MUSEologies extends our appreciation to Robert Genn for his kind permission to reprint his inspirational letter of July 30, 2010.   His exceptional website, The Painter's Keys, is NOT just for painters.   Don't forget to sign up for his newsletters.  They are excellent.  Enjoy!

On a boat there can be a cargo of wisdom. I've brought along some marvelous books. Samuel Adoquei's "How Successful Artists Study" is an up-to-date, practical guide for the transition from art school to the professional world of art. In it he talks about the "Five worlds of artists":

1. The inner, personal world.
2. The real and practical world.
3. The outside, commercial world.
4. The future, aspiring world
5. The fantasy world of dreams.

Adoquei suggests budding artists need to get their worlds separated from one another. Mixing fantasy with practicality is a leaky proposition. Funnily, the condition is as common as art school graduates who make their living doing anything but art.

There is also a past world, a present world, and a future world. A highly literate artist with glowing optimism for the future is dead in the water if she's not seeing her present world with clarity. She may have to buckle down and improve her work. She may have to make sacrifices. She may have to rethink her vision. She may have to reinvent her education. Her predicament may be further confused by the seemingly charmed life she likes to project. She may need to learn that the really charmed life is earned, and, according to Adoquei, it may not always be charming.

The charmed life is earned by attitude. Thriving artists remain curious, experimental, joyful, self-critical and driven by a state of perpetual studenthood. Work takes pride of place and is well above talk. Art is self-anointing, mainly self-taught and independent. Our profession calls for the ego force that keeps our sense of uniqueness in ship-shape condition. Perhaps there is no other way. Successful artists live in their own worlds.

A small ship brings out an independent creative spirit. Provisioned and fueled, we have reserves for a lengthy tour and ongoing self-sufficiency. A ship, like an artist, is her own world. Each day brings new horizons and navigational challenges. The human spirit needs to sail on its own terms.

Best regards,

PS: "Combine all your healthy wishes, dreams and hopes into investing in your talent and in the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. If your art contributes to society, or to the art enthusiasts around you, then you are rewarded honestly, and more so if you make yourself useful to the world around you." (Samuel Adoquei)

Esoterica: When you start to see your art as a service to others, and you begin to believe in the societal aspects of it, you begin to thrive. It is a benefit for others to invest in the character you have nurtured and developed. Your world can be larger than the worlds of others, because you exact standards from yourself that others may not reach for or care to grasp. Our world is a privilege, an opportunity and an obligation.

Read this letter online and give readers an idea what might be important in your world. Live comments are welcome. Illustratable comments can be sent to Robert directly at

1 comment:

Michael in Key West said...