View Full Version : Robert Genn's Newsletter This Week

06-17-2008, 08:17 AM
Thought you might like to read this ...Tres


June 17, 2008

Dear Tres,

Over there, a couple of guys in an aluminum boat have been in the same spot since early this morning. They were there yesterday as well. I'm laptopping you from a sunny point of sleek Precambrian boulders and blown pines on the west shore of Eaglenest Lake in eastern Manitoba. Those guys are after Walleye--I'm into another kind of fishing.

The mayflies here are pretty well finished and the mosquitoes haven't yet appeared. Except for an occasional yelp from the Walleye-bangers and the calls of two resident loons, this place is as silent and as still as a Kodachrome in a National Geographic. A bit of heaven, I'm thinking, is a mindset of concentration, a place for immersion.

In casting for paintings, one looks to stirring them up from the depths and hitting them on the surface. Prior catches give clues where to cast next. From this one spot there have been four, mostly based on foreground variations and the lure of Indian-red pine needles. Backgrounds anchor foregrounds and often take care of themselves.

These are modest trophies, mere minnows of the painterly world, but there's something beguiling about dragging the little fellows in. For one thing, small works have a kind of understatement and lack of pretension the big ones sometimes miss out on. They're the pan-fish of painting, caught and even consumed in the bush. Works-in-progress, some of them might be thrown back, released to the mystery that first had them surface.

More than anything, plein air is an event. It's an event where a sporting mind can sort things out--free of town-clutter and obligation, where judgment can take as long as it takes--look three times, think twice, paint once. Leave your strokes alone. Fix that colour. Level that horizon. Stop now, stupid, she's on the hook, pull 'er in, put 'er in the creel. You will live to cast again.

This place is really remote and my laptop battery is running low. Tonight, I'll get this letter out to you on a satellite phone. In the meantime, I'm recommending the sport. Be a fisher of art. I have the feeling this sort of immersion is good for the soul.

Best regards,


PS: "My life flows when I'm in my art." (Jean De Muzio)

Esoterica: Immersion means inhaling a total environment. With time and persistent observation the artist gains an understanding of the anatomy of a place. Often, the idea is not to copy scenes or tableau, but rather to put down in paint the spirit one finds there. It helps if subject matter is new to the artist, as motifs are more freshly analyzed without the stigma of prior knowledge. Also, a useful habit is to keep repeating the mantra: "Don't labour, be artistic." [Unquote]

06-17-2008, 10:29 AM
Tres, it is lovely! Thank you for sharing. And congrats to having such a wonderful friend.

06-17-2008, 01:05 PM
Thanks for sharing Tres. This person is an artist in more than one "medium".

06-17-2008, 02:20 PM
Was good huh, Charlie?
And Peggy, yes, he most definitely is!!!