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The Painter’s Keys Letters Archive


The archive is a rich resource of art information and advice for artists and creative people looking for meaningful content. You can access every one of the Robert Genn Twice-Weekly letters since the year 2000 and Sara Genn letters since 2014, including shared responses from the worldwide creative art community. This is a timeless collection of material formed by the brotherhood and sisterhood of artists, where all flags fly.

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2006 Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

  • Transformation by art
      December 29th, 2006
  • ...Tintin is a world-wide phenomenon that has spawned Tintinology, Tintinophilia, Tintinolatry and Tintinadulation. Pundits continue to look for levels of meaning, while the artist's personal problems, depressions and epiphanies are intensely studied... Read On

  • The uses of black
      December 26th, 2006
  • ......We're all familiar with paintings with over-bright colours. Too many colours at full strength fight with one another in acid cacophony. To achieve colour harmony and permit full strength colours to work to full advantage, you need graying. A small or moderate amount of black is... Read On

  • A social phenomena
      December 22nd, 2006
  • ...Nevertheless, clubs are part of the greater brotherhood and sisterhood of artists. They are living witness to the democratization of art--people sighting higher ideals and working toward them. Through the slings and arrows of group and professional crits, many artists have found... Read On

  • A walk with Renoir
      December 19th, 2006
  • Not many hikers are on the Grand Randonnee in the Cevennes this time of year... My hiking companion, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, has just turned 166, but he keeps right up with me. He's great company and has an opinion on everything... 'You learn about painting,' he says, 'not by looking... Read On

  • The other eye
      December 15th, 2006
  • Claude Monet (1840-1926) was the archetypal Impressionist. Throughout his life, through thick and thin, in poverty and wealth, in sickness and health, he was devoted to the ideals of the movement. Monet was self-depreciating, persistent, and knelt squarely at the foot of Nature...I'm... Read On

  • Japanese prints
      December 12th, 2006
  • ...looking at contemporary Japanese woodblock prints, clothes-pegged alongside inexpensive, shrink-wrapped reproductions of Hiroshige, Hokusai and Utamaro. At one time, on this exact pavement, the likes of Van Gogh, Bonnard, Degas, Cassatt and Toulouse-Lautrec would have examined... Read On

  • A catty crit
      December 8th, 2006
  • Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was an admirer of Gauguin and one of the leading lights of the Nabis. I explained the Symbolist's ideas on art and their desire to blow the wind out of the establishment...Young Bonnard took a degree in law and had a position working for a public... Read On

  • Career Change
      December 5th, 2006
  • Regarding the success he craves, I suggested to him that it's less like a supernova bursting onto an eager firmament--it's more like the loving assembly, brick by brick, of a private stairway...These days many art schools continue to populate our world with artistic literacy but not... Read On

  • True colours
      December 1st, 2006
  • ...mix your colours (your palette) won't show how a chosen hue will react with others on the work itself. You must apply and consider. Also, many successful mixtures contain a mother colour, plus white and black...Having said that, garishness, when it occurs, is best neutralized with... Read On

  • Design opportunities
      November 28th, 2006
  • There are two main approaches to design. One is the calculated planning that builds preconceived design into work from the very beginning. The other is to leave your options open to be able to modify and improve design as you go along. This requires a constant and critical eye... Read On

  • Inuit art
      November 24th, 2006
  • ...The scarcity and suspicion of academic expectation. In the beginning, Inuit art was a respected pastime. The best encouragement and education was limited to loose guidance, not instruction. Southerners who go north to help out are astounded at this independence of vision. The main... Read On

  • Stretching canvas
      November 21st, 2006
  • ...now a firm believer in having canvases professionally made. The pros have proper squaring jigs and tensioners that get the canvas pretty near perfection. And with a pro you can specify the quality of canvas you want for different types of work. Many larger cities have custom... Read On

  • Elements of form
      November 17th, 2006
  • The shaping of form is one area where many artists get into trouble. In the old days students were encouraged to paint and draw cones, pyramids, blocks and spheres until they were blue in the face. It's no wonder that so many of the classically trained painters knew how to render... Read On

  • The art shrine
      November 14th, 2006
  • Years ago, I started placing small 'obos' in remote places. An obos is a Japanese term for a pile of rocks, often only three, one on top of another. The obos merely says, 'I was here.' Being an unusual configuration, it is obviously from the hand of man. Further, if it is knocked... Read On

  • Animal art
      November 10th, 2006
  • It's well documented that monkeys can paint and do other creative things. Less well known are the artistic elephants at various zoos throughout the world. You may have heard of The Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project in which Thai, Indian and Cambodian elephant-art raises... Read On

  • How to help other artists
      November 7th, 2006
  • My late friend Egbert Oudendag used to say, 'The best way to help artists is to hinder them.' He had the idea that being tough was the way to bring out their gumption. It was also the key to finding voice, style, and the ego-force to get noticed. 'You need to struggle on your own,'... Read On

  • Thinking and not thinking
      November 3rd, 2006
  • With experience, however, you begin to see that the job of the intellect is to give permission to the intuition, and it's the job of intuition to know when intellect is once again appropriate. While thinking can be dangerous and detrimental to your art, it's not as dangerous and... Read On

  • A pride of angels
      October 31st, 2006
  • I've always seen gallery people as friends and partners in enterprise. When I'm in the bush batting mosquitoes or quietly struggling in my studio, I often think of these angels. They are the bridge between private creativity and evolved collectorship. Theirs is a business of sharing... Read On

  • Embrace resistance
      October 27th, 2006
  • Embrace resistance can play itself out a thousand times in any studio day. The creator is prone to weakness, error, ignorance and laziness. Living within that same creator is a higher being capable of overcoming and excelling. Extracting the higher being requires will, desire and... Read On

  • The Starbucks experience
      October 24th, 2006
  • Michelli found the Starbucks culture to be an overflowing cup of empowerment. All employees, from the top brass to the 20-hour-per-week 'baristas' are offered a stake in the company. But this is only part of what makes the company so different and so successful. When I read the five... Read On

  • The Kept Artist
      October 20th, 2006
  • Velasquez took pains to bring his painterly prowess to the highest level. He pioneered unique systems, techniques and technology--for example, long-bristled and long-handled brushes... Read On

  • Failure
      October 17th, 2006
  • Making objects of art is much like the building of businesses. Some are more ambitious than others. Each requires a vision, a plan and a method of execution. Tools, ideas and systems are employees who bring their special skills and require caring and focused management. Like business... Read On

  • The art of teaching art
      October 13th, 2006
  • ...Teaching art is not like teaching accountancy. In the first place, individuals in an art class are likely to have vastly different expectations, potentials and prior experiences...The real problem is that teaching can stealthily eviscerate your own need for art-making... Read On

  • A cloud of smoke
      October 10th, 2006
  • ...I admit it, every time I paint a picture--or write my twice-weekly letter--I'm thinking that something in what I do might bring value to another person. I believe that reaching out and connecting with others may just happen to be our highest calling...A lot of this attitude, while... Read On

  • The secret
      October 6th, 2006
  • ...While secrets can sometimes be fairly clear and on the surface, at most times they're mysteriously subtle...More than anything, secrets have to do with personal habits and the conscious or unconscious prejudices of the worker...For those of us who regularly toil at art, it's clear... Read On

  • Images of delight
      October 3rd, 2006
  • ...Creative folks of all stripes find the making of digital art to be almost irresistible. Brilliant software--on a constant arc of improvement--permits ever more speedy and imaginative manipulation....For us, digital is a celebration of looking and seeing, of delight in what nature... Read On

  • Art and stress
      September 29th, 2006
  • There's no doubt about it, stress in the life of an artist can contribute to the diminishment of the art. Not only the amount created, but the quality as well. Simply put, daily stresses block the clear flow that exemplifies the artist's life. Apart from that, stress over a period of... Read On

  • Neuroarthistory
      September 26th, 2006
  • ...The profs speculate on 32,000-year-old art in the cave of Chauvet in France. No approach other than neuroarthistory can explain why this, the first art, is also the most naturalistic, capturing the mental and physical resources of bears and lions as if on a wildlife film... Read On

  • A unique angle
      September 22nd, 2006
  • ...As a regular juror and habitual looky-loo, I notice that there's lots of competent work that doesn't show much that's unique. While mere competence or proficiency will often attract attention, especially among other artists, it may not be enough. Artists need to have their wits... Read On

  • The age of sharing
      September 19th, 2006
  • ...Apart from the nascent commercial bonanza, creative people are suddenly swapping photos, paintings, poems, pedagogy and paradigms. A new blog floats into the blogosphere every second, a new idea every nanosecond...As the Internet celebrates sharing, we are now in the process of... Read On

  • Motivation
      September 15th, 2006
  • ...brought affirmations from legions of artists who have no trouble being motivated...In studying motivation, I've found that there have to be at least three prerequisites--challenge, process, and the feeling of progress. Without challenge the muse dies. If an artist underestimates... Read On

  • In praise of days
      September 12th, 2006
  • As I grew older I came to realize that days are golden units by which our lives are measured. As a self-anointed self-manager I realized that if I were going to get anywhere, I needed to bring good habits, joy and a certain amount of sacrifice to my days...To be fair, a supportive... Read On

  • Saving a painting
      September 8th, 2006
  • ...Watercolours are by far the toughest to save. The main thing is to be overflowing with benevolent desire--and have a few methods up your sleeve. A frequent problem with watercolours is overworking--so you often need to figure out ways to underwork them...In opaque media--oil,... Read On

  • Effective parenting
      September 5th, 2006
  • Humans, like others in the animal kingdom, are programmed to fill needs. Leaving unfinished work on the easel is just one way the mind can be fooled into fecundity. Artists write here every day and refer to their works as 'my babies.' We creators 'give birth' to our art and 'nurture'... Read On

  • Measuring tenacity
      September 1st, 2006
  • The English landscape painter John Constable spent a lifetime studying clouds. Seeing them both vaporous and solid, he found them to be the most challenging of actors. Wispy micro-cloudlet partners added vivacity, energy and design. Still, these clouds were lit and shaded like any... Read On

  • Creative foreplay
      August 29th, 2006
  • All creative foreplay serves to prepare the artist for at least a decent start. Apart from building enthusiasm and a feeling that what you are about to do is right for you, more than anything the effort steels resolve. In preparation, dreams somehow mix with practical considerations... Read On

  • Community
      August 25th, 2006
  • One of our main jobs as artists is to balance community with independence. We need to think our own thoughts and do our own things. Many pros that I admire implicitly feel that distance-keeping helps to build their uniqueness. Looking around, these pickerel eaters and buckboard... Read On

  • Hope
      August 22nd, 2006
  • When I was a kid my folks took me on a road trip. As we approached the town of Hope, B.C., we saw, crawling up the shoulder of a steep hill, an ancient Model T Ford. A skinny, mustachioed man wearing a fedora was sitting up tall behind the wheel. Below him, a sign on the side of the... Read On

  • The canary in the mine
      August 18th, 2006
  • Speaking of today, it seems to me that in our safe world of food and drug administrations, we may not take as many precautions as we might. Artists like Michelangelo and da Vinci certainly knew they were working with nasty chemicals because they prepared their own. They were very... Read On

  • How sick are you?
      August 15th, 2006
  • Every so often some researcher will publish fresh info on the mental or physical problems of creative folks. The general implication of some of this stuff is that you have to be just a wee bit sick in order to be creative. They often show that many historic artists had something... Read On

  • Mastery or spark?
      August 11th, 2006
  • As we tend to find virtue in our own prejudices, one might think it important to pry open and educate the minds of jurors. But really, in the subjective business of artistic value and creative quality, that's what juror-variety is all about. Parachuting jurors in from other villages... Read On

  • Friendly imaging
      August 8th, 2006
  • Yesterday Marilyn Juda-Orlandi, of Monte Porzio Catone, Italy, wrote: 'Now that it's summer I often spend a day at the beach. It's an opportunity to have a lot of scantily dressed free models... Read On

  • John Ruskin
      August 4th, 2006
  • John Ruskin (1819-1900) felt that artists had a calling to be inspired as prophets and teachers. He demanded a freely accessed, naturalistic style and a grounding in love of nature and mankind. This led to questions of social morality and reform that occupied his middle years. He... Read On

  • In praise of drawing
      August 1st, 2006
  • Did you know that between 1820 and 1860 there were more than 145,000 'How to Draw' books published in the USA? In those pre-camera days, gentlemen and ladies kept memories alive by drawing them... Read On

  • Timed creativity
      July 28th, 2006
  • It was getting too dark for photos. I was on a narrow road within a menacing forest. Dorothy growled into the gloom. Then, like a ghost, a solitary coyote emerged toward us... Read On

  • Early and late bloomers
      July 25th, 2006
  • Economist David Galenson of the University of Chicago has published several books and countless papers on the genesis of creativity. Odd business for an economist, you might say, but his research is largely based on exhaustive research into the number of times certain works of art... Read On

  • The value of the bozzetto
      July 21st, 2006
  • Bozzetto is an Italian term for a sculptor's small-scale model, usually in wax or clay, made in preparation for a full-scale work in more permanent material. Like the French 'maquette,' a bozzetto is often exploratory. The word bozzetto, however, can also mean a sketch for a... Read On

  • A complex effort
      July 18th, 2006
  • Off the northern tip of Haida Gwaii lies Langara Island. It's wild and lush, with great heaving seas below wheeling gulls and soaring eagles... Read On

  • A labour of love
      July 14th, 2006
  • Imagine a magic box with a screen in the lid through which you could talk regularly and share exchanges with like-minded members of a worldwide community... My Toshiba laptop is that magic box. Read On

  • The mother lode
      July 11th, 2006
  • I'm laptopping you at midnight from a bedroll under the Milky Way. We're on a rock-strewn sandbar beside Lone Cabin Creek where it enters the Fraser River in the Cariboo region of Western Canada. The cabin has long since gone, along with the hardy miners in their search for alluvial... Read On

  • A parade of wonders
      July 7th, 2006
  • Within easy walking distance of my studio is Crescent Park... These pathways hold my memories...sights, understandings and minor epiphanies. When I revisit my parade of wonders I become anchored and focused. Measuring the seasons, new growth, old friends. This is where lines are... Read On

  • Art and Power
      July 4th, 2006
  • The need for power may be at the root of some creative lives. Many artists have told me art gives them a purchase on the universe and their reason for being. Like me, in childhood they often found themselves unable to compete in more socially acceptable ways. Art gave them a place to... Read On

  • The nature of serial process
      June 30th, 2006
  • As the serial process unfolds, the challenges presented by earlier sorties become more and more easily retaken. While a project's history becomes necessary to its future, previously covered ground is glossed over in favour of other concerns and attractions...In series thinking I have... Read On

  • The mother of all tips
      June 27th, 2006
  • ...And then perhaps creative excellence is a brain thing, like the ability for math or spelling. Some have it, and some don't. In my private searches among my masters, many I've admired have simply and smartly divined the mother of all tips: It's the work itself that gives the best... Read On

  • Rocks in the head
      June 23rd, 2006
  • I've always been interested in the underlying meanings that might exist--intentionally or not--in works of art. Recently, while painting stream-bound rocks, I was wondering again. I was also looking at the variety of ways the rocks might be related to each other in a design sense,... Read On

  • Your personal spin
      June 20th, 2006
  • ...The good news is that when we make the move from things as they are to things as they need to be, we also move to a higher level of self-realization. Reality may be insidious and personal interpretations may be hard won, but it's worth the journey. To stop being a slave you need... Read On

  • Creative abulia
      June 16th, 2006
  • ...Abulia is the high-priced word for lack of willpower. Many potentially happy hours, even whole careers are ruined by creative abulia. Inspiration at hand and the habitual application of the creative process itself go a long way toward washing out abulia... Read On

  • Spirit and specificity
      June 13th, 2006
  • ...I'm laptopping you from M.V. Mareva, near Chatterbox Falls, at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet on Canada's west coast. For realists as well as poets, this is the kind of environment that asks for decisions: There's the overall wonder of the place, and then there's the charm of... Read On

  • Terminal creativity
      June 9th, 2006
  • ...It's easy to place art into the pantheon of humanity's more evolved pursuits. It's too bad that so many wait until things are terminal before they come to this realization. But for many the penny just drops and people realize that, philosophically speaking, times are terminal... Read On

  • Mona Lisa
      June 6th, 2006
  • ...The painting known as Mona Lisa has been one of the most celebrated, studied, disputed, cut up, damaged, copied, parodied and stolen paintings in history... Read On

  • Acrylic snobs
      June 2nd, 2006
  • ...Apart from apparent permanence and strength, there's flexibility, controllable opacity, colour fastness, resistance to pollutants, opportunity for variety of creative methodology, adaptability to mixed media, as well as speedy drying and cleanup. Used knowledgably, there's less... Read On

  • Paintbox
      May 30th, 2006
  • ...I was working with my homemade paintbox. It's a simple one--low tech--no bells or whistles. It's deep and commodious. Long ago, almost casually one afternoon, I put it together. A few times since, it's been re-glued. It has been with me to many wondrous places. I call it my... Read On

  • The Three Amigos
      May 26th, 2006
  • ...There are three methods of working that can genuinely enhance the overall quality of an artist's performance. I call them The Three Amigos: Working on location, en plein air, Working from reference, photographs and Working from imagination... Read On

  • The da Vinci Mode
      May 23rd, 2006
  • ...Leonardo da Vinci's life was a living demo of his 'seven virtues.' For those artists of life and of art who might plot to develop higher levels of accomplishment and greater self-realization, here are his seven virtues, as I understand them... Read On

  • Minister of change
      May 19th, 2006
  • ...Bern Will Brown dropped by...he became an Oblate priest and was sent to a northern diocese...Bern loves his adopted land--the people and animals of the tundra and taiga. His paintings honour both the traditions and the changes. Dogs and canoes have transmogrified into skidoos and... Read On

  • Repetition
      May 16th, 2006
  • ...In the painting game, repetition is one of the disciplines needed for self-realization. Variations on a theme, however subtle, lead to development and refinement. I'm a believer in the concept of 'set.' Making a set or series of any subject or idea is the way to further invent and... Read On

  • Picasso's handicap
      May 12th, 2006
  • In my observation, value painters are likely to have patterns happening early on in their paintings... Colourists, on the other hand, often start out in a wishy-washy way. These color specialists often end up with what I call "equal-intensity laybys"--handsome effects, often in warm and cool. Read On

  • Work and play
      May 9th, 2006
  • ...Art is service to a demanding Goddess who demands play as part of her servicing. And here's the rub: We have to put in a certain amount of work to get to the fun parts. Sure, we can muck about with the materials up to our armpits--we might even convince ourselves that it's art... Read On

  • Bowing to value
      May 5th, 2006
  • ...Bowing to value can liberate color options, so color can waltz in the back door and right on down to the front row while value is being courted at the front door... Read On

  • Titles of paintings
      May 2nd, 2006
  • ...Artists do well to set up their works and run them by a series of title possibilities...There are five main kinds of titles: Sentimental, Numerical, Factual, Abstract and Mysterious. For comparison purposes, take a recent painting of weathered totems near a snowy, deserted... Read On

  • Spin cycle
      April 28th, 2006
  • ...So why do we work? The spin tells me that it's our human longing for immortality. It's love that we require. And many artists wish to be loved immortally. Our quest for love has its vernacular in our quest for fame. Love is why we work and sing and write and dance and quilt and... Read On

  • Pay per view
      April 25th, 2006
  • ...For retrospectives, or solo exhibitions that feature more than ten years of an artist's production, the rate is the listed solo rate plus 25% for galleries in the major size categories (9-11). For galleries in the medium categories (5-8) the rate is the solo rate plus 15%; for... Read On

  • Bodies--the exhibition
      April 21st, 2006
  • ...Bodies--the Exhibition is the creation of a group of doctors whose life work is anatomical research. Accessing cadavers from Chinese prisons, whole persons, as well as isolated systems--skeletal, muscular, nervous, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, reproductive, etc., are... Read On

  • The principle of alternate emphasis
      April 18th, 2006
  • ...Munch turned to the principle of alternate emphasis. Misery was central to his life and was to become the central message of his art...Nevertheless, Edvard Munch (1863-1944) did have some happiness. He relished awards and applause from many nations. He was often written up and... Read On

  • Gallery fee-splitting
      April 14th, 2006
  • ...An art collector, loyal to a given dealer, wants to purchase the work of a certain artist, but doesn't see exactly what he wants in the dealer's inventory. Going onto the all-pervasive Internet, he finds something in the inventory of another gallery, in another city. The two... Read On

  • Aesthetic arrest
      April 11th, 2006
  • Joseph Campbell was one of those thinkers who constantly asked himself, "What is the meaning of this?" In books, lectures and interviews, he made frequent skirmishes into the field of art. And like a lot of those who never took brush to hand, his thoughts were idealized and sometimes muddled. Read On

  • Geopolitical art
      April 7th, 2006
  • ...Geopolitical art in someone's home is like giving bird flu to Colonel Sanders. There are three main spots where geopolitical art works best: Public galleries, the Internet, and print media... Read On

  • Testing the waters
      April 4th, 2006
  • Giving in to change and experimentation permits an artist to process the new and pass it through an evaluation filter... It's possible that the type of art we like and do might just be hard-wired too. If true, this could account for the religious-like fervour and argument that goes... Read On

  • Remote thinking
      March 31st, 2006
  • Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood has invented the LongPen. With custom software and high-speed broadband, her device permits people like herself to do book signings...the LongBrush. Invented by me, it permits a painter to hang out in Yellowknife and paint in Paris. Using some of... Read On

  • Your primary relationship
      March 28th, 2006
  • ...artists write to let me in on the inner nuances of their personal relationships...In art as in life, relationship difficulties can be turned into convenient scapegoats for perceived failure. Whether in a state of true love or not, an artist has to realize that when push comes to... Read On

  • The home remedy
      March 24th, 2006
  • talking about Dr. Oliver Sacks--the widely published neurologist who has something to say about everything from Alzheimer's to Zoroastrianism...my interest in the neurology of art. He told me that while Dr. Sacks blurred science and art, he thought that his studies of isolated... Read On

  • To sell or show?
      March 21st, 2006
  • Compared to delivering works to a commercial gallery, entering juried shows can be loaded with rigamarole. They often want you to frame, pay fees, fill out forms, deliver and take away at specific times, as well as endure the possible ignominy of rejection... Read On

  • Lady Orpen's audacity
      March 17th, 2006
  • According to Churchill, Lady Orpen swept into the garden and saw the blank canvas and the plight he was in. She grabbed the brush out of his hand...Churchill then and there decided that the thing needed in painting was the same thing that he had applied in politics--audacity... Read On

  • The electronic jury
      March 14th, 2006
  • Last weekend I was one of three members of an electronic jury. This is where an art exhibition is juried by a variety of jurors who do not necessarily have to get together in one place. More to the point, entrants need not deliver works until they are accepted. They submit jpegs by... Read On

  • Should I blog?
      March 10th, 2006
  • At the present time there are 70,000 new blogs going up every day. Several thousand readers of this letter run some sort of blog. Some bloggers report hundreds of visitors, others thousands. While exposure won't make an inadequate artist successful, blogs are a part of the widespread... Read On

  • Economy of means
      March 7th, 2006
  • A few weeks ago I was stricken by a peculiar affliction that interfered with my economy of means.Fact is, artists must constantly take stock of their personal systems and their work habits, and, in an inventor-like way, look for improvements. Those who thrive professionally know this... Read On

  • Orphan works
      March 3rd, 2006
  • ...a big dust-up coming to the US Congress. It involves moving the goalpost on copyrighted works of art. It's about 'orphan works.' These are works of art where no one seems to claim copyright--or where the original author is hard to find... Read On

  • Norman Rockwell
      February 28th, 2006
  • ...Rockwell concentrated on character. Not in all works, of course; in some, reality itself is enough. Rockwell grew into his job as a Saturday Evening Post cover illustrator. His work was amateur and laboured at first, but he soon developed confidence and a feeling for quality... Read On

  • Maxfield Parrish
      February 24th, 2006
  • Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) lived most of his life in an ivory-tower fantasy in Cornish, New Hampshire. Parrish was a creative inventor who took pains to get things right. I get the impression he was a self-effacing, practical, workaday person, very much in touch and struggling with... Read On

  • The high-buzz mode
      February 21st, 2006
  • Colin Martindale of The University of Maine put some electrodes on some students' heads and made an art-shaking discovery. Subjects were asked to create stories while the electroencephalogram recorded their brain waves. Creativity, he found, had two main stages--with vastly different... Read On

  • Imagination
      February 17th, 2006
  • youthful faces flushed with breathless energy for the heart-stomping competitions. There's hope. Any dreamer in any peaceful studio can hear the music from Turin. On the downhill or the up, any brush or chisel can conduct. It's a beat measured perhaps for lands not yet known--even... Read On

  • Social influence
      February 14th, 2006
  • Teenagers in an online study were asked to rate a wide choice of unknown bands and new songs. One test group listened in isolation while other groups (known as 'social influence groups') were allowed to share their opinions and interests as they listened. In most cases the better... Read On

  • What makes us tick?
      February 10th, 2006
  • ...Every time I've tried to nail down a single item that makes artists tick, or a single way to make them tick better, I begin to feel dyspeptic. There are just too many answers. There are as many answers as there are artists. That's what's wonderful about us... Read On

  • The brush-off
      February 7th, 2006
  • ...Our human landscape is overburdened with competitions and contests. Art need not be a contest. Art is a personal quest for quality. Quality is the forerunner of acceptance. Character is the forerunner of quality. Be your own discriminating connoisseur... Read On

  • Cues from nature
      February 3rd, 2006
  • ...No matter what our style, medium or subject matter, our work takes its cues from nature. Nature determines our accepted norms of beauty and is the basis of our ideas of design... Read On

  • The creative bluff
      January 31st, 2006
  • ...In an atmosphere of often trumpless art, it is the art with trump that is honestly sought. These works frequently play themselves out in their joyous rounds of curiosity... Read On

  • Get paid twice?
      January 27th, 2006
  • ...One of the more exciting art happenings these days is the remarkable surge in regional and national art. Many countries are experiencing a solid and growing art market. Better quality work is turned over at reasonable prices... Read On

  • Creative addiction
      January 24th, 2006
  • ...A bad habit is simply replaced by a good one--and perhaps collected and archived. Materials at hand are the only prerequisite--freshly squeezed paint, that sort of thing. This system is called CAR--Creative Addiction Replacement. It's a proactive way to keep the mind from the... Read On

  • Creative self-hypnosis
      January 20th, 2006
  • ...Hypnosis, self and otherwise, can be used to change behavior and modify personality. Quitting smoking, overeating and binge-drinking, that sort of thing. Its use as a creative tool is less clear. In the English experiment, all the architects reported some... Read On

  • Winging it
      January 17th, 2006
  • ...In these letters I've often talked about series production as an aid to creativity. With small works in series there is greater freedom to experiment and err. Combinations and variations abound within each small work and within the greater series... Read On

  • Art director
      January 13th, 2006
  • ...Many artists fear criticism and tighten up when they think they are going to get it. Learning to live with criticism is part of creative maturity. Advertising agencies thrive on it. Proper agency people may even become dependent on others for creative decision-making. When agency... Read On

  • The logic of Final Varnish
      January 10th, 2006
  • ...When applying the final varnish, be careful to make sure the painting is sufficiently cured. Varnishes must not combine with the media below--a condition I call 'glomming'... Read On

  • Painter's Pants
      January 6th, 2006
  • ...There's more to pants than meets the eye. Pants are bearers of tradition--they carry the patina of past glories. Modesty and warmth aside, there's nothing worse than pants without character. Like the teenage girls whose expensive, brand new jeans look like they have just come from... Read On

  • Time for pride
      January 3rd, 2006
  • ...I'm calling it 'true pride' here, and I think it's good stuff. A sense of pride is one of the finer arts that we need to learn. We need shots of pride when we enter our work place, when we handle our tools, as we proceed in our processes, and when our projects are drawing to a... Read On




TWL Letters

Be witness to Robert Genn's abiding faith in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Artists and you will be informed, inspired, and motivated. On first publication of this book November 27, 2009, Robert wrote: "It's my sincere wish that you get real and lasting value from it. It's your book, really, and I'd like to thank everyone in our Painter's Keys Community for the inspiration that makes these Twice-Weekly Letters happen."

Temporarily out of stock

"Thank-you for your friendship." (Robert Genn)

The Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letters, 960 pages--ten years of over a thousand unabridged letters including an 82 page index. Six by nine inches and more than two inches thick, this beautiful book is hardbound Red Cayenne with a separate dust-jacket, a red ribbon, and shipped in a custom protective book-box.

Last modified: Feb 26, 2017