selves. Art is one of, if not the, most powerful forces in the human experience.

From: rebo1941 — Mar 01, 2013

Running a business is an art. I earned a degree in art and worked in the advertising business for several years until I had the opportunity to own and manage a retail business. The financial statement tells the health of a company and where the company has been over time. The statement must always be in balance. Or, as in art, the painting, etc. must be in harmony, or balance. Just as you add or take away a mark to keep the composition harmonious, each decision you make in business, no matter how small, has an effect on some other part of the financial statement, or business.

  Wisdom is now everywhere by Dan Mosheim, Dorset, VT, USA  

custom round cherry dining table
by Dan Mosheim

I started writing a blog about my woodworking in 2007 and through the miracle of Google analytics, I have discovered that I have accumulated interested readers from 114 countries who sometimes contribute astonishing ‘small world’ comments to my posts. Thirty people from Croatia spending an average of almost 9 minutes each reading my stuff last month? … who knew? The internet has indeed created a truly astonishing breadth of connected information, available at the click of a mouse or finger. When I started doing my art in the ’70s there were a few oldsters you could visit to glean some wisdom, but now that wisdom is online and available everywhere. Your post on heuristics quoted below, which I quoted in my blog, contains one of my favorite sets of advice for my assistants, and even for other artist and non-artist friends: Start anywhere. Accept “nearly right” in order to get going. Forgo early accuracy and precision. Let early strokes determine later ones. Assume a solution and try working backwards. Of two solutions, choose the simplest. Move forward on incomplete information. Think smart rather than laborious. Use intuition to go directly to the outcome. Trust your instincts.   Critiquing and free speech by Nicoletta Baumeister, Vancouver, BC, Canada  

acrylic painting
by Nicoletta Baumeister

Two elements of art tribe culture are the practice of critiquing and the pursuit of personal expression. A Jewish friend recently ventured his opinion to me that a major factor in the ability of Hitler to swing a very rational people to the type of war that was waged in WWII was the suppression of free speech. Similar situations occur in most every type of human strife. The need to express one’s perception of an event is critical to healthy communication. A person who is allowed to articulate their perceptions is able to compare those perceptions with another human to verify, modulate or repudiate the accuracy based on a secondary point of view. It allows one to confirm or reject perceptions of events and opens up the possibility — to both parties — to modulate their behavior. A secondary, valuable by-product of expressing oneself is self-knowledge and its corollary, self-esteem. To express one’s perceptions, one requires to be aware of them, examine them and discover oneself. This is where the second practice of the art tribe, the critique, becomes of service. A good art critique examines not whether someone likes or dislikes your work, but rather consists of observing and sorting the visual components of the work. Good critical thought sharing about a person’s most authentic expression and a person’s most authentic apprehension goes a long way towards understanding and communicating, no matter what the subject or the tribe. There are 2 comments for Critiquing and free speech by Nicoletta Baumeister
From: Selma Blackburn — Mar 01, 2013

Thank you for your astute observations, Nicoletta. I heartily agree.

From: Tatjana — Mar 01, 2013

I agree. I have always seen creativity as an escape from limitations of tribal connections. Although those connections are nowadays becoming more global and free than ever before.


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The tribe

From: Robert Sesco — Feb 26, 2013

I raise a glass in toast to our tribe! But let it be written that art is no more privileged nor exalted in providing a vehicle for civilized life, or brotherhood, than sport, or service, or blogging, or most any activity; the key to it all is The Golden Rule. I do not personally revere Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali as do many others because I believe his actions provided an example of poor sportsmanship to an entire generation. Sport, like art, can dissolve the perceptions of race, or class, between us if honored. But if either are ignorantly used to fuel disrespect, to dominate, to diminish an opponent then we are the brutish people we thought we were. The black and white photograph of Cassius Clay standing over Sonny Liston stands, for me, as a monumental moment of digression for sportsmanship around the world. Respect for a valiant, but vanquished opponent, is to use Sport as a vehicle for civilized activity. Magnifying slights from media quotes in order to ramp up your competitive zeal, and to compete in an ‘in your face’ mentality, disrespects Sport as well as your opponent, and serves to cheapen our relationship with others rather than promote it. In business it currently seems palatable and justifiable to make decisions without respect, as in: “Sorry, it’s not personal, it’s just business.” Well, in fact, it is ALWAYS personal, and to make decisions as if you are the representative for a stone monolith called a corporation you are not respecting the brother or sister your decision has impacted. Religion, or spirituality, in these ‘modern’ times appears to require total agreement among all parties or else violence is the prescription. That you cannot milk from your spiritual practice all that you personally need without requiring everyone in the whole world to accept your beliefs, and practice your rituals, belies the shallow foundation upon which your beliefs stand. Robert, you are right, Art is capable of rising above our baser instincts, all we need is character. But with character almost any endeavor in which we engage can provide us a vehicle in which we rise above religion, nationality, and race. I don’t know how to break the cycles of ignorance and conditioned responses for all people at the same time. Our world is set up in such a way that people are evolving and devolving at differing rates. I’ve read that the general direction of our evolution is toward a more enlightened human; I assume that means more character, more compassion, more intelligence, more respect. Art is but one of many avenues through which this positive evolution may reveal itself, and I try to imagine respectful, enlightened people engaging in art, sport, business, governance, parenting, spirituality, etc. Our tribe is one of many. Politicians are not the problem. Bigots and racists are not the problem. The economy is not the problem. The individual is the problem, and the answer, for our congressional representatives, for the bigots and racists, and for the economy, for all of our ills, are responsible, informed citizens, endowed with character, respect, and compassion. Our organizations are nothing more than groups of individuals. The world is a larger group of individuals. As artists, I would encourage my tribe to engage in raw imagination of the potential of our world. The most beautiful man-made structures never began with a set of blueprints. They began with an idea, an imagination, in someone’s mind. If you can’t imagine a beautiful world in which you’d be proud to live, a world you’d be proud to leave behind for your neighbor’s children, how low then, is the probability, that it will ever manifest?

From: Gene Martin — Feb 26, 2013

Well said Robert. Now may we all live by your maxim and achieve the dream. You have indeed set the bar.

From: Marvin Humphrey — Feb 26, 2013

Works of art or music automatically acknowledge our common human thread. The best ones elevate the human condition universally.

From: Mary Garrett — Feb 26, 2013

I find today’s letter somewhat fanciful, a daydream really. We are, all of us, small people in our own small world. Yes, we reach out and occasionally connect with others; yes, we share some things in common with others. We want to be part of the greater brotherhood, but ultimately, we are alone. We create because it gives meaning to our lives. We share our creations as much as we can, because it brings us joy. “We artists certainly bring a world view based on respect…” That has not been my experience; within my small world, perhaps, but not universally. “The Internet builds friendships…” Internet friendships are not real. They can fill a void but certainly do not enrich our lives the way real friendships do. “Singularly and together the nations can make great music.” Metaphorically speaking, the ultimate daydream; if only it were possible.

From: Andre Satie — Feb 26, 2013
From: Lyla Jacobsen — Feb 26, 2013

Right on. I have been reading your emails for some time. You come across as a very wise man. When do you have the time to glean all your great information and paint as you do?

From: Bobbi Landucci — Feb 26, 2013

Lovely, Robert. I am honored to feel one of the tribe, altho just a fledgling artist. Bobbi

From: Rich Mason — Feb 26, 2013

Thanks for “the Tribe”. It’s very true as I’ve found since being able to communicate with fellow members in many countries and states that I have started to look on our existence as a world one. Not a small local one. You’ve said it and so have I, we’re all in this together. Let’s make it as pleasant as possible and hope that those who lead start looking at the big picture and stop acting like 5th graders.

From: Kelley MacDonald — Feb 26, 2013

How true, Robert. Though I am far left-leaning, and some of my very best artist friends are Pillars of the Right, we share a love of art, and through that, of each other. I see how true and honest they are, it’s reflected in their work, and I feel that this shared love, of art, is stronger than any difference we might have. I am proud of their achievements and feel their encouragement and support daily. Art. It’s a wonderful thing.

From: Rosemary Claus-Gray — Feb 26, 2013

I found this letter especially wise, and moving. I simply want to say thank you for being a voice of reason in a chaotic world. Your letters, and I suspect you, as a person, are very special. In my work, I strive for the kind of serenity you capture with your words. Just, thank you. Doniphan, MO.

From: Rebecca Stebbins — Feb 26, 2013

I spent the summer of 1985 in the Soviet Union, a few months after Gorbachev came to power. Only 6 years earlier, BB King had toured the USSR, one of the first Americans to do so, and the Russians we met who saw him play told us they were shocked to learn that Americans had that much soul (or any, really). Clearly he was a fabulous ambassador and a better representative of the American people than the diplomatic formalities that kept us all in the dark at “5 minutes to midnight.” We spent a lot of time playing music and singing with the Russian friends we met there (often well lubricated, I might add). Maybe an artistic talent that can be shared should be a prerequisite for all our foreign agents. Music is a natural, but I would love to find a way for painting to build bridges as well.

From: Adele Galgut Sanders — Feb 26, 2013

We look forward to your regular letters. This one is ‘specially spot-on. I’m proud to be an active member of our Artists Tribe. P.O. Box 633, Sea Point, South Africa

From: Lina Jones — Feb 26, 2013

The universality of art emanates from the mutual love that artists share for their environment. There are no barriers between people who are in love with that which they observe, whatever their race or beliefs. While artists have their individual styles and subject choices, they all love what they see and want to share that with the world around them. No artist, whatever their degree of proficiency, does not share this respect and appreciation for whatever they depict in their artwork.

From: Peter Kiidumae — Feb 26, 2013

Someone commented that “internet friendships are not real”. I have three internet artist friends. We all met on an art forum and have since connected directly for almost 10 years. One is in Wichita, Kansas, one is in Geelong, Australia, and one is in northern Ontario. I’m in British Columbia. We have never met face-to-face, but we have nurtured and encouraged each others artistic endeavors with honest critiques that have significantly helped each of us to improve the quality of our work. We share our personal lives and know each other just as well as it is possible to know other people, and I consider them amongst my most valued friends.

From: Phillipa Paxton — Feb 26, 2013

It would be difficult to wax rhapsodic about Charlie Parker’s life. It was a disaster mitigated only by his spark of genius. He was more than a “once in a generation” sort of artist. He was the sort of artist that so dominate a current style that everything that comes after can be shown to bear his influence. It would be easy to say that the Parker legend is stronger for its being brief, but that is simply not true. Once Charlie Parker hit his stride, everything in jazz changed. The great pity is that he was such a failure as a person (largely due to his addiction), that he alienated his strongest collaborators, and that his recorded legacy is brief and uneven. That aside, he astonished his contemporaries, and left the rest of us with recordings that cause musicians even today to gape in wonder. He certainly exemplified both the strengths and weaknesses of what it is to be human.

From: Kimberly Wurster — Feb 26, 2013

I am new to your letter but am familiar with your work and the wonderful way in which you share your thoughts with others. I could go on for quite some time in an effort to thank you for all of the reasons that come to mind. But in an effort to keep this brief, I will just say that I so appreciate the time you take to share your views with all of us who look forward to hearing from you. I wish you a wonderful day of painting to your heart’s content!

From: Luigi Flagel — Feb 26, 2013

Regarding the oft-heard comment that “internet friendships are not real,” the internet may have its shortcomings, but the connections and distant friendships gained are a lot better than not making these connections at all.

From: Linda MacGregor — Feb 26, 2013

I taught art for many years and one of my most important objectives was to create a classroom of acceptance: a place where teens were able to see something about their commonality as opposed to the differences they were inclined to emphasize. The room, over time, became almost a ‘peace zone’ with shared art and art-making the olive branch. Thank-you for this post.

From: Padmaja — Feb 26, 2013

The wisdom reflected through your letters is amazing and has always made me introspect and learn with the thoughts you share. I see the reality of this post in my art life, have made so many artist friends all over the world, I may never meet them in this life time, but there is certainly an affinity, respect for their works and friendship beyond color, creed or religion, thank you for this post!

From: Jackie Knott — Feb 27, 2013

We all have an agenda; it may be simply to make ends meet, esteem, financial gain, but more often it is to become better artists. We each have a pinnacle we desire to achieve. It is a continuing struggle we hope to find in the next painting, the next project. But universally, it is the love of art … it trumps selfishness. I submit our calling leaves the negatives of human character far in the background. Nothing wrong with wanting financial success … but not at the expense of greed trampling others in our wake. That mindset of artists to strive for excellence is what raises our tribe above those who are not. There is integrity in our quest. Pity the person who can’t feel that. I suppose some athletes feel the same about their passion as we do ours. But watching two men beat each other to a pulp leaves me cold. Competition is more than disabling your opponent. Art can transcend religion, race, nationality, and even history … oddly enough, the Olympics are supposed to do that but have become a stage for national egos. Neither can we trust the results anymore. I can’t think of any enterprise you can separate politics and profit as the primary goals. One characteristic of a tribe is support for its common survival. Even though ours is a lone pursuit it is a fine thing to encourage a fellow artist within the tribe. Respect is one hallmark of civilization and the commentary here is stimulating and positive. Art is a communicator of ideals. I appreciate this forum being a cumulative voice of many.

From: Elaine Echels — Feb 27, 2013

We artists have a special bond, like family, and it’s a wonderful world there.

From: Sherry McNish — Feb 27, 2013

It’s hard to say which is more excellent, your paintings or your writings. Thank you so much for the helpful information you so freely share with your audience. Ringgold, GA

From: Linda Eichorst — Feb 27, 2013
From: Eloise Lovell — Feb 27, 2013

Wouldn’t it be amazing if art was the missing ingredient in the recipe for peace. Throw away your guns and pick up your brush, your horn or your play. I think it is so sad that this country sensationalizes sports and yet calls art a luxury we really don’t need. I’ve never heard of anyone getting a brain injury from painting. Thanks for letting me comment.

From: Dan De Courcy — Feb 27, 2013

Trouble is, if we formed a group, it would begin to look like a religion–an Artist’s religion–and other religions would start to find fault and discriminate against us, as religions have done since time began. No, I think we just have to do what you suggested–show more character without getting trapped in a liturgy or a bureaucracy. But if we did go for it, would you be our first pope?

From: Brenda Brown Taylor — Feb 27, 2013

What a beautiful and inspiring article! I shall indeed raise my glass to toast the “tribe”. We really do share a sense of community and a deep love for art. It, like music, is a universal language which perhaps is a vehicle for peace. Thank you for your wonderful and relevant articles!

From: Marie Turner — Feb 27, 2013

We all need to consider picking up a paint brush instead of a gun! Just think how beautiful all of our lives would be even if we didn’t paint well.

From: Fran Steinmark — Feb 27, 2013

It boosts my self confidence to learn that I am a part of a tribe.

From: Mary Klotz — Feb 27, 2013

A hammer-dulcimer musician and entertainer from Virginia, USA, has remarked that you can’t make war while you’re making music! He suggests air lifting musical instruments into area of conflict… Maryland, USA

From: Karlene Kay Ryan — Feb 27, 2013

YES—I raise my glass as a toast of gratitude to be in communion with “the Tribe.” A gift!

From: Tiit Raid — Feb 27, 2013
From: Nolly Gelsinger — Feb 27, 2013
From: Helen Jeglic — Feb 27, 2013

I enjoy all your letters and I look forward to them. This one is special in a warm and unifying way – it makes me very happy to belong to the tribe. Thank you for writing your letters!

From: Ben Herzog — Feb 27, 2013
From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Feb 28, 2013

The universal elevation of the human condition and therefore- the species- will only happen when (all) individual humans themselves choose to evolve. An ‘enlightened human’ in fact- actually and also means literally becoming physically RADIANT. One opens the inner channel for this possibility by merging the positive and negative- and all other dualities- not by denying the negative. Integration is what’s necessary for a healed future human condition to manifest. And anything less is pointless.

From: F. G. Wynne, Detroit — Feb 28, 2013

The universal elevation of the human condition will not happen until humans evolve from superstition and the pat acceptance of one sided answers to many sided questions. The world, the universe, is far more wonderful than originally thought, and many artists know this intuitively. Thanks, Bruce.

From: Rick Rotante — Feb 28, 2013

I admit it- I am selfish. I promote my cause in the hopes others will see what it is I see and have some effect on them. I don’t see myself as a special savior with special talents in creating art. I do believe that whatever I paint should come from an inner source and have meaning- if only for me. I can’t paint for the world or change the world with art. I can only report. Nor do I see other artist who necessarily effect me, but in all honesty many artist have had an impact on me and my work. In the end, I am a loner and we are not a tribe but more a band of individuals all seeking to be seen and heard. To have our voice heard. I could just as well have been actor, politician, public speaker, writer. It turned out my ability was art, painting to more exact. I would love to think artists, in general are special, heck what artist wouldn’t? We use art as our language through which we make ourselves heard. Most often we are speaking to the choir, those already on the same track while the “outside” world blunders forth, stumbling in the dark to make their way with my art having little effect. I shutter to think of any one person’s vision having the effect of galvinizing a society. I believe in a nation of free thinkers. While I think myself a free thinker I am bound by the same rules and tenents and principles that govern all people. The need to survive and thrive as best I can. In the end we are all alone in a vast crowd.

From: valerie norberry vanorden — Feb 28, 2013

It is a privilege to belong to an extended family of artists. My motive for producing beauty is getting attention in a positive manner and just for the love of beauty itself. In a large family with diverse characters, we competed for attention and art is how I succeeded, plus I was genetically engineered this way. Art is indeed a language that is like sign language, transcending the babel of the spoken word. I like to think I leave a legacy to those who have known me and to their kids who knew me. I’d like to expand our “tribe” by interacting with those who learn from me.

From: Janet Badger — Mar 01, 2013

To paraphrase the Girl Scouts, I’ve always felt that I am a friend to all artists and a sister to every other Printmaker.

From: Marie Jeanne Mailloux — Mar 01, 2013

I got on to Robert’s list of fellow painters in the late 1990’s when this forum first started. At that time I could paint often as I had little full-time employment. Most of my days are now spent teaching French as a second language. I read these letters and comments with mixed feelings. Regret for not painting so much and relief to know that I am still a member of this elite group of creators. Thanks Robert for giving us a forum for keeping in touch, inspired, encouraged and motivated.

From: Joann Sleadd — Mar 01, 2013

I look forward to your letters and reading the comments of others. Where do you find the time to write and paint. I wish everyone would be connected to your letters of encouragement and inspiring thoughts.

From: Gail Williams — Mar 12, 2013
     Featured Workshop: Michael Chesley Johnson
030113_robert-genn Michael Chesley Johnson workshops Next workshops are held in Sedona, AZ, USA   The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order.

Vanitas One

watercolour painting, 15 x 15 inches by Jill Brooks, Winnipeg, 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 Nancy Schempp of Brisstol, RI, USA, who wrote, “I have learned that each form of art, though they differ in medium, calls forth from the heart great effort and great love, and a determined pursuit of life. A love of beauty and a tender pursuit of honesty and courage, all needed for good art, are certainly building blocks in man’s effort to live together in brotherly love and mutual respect.” And also Linda Anderson Stewart of Alberta, Canada, who wrote, “Playing for Change  —  Connecting the world through music — is exactly what you are talking about… one to share with all.”    

Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

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