Throw A Pillow [on Two Artists Tuesday]

pillow collage - d paintings copy

The artists’ dilemma in 3 Acts (or, the story behind the pillow collage):

Act 1: Early in my life as a painter I copied master paintings for display in model homes. I’d alter the colors to match the couch. Something was dreadfully wrong with altering master work to match a couch. The world seemed upside down and I was young enough to think perhaps it was me that was upside down. I doubted what I knew. I doubted my inner compass.

Act 2: Later, when I first moved to Seattle, my gallery hunt brought little interest in my work but I was offered the same piece of advice at every stop: Tone it down. The images were “too strong” or “too colorful.”  The reasoning made my head spin: “No one wants to buy a painting that dominates a room! A painting should add to the over all impact but not be seen.”

“Kind of like a throw pillow,” I’d respond.

“Yes! Like an accent piece.”

This time, I knew that I was not upside down, just peddling my wares in the wrong market. Or the wrong century. I trusted my compass yet stood without direction in what felt like a vast wasteland.

Act 3: Waving the Design Within Reach catalogue in front of my face Kerri was on a full blown rant. The page waving before my eyes was a collage of throw pillows. “These are boring!” she  shouted, “Who designs this stuff?” I knew what was at the heart of her tirade. She’d spent the last several months designing her heart out. Her line of pillows – those based on my paintings and a fleet of others – is unique, different. “Why do people buy this stuff? It’s the same as everything else!” she fumed.

I responded with studied calm. “One. How many people see this catalogue versus how many people are seeing your designs? No one is seeing them.”  She scrunched the catalogue. “And, two, perhaps the designs are too bold and too different.”

“That’s what makes them interesting!” she protested. “Beautiful art doesn’t just have to be on the wall!”

“Ah.” I said, “That’s the problem! A flawed premise! Turning the art into a throw pillow still does not make it an accent piece. That’s a good sign!”

“I’m making my own ad! It’ll be a collage! It’ll be a piece of art!” she waved the destroyed catalogue in the air and stormed to the computer.

There is no wasteland here. Her inner compass, and mine, is just fine.

 

see all of Kerri’s designs from my paintings

 

read Kerri’s blog post about PILLOWS

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

pillows designs ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

Play Like There’s No Tomorrow [on Chicken Marsala Monday]

playlikethere'snotomorrow WITH EYES jpeg copy

DogDog is a terrible fetch dog. Throw a stick, a ball,  or a frisbee and he’ll look at you and yawn. However, if you pick up the stick and run it is GAME-ON! He loves to give chase and I have no illusion that my role in that moment is “the sheep.” There is no greater delight in my day than playing with DogDog.

Sometimes, sitting on the deck, I watch him run back and forth between fences, barking in the hope that some dog somewhere will bark back. A return bark is met by a glee-explosion that involves racing laps around the yard and Rin-Tin-Tin fantasies.

And, here’s the thing about play that I have learned from DogDog: even taking out the garbage has become an outrageous amount of fun. It is one of my favorite games. I can’t wait for the kitchen trash to be in need of emptying. The moment I pull on the plastic strings to cinch the bag, DogDog is at the back door, jumping vertically because his little body cannot contain his excitement. I open the back door and he explodes into the yard, clearing the zone of all marauding squirrels and dangerous birds. He looks back when it is safe for me to make a break for the can. Everything is an opportunity for play. Extreme play. Everything.

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy

 

read Kerri’s blog post about PLAYING LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW

 

www. kerrianddavid.com

 

play like there’s no tomorrow ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

Count On You [on KS Friday]

count on you song box copy

Occasionally we’ve intentionally organized our weekly melange around a theme. Mostly, however, we choose the individual pieces according to a scientific method, a very precise criteria. It’s called ‘Oh, I like this one. Me, too.” And, sometimes our very precise criteria bumbles into a theme that we only notice when building the web page. That was the case this week. This is called the ‘happy accident’ method.

Our happy accident reads like a self-empowerment seminar: unleash the power of your crayon, living without fear, break away from the flock, pray in the field of opposites, and today’s KS selection: count on you. Kerri told me that this song was not her favorite and I reminded her that no artist likes all their work. She scowled at me and nodded her head at the same time.

It is especially difficult for an artist to reach back almost two decades and appreciate, let alone recognize, the work they did at another time, during another era of exploration. I famously look into my archives and grimace. A very few pieces stand out, the connection still strong, the exploration still alive and vital. The rest look foreign like someone else created them.

But this is what Kerri knows and always tells me when I am in full artistic grimace. The pieces serve as markers, important reminders of where you’ve been, reminders of how far you’ve traveled. And, as the artist, it is never my place to decide for others what is best and what is not. It’s the artist’s job to share. And so, in a grand moment of blow-back, I reminded Kerri of her own words when she grimaced at this song.

Blow back has blow back. No one ever accused me of being smart. It is not by intention that I now find myself sharing the crate with dogdog as I introduce to you this song of wise reminders. It’s a marker of Kerri’s past but her message is never dated.

COUNT ON YOU on the album SURE AS THE SUN available on iTunes & CDBaby. You can buy a physical CD here.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about COUNT ON YOU

 

if you'd like to see kerri sherwood.. copy 2

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

count on you/as sure as the sun ©️ kerri sherwood

Pray In Opposites [on DR Thursday]

 

I love this painting and for some reason have never included it in a show. An early version of it hung for a few years in the undergraduate offices of Antioch University, Seattle. After returning from Bali I took it down, hauled it back to the studio and repainted it.

On my gallery site I wrote about this painting that paradoxes and oppositions are lively topics for me. Truth is always found in the “in-between” spaces. Truth is connective tissue.

Separation is only the beginning of the life-story. The rest of the story is a search for connection. It is lived as a quest to find the common center – through a prayer of opposites. As the Balinese would say in shorthand, many faces, one god.

 

if you'd like to see david robinson.. copy

read Kerri’s blog post about A PRAYER OF OPPOSITES

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

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a prayer of opposites ©️ 2002/2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Fly Like An Artist [on Flawed Cartoon Wednesday]

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This Flawed Cartoon originally came with a caption. Can you guess what it was? In selecting this week’s cartoon, Kerri and I both loved the image and rejected the caption. “It says much more without the words,” she said.

Without really intending it, a common theme emerged from our picks for this week’s melange: Unleash the power of your crayon. Living without fear. Breaking away from the flock.  Together these might make a nice set of mantra-coasters for the artist’s path.

While you consider unleashing the power of your crayon have some fun and make up a caption for today’s Flawed. Send it to us. Who knows! You just might complete the coaster set with your submission. High Honor Indeed!

 

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON copy

read Kerri’s blog post about BREAKING AWAY

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

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breakaway ©️ 2016/2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Live Without Fear [on Two Artists Tuesday]

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Last week we met my niece and her husband in Lake Geneva for a glass of wine. They’ve been living overseas and were gobsmacked at the recent changes in our nation. “How do you have conversations?” she asked, adding, “Everyone is so angry. It’s impossible to talk about anything important. It’s impossible to discuss or debate ideas or points of view.”

“It’s a minefield,” I said, not really knowing what else to say. There is so much anger which can only mean there is so much fear. The only thing that makes sense to me is that our nation, an ongoing experiment, is cutting through the weeds of our central question: can people of diverse backgrounds come together and live united in a single narrative? If the past two years was your only evidence the answer would be a resounding NO. Thankfully, there is a broader sample. We are a work in progress.

No one can see clearly the times in which they live. And, since the conversation last week has been much on my mind, and an answer to the pervasive fear is no where to be found [and would be a ruse at best], for insight I can only offer A Two Artist Tuesday Quote Collision:

“The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that aren’t so.” ~ Mark Twain

“The idea of a causal universe and a social order built on universal moral laws is toppled by the uncertainty principle. The absolute is replaced by the relative…. Reality becomes a matter of highly variable conventions, rather than a set of fixed and eternal facts.”  ~Jamake Highwater [Jamake gets the award for consecutive quotes. He also made an appearance yesterday!]

“A lot of lip service gets paid to being honest, but no one really wants to hear it unless what’s being said is the party line.”~ Colin Quinn

It is not an accident that our science, our art, and our politics are roiling in relativity. It IS our current common narrative. Contemporary art, like modern science, began with breaking down the idea of absolutes. Politics and public opinion do not lead but they follow.

The experiment is no longer confined to our shores: in a global economy, in the age of 24 hour news cycles, Facebook, Twitter and Google, in our age-and-stage of relativity, can people of diverse backgrounds come together and live united in a single narrative called relativity? Can we transcend our fear of otherness and step outside of our echo chambers? Can we listen as passionately as we proclaim? It seems that it will require a great deal of respect for otherness with a high degree of empathy and low investment in self-righteousness.

Well, we’ll see.

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read Kerri’s blog post about LIVING WITHOUT FEAR

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

living without fear ©️ 2006/2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

Unleash Your Crayon [on Chicken Marsala Monday]

unleashthepower WITH EYES jpeg copy“…art is a staple of humankind – never a by product of leisure or elitism – and so urgent, so utterly linked with the pulse of feeling that it becomes the singular sign of life when every other aspect of civilization fails.” ~ Jamake Highwater, The Language of Vision

Many years ago I was excited to move into a new studio. Many people in my circle responded to my news in the same way: “Oh God! That’s too much pressure! Now you’ll have to use it!”

I wish I could say that I was dumbfounded by the common response but I wasn’t. As a coach, I wish I could count the number of clients I had who spent many hours and huge dedication of resources to fulfill their dream of having a studio – only to fear walking into it. They thought the lack of a studio was the obstacle and discovered that the real challenge was the banishment of their imagination, the leash they’d placed on their full expression.

Taking off the leash is a daunting affair. It means facing the reasons the leash seemed necessary in the first place. An imagination placed on a leash does not go away, it turns to dark imaginings. It eats itself. It separates. It isolates.

Art is not something that can be approached through reason. It is much more essential, much more primal than intellect alone can reach.  It is accessed through the heart door. The intuitive knowing. Yoda would call it the force.

So, thankfully, the leash cannot be taken off by thinking about it. Experience. Express. Follow. Listen. Feel. Breathe. Reach. Do. And, feel some more. In feeling, in an unbridled imagination, there is connection. There is possibility. There is expansion of spirit and capacity. There is – and this is the power of art – the force that creates community.

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy

read Kerri’s blog post about UNLEASHING THE POWER OF YOUR CRAYON

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

unleash the poser of your crayon ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood