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Sincerity by Robert Genn

Sincerity
by Robert Genn

I knew my birthday was coming when a Facebook posting read, "I wanted to get my best wishes in before the rush." Then on Monday the emails really got going. Some said things like "Happy Birthday, Glen," so I knew they were close friends. A few just said "HB" as if an abbreviated wish was the dues one had to pay for the free social networking. Not that I was disappointed--on Tuesday, the actual day, there were more than 3,000 by 9 a.m. Sincerely, thank you to everyone who took the time to write.

About 10 a.m. one of my distant dealers phoned to say she was nearby in her motorhome and wanted to drop in. "Nothing special, just to give you a hug." I put down my brushes. While she was here she mentioned one of her current peeves was artists who were constantly asking her what the market needed. "Goodness," she said, "artists should paint what they love."

We talked about the struggle for sincerity in a commercialized world. It seemed to us that art is the last bastion of integrity, and thrives on it. I was reminded of the remark: "The main thing is sincerity, and when you learn to fake that, you've got it made." It's attributed to Cody Fisher, Sam Goldwyn, Groucho Marx, and others. Then there's "I have principles, but they can be changed," but I'm not sure which politician said that.

Fact is, artists need sincerity as much as they need to know how to draw and paint. Meher Baba, the Indian master and mystic advised his followers to "Live a sincere life; be natural, and be honest with yourself." I've always thought art starts with your life--your loves, your interests, your weaknesses. Throughout my own life I've had to grab myself a few times before I went off the rails. I think we all do. The temptations are there.

Getting in tune with sincerity requires a daily search of your "passion inventory." You have to clear your way past the clutter, impedimenta and obligations, not to mention your own personal bedevilments. About noon, after my dealer friend had left, I drove to the bookstore and bought myself 10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD by Stephanie Sarkis. The good stuff never stops. Happy Birthday, Bob!

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "Be guided by feelings alone. Before any sight and any object, abandon yourself to your first impression. If you have really been touched, you will convey to others the sincerity of your emotion." (Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot)

Esoterica: The passion inventory, as I've said before, often stems from the joys of youth. It is a deeply ingrained set of interests that can safely drive both your life and your creative life. It has so many corners and crinkles that it can keep you going through a long one. We should all be so lucky. To stay on the right side of the grass and keep exploring is the goal. Having friends helps. Every day is a birthday for all of us. It's my sincere wish that we can all have this privilege.

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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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