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'Tips for Painterly Happiness' and one small painting...

This painting is now part of St Ives Society of Artists Members Spring Show.

'Bay View' SOLD
oil on primed board, 13.5 x 13.5 cm, white frame

Click to enlarge.  Copyright Lesley Ninnes
St Ives, Cornwall

The following is one of  twice-weekly letters penned and shared over many years by the late Canadian artist, writer and philosopher, Robert Genn. 

Funny, tongue-in-cheek, irreverent, apposite and downright useful advice for artists, I have been meaning to share this for so long....

'Two dozen tips for painterly happiness and success' by Robert Genn.

1.  Have your paint squeezed out before your mind is in gear

2.  Accept a lifetime of perpetual studenthood

3.  Learn to love the masters and to know who they truly are but don't fall in love with the media that presents them

4.  Appreciate the value of silence and private thought.  Value work above words

5.  Alternate your work zones with some form of physical activity

6.  Listen to the music that has been within you from your youth

7.  Constantly ask of yourself and your work 'what could be?'

8.  Strategize your time, your playtime and your worktime

9.  Build a strong ego and sense of entitlement.  Know thyself

10.  Learn to work under all conditions and privations

11.  Work from life, from your own reference, and from your imagination

12.  Accept the gift of a life in art and know it is a high and noble calling - both a miracle and a responsibility

13.  Learn to be your own best critic and counsel

14.  Purge your lesser work regularly

15. Don't enter too many group shows, contests or competitions

16.  Don't even think about applying for grants

17.  Do take occasional workshops from competent professionals

18.  Have a lifelong mission to enhance the lives of others

19.  If you decide to be commercial, find effective and motivated dealers and galleries in other cities, give them geographical protections, and replace their stock often.  Run the commerce side of your business like a mutual fund and don't become dependent on one stock.  Follow your nose, not your dealer's.
Be prolific.  If you want to be an apple vendor you've got to have apples in your apple cart.

20.  Know that no matter what happens, most of the joy is in the craft.

21.  Know that you're part of a great international brotherhood and sisterhood of artists who are living now and have gone before

22.  Be philosophic about art trends and fashions and the often perceived unfairness of the game.  Follow your own nose, it is a good guide for a lot of things in life, and above all know that quality will always be in style.

23.  Give generously of yourself, but don't burn up all your creativity by teaching.  There is a time to give and a time to sell.  Accept your gift.  Neither an ogre nor a patsy be.

24.  Go to your room.

Copyright Robert Genn


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