This past week I received the sad news that a Canadian artist/writer whom I deeply admired had succumbed with dignity after a year long battle with pancreatic cancer. Robert Genn embodied that unusual blend of intellect... artistic vision... and sense of pure Humanity dedicated to the service of Art and fellow artists.
That news and personal sense of loss comes on the heels of the news earlier in the week of the passing of the American spiritual leader, artist and writer, Maya Angelou... another huge contributing sphere of influence in the formation of my thinking and value system.
What drew me to these individuals was their ability and willingness to speak directly from their hearts transparently about those elements and pains that most of us choose to hide from view. Mostly, we view these things as "personal" and no one else's business. We are taught early on in our lives to "keep secrets" and to suppress fears and pain because it might make us appear weak. Safe perhaps... but when hidden the risk of festering and becoming a worse problem is more often the reality.
Often in life... mentors and heroes are "ordinary" people whose spiritual depth... understanding of life and great sense of Truth and Dignity lift them above the masses who simply trudge through life. In so conducting their lives in this fashion... others gain and find personal comfort and understanding simply through the transparency of their honesty and sharing. They teach by leading... and remind us that past pain can be overcome with redemption and work.
I will deeply miss "Salt and Pepper"... but the taste that they leave in my "palette" will remain and will most certainly be passed forward through my own modelling of their simple truths and lessons of humility. Perhaps this is sole claim to which we can all aspire to attain some degree of lasting purpose... aka... immortality.
I wish to close this post with two quotes from these remarkable individuals which I feel best reflect the deepest sense of their similar high system of values and Humanity. Perhaps in sharing them with my friends here on my blog... their marvellous spirits and message will be further used and valued in the future... that they will never unfortunately see.
Maya Angelou... April 4th, 1928 - May 29th, 2014
"National treasure"... dead but never forgotten at 86 years.
"I have learned that people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Never forget that each of us has the power to do good works no matter our circumstances... gender... race, creed, skills or intelligence. In doing so with constancy... we leave behind us good feelings and lasting impressions of our "having been"... in the hands of others to further their own journeys. That is a measure of immortality to which each of us can... and should aspire.
Robert Genn Canadian Visual Art icon and writer... a piece of Canadian Culture painting on location in the Natural World that he so loved and felt at peace with... at Lake -of-the-Woods
Robert Genn, May 15th, 1936 - May27th, 2014... passed too soon at 78 years.
"The thing about art is that life is in no danger of being meaningless."
We shared a common belief that art and Nature were binding forces of good that could be shared by all... with no borders of ability or age. Creation is a deeply personal interface with one's soul and the environment and people that we encounter on our journeys.
Post Script taken from a recent Robert and Sara Genn letter
"Love me truly!
Remember my constancy,
With all my heart
I am with you
even from far away."
A fitting epitaph for each of these remarkable lives.
Rest in peace ... I have been deeply blessed by your gifts to "Me" and will continue my own journey in your honour and with your spirit of goodness.
Good Painting!... to ALL!!