Last Tuesday morning Robert Genn, well known, well loved Canadian painter died at his home of pancreatic cancer. He is named as one of the greats, not just in Canada but world wide and this week thousands of artists are grieving for a dear friend and mentor - one they never personally met but loved intensely.
For 27 years Robert has written the Twice Weekly Letter: his thoughts and musings on ART and Esoterica that brought together readers in 115 countries. So many of these readers would say that Robert’s writings profoundly affected their work as an artist.
The Twice Weekly Letter came regularly to my email box and I would open it even if I was dead tired and had a list of unopened emails waiting. He spoke to the ‘artistic heart”, addressing our fears, our triumphs, our connections in the world - to nature, to each other, to our work.
I did not know Robert personally but his letter always came to “Coni”- and his writings often seemed like the words of someone who really knew me - who spoke to the struggles and pitfalls of the artist’s life. Often his comments would be in response to a letter written to him; giving wise advice in the most gentle and unjudgmental manner.
Last October after coming home from a plein air event I opened the letter titled “the Bomb”, where he candidly revealed his most recent diagnoses of pancreatic cancer.
I felt my heart just tumble on to the key board and I am sure the wind of a shared wail went up across the country. People wrote to extend thoughts and prayers and then we all held our collective breath - waiting for the letter we would never want to read.
A beautiful tribute, written by Robert’s daughter, Sara Genn, can be read on the Painter’s Keys website. Sara is also a gifted, generous artist and writer. If you have never heard of Robert Genn or Painter’s Keys website take a look.
Sara Genn will continue to write for "The Letter" and also reprint Robert's many years of profound musings. They are worth reading again.
Thank You Robert, for your generosity in life, and even in death.
"To float like a cloud you have to go to the trouble of becoming one." (Robert Genn).
"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." (Robert Genn).