Friday, 25 October 2013

Dear Robert, you are a hero. Thanks.

Today I keep crying. It comes in unexpected little waves, catches me by surprise.

Robert Genn

Twice a week for many years I have been treated, blessed, entertained, informed and amused by the wise words of Canadian artist Robert Genn. When I check the emails, on Tuesday and Fridays I know he'll be there with a witty word or thoughtful remark. A 3 minute relevant read.

Robert's dog, Dorothy
He seems a charming fellow, he paints outside a lot, driving a little soft top with canvases propped up in the open boot, his big Airedale Dorothy sat next to him, blinking in the wind. He answers questions he's had from artists around the world, or waffles an amusing thought about painting or communicating or colour or galleries or any interesting arty thing. Intelligent, considerate, wise, dignified and respectful. As well as disrespectful, whichever he deems is appropriate at the time.

Today the email arrived, as it did to many many hundreds of others around the world, telling us that he is ill, with just a short time left to tidy his drawing board and prepare to leave the planet - rather sooner than he had intended. I had not appreciated how much I appreciate him - even though I have ALWAYS respected and admired him - until this announcement, and I suddenly realised that although I have never met him, our ethos is so incredibly alike, our attitude and thoughts so very similar, that sometimes it's as if he'd heard what I said yesterday, for here he is saying the same thing in a letter.

Robert and Dorothy

I am so grateful to Robert for all his insights and his generousity of spirit.  His observations of what makes up a life of creativity, his deepest musings on the strange and wonderful gift that a life of creativity is, have contributed to all of us more than we can ever know. I feel like I am losing a kindred spirit, an ally and someone who understands me.

Robert Genn

I particularly like this painting, which illustrates Roberts light heartedness... Driving home after painting outside, the canvas was caught by a gust of wind, whipped off the back seat of the car, and under the wheels of a passing lorry... When he retreived it, he rather liked the imprint of the tyre, felt it added a certain something to the image.. (If you look closely, you'll see it). 

If you have not read his blog, I heartily recommend that you do. I have never met Robert, yet I am in tears. How amazing that someone can have such a profound impact on another, for such wonderful, noble reasons.

Lets celebrate Robert Genn.


  1. Wonderful tribute Julie! I think we're all feeling very much like you.

  2. thank you Katherine. Lovely to hear from you x

  3. what a lucky man he is to have friends like you, and you, lucky too, for having him.