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“Ready-mades” and “nearly-dones” by Robert Genn

"Ready-mades" and "nearly-dones"
by Robert Genn

"Ready-mades" are those lucky paintings where the
composition is pretty well taken care of by Mother Nature. In the Bugaboos, a
high mountain range in British Columbia, these sorts of visual blessings are
scattered everywhere. Distant patterns of sky and snow can be readily aligned or
juxtaposed with strong foreground elements to produce cohesive works. The idea
is to dolly the eye like a movie camera, or pan around through the quadrants of
the compass. Surrounded by this sort of visual perfection, you still need to
watch out for inappropriate lineups, vague forms and unfortunate transitions.
Often, just a few inches make a difference.

"Nearly-dones" are those
works where you need to stop short when you're hesitant or you begin to see
trouble ahead. Very often, you just need the benefit of a pause or a change. An
unresolved passage or area, freed from the tyranny of reality, can later be
molded into a stronger presence. It seems nuts, but some passages "heal" on
their own, while others recover pleasantly with informed, often minor, surgery.
Whether you finish them alla prima or go back into them several times,
you need to start with the idea that every work requires unique thinking and
unique effort.

And there's something to be said for "hard earned." I've
always appreciated the results from those places that were the most remote or
the most difficult to get to. If we had to actually hike to the Bugaboo wonders,
it would take all day and we'd use different equipment and another kind of
gumption. Guilt prevailed when we were whisked up with all our gear in five
minutes--but the guilt didn't last. The exaltation was beyond joy. You find
yourself speechless in the first rush of silence as the helicopter disappears
over the ridge. It's here, in this first silence, that you begin to make your
choices. Thinking ahead is good; getting started is better.

Back in the
lodge, we line up the "ready-mades" and the "nearly-dones." Maybe it's the
mountain air that tells us what to do. We are informed by something else,
something that has been with us all the time. I don't think a Zen Master could
do a better job than mountains.

Best regards,


"Stuff your eyes with wonder; live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the
world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories." (Ray Bradbury)

Robert Genn has given ARTAZINE permission to post from his twice-weekly newsletter. For more of his artistic insights, visit Robert's blot at www.painterspost.com.

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