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Peter Gough
Ascent -- acrylic on canvas 20 x 50 inches
Ascent
acrylic on canvas
20 x 50 inches
Storm Over the Barrens Peggy's Cove Barrens -- acrylic on canvas 40 x 89 inches
Storm Over the Barrens
Peggy's Cove Barrens

acrylic on canvas
40 x 89 inches
Autumn Mist Storytown, New Brunswick -- acrylic on canvas 29 x 46 inches
Autumn Mist
Storytown, New Brunswick

acrylic on canvas
29 x 46 inches


A place and a time

October 29, 2013

Dear Artist,

Among the phone calls that came in over the weekend was one from Peter Gough of Glen Haven, Nova Scotia. Peter is a realist painter with an evolved, spiritual outlook. While painting with Peter a few years ago, I watched his almost religious zeal for light, atmosphere and luminosity. We've included some of his work at the top of the current clickback.

Peter and I talked about our lifelong commitment to painting and the bad luck of my current condition. After a while there was a bit of a pause and Peter said, "I'd like to talk to you about immortality."

When I figured out where Peter was coming from, I realized his ideas were similar to mine. "Artists are blessed," he said, "because the things we make carry on after us." We agreed we owed it to our art to try to develop the highest levels of quality and mastery. Immortality is not a transient or fashionable happening, it's a forever thing and, surprisingly, it's the simple product of love and application.

Apart from the mysterious flow of daily work, there's the objective study of our own progress as we move along. While books, workshops and demos are certainly useful, the silent study we do while travelling on our own easels is what really shows the way. When the world is cleared of baloney, which may never happen, the greatest art will still be there. It's worthwhile for us earthlings to at least try to be part of the event.

"Ars longa, vita brevis est," said Hippocrates (460-377BC) "Life is short, art is long."

For many of us, our work shows a place and a time. I think of the places I've sat under balmy skies and then again in the drizzling rain in the back of a car. I was there. I've also been concerned that the thing on the easel was not my thing, and while I might own it for a while the thing will someday be out of my control. It would be nice to nail this conundrum down. Some years ago Peter Gough started putting GPS coordinates on the back of his paintings. Not a bad start.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "A part of me has become immortal, out of my control." (Brian Eno)

Esoterica: Thank you to the thousands who wrote personal emails, posts etc. We have made a careful archive of them, as we do for all responses to every letter. Some were positive and highly uplifting, others angry, sad and resigned. Many offered first-hand experience with the same or similar disorders, and some offered diet and other advice. Several dozen recommended carrot juice. Sara went out and bought a juicer and I'm drinking carrots as I write. Sara also burned the midnight oil reading every one of your emails and has assembled a clickback of informational material that may be of use to some of you. We have also taken the liberty to add some of your really valuable emails to our live comments .





Chance meeting
by Bruce Martin, Nelson, BC, Canada


I am stunned and deeply saddened by your latest letter. You are an amazing person whose wisdom, Truce and Tranquility Mountains from Jumbo Pass<br>original print by Bruce Martin Truce and Tranquility Mountains from Jumbo Pass
original print
knowledge, insight and love has touched and enlightened the lives of so many, me included. It was a happy coincidence bumping into you and Sara some years ago at Lake O'Hara, heading back to my tent with your inspirational gift of a blank, primed 16 x 20 to encourage an exploration into acrylic. Later the thought of you, Sara and friends enjoying our cabin at Lake Edith brought me much joy. I know your inbox will be over flowing with thoughts of love and hope from the many thousands of artists worldwide, who hold you dear to their hearts. I add my voice to theirs.



There are 2 comments for Chance meeting by Bruce Martin

From: Sandra Donoue -- Nov 01, 2013

Your words are as beautiful as your painting is, Bruce.

From: Sandra Donohue -- Nov 01, 2013

Apologies for not proof reading the spelling of my own name...too early in the morning, I guess.


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Not tomorrow, but today
by Jakki Kouffman, Santa Fe, NM, USA


As artists, we submit to the solitary rigors of the easel, so that we can say, "We were here." To some, Zinnias, Conch and Clam<br>pastel painting<br>30 x 22 inches by Jakki Kouffman Zinnias, Conch and Clam
pastel painting
30 x 22 inches
our need to concentrate fully on the task seems like a turning away, but we know better. In fact, we are using our short stay on this earth to channel the dreams of the many. Ours is a community service from the start.

Your wise and witty writing has been part of my life for just a few years, but it continues to serve as a reminder of a basic truth. Teaching and mentoring can take place in the classroom or in the blogosphere. But the ability to make visible what we have learned depends on the acceptance of certain facts: that our tenure here is finite; and that our essential mission is to bear witness to that precious interval with our entire being. Not tomorrow, but today.



There is 1 comment for Not tomorrow, but today by Jakki Kouffman

From: Rosemary Connelly -- Nov 06, 2013

Well said! Thank you for this comment that expresses what I feel myself.


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Showing up
by Gillian Tucker, Penticton, BC, Canada


I have been reading your letters for about two years now. Your news hit me as if you were a personal Summer evening<br>oil painting by Gillian Tucker Summer evening
oil painting
friend. I want to tell you how your words have helped me through some tough struggles with the paint. Times when I didn't like anything I was painting, I kept showing up at the easel, my job. Thank you for teaching me so much.



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Renewal
by Carolyn Whitney, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


Anything I have to say about how you have helped me as a painter will sound trite but for the sake of Purple & Gold<br>oil painting<br>40 x 30 inches by Carolyn Whitney Purple & Gold
oil painting
40 x 30 inches
saying nothing your 37 minute warm up has put the spring back into my march to the studio and another thing - I may resolve to never again work from another photograph. Also, I have decided to shrink my studio and work the outdoors. I will stop refusing to teach. I will make my gallery work! And I will start to write a true-to-me newsletter - today. Thank you Robert.



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We paint like we live
by Christine Ritchie, Nova Scotia, Canada


It has been a joy to read your letters, Robert, and so many of my artist friends feel the same way. Evening impressions<br>acrylic painting<br>16 x 20 inches by Christine Ritchie Evening impressions
acrylic painting
16 x 20 inches
Thank you for your dedication and wisdom. The same energy you put into your letters shows up in your paintings. We paint like we live, don't we? Honestly, responsibly, joyfully, heartily, boldly, spontaneously, colourfully and on and we go till our spirit takes on the biggest adventure of all - the shore we're all headed for.

Facing our own mortality, although daunting, will be here for all of us in the wink of an eye... whether that be a month, a year or ten/twenty years, it will always feel too short to us while we are well. May the third act of your life be surrounded in the joy and celebration of a life full and rich, generous and forgiving.



There is 1 comment for We paint like we live by Christine Ritchie

From: Ann -- Nov 01, 2013

Well said. Regardless of how long we have left, there is work to do, thanks to give, people to love, plans to make. If we are cut short, other will carry on, but we still need to do all those great things every day, to the last day. Robert keeps teaching us how wonderful the life can be.


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Indelible impression
by Brian Care, Toronto, Canada / San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


What comes through in all of your letters and Esoterica and your paintings is a strong belief in the La Mano 2<br>watercolour painting by Brian Care La Mano 2
watercolour painting
creative process, a love of nature and a sense of humour about mankind and how you perceive our place on the planet. All of this will carry you through your time with your family and friends and leave behind for others a legacy of a life well-spent... and well-recorded in words and images. Not everyone can say they have made such an indelible impression.



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Do it now
by Rodney Mackay, Lunenburg, NS, Canada


I am in your debt since your letters caused me to restart a painting career, which has supported and Schooner at Dusk, St. Andrews, New Brunswick<br>acrylic painting<br>8 x 10 inches by Rodney Mackay Schooner at Dusk, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
acrylic painting
8 x 10 inches
amused me for forty years. Like you, I have raised children, in my case two boys and two girls. I faced malignant melanoma last year and decided to retire this year following the death of my last surviving teacher, Alex Colville. I like your advice having lost my first wife and her entire family to cancer. My dad also died shortly after of pancreatic cancer. I remarried after three years of mourning Anne (with an "e") Torey, and to my surprise still walk this lovely planet with a second partner, Ruth Brown, who has been with me for seventeen years and has, literally, been a lifesaver.

Do it now! My grandfather Wes Mackay used to say "Hope for the best and expect the worst and you will never be disappointed." Our world is indeed a vale of sorrows, seeded with great compensations in every sense.



There is 1 comment for Do it now by Rodney Mackay

From: Dana S. Whitney -- Nov 01, 2013

I remember when it dawned on me that there will always be surprises, and that only a fool thinks that none of them will be happy ones. Bravo to you for "pressing on," allowing yourself to find love, liveliness and those "compensations. It never hurts (me) to be reminded to be on the look out for such sweetness.


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Eliminate the anxiety
by Nancy Ness, North Creek, NY, USA


Thank you for keeping this dialogue about art and artist going. It is comforting to get your letters and KS, Blue Cloud<br>oil painting<br>18 x 18 inches by Nancy Ness KS, Blue Cloud
oil painting
18 x 18 inches
read about others with the same struggles or just to be presented with an idea to think about. I am amazed by your calm collected writings at this very difficult time. It shows a strength and dignity many of us don't have in facing the unknown.

Over the last year, I've seen and experienced how doing art is good therapy. All of us hear this or know it on some level. Yet, those moments when anxiety is eliminated during tough times are precious. I wonder if the writing for you is also therapy? You have and continue to give the world not only your beautiful paintings, your conversations on creating fine art but also how to live with integrity and strength.

(RG note) Thanks, Nancy. I think you are on to something about the writing being therapy for me. I feel a shortage of one-on-one connection with other artists when I'm painting, so these letters are a joy to think about and make, especially when I find out that so many seem to get so much from them.



There is 1 comment for Eliminate the anxiety by Nancy Ness

From: Grace Cowling Grimsby, ON -- Nov 01, 2013

Nancy, you are onto something. We don't have to look far to find those who paint with pigment also paint with words. My husband (90th yr.) has only been gone 4 months and words and pigment are dear friends.


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Our amazing duplicate system
by Don Genge, ON, Canada


Ten years ago, my doctor told me, "Get your life in order; it's in your colon and its metastasized into your liver."

My Oncologist also said, "Cancer always comes back." Doctors are such pessimists. Now, ten years later, he told me he didn't need to see me anymore.

I don't pretend to be a paragon of some sort of miracle drug or process, but a tardy, singing, fat lady image comes to mind, especially as you write about making arrangements for homes for, or destruction of, your paintings.

On the one hand, I listened to a recent CBC Quirks and Quarks interview with the author of The Cancer Chronicles. He says cancer is an inevitable process of aging cell division. If nothing else kills us, that will. We are genetically programmed to die.

On the other hand, in preparation for recent four-way by-pass surgery (yes that too), I asked the surgeon who would "harvest" an artery from my leg for the process, "Why don't I need that artery down there?" He said: "Our bodies are filled with amazing redundancies. You have a duplicate circulatory system. We take from one and the other takes over." I had never really thought about that. We have two lungs, kidneys, eyes, ears, ovaries, testicles, limbs, digits and now I hear circulatory systems. Wow! What an amazing organism we are. We are like Chris Hadfield's space suit: duplicates of everything just in case. Our amazing immune system, I've discovered, is capable of fascinating powers of healing and well being in us. My father-in-law healed so fast during his bypass operation that the incision was beginning to heal over before the surgeons were finished working. And recent science tells us our brains have some conscious control over that healing. Several of your friends have written about Positive Visualization and the like.

Our bodies have evolved, over millions of years, to survive! Not to die, but to survive. Our job is to help it along with diet (especially blueberries says my wife), exercise, sleep, even doctors, and positive thinking and meditation. (That last one comes from Scientific American and Super Brain by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi) I'm convinced we have more control over our physical and spiritual health than we think.

A boyhood buddy of mine was diagnosed with cancer in his pancreas. When I visited him in the hospital, he said his doctor gave him two months. He was devastated. I told him based on my experience, doctor's weren't always accurate in their time-line and he had the right of first refusal. He decided he wasn't going to blindly accept that time-line and survived another two years. Two years isn't bad. Don't toss your paintings yet.



There are 2 comments for Our amazing duplicate system by Don Genge

From: Anonymous -- Nov 01, 2013

Hooray for your attitude and your resilience!

From: Seth -- Nov 01, 2013

Thank you Don Genge!


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The Artistic Journey
by Phil Chadwick, Southampton, ON, Canada


It appears as though many artists are on identical but separate journeys. Our individual epiphanies are Cross over again<br>original painting by Phil Chadwick Cross over again
original painting
only new to ourselves. They have apparently been discovered and experienced before by other artists with a similar outlook on life and creation - even Hippocrates, long before Christ.

For me and apparently many others, art is about telling a story and making a memory. Both will be around a long time. I like to look at older paintings and visit those places again. Maybe that is why I started writing those stories down from the very beginning. Memories can fade unless you chisel them down. Initially I thought it was the scientist in me wanting to observe, record and understand. Now maybe it is the right side of the brain just wanting to creatively remember, experience and still try to understand. I have remembrances about each of my 1375 or so paintings. All true. The stories include little observations, the weather and typically the when, why and where of each. They also include GPS readings from when I first bought that little toy.

None of us know how or where our journey will end or where it might lead. Maybe that doesn't matter as much as the journey itself - the expedition of self-discovery and the memories we get to make and share along the way may be the true meaning of life...



There are 3 comments for The Artistic Journey by Phil Chadwick

From: Cathy Pascoe -- Nov 01, 2013

I don't understand what the GPS has to do with your art.

From: Phil Chadwick -- Nov 01, 2013

Good question Cathy.. and really the GPS has little to do with the art and more to do with the personal journey. The GPS simply tracks where I traveled to find inspiration. The art has to stand on its own but it is fun for me to track my trips when I look back. The GPS makes it easy to get the latitude and longitude of where I once stood. Thanks!

From: Rose -- Nov 01, 2013

think it is fun too...[the scientist takes over,ha,ha...]


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Dale Laitinen Workshops Held in Boise, ID, USA.  <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>The Workshop Calendar</a> provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look <a href='http://clicks.robertgenn.com/workshops/workshop.php'>here</a>.
Dale Laitinen Workshops
Held in Boise, ID, USA.

The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. Please take a look here.



World of Art Featured artist Max Ginsberg, Long Island City, NY, USA



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 Stede Barber of Los Alamos, New Mexico who wrote, "One of the most powerful posts you have ever written. Power to the Carrot Juice! We want you to stay."

And also Lorion Korkosz of Galway Lake, NY, and St. Thomas, USVI, who wrote, "I have learned much from your twice-weekly letters over the years, even appreciate the occasional "kick in the butt" to get painting when I flag. My prayers are with you and your family during this trial."


If you think a friend or fellow artist may find value in this material please feel free to forward it. This does not mean that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly Letter. They have to do it voluntarily and can find out about it by reading our Welcome Letter.



Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for A place and a time...

From: Marvin Humphrey -- Oct 28, 2013

Through my painting, in a small indirect way, I want to make the world a better place. Though we don't personally know the great artists of the past, they have enriched the lives of many generations over the decades and centuries. May the best of our efforts survive long after our physical selves are gone.

From: Marvin Humphrey -- Oct 28, 2013

.. regarding my physical self, I occasionally juice equal parts carrots and celery, with half a beet. I believe it's a simple boon to good health.

From: Russ Hogger -- Oct 28, 2013

BC artist Toni Onley, 1928-2004, once said on his own mortality. "Every time someone views one of my paintings I will be brought back to life for that brief moment".

From: Padmaja -- Oct 29, 2013

I have my great grand father's miniature paintings that are over 150 years old, my musician grand father's hundreds of music books written by him, his audio tapes, that make me feel they are with me. Truly artists are immortal through their creations that they leave
behind. I hope to leave behind me some creations that will bring my memories alive to my dear ones.

From: Barbara -- Oct 29, 2013

Dear Robert,
what a great pleasure and delight to read you again despite the terrible revealing of “The bomb”!
Oh yes, you can be sure of your immortality, not only as an artist by your paintings but also by sharing your ideas and thoughts with your friends and readers.
But immortality can wait as long as you are alive and well as much as possible.
I am sure you and your beloved ones will find the right balance between all the offered responses to the challenge you are in.
You’re in my heart.
With love and hope, Barbara

From: Bobbie Kilpatrick -- Oct 29, 2013

Dear Robert, Thank you for the many years of just being there. Your gift of sharing, experience and wise and profound insight have created a huge family of grateful readers.

My personal quote in your quote archive under expression is: "Life is an Attitude. Art is an expression of life." Our mind is the tool God has given us to shape our destiny. When we believe something, without doubt, we can achieve or overcome ANYTHING. So a positive attitude will bring health just as it did achievement and success for you. During the treatment process replace any negative thoughts with positive ones so you can defeat this disease. Its power is dissolved with your strong, positive mental attitude.

"As a man thinketh, so is he." James Allen

Hang in there, we are pulling for you.

From: Teresa Gaye Hitch -- Oct 29, 2013

Dear Bob, While I am deeply saddened by this news that reverberates through every cell, I am in awe of how you make your precious life experience beautiful and relevant to your readers. At this extremely difficult time, you take the higher road and generously offer us sensitive insights into your personal world with elan and elegance. With so much love and light surrounding you, I believe you will overcome this "bomb" heroically. Your legacy will always shine brightly.
With much love and gratitude,
Teresa
PS as you are getting so much advice, I thought I'd better include more. Kale, parsley and bok choy go well with carrot juice, and you will be a better person as a result.:)

From: Kay Christopher -- Oct 29, 2013

Hi, Robert. Yours is the only subscription email I read immediately and consistently. None others come even close. Your wisdom, perspective and genuineness, among many other qualities, make your letters a rare treasure. While I have always appreciated you a great deal, today it was especially good to hear from you. A beautiful gift. You and your family will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Many blessings to you, Namaste (I behold and honor the eternal Spirit in you).

From: Joanna Dermenjian -- Oct 29, 2013

Hi Robert, You recently wrote "We live our short spans in the vortex of a miracle, and while we may not be the center of that vortex, it is magic to be anywhere in there. Be happy! The gods insist on it. The philosophers can find no higher ideal. The pursuit of it is written in the US Constitution. It's the pursuit that matters".
Here is wishing your pursuit will continue for many more days. And know that in your humble chronicling of your pursuit, you have provoked thought and provided encouragement to many!

From: Jill Paris Rody -- Oct 30, 2013

Good Morning Robert!
It's always so good to read your messages and today...here you are! The shock has worn a bit about your illness... now it's time to recognize yes, we are not the ones in control of our living and dying... that is, that we didn't create ourselves and neither can we stop or stay our crossing over to heaven. There, it is out, and now I can say what is on my heart: you are always so giving to your readers... you have shared all that you find worthy in Art and inspiration. I hope you will continue that, for sure, but I also hope you will allow others to inspire and encourage you in whatever means seems useful. You have so much to offer and perhaps this is the time for you to recoup and rest while you gain love and insight for us, your readers. Do all you can to gain physical health. Eat right, exercise, rest, and get a good night's sleep! Thanks be for HOPE!

From: Rae Smith -- Oct 30, 2013

Robert , we look forward to reading your comments for many years to come , our friend Peter Gough exhibit at the same gallery in Mahone Bay , I am a 75 year old Pastel artist and it think the creator has a hand in our making of paintings , it always surprises me ,the end results.

From: Jackie Knott -- Oct 31, 2013

We're fortunate as artists to "leave" something of ourselves. Not everyone has that. Robert, you will leave a rich legacy of observations, philosophy, writings, paintings, video ... your progeny won't have to ask the question, "What kind of man was Grandpa?" They'll know. The technology we have today makes that so much easier.
I had a somewhat convoluted childhood and lost my mother very young. A few relatives had an item or two that belonged to her. An old photo album was discovered in a barn. Those things made their way to me eventually as an adult. The most precious thing out of those was one typewritten letter. One. I can hardly remember her and I guess the most disappointing void is, "What kind of woman was she?" I don't know.
Our ancestral history should leave more than facts. I will be leaving books and paintings and want my grandchildren and great grands to know the answer to that question. I would urge anyone reading this to paint a more complete picture of yourselves. Paintings, yes, but our immortality is more so in the hearts of our loved ones.

From: Mike Barr -- Oct 31, 2013

A lot of artists have the privilege of having works in other people's homes - hence really being a part of their lives. It's an honor that seems to be realised when you get older! Imagine having a film presented to you of each work you had in other houses around the world and the daily drama of family life that each painting witnesses and becomes a part of. It would be stunningly interesting - for the artist at least.

From: alyce black -- Oct 31, 2013

Your big news letter was my first from you. I checked it out on a tip from Nancy Franke. How inspiring you and your family are. I already treasure your thoughts and your writing style. I know that your book of letters will be meaningful to each life that they touch. I so appreciate the gift of having them to read. We all feel that our work is not good enough but I think we will someday know that each day was and is exactly as it was wrought. "His eye is on the sparrow and we know He watches you."

From: Joan Kaldawi -- Oct 31, 2013

Dearest Robert: How much I appreciate all you've given to us, struggling artists! Your kindness in sharing your knowledge has been a God-send. Thank you for your wonderful newsletters. You are in my prayers and thoughts.

From: Kathleen Theriault -- Oct 31, 2013

Hi Robert,
I believe that our souls are infinite and unbound and each and every time our soul speaks through creative expression our spirits rejoice. New ideas are revealed to me every time I make a painting and I have faith that my next painting will take me one step closer to creating an infinitely truer and better painting. As I continue to learn, move forward and look back at where I have been I am truly grateful for how far I have actually come. There will always be a better, more truthful painting so I'll keep painting, learning and living!

I am so very thankful that I was blessed with the opportunity to participate as your student, this past August in the Bugaboos!
Thank you so much for sharing your "Mountain Rules" and for your kind words and encouragement! Yes my ride has arrived and it's now time to get on board the painting-copter!
Inspired,
Kathleen

From: Carol kairis -- Nov 01, 2013

I think of you Robert as to the Scripture which says "there is more happiness in giving then receiving". You have given so abundantly. What more can we ask? This pull of creativity..(in hours & time) always remained as a conflict within my soul. For the richness of our Creator's wonder already spoke volumes. What could I possibly convey? Appreciation..for sure, yet in today...tomorrows day would speak to us. Within..." it's hope all perseverance remains forever". A gift to those...appreciating & excepting it's value. The key within John 3:16 holds insurmountable richness not only to ourselves but our young ones, seeing the fulfillment of
Revelation 3: 1--5 is a reward sustaining forever to our families &
loved ones, really becoming our lives riches reward.
My prayer daily is to become "focused" is this balanced within "lives value".

From: Jeanie Zaimes, MD -- Nov 01, 2013

Dear Robert,
Your writing has been so inspirational. Your advice allowed me to decide to stop lessons for awhile. I felt I was losing my vision and my style. It has been wonderous just to paint. Your encouragement and your sharing of the struggles we all go through has kept me at my easel and I am most grateful.

Keep growing and stay curious. My closest friend died a few years ago and her biggest fear was too much morphine. She didn't want to miss a moment of the experience. Her way of death showed me a way of life. Always be curious and growth and peace will be your companions. And don't forget, we doctors can predict but people frequently prove us wrong. Jeanie Zaimes, MD, Felton, DE2

From: Sharon Stein -- Nov 01, 2013

Robert, of the family of five I had! three of us have gone. My beloved brother two years ago. I have had a go with cancer! and am in year four of clear check-ups as previously written. my younger sister has not shown anything yet. While my brother was in the process of treatment, I saw an article about eating asparagus every day? Apparently, there are recorded cures, much like carrot juice? Check it out, I just have a gut feeling you will thankfully be around for longer than you think. Thank you for being my most valuable other mentor!

From: Diana LaMorris -- Nov 01, 2013

I have only just this year found you, and love when you show up in my inbox as a mentor and friend. While my artist friend was dying of cancer this summer, I read your 37 minute challenge. I took it on, and produced paintings for her and me that kept us happy in the moment. I have sung your praises, and pray that a cure comes along sooner rather than later. You are amazing!

From: Sandra Sibley -- Nov 01, 2013

I have been reading your twice weekly newsletters for a number of years. Your insight, advice and humor always get the day off to a good start. You've become my long-distance mentor and I have learned how to paint better. Your grace in the face of this devastating diagnosis is inspiring, but I do need to offer the unsolicited advice to please follow up with the best oncologist available in the US or Canada. Cancer treatments and outcomes change on an almost daily basis. What was to be just a few short years ago may not be so today. And do that carrot juice and kale thing... :-) BTW, we're going to do the 37 minute/37 stroke exercise in my art class.

From: Chris Carless -- Nov 01, 2013

Robert.
Just a short note to say thanks for all the great inspiration and tips over the past five years. A good friend and fellow artist tuned me on to you and your work has inspired me through the dark hours. I still don't have regular work hours but I still show up in my little studio and paint with real pleasure. So best of luck on your journey. Your colors are bright sir.
Chris.

From: carrie mitchell harper -- Nov 01, 2013

so grateful for you RG and your lovely Sara. I had the most exciting privilege to meet you both at Hambleton Gallery in Kelowna.... a life highlight for me. "Live Long and Prosper" my friend. I'm at http://www.heartschoolkelowna.com/

From: Lynda Jamieson -- Nov 01, 2013

"Well what now?".....my first thought at receiving your shocking news. You have had a profound influence on my thoughts of what a painting should be, could be, "What could be?" the question you ask as you demo your fine work. I have followed you as an artist and enjoyed your books and weekly letters so very much for many years. You are real Canadian Icon.! At a recent workshop on beautiful Cortes Island, your mentorship was invaluable for me, as was Sara's. Not only did I leave with even more admiration for you and your work, but observing the relationship between you and your talented daughter showed that you are blessed with a loving family. The saying: "The apple don't fall too far from the tree" certainly holds true in your case. So what now? ...Today there is life, love, hope. Now it is about you ; your healing process. There are amazing successful treatments in medicine now. There is no doubt that you are a strong man to have endured and overcome the many obstacles over time that go along with becoming a master painter. I wish for you only the very best results from treatment, that you will be back to healthy once again.

Sincerely,
Lynda Jamieson - Campbell River, BC

From: Denise -- Nov 01, 2013

After reading A Place and a Time, I was struck by one line: I was there. That is such an amazing legacy you are giving to the all of us. Sometimes we are so caught up in all that swirls around us in some kind of insane tornado, we forget to live in the moment. Thank you for reminding me that I need to be present in the moment and not just wish or dream I can do something, but to do it.

From: Evangeline Munns -- Nov 01, 2013

I have enjoyed your newsletters so much. Your attunement with the world around you, your compassion, the integrity with which you lead your life are inspirational. Our minds have great influence in the way we heal (or not). Keep your spirits up. sincerely Evangeline Munns, King city, Ontario

From: Michael Aranoff -- Nov 01, 2013

I have been dealing with my own mortality issues. My practice is to 'Bless this moment' every time I look up and around me. It fills my life with .......more blessed moments.

Gratitude is the best attitude. Sometimes miracles happen.

From: Jutta Woodland -- Nov 01, 2013

Dear wonderful Robert
I, and I am sure all your fans, hope you'll be a survivor!!!!!!
We need your inspirations and your sense of humor.
All the Very Best to you and your family.

Jutta

From: Joseph Guggino -- Nov 01, 2013

A certain Chinese farmer's horse ran away to which his neighbor said "Oh, that's bad." To which he replied "good, bad, I don't know, only God knows." The horse came back a week later with another horse to which again the neighbor said (you got it). His son while riding the horse fell off and broke his leg (again, good/bad - God knows) The army came through town force recruiting all the young men but his son with the broken leg... The world squeezes us til we know we need God. Yes art lasts longer than a life, but only a little in the face of eternity. My question to you is do you know God. In the book of Isaiah God says that he is a stumbling stone AND a sanctuary. Without the stumbling stone 99% of us won't seek the sanctuary.
Check out Richard Rohr's book "Falling Upward" for more on this.
My prayers are with you.

From: Barry Salaberry -- Nov 01, 2013

You have given me an example of generosity in motion. I came across a book, autographed by you when you gave a week's course in Penticton, BC. I was absorbed by the giving aspect...I'm a potter, and glean what I can of your work ethic and approach to your day, whereas the technique aspects fall on inexperienced ears, painterly speaking.

Your gift of the newsletter came sideways, in a reference link through a pottery listserve, Clayart. Reading in your letters, it's what you point to that serves as inspiration in my rather isolated life.

Thank you sincerely for what you have given to all of us. And, as I mentioned initially, it has inspired me to give more of myself in a similar vein. I have in recent months begun volunteering, and your life confirms the importance of this to live fully.

From: Ken Edwards -- Nov 01, 2013

Libby Znaimer, who works for a media company, Zoomer Media in Toronto has beaten pancreatic cancer. She is a high profile person here in the Toronto area, and I read that she and her medical advisors had worked industriously to help her beat this disease back.

Here is a website for your reference.

http://www.pancreaticcancercanada.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=stories_libby

http://libbyznaimer.com/

Maybe you can find some help or advice through her???

I wish you the very best in your fight.

From: Joseph Jahn -- Nov 01, 2013

My guideline for years has been
"Paint at a level so good the painting will never be trashed."

From: Jane McHan -- Nov 01, 2013

I find that your messages are packed with philosophy and good information for life. I have used some of your suggestions when teaching psychology courses to classes of art students in the Middle East. For example, I adapted one of your mountain exercises to the desert and it worked well. I also discussed the Stendhal effect with the students.

Eleanor Roosevelt said that some people "leave footprints in one's heart".

From: Dr. David Skrypnyk -- Nov 01, 2013

If anyone has the mind to handle the situation you are the man.

From: Rose Bernatovich -- Nov 01, 2013

Robert, I was really happy to see you continuing to write the newsletters, we readers love them. Keep the faith, it ain't over till it's over and doctors can be proved wrong!

From: Kathleen Muffie-Witt -- Nov 02, 2013

Robert... I have been reading your posts these last few years and they have been so important to me. They seem to come at the exact time I need them. Thank you. I recently lost my mother to a horrible struggle with breast cancer. We lost her 2 weeks ago. One of the things that she gave me was the ability to take care of her through her illness. Thinking back it was a great gift. I was there to wash her, help her eat and hold her hand. My mom didn't want her children to do that. She was embarrassed. But after awhile she relaxed and let us help. As her child I needed to be able to help. To be close and all the time I was with her she whispered to me how much she loved me. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done. But they were the most meaningful and loved filled moments that I have ever experienced.

From: Nancy Jenkins -- Nov 03, 2013

Dear Robert:

I have read your letters for many years. Your incredible insight and humor are an inspiration to us all........not just artists. I work in a lab and want to be an artist. I dibble dabble with paint in my free time.........maybe now is the time to go forward with this solo endeavor as DO IT NOW seems to be ringing loud and clear.
So many poignant paragraphs have been posted about you and your art, your classes and travels, and your lovely family............they are all beautifully written and show the impact you have had on such a multitude of people around the world. Few of us have done the same. Thank you for sharing so much of you with so many. It has been a great honor to be on your mailing list. I wish you courage and strength and your continued wit with your carrot juice in the days ahead. Cheers to an amazing man!!!!!!

Sincerely and with great respect for your preset situation,
I give you my heart:
Nancy from Seattle

From: Nancy Jenkins -- Nov 03, 2013

that would be your "present" situation
I apologize for the mis-spelling

nothing is truly "preset" in this life

Nancy

From: Anne Glapion -- Nov 03, 2013

Your emails have been inspiring to so many of us. This is my first time writing a comment but I want you to know that I have enjoyed reading yours and those of your loyal followers. I hope that our good wishes will lift you up just as you have lifted our spirits all these years.

From: Dana Finnegan -- Nov 03, 2013

I don't remember how I got tapped in to your bi-weekly letters, but I am so grateful I did. I am not a painter, except as a word-painter. I am a writer and person who has been inspired and charmed by your letters. Thank you for sharing life with me. May your life path be good for you--as you have made my and many others life paths.
All will be well, Robert.

From: Eileen Pasishnek -- Nov 04, 2013

I feel so very sad as I read about the "New Journey" you and your family are on. I have just recently become a part of the family of artists you inspire every week with your e-mails. I feel very blessed to have discovered your website (through word of mouth). It is filled to overflowing with words of inspiration, guidance, knowledge and beautiful visual images to help spur one on to become a better artist and a better person. I will continue to look forward to the e-mails as long as it is possible for you to continue on and I will pray for you. May God come alongside of you to strengthen you and guide you as you try to sort all of this out. I still believe in divine interventions and healing so will be praying to that end. We never know what tomorrow may bring. From what little I know of you, through your writings and paintings, you live with a spirit of optimism and a heart of love towards others. That alone will hold you in good stead as you move forward. Thank you for all you have done and do for others. May it return to you....a thousand fold. Nothing is impossible with God!

From: Alex Pedersen -- Nov 04, 2013

Your daughter Sara is a successful painter living in the Big Apple. I look very much forward to hearing what she has to say to add to your own remarkable background and authority. Denmark

From: Gillian Tucker, Penticton BC, Canada -- Nov 04, 2013

Showing up: I have been reading your letters for about two years now. Your news hit me as if you were a personal Summer evening oil painting friend. I want to tell you how your words have helped me through some tough struggles with the paint. Times when I didn't like anything I was painting, I kept showing up at the easel, my job. Thank you for teaching me so much.

From: Christine Ritchie, Nova Scotia, Canada -- Nov 04, 2013

We paint like we live: It has been a joy to read your letters, Robert, and so many of my artist friends feel the same way. Thank you for your dedication and wisdom. The same energy you put into your letters shows up in your paintings. We paint like we live, don't we? Honestly, responsibly, joyfully, heartily, boldly, spontaneously, colourfully and on and we go till our spirit takes on the biggest adventure of all - the shore we're all headed for.

Facing our own mortality, although daunting, will be here for all of us in the wink of an eye... whether that be a month, a year or ten/twenty years, it will always feel too short to us while we are well. May the third act of your life be surrounded in the joy and celebration of a life full and rich, generous and forgiving.

From: Anne Smythe -- Nov 04, 2013

The Bomb:

I've never responded or written before, but I want you to know that even though I am not crazy about your paintings (don't dislike them, but not my cup of tea) I always love your newsletters and almost feel I know you, so was deeply saddened by your last letter. If my vote counts, i didn't know about you 27 years ago, and would really love to read those older letters.

Good luck in your fight, and congratulations on such an incredible legacy.

From: Riita-Anne Piquet -- Nov 04, 2013

I just read the most recent letter last night and then went back to the previous one to find out more. I too have cancer, but of the colon.

Painting keeps me grounded and helps me respond in life situations. Sometimes just putting pen to paper, but I just keep doing it. I am working on a series of paintings of trees, it is my personal symbol of strength and power.

From: Jerry F. Albert, Cobourg ON -- Nov 04, 2013

Dear Robert,

It's with great sadness that I hear of you current health issue. My daughter Shanna who knows your son in Toronto had informed me. I just wanted to say thank you.

You might remember that we met at Lake O'Hara several years ago. I was painting away and you came up behind me and said, "I think you nailed it". You will never know what encouragement that simple statement meant to me and does to this day.

I know you have been a tremendous source of encouragement for a lot of people and I thank you for it.

Kindest Regards, Jerry

From: Nora Bolton -- Nov 04, 2013

Like many other readers, I am also writing to you as am also grateful for art creations and care. My husband had died of cancer and we were living on beautiful Vancouver Island and have memories of looking out at sea. It was an extraordinary and beautiful stage in both our lives. As he said, every day is a gift.

And who knows - the most awesome paintings may be still ahead!

From: Joy MacFadyen -- Nov 04, 2013

Dear Robert:

As past president of the Art Guild of Scarborough for some 25 years or more I have always been a faithful reader of your informative and entertaining newsletters. Your generous sharing of the consummate skill and knowledge that you possess has bolstered my own search for artistic expression over the years - as well as those of many of the 185 members of our organization .

Having just returned from a 2-week trip to visit my family South Africa, during which my only, beloved brother died of a massive heart attack after a heart-valve transplant, I was not ready to read that you are now afflicted with pancreatic cancer. However, your positive attitude is as aspiring as Randy's was and I have drawn much comfort from your uplifting words.

Along with the thousands of your devoted fans I hope that you will be able to maintain your wonderful approach to life into eternity. When that time comes you will have left a legacy of incomparable inspiration .... enough to fill a lifetime of study for artists from all over the world.

Thank you, and God bless.

Joy MacFadyen
Past president
The Art Guild of Scarborough

From: Glenn J. Secrest -- Nov 04, 2013

Dear Robert,

We've never met, but your weekly letters have been an inspiration to me for many years.

I have an acquaintance who has suffered with the same disease your fighting. And she's still going strong after seven years!

I know that may not offer any comfort to you, but trust you'll remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely,
Glenn J. Secrest
Captain, USN (Ret.)

From: Ursula Yanchak -- Nov 04, 2013

I am profoundly upset to hear about your bout with cancer. I enjoy reading your art blog and feel connected to the artistic literary community you have developed for all of your followers. I look forward to many more to come. Stay positive. Best wishes and prayers for you and your family. And thank-you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights with us.

From: Sharon Reed -- Nov 05, 2013

This is a universal truth:

Someone asked us recently, "Is there any limitation to the body's ability to heal?" And we said, "None, other than the belief that you hold." And he said, "Then why aren't people growing new limbs?" And we said, "Because no one believes that they can."

---Abraham

From: Tess Turner -- Nov 05, 2013

Hi Robert,

I was reading your email referring to what Peter Gough was saying to you and thought to add my little bit:-). I do follow the great teachings of Abraham-Hicks, this arrived in my inbox today and found it very appropriate.


Tess Turner ...all the way from a small island in the Med (Cyprus:-)

From: Polly Roopnarine -- Nov 05, 2013

I am sorry about your illness but you have to think of it as obstacle despite the odds. Go to a healing person or you can do it yourself. I do it myself! A long time in College, but this is something minor, it was healed before the two weeks were up for the next visit and I never went back.

You tell God that you are not ready to leave, that you have work to do. Ask for forgiveness of any sins and ask for the Divine Light to come through your body and heal all your cells so you become healthy again. Say it all time like a Mantra. Get into then sunlight and say it. Ask your family to do the same for you. Good luck

From: Dorothy Foster -- Nov 05, 2013

I had to let your sad news percolate before I had a grasp on what I wanted to say to you. You mention the” forever thing” with regards to painting and life (all of which would be a very happy surprise for me) but what I treasure the most as an artist and it only comes from intense applications and immersions in art, is the ability to sense when things are working in the visual art field and when they are not.Even when ones own art does not rank high’ one”s ability to recognize truly fine art in others is thrilling. Good things become transformative in spirit. Not only do you enjoy this ability but you have shared with all artists the road to becoming better artists . I thank you for this and hope that the energies that you have waved over all of us ricochet back to help fight off this cancer .

From: Phillippa Robert -- Nov 05, 2013

Your recent post really stopped me in my tracks. Its effect on me was surprising, as I am a passive (but earnest) receiver of your twice weekly posts. On reflection, and reading today that you had lots of emails in response, I wanted to make a comment. I believe your communication has always been interesting and thought-provoking with a personal and very sincere approach. It is no wonder that your recent revelation received such an overwhelming response. Your readers feel for you because you have been so open with us. Thank you for your insights and sharing. And best wishes for your treatment and the challenges ahead.

From: Gabriele Bridgwater -- Nov 05, 2013

Over the past number of years I have cherished every one of your newsletters -- and saved them all. Each one was like a nurturing friend pulling me back into my art studio: pushing me into new directions; supporting ideas I was already working on; reminding me of the expansive experience of creating art. I had this silent outward dialogue between me and your letters; yet loud and vivacious inside my head and heart. I want you to know what beautiful discourse you created.

Your letters were a lifeline during the four years that I was at home looking after my husband who went through the hope and devastation of his cancer journey. They reminded me of the immense beauty of life, light and colour which surrounds us even during the darkest of times. They were a friend when I did not have time for 'friends'. And they encouraged me to paint more.

The more difficult my days, the more colourful my paintings. I would frequently tell my children that: "I refuse to go over to the dark side".

My husband passed away in May of this year and I now have more time to immerse myself in painting, in the magical studio that my husband built for me. When I am painting, there is no such thing as time -- time is an illusion. I know that my art will continue to take me on a beautiful journey and I want to thank you for being there when I needed you most. My art is helping me heal is such a beautiful way.

I do so hope that this letter can be a like a long, nurturing embrace to give something back to you.

Warmest regards.

PS if you would like a retreat weekend in Invermere, I would be happy to gift you (& family or friend) a weekend stay at my Red Cottage (one of the 2-bedroom suites). It is a quiet time of the year. Down duvets, ironed sheets, gas fireplace, 3 blocks from downtown, close to walking paths with great mountain views.
Just give me a call or email.

From: Sonja Donnelly -- Nov 05, 2013

You have always made us feel like your letter was written directly to each of us. Altho we have never met I feel sure if we did it would be like meeting an long time old friend. This news comes with shock and sadness, coming on the heals of the death of my husband of 52 years just two years ago. With early diagnosis and todays technology there is always hope and often remission. That is worth fighting for. With all your many followers pulling for you and praying for you, that can't hurt either.

I was so honored to have been selected to write one of the forward comments in your book. I will always cherish my copy. I am so happy you compiled it. Your words and letters, your wisdom and humility will be there for future generations to enjoy. I admire your tenacity and sticking power to continue writing all these years as you have. It is a quality that most of us aspire to but often fall by the wayside when other things in life interfere. Your encouragement to keep working, to always look for the beauty, and to always do the very best that we are capable of will stay with me as long as I am able to hold a brush. For this I wish to thank you and want you to know your life is an inspiration to me and so many others that your letters have reached.

I virtually hold your hand tightly as you embark on the biggest challenge you have yet encountered. You have grate strength, courage and will, may it serve you well as you face this difficult task you now must face. I too would like to wish strength to each of your family members who will help you through the coming months. May the beauty you have expressed in your work over shadow the hardship you will face. And may you gain strength knowing that that beauty has touched so many others.

Once again, Thank you for sharing your life with us.
My thoughts are with you, and I pray for your recovery.
Always see the beauty.

From: Dan McGrath -- Nov 05, 2013

Just got back from a trip and opened and read your letter, with tears in my eyes. You will be in my thoughts and prayers in the coming months. You have given so much to the arts community over the years and I have enjoyed all your letters: giving me a boost, wise counsel and making me chuckle. I hope the doctors can make the coming months as pleasant as possible. Wishing you all the best. I hope you can keep us, your readers, periodically up to date as time allows. Warmest Regards.

From: Kathleen Kazmierski, Hamburg Michigan -- Nov 05, 2013

A student has been forwarding your blog for over a year - I have so enjoyed your practical advice- and shared many opinions--
I wish you "all you need" on this next adventure in life--- much love

From: Mikki Root Dillon -- Nov 05, 2013

I can't tell you how sad I and all your other letter recipients are to hear this news. We are right here with you, even though so far away. Please let us know how to help you...with prayers, of course. I'm sitting here with tears erupting...never realized how much your letters and you have meant to me these past years. Maybe Sara can help you put together a book of your sketches and paintings? A legacy for the rest of us struggling along the way. We will all be keeping you in our prayers and I do know of folks who have made it through this disease, so hang in there. Much love from one of millions of your fans.

From: Carol Rubsam -- Nov 05, 2013

I have so enjoyed reading your comments this last year, and have taken many of them to heart. Thank you for sharing your art and inspiration with the world, and specifically this particular artist. I retired from the corporate world a few years ago to "switch" careers. I paint and draw these days instead of analyzing spreadsheets. I am not a really, really good artist, nor am I really bad, but I love what I do and I sell enough to keep me interested in continuing. You have given me great insight into a world I have grown to love. thank you from all of us out here.

From: Fred Craig -- Nov 05, 2013

Words fail. Love endures.

From: Leana de Villiers -- Nov 05, 2013

As I read your latest Letter, I could feel the tightening feeling around my chest. I am truly sorry to hear of the news about your health.

I have been enjoying your newsletters since the beginning of this year and prior to receiving the newsletters I visited The Painter's Keys website often. I looked forward to every Tuesday and Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them with great appreciation. Thank you for your time that you dedicated to the newsletters and completely understanding that they won't be coming out twice weekly. I wouldn't expect it any other way.

Thank you again for the reminder to 'do it now'.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers and thoughts, as well that there will be positive answers for you from the oncologists.

Sending you warm greetings from Cape Town, South Africa

From: Suzanne DesRosiers -- Nov 05, 2013

I have been reading your letters for several years now and this terrible news has made my heart heavy, my stomach in knots. I am so very sad and mad about this terrible thing we call cancer. Why do bad things happen to such good people? I know, we are not suppose to ask "why me?". But I realized I have come to rely on your loving, caring, rich and full of depth and breadth wisdom on being an artist.

Funny thing, I thought just last week about your passing. I don't know why, I just did. And I thought then, how I would surely miss your insightful words and how I have come to be, let's say, reliant on those letters. They boost me up, they cheer me on, I get tips and techniques, I travel along with you on your great many adventures.

I want to believe in miracles. I want you to believe in miracles. Could the doc have been mistaken? Is there such a thing as a pancreas transplant? How can we all help you?

This is not the end Robert. Not just yet. You have today and most likely tomorrow. You will need your strength to manage your time left here on earth. So try not to worry about us. This time it is about you and your family.

I will remain in denial until it no longer serves me or you. For now, I will express my gratitude for ALL that you do for artists worldwide.

For ever grateful, A fellow artist, Suzanne

From: Barbara Callow -- Nov 05, 2013

I would just like to tell you and your family that your letters and your book The Painters' Keys were an enormous encouragement to me, especially in my first few years returning to painting full time. I have followed your advice of "go to your room" for the last 12 years or so. Painting has become my anchor and my sanity and the love of my life. I've progressed in my skill and my reputation in steady stages while finding inspiration in the letters. I will probably never be satisfied with my paintings but, as you have told us that is how we continue to grow and improve.

Although I've never met you personally, I'm extremly grateful for the mentorship that you give all of we aspiring artists.

Best wishes and love to you and your family.

From: Anne Andrews -- Nov 05, 2013

I was lucky enough to attend your's and Sara's workshop at Hollyhock this summer. I thank you both for your warmth and generosity.

I haven’t forgotten to practice the 37 minutes. It was a special time and I am glad I had the honour and pleasure of sharing it with you both and the other wonderful students. I think you truly are blessed and hope that you will continue to be so especially in view of the bomb.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when a friend looked at my painting and said I can see a little bit of Robert Genn in it. I wish I could give back to you even a little bit of what you have given to me. I send love and prayers your way and wish you a continued and joyous journey. Thank you.





Thank you

From: Barbara Clennan -- Nov 05, 2013

You won't remember me and that is not important. I am so very sorry to hear about your Bomb. You really do have a wonderful way with words. Your generosity with your time and artistic knowledge is exceptional. I hope you are able to return to your first love' - painting - very soon. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and many many others.

From: Kathleen Kastles -- Nov 05, 2013

Aloha, As a new subscriber to your newsletter, I was stunned by the bomb you dropped. You, your wife and family are at ground zero, but your extended circle of devastation is very wide indeed. Everything I can think of to say seems inadequate, so instead I give you this from Beatrice of Nazareth: "And like the fish, swimming in the vast sea and resting in its deeps, and like the bird, boldly mounting high in the sky, so the soul feels its spirit freely moving through the vastness and the depth and the unutterable richness of love."

Robert, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. You must realize that some people (Steve Jobs, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and many others lived and are living, years after their pancreatic cancer dx. When I was much younger, a melanoma dx was always fatal. These days melanoma is no longer a death sentence. Medical science is working very hard to find cures for pancreatic cancer and many other diseases and conditions. Indeed, to me it seems the cure for pancreatic cancer may be found before our political parties are able to work together for the benefit of the citizenry. But that's another issue entirely. I extend to you my best wishes. Aloha Nui Loa.

From: Twila Robar-DeCoste, Aylesford, NS. -- Nov 05, 2013

I am so sorry to hear your news. You have given so much to so many, and will continue to do so. I often share your wonderful notes and insights with my students. You're fortunate that you have such a great family to support you in this difficult journey. Please know that your many friends around the world will be keeping you in their thoughts and prayers. I certainly will be. Warm regards.

From: Evelyn Funk -- Nov 05, 2013

We met a long time ago at your home in White Rock, then with a magnificent entrance path of blooming Laburnum trees; fellow artist Bert Oudendag introduced us and you took us for a drive in your Bentley and told us abut the cap with the light bulb attached to it which you said you wore whenever you wanted a bright idea.

A few years before, perhaps 1968, I discovered your art in a gallery in New Westminster - a water colour of a child on a swing and how I loved it. Alas at the price of $350 it was more than my income could manage...little did I know. I still pine for that painting and followed your water colours with interest. I have a print of your painting of your daughter Sara on a skateboard in front of the sails on the waterfront which you did for Expo 86. It has hung in all of my offices these 27 years.

I, and everyone whom I have introduced you to, have so much pleasure in reading your newsletters. I have marveled at how a talented painter is also a writer. I am not a painter but I am writing a children's book.

Look to the stars tonight (you may well see them from your vantage) because there are ten thousand wishes for every star for you. You are my star!

From: Brian Norton -- Nov 05, 2013

I am saddened to hear your news.I have been reading your twice weekly pearls. I felt I needed to share something which I only learned about just recently which I pray will be of some real help to you. Please find attached an article which will explain what I am referring to. This week I am about to do the garden of the man who prints the cards and calendars from my paintings. He has just been told he has bowel cancer. I checked out his garden and he has this herb growing everywhere so I have given him the information I am sending you. Ironically you could say it has your name on it. I don't even know if it is growing where you live but I really hope so. I guess you'll be flooded with all sorts of people like me trying to offer advice but I felt I had to share this with you. Lots of love from New Zealand.

The herb is: Geranium Robertianum F. Geraniaceae

From: Joyce Butler -- Nov 05, 2013

Many years ago you allowed me to come to your studio and talk with you, I was so nervous but it was a great experience and of course I have always been able to picture you there, painting and maybe writing your letters. To continue, my husband is now in care and I also have a friend who is in the same Continuing Care Center and on the walls in her room she has two of your paintings, one called Sara, which is of a young girl, and the other an outdoor scene. She treasures both of them. I too have treasured reading all you letters over the years, and reading time and again your “Dreamway”. I have a feeling that you will be one of the ones who will be given a ‘second chance’, and with all the prayers that will be coming your way I am sure of it. Sent with love and understanding.

From: Maria Oppenheim, Wiesbaden, Germany -- Nov 05, 2013

I don’t know you personally and you don’t know me. I’ve received your Newsletter for a couple of years and I have mostly enjoyed it very much. Some I just postponed reading but I rarely missed one. “The Bomb” hit me like a bomb and I realized how important I find giving feedback to a person you appreciate. So here it comes: It wasn’t the information you sent – though there was quite a bit of it – that caught my attention. It is your authenticity in each and every one of your newsletters that motivated me. This personal touch gave me a feeling of sharing. There is a song in which someone asks “don’t you want to share some wisdom with me?”

Maybe that was the essence. It is something rare and precious and I am grateful to you for it.

It’s a bit hard to utter this wish but I hope you can keep sharing this authenticity with us for as long as you are among us so that we may just accompany you on this path we will all follow sooner or later.

May you feel up to it – I wish you the necessary energy and inspiration.

From: Phoebe Ackley, Berkeley, California -- Nov 05, 2013

Thank you for your candid and un-dramatized truth telling. I hope you will explore as many possibilities as you can tolerate before you throw in the ol' paint rag; but that said there is a lovely calm in accepting what comes our way. I sense in you a peaceful resolve to live life fully as long as it is there to be lived. My Mother died in May after a very brief but rapid decline at the age of 87. She was a lifelong painter, bridge player, piano player and wonderful mother and grandma, great and just plain grand in many ways. We all miss her and honor her place in the realm of our beloved ancestors.

Thank you for all you have given to so many artists for all these years. You will be remembered. And whenever it is that you choose to leave this mortal coil, may you go easy, in the lap of your family and friends. Who can ask for more? Peace.

From: Jill Campbell/Bukovnik -- Nov 05, 2013

Dear Extraordinary Robert,

There are so many people in & out of your life via your twice weekly letters, that I'm sure you would never remember me or most of the people who have written to you & shared their good wishes, prayers & grief over your latest news.

You have come into our lives twice a week, talked to us in plain english, shared your wisdom & life experiences with us. Because of this you have become our good friend & mentor.

We feel that you're part of our families & a special friend we can trust. You've shown us the way, the purpose, the joy of painting & that quality in our paintings counts.

I've always believed that every person in the world has something meaningful to contribute. That each one of us can give of our talents to make this world a better place.

Robert, you were blessed with more. More to give, to share, to teach, to paint, to encourage & to write. You have freely given to us more in your lifetime & it will surely take us our lifetimes to learn & understand what you have been teaching us.

I wish you well & hope that something can be done to prolong the estimated year. (remember, doctors are human & are often wrong about the time we have left. They don't account for the human spirit & the power & will to live.) I've had this experience with my dad & my mom's twin sister. My Auntie Marcile painted her best paintings during this time & lived two years longer than the doctors predicted.

I'm sure your family realizes that they are very blessed to know what is truly important & to embrace every moment of everyday.
With all my love & best wishes.

From: Nigel Chambers, New Zealander -- Nov 05, 2013

I guess this email will be another of the multitude of "Get well", Alternative "Medicines", Therapies, etc etc. in response to your "bombshell", and it is that as well, but I have another request -

It seems you are intent on shuffling off this mortal coil (and that sounds unnecessarily brutal, but I do not intend it that way) I would ask you reconsider your intent to destroy, what in your view are inferior works of art.

My appeal is based upon the fact that too few of our Masters, and yes, I attribute you as one, leave insufficient signposts of their progress. How are we - the learners, the ernest amateurs, the poseurs et al to match our progress to that of our idols, when we cannot see how they got "there from here"?

We all need pointers or way-markers to ascertain how they moved on from stumbling blocks that we all face in life and art. It is not good enough to show the final supreme "work of art" which as you remind us frequently enough, is impossible, given that each painting is but the crest for the next pinnacle that comes into view.

Your "humble origins" therefore help sustain us in life's endeavours, so that we too can see that the "Gods have feet of clay", but that they are still Gods having been through the furnace as it were.

These early beginnings need never reach the sale yard, but could be gathered to show when and why you changed direction, and Lord knows, posterity needs such pointers.

In terms of your "bomb", as you know, painters live more in the moment than others due to the nature of each concentrated brush stroke. May your strokes bring you peace and understanding.

From: Wendy Lambeth -- Nov 05, 2013

You are just a terrific person.☺️ Every best thought I can conjure is being sent to you from me. You have held my hand for years, strengthened my hold on my paint brush, my charcoal and my ink.. Take the best care of yourself over your next journey and realize you have helped a zillion people accomplish their dreams.
Many ,many thanks for everything. An enormous hug.

From: Ann Henson -- Nov 05, 2013

I have been a regular for years. Life can sure surprise us in many ways! I am a 3 times cancer survivor and can appreciate your thoughts and fears. My email signature signifies that journey for me. Deal with life's foibles as they come at you, and get on with things.

Even though I don't know you face-to-face personally I feel like you are an extremely strong and sensitive human being. You have a lot of support in many arenas also. I wish you the best medical treatment and support you can get, and pray for a miraculous journey, if not recovery, for you. Science may catch up with
the arts :-)

Ann
"It is what it is"

PS. I have missed hearing more of your daughters music. One of my favorite letters was the video of you painting to Sara's live music. I watched that video many times. It would be interesting to have her write also.

From: Cory Trepanier, Caledon ON -- Nov 05, 2013

Just read your newsletter a few minutes ago. So sorry to hear of this difficult news that you have received.

Though we've never met, it feels like you've visited my studio many times. Of course, you have through all your writing. Thanks for the enlightenment and entertainment over the years.

I wish you nothing but strength and peace as you digest this news and adapt. Will keep you in my prayers.

From: Beth Lee -- Nov 05, 2013

What would I do if it were me? I would hope to keep painting and writing. Your letters are now a part of my clothing. You must enjoy creating in paint and pen because you are successful in both. Just think of the pleasure you give to others because of your creativity. I wish the news had been different. It saddens me to think of your discomfort. Peace.

From: Anne Parlin -- Nov 05, 2013

All these years, I have so, so much appreciated your letters and advice. REALLY! I has been like an old friend coming to visit each week. I am a Quaker, so in our custom, I will "hold you and your family in the Light" as together, you grapple with "the bomb". Remember, there are so many of us out here cheering you on. Thank you so much for all your excellent work.

From: Billie Brinkley, Baytown, Texas -- Nov 05, 2013

For some unknown reason and by some unknown way I have been receiving your wonderful, insightful, humorous missives for ... I don't even know how long...

I particularly liked the "BS baffles the brain" quote about talking about art.

I have had one friend with pancreatic cancer. In an artistic way I feel you are my friend. I observed your concern about how to deal with all of your art. I wonder if you have dealt with eternity? There is a wonderful book, HEAVEN, by Randy Alcorn. Heaven is not harps and clouds. I hope that you have chosen Heaven. This time on earth is merely training ground.

We are all on loan. Knowing your expiration date is possibly approaching you have significant things to consider. Please read the
book of James. One good thing about being dealt cancer, rather than some random car accident is that you have time to sort and say and choose....Jesus IS the way.

From: Joanne Benson -- Nov 05, 2013

You don't know me. I have never commented on your blog or website. However, I have been enjoying your biweekly letters for the past several years and find them inspiring. Please know that you and your family will be in my prayers and I'm sure in the prayers of many unknown to you. I think people would find it helpful to hear about your journey with cancer as well as your art commentary. Please keep us up to date with your treatments and status. Life is too short and too precious and you have been lucky to do what you love for most of it.

Right now my 24 year old daughter (also an artist) is langishing in a rehab hospital recovering from severe injuries sustained in a car accident in which she was the passenger and the driver walked away. It was an unfortunate circumstance where the driver had a seizure and was unable to get off the exit ramp fast enough. The car rolled and my sweet baby girl had head trauma, spinal injuries and multiple other problems. We are most grateful and blessed for the excellent medical care she has received so far and I have forgiven the young driver who couldn't have predicted the terrible circumstances that we now face. But the lesson has hit home most dramatically. I have used the opportunity to write about her progress daily and post to FB. It has helped me to resolve my feelings as well as communicate to our friends and loved ones. I think journaling about your illness might be a good process for you when you are able. Sincerely with prayers and blessings coming your way.

From: Debi Murray -- Nov 05, 2013

You don't know me - but I am one of the "faces" you write to twice a week. First of all, I commend you and respect you for that discipline - as I am starting to learn, it is sometimes hard to stay faithful to faceless (and oftentimes, for me, voiceless) people. Nevertheless, you have shown me a consistency to strive for. That, alone, is huge in my book.

And then there is what you say - always pertinent, always timeless, always wise, always spot-on. However, I was stunned as I read this morning - those words that no one ever wants to hear, but likely will in some form or another, at some time. I look forward to whatever you and your family choose to do in terms of the twice weekly letters - I'm certain they'll remain edifying to all. But, in the meantime, please know that I will pray for you and your family -twice a week, of course :)

I will pray, not only for your healing - for accurate diagnoses and treatment, and for comfort for you and your family - but for the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding, to be yours in Christ Jesus." If you have specific requests, however, please send them my way! Be blessed ~

From: Anders Knutsson -- Nov 05, 2013

I have been reading your newsletter for years, and shared many with friends, and your latest this morning was indeed – a bomb! Being of the same age as you, it was a bomb in more ways than one, too, since I have many times had thoughts of what will the end-game be?

For every day, that day will inevitably be closer. Still every day is to be lived, and lived well. For a painter that is to paint, that’s for damned sure. And also to seek the best advice and choose your path to healing – body and soul. Editing your work, that is good too, but we know that history will (sooner than later I suspect) take care of that in its own way.

Your art is part of a glorious Canadian tradition! I am Swedish, married to a wonderful Canadian lady and living in New York since many years. But I have seen quite a bit o Canadian painting, curated shows etc. Been irritated over the (relative) lack of interest in visual arts there. Bottom line; landscape painting is at the center of Canadian painting, in my book. And in that book is you my friend and brother-in-arms.

God bless you!

From: Peter Pook, Oakville, ON -- Nov 05, 2013

Your news has caused me great sadness. Your weekly musings and advise have been both inspiring and dosed with a great deal of very helpful insights on "that's just the way life is". No doubt we will hear more from you as time and health permit.

While I understand your wish that sub-standard Genn paintings do not survive you ( the School of 7 should have been equally as diligent), I would ask you to consider keeping all your sketches and publishing them. As VP of Fisher Price Design I always asked designers I was interviewing to bring their sketch books as well as their finished work. It was in their sketches & doodles that I could really see the soul of the designer.

I wish you well. It must be wonderful for you to know how many aspiring and successful artists you have helped over the years. While you may fret over what paintings to sell, save & get rid of, know your greatest talent has been inspiring the rest of us. That too will be your legacy.

From: Todd Bonita -- Nov 05, 2013

I'm a 45 year old man, sitting in my den at 5:45am, choked up and deeply saddened over this news of someone I never met. Thank you for everything you've shared, you've made me think, inspired me to do and have changed my life for over a decade. I know I speak for the brotherhood and sisterhood of artist world wide when I say thank you for all you've contributed to the art world, you are a global treasure. Go hug those kids.

From: Pearl Gatehouse, England -- Nov 05, 2013

I was thinking just yesterday – having had a painting turned down for an important ‘Open’ exhibition – what is the purpose of all this? I have stacks of unsold paintings that will probably never be looked at.

You have answered this for me and probably thousands of others. In moments of questioning our calling and even despair, I will think of your letters and know that I am not alone, but one of a world-wide community. Perhaps it is not for us to decide why or even what we paint, but just to get our thoughts and pictures out there into the wider community to enrich the lives of others.

Your influence will, and must please live on….. what a contribution to have made! What a legacy to pass on ! Meanwhile you have at least a year….Love to you and your family.

From: Gun Penhoat -- Nov 05, 2013

I did not expect the news we received in your mail-out this morning. Our world-wide Airedale community gathers around when trouble strikes. Know that we're sending our strongest AireZen your way.

Gun Penhoat with Callista and Windsor (Winnie) Rescue 'dales, and LambertC*t
Adoption coordinator
ATRA (Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption), MI, USA

"For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong." ~H.L. Mencken

From: Randy Wollenmann -- Nov 05, 2013

I keep telling myself, "this is not real, this is not real..."; but, I guess it is. I'm very sorry to hear about your diagnosis, truly sorry... Absolutely stunned here...

Although you don't know me (I've never written or commented before) I've known you for many years, spending at least twice a week with you and a cup of coffee in hand. You've enlightened me much in my creative path and will continue to do so. This moment brings it all sharply into focus.

Wow..., very tough time for you, and your family.

I hope your website stays open somehow, and active. A brilliant testament to your life and ability to share. It is quite the hub, a reliable and vibrant resource that I've consulted many times and directed many artists to over the years. All your writings have been so inspiring and I always know where to go to for an added glimmer of motivation and creative thought.

Well, my best to you, Robert. With encouraging thoughts from a cyber listener. And my sincere thanks for sharing your creative world with me.

Randy

ps. One of many things I've learned from you: I always keep close at hand a heavy stick, whether out walking or just in my studio, to beat away those mental demons that come around from time to time. It's a great symbol and has helped to keep me moving forward in a positive way. Thank you.

From: Tony Robinson, Ireland -- Nov 05, 2013

Please add my expression of support to what I’m sure must be a mountain of letters from readers and friends who have great respect and gratitude for your kindly words of wisdom and humour.

I hope these same qualities will sustain you and Sara and the rest of your family and friends. Don’t give up hope.

From: Aubrey Cotton-Stapleton -- Nov 05, 2013

Your news is the very reason we need our family and friends. You have your family and a network of friends you don't even know from every corner of the globe, all sending healing energy to you.
I always look forward to reading your letters and will continue to do so, and i look forward to reading some of your earlier posts and Sara's too. I love the Maya Angelou quote, thankyou.
So, from this corner, country Victoria, Australia I wish you all the good health in the world.

From: Bonnie Serjeant, Cape Town South Africa -- Nov 05, 2013

I so look forward to your weekly letter that sparkles with humour and good advice. I'm terribly sorry that you are ill and wish you all the very best in the coming fight. I live in Cape Town South Africa, near the sea in a smallish village called Kommetjie. There are artists all over the place here, painting all sorts of things, trying their best to survive.

We're coming into our "season" soon, it's summer here now, we're the opposite to you and rely on the tourist trade a lot. We grumpily paint through winter and panic when Spring arrives. So funny! Thanks for all I've learnt from you this year and may you have a happy Christmas. Much love, Bonnie

From: Bill Grace -- Nov 05, 2013

Thank you for your wonderful newsletter, art, web presence, person!
Robert, you inspire so many, myself included, with your connected, fulfilled, whole thoughts and life.

May you enjoy and absorb the increased outpouring of love and care from great family and friends.
... you already do so much that is very right, ... regroup, gather, refocus your forces, connect.
... and continue to live long and prosper! It can be done.

You can do it. All the best! Bill

PS I am a 30 year cancer survivor, happy to share what I remember.

From: David & Kathleen Burford, New Zealand -- Nov 05, 2013

Robert, We were just so sad to hear of your cancer in The Bomb, I have loved reading your wonderful inspirational twice weekly newsletters, It was a great pleasure to meet you, Carol, Sara, and James on our China trip last May, how life can change so quickly, we know you have embraced it fully. We were both looking forward to maybe meeting you again here in New Zealand, Maybe this will be possible, the door is always open for you all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you face the difficult months ahead. Our Love and Best Wishes Kathleen and David

From: Carenie -- Nov 05, 2013

I am sitting in bed thinking about the time I met you in Vancouver. My husband Terry and I were out visiting his parents in White Rock for Christmas. I had phoned you and asked if I could meet with you and get input about my paintings. You easily said yes and we drove over to your home Studio.

You looked at some of my work and gave very insightfull input.
You wouldn't accept anything for your time so I gave you a bottle of wine.

The memory stays much longer and gets pulled out when the occasion merits. So today I will remember your act of art kindness to me. This year Terry and I are coming to White Rock to spend Christmas with his mum, we are there for 3 weeks, until the end of December. If you would like another bottle of wine and some Canadian humor I would love to provide both.

Take care and God Bless. Hugs.

From: Susan Holland -- Nov 05, 2013

Your straightforward dive into this announcement is so like you. I am quite sure there will be recoilings of all sorts of unexpected things. It's like you to attack the priorities as to your career. It's like you to think of your readership. And I want you to know your readership will be praying for the whole new passage to be in the hands of God or whomever or whatever they believe is the goodness of this world. I happen to be a praying person, so I am adding you to my list of people yours and my age who are finding out something about the next decade or so. It is serious business.

People will grab your finest paintings and they will be treasures. Believe it. Sara will pick up naturally where you have had her treading literally in your footsteps and being your fellow art instructor. And all of you will have some sadness.

But I can say, on Sara's behalf, that your pragmatism will help you and her both. My father and I were pragmatists when I was in Sara's exact role some 25 years ago. Some of the most precious times were while he and I were preparing for his decline in health, and we had a laugh and a cocktail together just days before he passed away. You are going to be blessed along with all the other stuff. Who knows, but your dear Doc may be off by a few years or more! But anyway...you will be seizing the hours like never before.

With great admiration and affection, and an active conversation with the Lord.

From: David Oleski -- Nov 05, 2013

Bob, we haven't corresponded much over the past decade, although I've lived vicariously through your letters in a world of air and adventure. I'm still cooped up inside my studio, taking still-life studies one step further to more abstract studies of nothing but light and atmosphere. One of the items on my bucket list was to meet you in person, but I feared my abilities to keep up with your stamina for jaunting off into the wilds for plein air painting, and I couldn't imagine that enjoying a bottle of scotch together would have fit into your schedule. All these years later I've remade my life to mimic the richness and content of yours; I have a dog sleeping on the floor in my painting studio, a cat sitting by the window and a beautiful and loving wife busily making sure my life doesn't get too comfortable. The view from my windows is of endless forest, the pond below my house has an endless chorus of geese on loan from your generous Canada.

About 18 years ago I was diagnosed with a paralyzed voicebox, after being reduced to a whisper for several weeks. I left the ENT specialist with the understanding that this first symptom could be the beginning of a terminal situation, and I pursued CAT scans and blood tests to see if the other shoe was waiting to fall. In the few weeks between tests and results I had a chance to come to grips with what might be the end, and I thought of a line from the Tom Hanks movie "Joe vs. the Volcano", where he planned on throwing himself into a volcano rather than wait for a terminal illness to take him. He said "There are certain doors you have to go through alone", and I couldn't help but understand the importance of those words. I know everyone around me suffered horribly while I tried to explain it would just be another great adventure, and I found a certain solace in knowing that I was the one taking the journey, and could only trust that others would find the strength to allow me to do this on my own terms. As it turned out, my condition was not fatal, and I spent the next 7 years in the isolation of not being able to speak until I met a surgeon that traded his services for a painting. After the installation of a small prosthetic, I was able to be heard by the world again.

I have no parting comments, because it's not over yet, for either of us. I just wanted to drop you this line to let you know you're never far from my thoughts.

All the best.

From: Margaret Jensen, Estes Park, CO -- Nov 05, 2013

Dear Robert and family: Your letters have been so much fun, inspiration and encouraging to me and all the artists I have recommended them to. I will pray for you all. I look forward to the letters and have saved many of the great kernels and gems and passed them on at my workshops. Please know, though we have not met in person, how very important you are to me.

From: Denise Mozzetti -- Nov 05, 2013

I've been reading your letters for a couple of months and even considered going to your workshop this past summer. I'm an art teacher in Novato, and my wages don't cover wonderful vacations like that. Having read your latest letter, I wish I'd gone into hock to have that experience.

I want to thank you for your selfless giving of advice and words of wisdom. I've never written a letter like this - I've been one of those who sat back and watched. But you have had a profound effect on me, and I've even read an excerpt of one of your letters to my class. Your latest letter has made me incredibly sad, even though you remain upbeat in the face of adversity.

I wish you and your family all the best, and I hope that your last months with them are as extraordinary as your previous years have been. You seem to have the most incredible family! My mother went through esophogeal cancer and thankfully, she has been cancer-free for almost 18 years now.

Thank you for all you have done to support the art community.

From: Ken Logsdon -- Nov 05, 2013

Sorry to hear your news. Keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

I've always enjoyed your newsletter - until the recent one, of course. We share a love of quotations. I know there are many (I mean quotations but people, too, come to think of it) that will keep you company and your spirits up as you move forward.

From: Anne Smythe -- Nov 06, 2013

I've never responded or written before, but I want you to know that even though I am not crazy about your paintings (don't dislike them, but not my cup of tea) I always love your newsletters and almost feel I know you, so was deeply saddened by your last letter. If my vote counts, i didn't know about you 27 years ago, and would really love to read those older letters.

Good luck in your fight, and congratulations on such an incredible legacy.

From: Ginny Peterson -- Nov 06, 2013

You are leaving a powerful legacy having inspired and mentored thousands, let alone all the visual works. Rest in that. We pray for you many more blessings and peace. Thank you for all of it and we hope this is not the end of correspondence.

From: Mary Baxter, Marfa, Texas -- Nov 06, 2013

I was so sorry to read your latest letter.

I live in a remote part of West Texas, and have no one with whom to to speak about art, or from whom to learn. But fortunately , for several years now, I have been blessed twice weekly by your letters, bringing me incredibly useful painting advice, wisdom, and humor. I cannot thank you enough, for taking the time to write these letters. They are precious.

I'd like to say something like don't give in, enjoy the moments, ....but I feel like you are such a wise man, and you already know all these things. So I'll just say thank you. For whatever time I have left, I shall treasure so much of your advice.

From: David Sharpe, Stratford, ON -- Nov 06, 2013

Robert this is sad news indeed. But you have tens of thousands in your corner.With that kind of life energy behind you anything is possible.

Take good care.

'Life is what happens when you're making other plans'- John Lennon

From: Jennifer Meyers -- Nov 06, 2013

I just began receiving your newsletter and have found it uplifting, thought provoking and inspiring. My heart felt prayers are with you and your family at this time. I will pray for strength and solace as well as unforgettable family moments. When I traveled El Camino de Santiago I learned that when the way is difficult there is only one thing to do- just keep moving forward! And hope you have good companions!
Blessings, Jenny

From: Lois Yoshida -- Nov 06, 2013

An artist friend introduced me to you less than two months ago. Neither I nor the world are ready to lose you so soon. This latest letter and your commitment to write as often as possible in the midst of such emotional and physical challenges are amazing tributes to the generosity, insight, and art you have so freely shared over the years.

Please know that you are in my heart and in my thoughts… and that massive amounts of healing light and energy are being sent to you.

From: Ellen Friel -- Nov 06, 2013

I know this isn't going to help matters with regards to your condition, but I hope it will somehow make your heart feel better.

It has been an absolute pleasure reading your online newsletter. I've kept many of them printed, sent them to artist friends, and to others who are not artists, because they are inspirational in so many ways. The messages were exciting, educational, funny, uplifting, somber, and evoked a sense of friendship between you and I. Yes, I sobbed when I read the email you sent regarding your doctor's visit to your studio. I cried because I felt as if I have become a witness to your art, your family, yours and my world, even though I've never even met you. Today, I feel better, but I'm still sad. You see, my husband's cousin is dying of brain cancer and just let us know. Obviously, we experienced 2 bombs this month.

What I learned the other day after receiving your email, is that whether you know someone personally, intimately, professionally or otherwise...it doesn't matter... because if they've touched your life, the sense of loss is basically the same.

Your presence online brought integrity to my life, and strengthened my skills. I just wish I could have met you personally!

Keep putting one foot in front of the other every day.

In appreciation and with aloha,

Ellen Friel
Amherst, NH and Kihei, HI

From: Paul Paquette -- Nov 06, 2013

I once attended an art class you gave about 27 years ago at the Federation of Canadian Artists in Gastown. It was a lecture on the strategies and challenges to becoming a successful professional artist. It was probably one of the most informative, intelligent and practical art classes I have ever attended. To this day as I work as a full-time painter I still regularly employ the lessons I first learned on that day, and I have used your career in art as an inspiration for pursuing my own.

I wish you and your family the best as you face the struggle ahead Robert.

Best wishes,
Paul Paquette

From: Kathleen & Robert Hogberg -- Nov 06, 2013

I am so sorry to hear your news. It is indeed a bomb that none of us are prepared for. In words of encouragement, I have had two people in my life over the course of quite a few years who were given similar notice of their early demise and who have both survived and are doing well. One is actually 15 years beyond the time given and the other is 4 years. So never give up hope – it does not always have to go as forecast!!

Wishing you the very very best, Kay

P.S. I do enjoy your emails!!

From: Veronica Pellerine -- Nov 06, 2013

It was with great shock and sadness that I read your last email. I have thoroughly enjoyed your wonderful, humorous, informative biweekly letters for many years. I will really miss your advice and all the laughs. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am the proud owner of one of your paintings....the<em> Magic Hour</em>, painted in the early ‘80s. It will be a constant reminder of you that I truly treasure.

I wish you all the best in the coming year. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

From: Noni Bryant, Australia -- Nov 06, 2013

I've just read your news that I'm so sorry to hear. I don't know you, I live in Australia, but I've enjoyed your musings for years. I love how you started 'action stations' straight away, re your work, on hearing your prognosis. And love that you've got a doctor friend/neighbour!

I nursed my mother (also an artist) with this (she had it in the liver as well as her pancreas). She wanted to die at home, looking out onto her beloved garden, which she was able to do, with the help of my sister, her sister, and me. Two community nurses arrived first thing each the morning, to draw up morphine for the next 24 hours, and bathe her. She got very spoilt with continual visitors, and she just glowed. She was amazing. It was a really special time, with treasured memories, lots of sharing, tears and laughter. It certainly wasn't all bad.

I wish you and your family well in your journey, and know you would leave a huge mark upon the painting world with your paintings and writings. Lucky us.

Best wishes,
Noni Bryant
Australia

From: Kathy Gillis -- Nov 06, 2013

I'm thinking of ways to respond to your letter 'The Bomb', and I'm just without any words...well, not really.

You have been a twice-weekly read for me for maybe 4 years. So dependable, so inspirational, and my get-up-and-go mentor; my 'hey, we artists have lots of commonalities, like frustrations, disappointments, and am I too old for this stuff?!'

You have been there for me to get going, perservere, tackle issues, and butt-kick myself to keep painting. We've never met and I don't think it matters, because you speak my art-language, and I love you for that.

Actually, I wish we could just meet once, so I could put my arms around you to thank you for all those amazing letters of yours that have touched me. I can tell you through this letter to you, that I have my biggest prayers out to you and I hope you can feel my arms around you for strength to heal, and for hugs of thankfulness from me to you for touching my life!

With prayers, Love and hugs,
Kathy Gillis

From: Carol Thomason, San Diego, CA -- Nov 06, 2013

I signed up for your letter around 2008 when I was president of The San Diego Watercolor Society. I needed something to keep my mind anchored in art for the several years I would be serving in this art administration capacity. Your newsletter worked perfectly! I still enjoy your art related musings even though I'm now back to painting regularly ... and winning awards again at the national level.

May you live many more years healthfully. You are SO appreciated!

Best health-filled wishes,
Carol Thomason :)

Carol Thomason, NWS, SDWS

From: Ann Leonard -- Nov 06, 2013

Having been a faithful subscriber to your Twice Weekly Letters for the past several years, I was shocked and saddened by "The Bomb". I'm a victim of Breast Cancer myself, and am in my second treatment in Silver City, New Mexico. The possible lifetime I have ahead of me is less than 10 years, which in comparison to your limited lifetime ahead of you, is certainly generous. There are no words to express my sadness about the prognosis of the pancreatic cancer that has invaded your body. Your friends and family will rally around you during the time that remains, and I sincerely hope that you are aware of how much pleasure you have brought us by writing the Twice Weekly letters. This light will gradually fade, and I can only hope that Sara will be willing and able to fill in the gaps.

Warm regards, Ann Leonard

From: Linda -- Nov 06, 2013

Serendipity? Coincidence? I missed reading your letter for 2 days because I was also having the scans & tests which led me to find out I had pancreatic cancer. I will have my protocol mapped out this week. I have beaten cancer twice before (breast - 12 years & uterine - 43 years) & will, God willing, once again beat this. I pray that you also will not subside to the timeline given you & find the strength & humor that it takes to battle this & win. Bless you & our loved ones.

From: Dianne Orkin Footlick -- Nov 06, 2013

Dear Robert and family,

I've just received your latest note. Though I've never written to you before now...this seems to be the time to tell you how much I've injoyed your wonderful messages and advice. I am a working artist and I also teach High School Drawing/Design and Printmaking classes. I've been at the Dalton School in New York city for 42 years. I love the time I spend with my students and have often read parts of your letters to them. They find your letters helpful as well, and we spend time discussing what you've said.

I know you have a stressful time ahead of you and I'm sure you'll find some time to reflect on how much you're admired by the many of us who read your posts.

We'll all be thinking about you and wishing you the comfort of your family and friends and your art.

Much love,
Dianne Orkin Footlick

From: Wayne Peterson -- Nov 06, 2013

I just read your letter Robert and I will need to sit with it for awhile taking in the realization that a friend and mentor is to journey on. Although we have never met in person, nevertheless, I know something of your art and of your character and through both your art and your writing I think I have glimpsed a little of your soul; a shining soul, one that has been nurtured through a close relationship with Nature and family and friends. I recently retired and I now have more available time to draw and paint and to read books like, “A Short History of Nearly Everything”, by Bill Bryson and Jim Holt’s book, “Why Does the World Exist?” that help me ponder what “this” is all about. And last night I watched a program I had previously recorded off PBS called, “The Quantum Activist”. In the program Dr. Amit Goswami said something very simple but that really resonated with me; “God is everything.” I believe that, and I have seen God where the tip of your brush touches the canvas, in your words, in your family. I have been thinking about what I will leave behind. While my strongest desire is that my wife, daughter, grandchildren and friends will remember me as loving them beyond measure, I was thinking that maybe a few really good paintings might be nice as well. When I think of all your paintings that are out there I think about the enormous number of people who when seeing one will be stopped in their tracks, the delightful sensory assault on their senses that will touch them and add to the richness of their being and their journey.

It is incredibly gracious of you and Sara to think of your readers with the idea of Sara continuing to write the newsletter and perhaps re-publishing past ones. I always found so much more than just information about art. The newsletters are about the art of being.

I wish you and your family both comfort and strength.

Much love, Wayne

From: Judy Sanders (Northampton, MA) -- Nov 06, 2013

I'm sure that you will be receiving many, many notes. I want to be sure that I add my best wishes for finding alternatives to your doctor's prognosis. Your letter today hit me deeply as you are part of my life and my weekly activities.

Your twice-weekly letter has been a constant support to me as I build my life as a painter (after careers as a teacher, executive on Wall Street, management consultant). My development as an artist has been enhanced by your wisdom and creativity.

I send my appreciation to you for your professionalism and authenticity as a painter, coach and good person. And I send my hopes for positive outcomes in your meetings with the medical professionals who will be helping you with this next journey.

All the best, Judy Sanders

From: Glen Hargrove -- Nov 06, 2013

I have some idea of the shock you must be going through. I was told in 2003 that I had to have heart surgery or I'd be off in about a month. I had the surgery and recovered but my life changed after that. I know there's no easy way to look at this thing. It will take some time for you to come to terms with this news...and for you and your wife to prepare. You have much to sort out now and it will take time. ....however you must not suppose that life ends with what people think of as death. There is no such thing.

I would be telling you how very sorry I am for the news...and I am. It is my selfishness that makes me want to keep such a treasured light as you here...on this planet with us...in this realm... I've really come to appreciate you for your work and for yourself. Goodness knows you're needed here...but it's more important that you understand that there are people who have the ability to communicate between the worlds, with those in the world of spirit and there is quite a bit known (not supposed but derived from direct communication) about it.

Withdrawal from the physical is a shift in time awareness ...that's all. We never cease to be fully aware and alert but continue at a heightened level. All the while our awareness is focused in this physical world as we go about our lives, at some level, we are already there. It is our level of origin and true home and when the shift is made all the things that we are here, we continue to be there as well... We don't lose awareness or the love for family, the interests, the appreciation of beauty and feelings and senses are not lost, only heightened ...and the creative ability! As an artist, you will find that the "other side" is not some imaginary thing...It's as real as this world. It's home to those who have preceded us ...a real world and I suspect you know that creation has its roots in spirit ...literally. Your work will continue if you wish it to in ways you can't imagine here...

I don't know how you perceive the afterworld, but it's nothing like the generally held dismal ideas...not like the "streets of gold" business either. It's more like this world but better, cleaner, of a more etheric and luminous nature and fully peopled and occupied with others like ourselves....those who in fact are us...but who have gone before. There is no change...no loss...no suddenly becoming somehow infinitely wiser, more powerful or such...but a gentle continuation of who and what you already are at a different level of energy in spirit.

From the spirit realm, there is not the separation you might imagine but rather a shift in energy level ..like a shift in frequency of a radio that brings in a station at the next level or channel over on the dial. We can have knowledge of what's happening with loved ones "back here" ...watch their lives and even help them in ways. There are those there whose chosen work it is to assist each one who crosses over... and those who work directly with us here. If you've ever had a strong feeling you weren't alone while painting...like someone was "watching"...it probably was so.

You will know what to do... as you sort things out...and what to say if anything ...but please take your time and be good to yourself. It's a journey that we all take ...I'll be along one day too ...see you there. In the meantime, write if you wish.

From: Elaine Bailey -- Nov 06, 2013

You don’t know me, but I realize much from your letters and look forward to them always.

Thank you so much for waking me up – getting me going – and giving me wisdom for the day and sometimes for a lifetime!

I’m so sorry to hear your news, but just from your letters, I know you’ll make lemonade where life has given you lemons. 40+ years, have had some measure of success in selling my work, but have not gotten to where I’d like to be. I’d like to have a couple of three galleries to represent me. I did participate in a coop for 4 years and sold quite well.

Now I’m on a mission to find representation. Today!

Thanks you again for all your wisdom and the sharing of your adventures!

From: Maxine Boss -- Nov 06, 2013

Thank you for sharing your news with us all , as you have shared your artistic life and work with us all these last many years.

Thank you for the wise words, the funny words, the weird words and your own convoluted, made-up words.

But most of all, thank you for your art.

After admiring your painting for many years, I finally purchased one of your pieces at Canada House last October during your solo show. It hangs above the mantel in my living room where I can enjoy it every day, but you Mr. Genn, you hang in my heart.

I wish you peace and the knowledge that you have made a difference in so many lives by doing what you love.

Thank you.

From: Marygrace Bianco -- Nov 06, 2013

I find myself tearing up at this thought of not having "you" in my life. You don't know me from "Adam" but your words have comforted me, made me laugh, helped me "go to my room" and made it finally OK to become a full-time artist and give up the fear associated with not being good enough.

Mr. Genn, you will be missed. I'm looking forward to another 27 years of your letters ...and of course hearing from your daughter, Sara every week. You have become a community of mine.

May you be surrounded with much love and comfort during this next year.

Sincerely,

Marygrace Bianco
Sculptor

From: Angela Elinor Sheard -- Nov 06, 2013

Dear Robert, dear Sara,

Never mind "being of service", you do that just by existing and I know that you aren't going to hang on to false hope but rather spend the time God allows to love tight as a family and make great shining memories for, first and above all, your family and friends to strengthn and illumine their path into an uncertain future.

I remember a message some time ago from Sara in which she watched you walk ahead and wondered how long she'd got to absorb all she wanted to learn from you her o so beloved Dad. Like so many Genn letters, that one spoke straight to me because I was the same with my Dad. As he aged, I would take greater notice and wish o wish I had been listening properly all my life and that still wouldn't have been enough. I remember once he was bending, in a much-loved woodland setting wearing his old white mac and his usual Trilby hat, picking wild white daffodils. I tortured myself by going a little distance till I couldn't see him to see if it would be bearable to visit that wood in the future when he wasn't, couldn't be there. At the time, I couldn't even imagine it or how I would bear it. Next month, it will be 29 years I have had to walk the woods alone. But, though I live in a different country, I was there two weeks ago. And he's still beside me. I can't see him except inside my head. I can't hear his voice but inside my soul. But he's there, smiling his ironic smile, and I am enfolded by his continuing love in the places we loved together.

I needed to say that and wish you all courage and strength and more time than you dare hope.

God Bless you all and with love, Angela Sheard, Briton in France, having just roped in a new artist in the town beside that wood only last week to receive your letters.

Angela Elinor Sheard

From: Grace DeVito -- Nov 06, 2013

I'm so sorry to hear of your diagnosis.
My thoughts are with you and your family.
You have helped and encouraged so many artists,
you have truly done what others only talk about,
Lived your dream and been a point if light to the art community.
Best of luck to you.

From: Luann Udell -- Nov 06, 2013

I can only imagine what you and Sara are dealing with right now. My heart goes out to you. As to your intention on leaving the planet, we have a saying in hospice: Everyone knows they're going to die. But no one wants to die TODAY. (Hospice humor is always spot on.)

One thing you can rest assured about: Yes, you've not only created a legacy with your art, but also with your wisdom. My only regret is that I didn't know about them sooner. So your idea of reprinting an old letter once a week is a good one.

Most of what you say is not about the latest whiz-bang social media strategy. It's about how to do good work, create good relationships with customers and galleries, and how to navigate the sometimes lonely world of creating art. Those concepts will all stand the test of time.

As an artist who does not work in 2-D media, I always appreciate the creative advice that crosses over "media lines." So I'm sure anything Sara would bring to the table with her musical talent would be just as relevant to me.

Whatever you and Sara decide to do, know that what you've already done is enough. Take exquisite care of yourselves--this time is very precious. When it's time to figure out what to do next, know that I don't feel you "owe" me anything. I owe you! And anything you continue to give will be deeply appreciated and treasured as your last gift to us.

From: Sally Stewart -- Nov 07, 2013

I would like to thank you for all the emails you have sent me. I have enjoyed the humour and wisdom in every one. In 2006 I received “the bomb” and I am still alive and trying my hardest to improve my paintings.

From: Barbara Houston -- Nov 07, 2013

Your posts move my heart in ways that are honest. You are both teaching me to be close to death in a heartfelt way where fear is only one part of what there is to feel. Thank you does not seem appropriate for I suddenly realize I do not feel separate from you and the process. A bow to your courage, a deeper bow to your love.

From: Ian Semple, Vancouver, BC -- Nov 09, 2013

I am not skilled enough to compose words of import that might convey intelligent comment of a consoling nature. I can but say that should you never create another painting again, your legacy is already richly in place; your philosophy of art indelibly established; your inspiration to others in the art world an achievement of a unique and wondrous nature.

Thank you for the latter which spurs me on whenever failure seems
insurmountable. Fight on!

From: Philip Coleman -- Nov 09, 2013

I am fortunate to have owned a small Robert Genn painting for many years, so thanks for all the enjoyment it has provided.

And special thanks for being an example of an artist that makes a good living at his craft. We need all the examples we can get so young artists "can know" they can make a living without being a bartender or barista. You were one of the artist heroes I pointed out to our daughter when she headed to Emily Carr in Vancouver, and she must have heard the message clearly as she is making a living 4 years after graduation. And has expectations to keep increasing her business. Knowing it was possible helped her visualize her own success.

From: Mary M Hart -- Nov 09, 2013

You are so much more than a painter, though that might well be the highest satisfaction for any one of us.
You are the Lighthouse in the fog of creativity for so many.
You are a man who emits a standard of true feminine/masculine balance in your written words.
You are one who has created a true community opportunity for striving artists.
You are a Grand Master of the Art of Conversation, for you create an assembly of living works on the pages of your letters, and there also create a space for us to hear and respond to one another.
You are thought of for Who you are, perhaps more than what you paint.
You are a gift, a gift wrapped with the elementals of nature, and tied all up with a rain"bow" of pigments.

From: Gins Doolittle -- Nov 09, 2013

You live in such a way that the love and care you have been giving us all, survives, and together we thrive; so don't be surprised, that we continue to meet for many years to come; and we continue to grow, as you are forever our coach.

You are always in your Studio, ready to enrich our journey.
We know from where you come and call you knowing what to expect. Twice Weekly you coach us on life matters, which we forget to consider until you arrive in our email.

Therewith you offer your secrets to the art of living.

From: Gail Ingis, ASID -- Nov 10, 2013

You have given me advice that I have passed on to others.
My favorite quote, "Robert Genn says in his twice a week letter . . "
http://gailingis.com

From: Michael den Hertog -- Nov 10, 2013

I applaud you for sharing this with us... your frank and candid revelation serves us well as a poignant reminder of our own mortality, the preciousness of the present moment.

If I recall correctly, I believe you and I share a firm conviction that Scotch is served in Heaven. There's no point in saying goodbye then, for I have a sneaky suspicion that we shall see each other again only too soon, over a wee dram or two.





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Last modified: Apr, 23, 2014