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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.

Browse by year:

2008 Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

  • Multiple intelligences
      December 30th, 2008
  • The idea of multiple intelligences throws light on the uniqueness of the artist brain. We all have something to offer. Finding our type and knowing the pitfalls is half the fun. Read On

  • Holiday fun
      December 26th, 2008
  • Two friends decide to collaborate on the making of a painting. Methodology and technique are discussed, illustrated and analyzed. The results are 'interesting.' Read On

  • Who you know
      December 23rd, 2008
  • Robert shows how a simple understanding of a facet of human nature can be put to work to speed progress and raise standards. Available to all, itís a path not always taken. Read On

  • Art as 'campaign'
      December 19th, 2008
  • Not everyone might compare the making of a work of art to a battle tactic. Comparing the brilliant insights of a 19th century war tactician gives us an understanding of the creative process. Read On

  • Second opinion
      December 16th, 2008
  • Many artists turn to expert advice and authority figures in their search for creative success. Robert weighs the pros and cons of telephone seminars, and recommends a good one. Read On

  • Channelling negative energy
      December 12th, 2008
  • A reader wonders about channelling negative energy into the production of art. Robert answers the conundrum of why good work is often made during the aftershock of bad events. Read On

  • Bring on the clones
      December 9th, 2008
  • A reader asks whether it's okay to copy someone else's work and sell it. Robert lays down the law on the current moral malaise plaguing the art game. Read On

  • Thank-you notes
      December 5th, 2008
  • "Thank-you notes" looks at unique ways to further communicate your passions to those who collect your work. Without going overboard, it's a subtle way of giving added value and cementing connections. Read On

  • Dynamic painting
      December 2nd, 2008
  • "Dynamic painting" describes a painting approach and a state of mind that professionals use to get quality results. Some practical techniques and leaning on your nervous system get you into the zone. Read On

  • Ten thousand hours
      November 28th, 2008
  • Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers reexamines concepts of success with new research and insight. Robert sums up some of Gladwell's principal ideas and shows how they may impact on the lives of artists. Read On

  • Book report
      November 25th, 2008
  • Robert's self-published coffee-table book 'Love Letters to Art' has almost sold out in a year. Robert shares the potential value of this sort of effort as a communication tool for artists. Read On

  • Power hour
      November 21st, 2008
  • The 'power hour' system can be used to increase both productivity and quality. Keeping track is part of the fun. Robert shows a few basic habits that lead to creative progress. Read On

  • The subconscious eye
      November 18th, 2008
  • Tiny eye movements called microsaccades have recently been understood as keys to our subconscious thoughts. Our eyes flicker toward our desires, and artists might take notice. Read On

  • Painting for sale?
      November 14th, 2008
  • 'The Nigerian Scam' is alive and well on the Internet. Artists need to be vigilant. If you do end up receiving a cheque--wait, wait, wait until it clears before you send anything. Read On

  • Glazing keys
      November 11th, 2008
  • Glazing is one of the most undervalued painting techniques. Here are a few glazing keys that might just help you to give greater depth, visual excitement, tone balance and painterly truth to your work. Read On

  • Eyes over the border
      November 7th, 2008
  • Barack Obama, with the help of a few informed creative folks, has devised a cultural program that might just be a winner. Some of these ideas could have a profound effect on people like us. Read On

  • The abusive father
      November 4th, 2008
  • Abusive relationships, including that of fathers, spouses and other family members can influence and derail careers in art. At the same time, art offers a choice occupation for many who have been abused. Read On

  • Thoughts on teaching
      October 31st, 2008
  • The art of teaching has both benefits and dangers. Robert reflects on the thoughts of American author John Updike, and the steps one might take to understand the 'teacher-mind.' Read On

  • What success?
      October 28th, 2008
  • A subscriber wonders if successful artists sell pretty well everything they make. Robert tells how to maximize the fun, and gives some candid information on creative success. His answer may surprise you. Read On

  • The world of icons
      October 24th, 2008
  • Looking at the role icons have played in the history of the Eastern Orthodox faith, one notices the parallel to other art forms, how they conform to cultures, and how all artists, in a way, are iconographers. Read On

  • Among the whirling dervishes
      October 21st, 2008
  • Visiting with and observing some whirling dervishes gives insight into the effects of an all-absorbing activity similar to the making of art. The idea is to draw the mind to a higher understanding of self. Read On

  • Lessons from a Turkish market
      October 17th, 2008
  • A few hours spent in a Turkish bazaar gives an understanding of how the universal marketplace works. Any artist or craftsperson can learn basic lessons that will be with mankind for a while yet. Read On

  • The dialogues
      October 14th, 2008
  • The ancient Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle had something to say to the creative people of today. It's about dialogue between people and peoples, and between mere mortals and the art they make. Read On

  • The guru syndrome
      October 10th, 2008
  • Gurus are hard-wired to help others achieve their goals. But there are a few things you need to know about the guru business before you jump into bed with one of them. Read On

  • Art in hard times
      October 7th, 2008
  • Nowadays many artists are concerned with the problems that an economic downturn will have on their progress. But it's not all bad news, particularly for the independent creative spirit. Read On

  • Seven useful ploys
      October 3rd, 2008
  • Here are some often overlooked painterly ploys that can distinguish the professional from the amateur. Even the pros forget about them once in a while, but many of the old masters, like Michelangelo, never forgot them. Read On

  • Back to the basics
      September 26th, 2008
  • It may be that you need to go back to the basics to realize the works of your dreams. A firm grounding in academic technique is the proven key to a distinctive style and evolved creative personality... Read On

  • In search of spirit
      September 23rd, 2008
  • The struggles of an early painter among the mountains of Yoho Park in British Columbia give latecomers a key to creative joy. Extractions from old unpublished journals give insight to current problems... Read On

  • Level playing field?
      September 19th, 2008
  • The uneven playing field has been with us for some time. Just when I think things are improving for women, I see setbacks. In art, where taste can be arbitrary and buyers don't have a lot of confidence, the old shibboleths of safety, male superiority and ego-force kick in. Women artists need to fight it and men artists need to back them... Read On

  • Testosterone in the studio
      September 16th, 2008
  • The rise and fall of testosterone and cortisol have a profound effect on the way we perform in more tasks than one. Recent research gives an idea how these hormones might be influencing your creative life. Read On

  • John Cage
      September 12th, 2008
  • The composer John Cage had some valuable ideas for artists of all stripes. Through a lifetime of worship at the altar of 'work,' imagination flowed. He was a Renaissance man of the twentieth century. Read On

  • Build the factory
      September 9th, 2008
  • Artists need a place, a physical work-space, where they can wake up working. It's this place that becomes a sort of factory of mind, spirit and methodology--where processes are defined and skills are honed. Read On

  • Education in a tube
      September 5th, 2008
  • There are a few things you need to know if you're thinking about trying the new slow-drying Golden Open Acrylics. You'll also have lots of time for blending, softening, reworking and playing around, and you'll learn some new techniques. Read On

  • Working your muses
      September 2nd, 2008
  • Have you ever wondered how to grab onto and work your early childhood muses? This letter gives a key to accessing your true artistic purpose and the potential quality that can arise from the connection. Read On

  • The look
      August 29th, 2008
  • How important is consistency and unique style in an artist's works? What does it do to the artist's creative path? What, in the long run, does it do for the artist's pocketbook? The subject is discussed in "The look." Read On

  • A charmed life
      August 22nd, 2008
  • My dad used to say that I led a charmed life. He'd say, 'He's never had a job, he loves what he does, he's a happy guy and he always seems to have enough money to do what he wants and look after everyone else.'... Read On

  • Prior disappointment syndrome
      August 19th, 2008
  • Failed works of art and even disappointing passages, particularly recent ones, can haunt and disarm your current work. You may have noticed when returning from a holiday, you sometimes paint freshly and well for a few days and then the old decay sets in... Read On

  • Bird man
      August 15th, 2008
  • Encouraged by his mother and people at the Provincial Museum, Fen was painting birds at age 13. Right from the get-go Fen could really draw. He didn't lean on photos, but rather assembled and designed individual bird portraits from his considerable field knowledge and his own elegant sense of composition... Read On

  • Larks and owls
      August 12th, 2008
  • The fun begins in the world of creativity. It seems that larks have an advantage in concentration and inventiveness, but owls are the ones who hold up the best in the long run. Larks tend to cave in and become dullards when deprived of normal sleep. Owls tolerate sleep-deprivation better... Read On

  • Sanctuary
      August 8th, 2008
  • In Lucca I've borrowed a friend's workshop for a sanctuary. Wine cellar and bicycle garage, it's a tiny grotto in the bowels of a 13th century home, its main wall contingent to the base of an 11th century church... Read On

  • Of music and painting
      August 5th, 2008
  • Music moves us on a level that visual art does not. It's knitted in a prescribed time and is not editable like a passage through the Uffizi Gallery. Goodness, I spoke to a chap who went up to Florence and "did" the Uffizi in an hour. The gilt of guilt, the miracles of legend, the holy wars, and the soft arrival of the free spirit take application to digest. Many cannot take the time. Music will always be a quicker fix... Read On

  • Giacomo Puccini
      August 1st, 2008
  • You can't go anywhere around Lucca without bumping into the operatic composer Giacomo Puccini. He's everywhere--museums, posters, walls, books, postcards, schools and freestanding displays advertising the current Puccini Festival. His music drifts from cafes and salon pianos... Read On

  • Permanent love
      July 29th, 2008
  • Artists need to be mindful that their work may be around for a while. Quality work--if history deems it quality--tends to endure. Artists need to give thought to the future, for their work may be repeatedly cleaned, relined, touched up or given the whole nine yards of restoration... Read On

  • The clock tower of Lucca
      July 25th, 2008
  • New places and new materials are both a challenge and a joy. Because we're trying to get the pesto right, home-based studio time flies out the window. We're reminding ourselves there are three main ways to bring areas of colour up to one another... Read On

  • Twyla's habits
      July 22nd, 2008
  • Habits lead the way to personal processes. The idea is to fall in love with your processes. When you do fall in love, you'll know it. Other doors closing can speed the joy... Read On

  • Renaissance
      July 18th, 2008
  • Renaissance means 'rebirth.' It's a term that refers to the intellectual and artistic movement that began in Italy in the 14th century, culminated with Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael in the 16th, and has influenced thinking and creating ever since... Read On

  • Dealer relations
      July 15th, 2008
  • Fact is, some dealers would get paintings for free if they could. The grapevine is full of stories of dealers paying peanuts for art they later sell for cashews. Owners or inheritors of potentially valuable art should be aware of this. It's a jungle out there... Read On

  • Lapworking
      July 11th, 2008
  • Apart from the fact that in some places it's not possible to work with full paraphernalia, lapworking provides surprising spot-on accuracy--more than in arm's-length easel or pochade-box painting. Rotation of the work, tilting, and holding it out are also quick and easy... Read On

  • Religious journeys
      July 8th, 2008
  • I do, however, continue to believe that sport-painting has the least impact on the environment--way less than sports such as hunting and fishing. In painting, you take from the environment without taking anything from it... Read On

  • The Zen of art
      July 4th, 2008
  • It's like the convention of retirement, only in shorter and more frequent increments. The idea is to calculate and bend a sense of leisure into specific creative times. Like retirement activities such as golf, boating or woodworking, work is required. In the Zen-like mode, work is not so onerous, but it is still work... Read On

  • Love your name
      July 1st, 2008
  • When an artist's name is perceived by the artist to be inappropriate, hard to explain, or ugly, the quality of work may suffer. Healthy artists are comfortable with their names. They enjoy seeing their name on their work, as well as on cheques, incoming and outgoing. They are okay with hearing their name said, both in public and quietly in their ear... Read On

  • Reflection
      June 27th, 2008
  • While painting, I'm reflecting on the crazy parallel universe of art dealing and art speculation. What has my daily plodding got to do with what happens to the stuff I make? Read On

  • Mobile methodologies
      June 24th, 2008
  • Mobile workstations are only limited by an artist's imagination or inclination. Odd-ball transport gives unique material, new perspectives, as well as adding oft-needed variety and opportunity. Apart from that, they add even more fun to an already fun job... Read On

  • More immersion
      June 20th, 2008
  • A useful ploy in plein air work is to try to achieve a state of rest. Painting from a box works well with the relaxed mode of cottage life--walking, bird watching, fishing, or just listening to the murmur of the water. When rest arrives... Read On

  • Immersion
      June 17th, 2008
  • Immersion means inhaling a total environment. With time and persistent observation the artist gains an understanding of the anatomy of a place. Often, the idea is not to copy scenes or tableau, but rather to put down in paint the spirit one finds there... Read On

  • Control
      June 13th, 2008
  • Control is one of life's principal actions. Parents, kids, husbands, wives, bosses, employees--all attempt some level of control over one another. In the self-motivated world of private art-making, control starts with self-control... Read On

  • Our creative roots
      June 10th, 2008
  • Researchers conclude that animal activities are based on both inherited traits and observational learning. Further, creative and inventive tendencies run in families and species. For example... Read On

  • Problems with clones
      June 6th, 2008
  • I've seen a few fairly good copies of my own work, done without my permission. At first glance they look okay. At second glance the painters haven't figured out the order I do things, and they've not rendered well the deviations and mannerisms... Read On

  • The Early Morning Club
      June 3rd, 2008
  • The minute you awaken, proceed like a zombie to your studio. Before your kettle has boiled, before you have checked your email, squeeze out and prepare your palette... Read On

  • Keeping things simple
      May 30th, 2008
  • And then there's the palette. My backpacking sorties have taught me to keep it light and simple. Actually, a limited palette is a big plus because it teaches creative mixing... Read On

  • Art and happiness
      May 27th, 2008
  • What these guys are talking about is a redefinition of happiness, and I think they're onto something. Life's not about getting free of pain, but rather finding happiness through service to some process with links to a higher ideal... Read On

  • Staffage
      May 23rd, 2008
  • Some landscape painters, dead and alive, don't do convincing figures. People are a tough order. But there's more to it than that. With the rise of rugged individualism and the concept of... Read On

  • Shibui
      May 20th, 2008
  • Fact is, perfection is boring. Shibui allows viewer participation in the artist's art. It's particularly valuable in an age of highly finished and sophisticated machine-manufactured products. Shibui comes naturally... Read On

  • Johanna van Gogh
      May 16th, 2008
  • Vincent van Gogh died in 1890. Theo van Gogh, art dealer and brother of Vincent, died six months later, in 1891. Johanna, Theo's wife, inherited all the shop remainders including virtually all of Vincent's work. She soon moved with her small son from Paris to Bussum near Amsterdam. Johanna, age 29, went into distribution mode... Read On

  • Overworked
      May 13th, 2008
  • Overworking takes place when you lose control. As you fail in facility and freshness, you try to save the day with fiddle and fuss. The passage looks laboured... Read On

  • Heurisitic painting
      May 9th, 2008
  • The heuristic process means achieving some desired result by intelligent guesswork rather than by systematic formula... Heuristic thinking generally results in reasonably close solutions. The benefits are speed and expediency... Read On

  • Mickey Mouse Bill
      May 6th, 2008
  • ... that's why the current Orphan Works Act now being considered by the U.S. Congress is particularly baffling. Promoted by dough-head non-artists who are obviously listening to big-time lobbyists, this bill says that you the artist must now officially register every single work you wish to protect... Read On

  • Kalopsia
      May 2nd, 2008
  • When self-esteem is low, artists tend to give themselves a premature pat on the back. We all know of artists who are forever in a state of euphoric bliss about their essentially crumby art. These folks may rationalize that joy itself is enough, but it isn't... Read On

  • Fun with kids
      April 29th, 2008
  • ...One class seemed remarkably concerned with economics. "How much did you get for the first one you sold?" ($15.) "How much do you get for them now?" ($2000 to $50,000.) "What's the most you ever got for one?" ($100,000.)... Read On

  • Voluntary graduation
      April 25th, 2008
  • When artists decide to go it alone, they have different stuff to think about. The ideal is to identify your particular and unique needs and then try to fulfill them. Nobody can much help you in this. Some artists need to shake off aspects of their art training, poisonous pedagogy or habitual methodology. Read On

  • Design and character
      April 22nd, 2008
  • Kerry Waghorn is one of the world's top caricaturists--his work syndicated in more than 400 newspapers, books and other publications... Likeness is a tough order. Caricatures present even more problems. Faces need to be simplified, yet personality and character still need to shine through... Read On

  • Building the creative muscle
      April 18th, 2008
  • Most of our creativity takes place in the right back corner of our brains. In addition, many folks are able to toss the creative ball both fore and aft and port and starboard. One part of the brain can learn to do what another part becomes incapable of. We all have personal keys to developing our creative potential. Read On

  • The tyranny of reality
      April 15th, 2008
  • ...When we are overloaded with subject matter, we have an automatic tendency to neglect style and imagination. Subject matter is no match for spirit. Too much observation can change the creative event from one of spirit to one of rendering. Surprise, chance, illusion, personality, audacity, confidence and desire are the most affected. Abandonment and even desertion may have to be contemplated. Read On

  • Original art only
      April 11th, 2008
  • It's been my thought that some juried shows need an appointed ombudsman to draw a line between copying and research. His or her decision needs to be final. Trouble is, copying other people's work and other people's subject matter is a traditional means of gaining proficiency. Read On

  • Wood panels
      April 8th, 2008
  • Door skin, or other thin plywood, is an excellent alternative to Masonite. I've seen no darkening or foxing on any of my panels over the forty-odd years I've been using them. Priming and preparing is a matter of personal taste. I like a couple of coats of clear acrylic medium so the colour of the wood is retained. Read On

  • Works on paper
      April 4th, 2008
  • While artistically sensitive folks may treasure paper art because of its difficulty and sensitivity, the general public often doesn't. Recently, the flooding of the market with inexpensive photo-lithos, photocopies and giclees has cast a negative light on all things paper. We need no snobbery or pecking order by media. We of the brotherhood and sisterhood need to go out of our way to praise and feature all works done with joy, integrity and quality. Read On

  • What to paint?
      April 1st, 2008
  • The creative life requires a steady progression of experimentation and discovery. First thing you know you'll feel refreshed and renewed rather than burdened with making a decision. Further, you will see a need for further refinement. Personal refinement of vision makes creativity worthwhile. Read On

  • The thought walk
      March 28th, 2008
  • When your studio work comes to a block or a problem, you need to put down your brush or send your laptop into sleep mode, and grab your hat. If you walk briskly, blood will soon be checking out the remote corners of your cortex. I've noticed that fresh ideas know no geographic spot. They merely appear, are there, and can go in a moment. Read On

  • Colour triggers
      March 25th, 2008
  • The idea that specific colours have specific value has been around for a while. Universally, orange increases appetite. Blue relaxes patients after surgery. As wizards who stir the bubbling pot of illusion, we artists need to understand what power we have. Read On

  • Visual triggers
      March 21st, 2008
  • Some of the other visual triggers on my list: Precious colour, Gradations big and small, Something personal, Something mysterious. The emotional brain readily and positively reads these and other indicators as they briefly but tenderly touch neural pleasure-points. Read On

  • Grabbing the heart
      March 18th, 2008
  • Recently I had an opportunity to watch people buying my paintings. Many buyers appeared to me to just glance at a work and make up their minds then and there. This blink-of-an-eye was of course followed by the regular rationalizations that buyers go through when they're considering something. Neuroscience seems to indicate that advertising is most effective when some sort of desire synapse is triggered in a nanosecond. Read On

  • Deferred adulthood
      March 14th, 2008
  • In his recent, remarkable book, 'America Alone,' Mark Steyn makes frequent mention of 'deferred adulthood.' Young people in their twenties and thirties are choosing to stay in their folks' homes and sidestepping responsibilities. The situation may not be helped by people like me who are always trying to get folks to access their inner child. Read On

  • Wandering prices
      March 11th, 2008
  • Whether your work is in the National Gallery or in Heidi Fleiss's House of Ill Repute, your prices to the general public need to be the same. This means that only you control the final price. The percentage that various venues take is negotiated from your standard pricing. Wandering prices are most unfair to your collectors and spoil the steady upward progression an artist can enjoy during a lifetime of creativity. Read On

  • Changing your mind
      March 7th, 2008
  • In my less palmy days I said yes to everything. I needed the money. Also, this had me do things I would not otherwise have done. But I soon realized that the customer's vision and my vision did not always match. As I became more confident, I adopted a compromise. I always said 'yes'--I never said 'when.' Read On

  • The courage to play
      March 4th, 2008
  • my daughter Sara and I were painting at the end of the Laniloa Peninsula, Oahu, Hawaii. From a parked car nearby, a young man in a white shirt and tie watched her out of the corner of his eye. he rolled down his window and said, 'That girl just took out a canvas and started painting. She hardly drew things out at all.' I told him the girl was my daughter and that she was working 'alla prima--all at once.' Read On

  • Seeing red
      February 29th, 2008
  • One of humanity's persistent habits is to colour ourselves with pigments and coloured objects. Interestingly, it's the colours black and white that have the most differentiating variations in the vocabularies of the world's languages. Next to black and white, red is the most popular colour. It's safe to say that with the advent of modern dyes and pigments, there is more colour around these days. Read On

  • Ratatouille
      February 26th, 2008
  • What makes some of us better at our work than others? The answer lies not in over-control, or even trying to understand the mystery of the creative process. Each and every player needs to simply try to improve, a little bit here, a little bit there, as it comes. The secret is 'tweak.' Both Thomas Keller and Brad Bird say you can't force creative ideas. You build the creative environments that produce a creative state of mind. Both cook and film director aim at spontaneity. Read On

  • Prints or originals?
      February 22nd, 2008
  • While preciousness of original art is a factor, there are many reasons for duplication, not the least of which is the potential extension of financial return. I've also talked to disappointed potential buyers who were sad to report an overabundance of prints. Somehow, there's still something pure about an original. Read On

  • Unexpected blessings
      February 19th, 2008
  • I was at my easel when a courier delivered an envelope from a friend. The letter stated that in 1974 I had brought some of my work to his office, and he had never paid me for them. Over the phone, Lorne and I had a good laugh. I put his mind at ease by disclosing my own sloppy billing and sieve-like mind. I then ran them by my current price list, cut that in half, and he cut me a cheque. Read On

  • Soft edges
      February 15th, 2008
  • Sometimes it's a good idea to cruise your work to see if a few soft edges might improve things. Soft technique comes naturally to some. For others, the soft-hard push-pull has to be worked at. While feathered edges and soft transitions can give the feeling of speed and painterly freshness, achieving these effects can be time-consuming and fiddly. Read On

  • Art in half-light
      February 12th, 2008
  • Edward Vincent wrote: "No matter what type of painting I do, my work looks infinitely better in half or reduced light." There are several significant deceptions happening when you view your work in half-light. Like buying a car in a dark alley, you're inclined to miss the flaws. Invite yourself to look at work in all lights, and Above all, take every work for a walk--outdoors. Read On

  • Long-distance look
      February 8th, 2008
  • Gustav Klimt wrote little, avoided cafe society and shunned other artists. The love of his life--women. Klimt's "mood landscapes," cleansed his palette like Austrian sherbet. Telescopic and well-cropped subjects stack up and reduce material to two-dimensional designs and patterns. Read On

  • Canvas tiger
      February 5th, 2008
  • When we think of Chinese art, we generally think of pirate factories and their websites cloning Western artists. We need to think again. China is collecting and buying art big time and its emergence as a major art player is going to affect us all. Read On

  • Reflexive Relaxology
      February 1st, 2008
  • Of all the ologies, Reflexive Relaxology is one of my favorites. Speed itself unlocks the imaginative mind, increases idea turnover, aids facility and goes a long way toward avoiding dull disasters. While it may be necessary to start slowly to understand and negotiate the banks and chicanes you will eventually take at speed. Read On

  • Painting lost; reward offered
      January 29th, 2008
  • On a small beach in Baha, Mexico, I set up, shaded and alone except for an occasional beach walker and the skimming pelicans. A 20" x 24" proceeded, not bad, I thought, considering the wind and the blown sand. Leaving my easel, I joined our friends on their grander beach. When I returned the painting was gone. Read On

  • Digital archiving
      January 25th, 2008
  • What technology, what storage, what's best? Some experts recommend CDs over DVDs. As both these formats can also degrade, top quality discs are recommended. Also, be careful to store them away from other electronic devices, moisture and heat, and check them every few years for signs of degradation. Read On

  • Artists' archives
      January 22nd, 2008
  • If I had to do it all over again I would have been archiving from the get go. On my recent visit to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles I attended an exhibit of the photographer Andre Kertesz. Kertesz attracted the help and advice of young archivists. These connections were to prove valuable, both for the historical understanding of photographic art and for his own rising star. Read On

  • Alma mater
      January 18th, 2008
  • I returned to my old school. The Art Center College of Design is now located on extensive acreage above Pasadena, California. Discipline is big at Art Center. This is no place for the sloppy. Make it tough, grind them down, squeeze the good juice out of the best, discard the others. Looking back, it's not a bad system. Read On

  • Houdon and Voltaire
      January 15th, 2008
  • Houdon was a man of simplicity, high spirits and openness of mind. A witty conversationalist and raconteur, he'd go anywhere at any time for a mask of life or death. He even knew the gods, goddesses and saints, and found time to sculpt Jefferson, Washington and Franklin. Read On

  • Creative acupuncture
      January 11th, 2008
  • Acupuncturists here in California claim results in cases of "high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, chronic and acute pain, fatigue, headaches, menopausal symptoms, pregnancy, infertility, weight and immune system issues." Read On

  • Aspects of order
      January 8th, 2008
  • While it's possible to create interesting work without attention to order, for most of us it's difficult. Consciously or unconsciously, our personal sense of order is vital to both style and creative satisfaction. For example, painting from foreground to background rather than background to foreground creates differing effects. While practical logic might suggest one, creative logic might suggest the other. Read On

  • Art in bad times
      January 4th, 2008
  • In good times and bad, galleries are always opening and closing. It's been my experience that it's not so much the times, but the mission of the individuals running the galleries. For those who merely hang acceptable pictures on walls and who wait around until people come in, a downturn in the economy can close them. On the other hand, many dealers, including those in out-of-the-way and depressed places, seem to weather all storms. Here are a few current and timeless qualities that keep them in business... Read On

  • My first letter
      January 1st, 2008
  • Brigitte Nowak of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, wrote, 'Is there any chance that you might reprint the original letter sent to twenty friends that you mentioned in your book Love Letters to Art?' It was written on a vintage Spanish computer in an Internet cafe in Galaroza in the Sierra de Aracena, Huelva, Spain. There was no Esoterica, no clickback to follow, and no expectations. The first name on the list was Carolyn Millard. She's still accepting them. 'A Chance of Success' was sent on July 22, 1999. 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