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Wild Places by Robert Genn

Wild Places
by Robert Genn

Patagonia is well known for its condors, but it also has lapwings. These large plovers are seen on mountain pastures and fallow fields. They make a loud, scolding cry when you get too close. I used to see them often when we lived in Spain. At one time I found one with a broken wing and took it to the local veterinario. More familiar with fixing horses than birds, he told me I was "loco" but put a splint on the wing anyway. I kept the bird for a week before releasing it to an unknown future.


These South American lapwings migrate. Passages to Bolivia and Brazil cause them no problem. Through the defiles of the Andes they come and go from Chile. Whenever I'm in a lineup for airport security, customs, or immigration, I wish for a similar blessing for humanity.


The borderlessness of our world is most evident in wild places. Nature spreads herself in all manner of variety and helps us to grasp her unity. The tumbling tumbleweed knows no borders.


Artists have a wisdom and a contribution to make that politicians can only dream of. By honouring our world we speak to the universality of our mother earth. Sure, there are differences in fauna and flora, but one side of a leaf is generally lit and the other side's in shade. The laws of composition are similar whether you're in the USA or the former USSR. Artists understand that standards of quality transcend the nation states. We can only hope that artistic licence and freedom of expression will eventually find their way to the earth's dark corners.


Not only nature binds our world but also those among us who inadvertently or on purpose are able to share their magic. Understanding the nature of creative exhibitionism, we artists are hard wired for it. Further, art is not only in us, it's inevitable. Social scientists tell us our type of work is its own "intrinsic reward." That is, art can have no need or purpose other than the satisfaction it gives to the maker. Because of this quirk in human nature, art is viral. It has to be. Like the lapwing and the soaring condor, art goes where it pleases.


Best regards,




PS: "I am a citizen of the world." (Diogenes) "My country is the earth." (Eugene V. Debs)

Esoterica: One of the regrets of my life is that I have not paid enough attention to geology. Argentina has a lot of it. Getting brushes around some of these colours and forms has proved to be a challenge. Sometimes the designs and shapes are hard to believe. Also, I'm learning to put more drama into my work. These ragged peaks seem to be at continual war with their weather. Incidentally, Argentine acrylics, called Alba acrylico (Alba also makes oleo), flow beautifully and are fully saturated. I'm bringing some of them home--if I can get them through customs.

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

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