As Sure As The Sun [It’s KS Friday]

When you visit our melange page the first thing you read is our intention: brewed from our studio, sometimes fresh and sometimes aged, we offer a daily blend of goodness, thought, laughter, and beauty. Our offer. We offer what we have to give and what we have to give is an abiding artistic impulse expressed through many forms: cartoons, music, paintings, design, and our thoughts. A true medley. We have no lack of content.

One of the first things I learned about Kerri is that her artistic epicenter is a deep-well belief in kindness. She believes her work is a popcorn trail that leads people back to that deep-well. We regularly discuss spirituality and religion and she will often shut down my yawn-inducing-rants with, “If it’s not about joy, it’s not about anything.” From most people that would come off as a platitude but for Kerri it is a conviction.

ASATS jacket copy 3Joy. Kindness. It is what she has to give. It is her offer. As Sure As The Sun is a song sprung from that well. What could be better on a cold where-is-spring Friday than a song of sunny warmth and the certainty of love. Our offer on this KS Friday from studio melange.

AS SURE AS THE SUN from the album AS SURE AS THE SUN (track 1) iTunes

Also available on CDBaby

PURCHASE THE PHYSICAL CD

AS SURE AS THE SUN LOGO merchandise

society 6 info jpeg copy

asats LEGGINGS copy

LEGGINGS!

asatsRECT PILLOW copy   as sure as the sun SQ PILLOW copy

as sure as the sun TOTE BAG copy

BAGS  & TOTES

as sure as the sun mUG copy

MUGS & TRAVEL MUGS

asats SHOWER CURTAIN copy

SHOWER CURTAINS & TOWELS

read Kerri’s blog post about AS SURE AS THE SUN

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

 

AS SURE AS THE SUN from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

Find The Doorway In [It’s DR Thursday]

A Doorway In for your Thursday from studio melange.

THISthedoorwayin FRAMED jpeg copy

You learn a lot about yourself combing through old sketchbooks. For instance, I am not a religious person but was gobsmacked to discover that in my life I’ve done hundreds of drawings on the theme of Jacob wrestling with the angel. Why? I had to research the story to have context for the images I’d drawn.

the doorway FRAMED ART copyThe other theme that populates my sketchbooks is much more conscious. It is… (wait for it…) Polynices and Eteocles. In Greek mythology they are the sons of Oedipus who, rather than share power, kill each other. It is my visual rumination on contemporary politics in America. Here’s the catch. Every time I attempt to translate my drawings of combat into a painting, the process leads me to a loving statement, Shared Fatherhood. I’ve made two runs at it. There are now two versions of my warring brothers turned to adoring parents. What!?

Kerri loves my Shared Fatherhood paintings. She has no idea of their sketchy origin. So, when she chose this week’s morsel from the first Shared Fatherhood painting, exclaiming, “I love this image! I think we should call it The Doorway In!” It jarred me a bit. The Doorway In. She is ever positive.

Shared Fatherhood

the first version of Shared Fatherhood, 39.5 x 51IN

I delight in the notion that in my visual meditation, through my hundreds of drawings on warring brothers, I am so incapable of arriving at a painting of mutual annihilation. It is a tired, old story. Rather, my muses, my sketchbooks, lead me to stories of hope for the future and images of quiet adoration. A doorway in.

SharedFatherhood2

a second version,  Shared Fatherhood, 25.5 x 40.5 IN

THE DOORWAY IN reminders/merchandise

society 6 info jpeg copy

the doorway in SQ PILLOW copy   the doorway in FLOOR PILLOW copy

the doorway in LEGGINGS copy

leggings

the doorway CARDS copy

gift cards

read Kerri’s blog post about THE DOORWAY IN

purchase the original painting

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

 

the doorway in/shared fatherhood 1 & 2 ©️ 2017, 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

KS Friday

jacketasitisjpeg copy

Always With Us (track 14)

Kerri and I had a few days off. I’d never seen Door County so we jumped in the car and headed, as the folks around here like to say, “up north.” On our way back we stopped to say hello to Hans the music producer. Kerri and Hans have been for years dancing around producing an album together. Hans is also an amazing cellist. He gave us a tour through his recording studio and invited Kerri to give his studio piano a try. She sat and began to play. He sat at his cello and joined her. My mouth dropped open and I started to cry. Artistry, when it is pure, does that to me. I found myself standing in a sacred space created by two consummate musicians who were simply doing what they were born to do. They had no idea I was stunned to tears. They were playing around. They were having fun. They played together for about an hour, Hans dashing in and out to get different instruments to noodle around with, Kerri playing whatever came through the channel. I sat in the corner and tried to keep breathing.

AWU v1 jacket copy 2

Always With Us [solo piano version, track 2]

No recording exists of that day. I would listen to it every day if it did. It was spontaneous and as holy and temporary as a sand painting. On the drive home I tried to describe my experience to Kerri and asked her why she and Hans had never recorded together. “It costs a lot of money to record, ” she said, adding, “and, nowadays, with people streaming music instead of buying it, there’s almost no way to recoup the investment. It’s better to enjoy the process, to have fun playing with someone like Hans.”

I remembered that day with Hans when we chose Always With Us for this week’s melange. It turns out that our melange conversation this week has been all about artistic process: stepping blindly, having faith, landing in pot holes, making bold offers, capturing moments, and most importantly, treasuring the relationship with “something bigger” that comes through when the artist(s) step out of the way and something sacred happens.

ALWAYS WITH US from the album AS IT IS (track 14) iTunes

ALWAYS WITH US from the album AS IT IS (track 14) CDBaby

ALWAYS WITH US from the album ALWAYS WITH US (track 2) iTunes

ALWAYS WITH US from the album ALWAYS WITH US (track 2) CDBaby

PURCHASE THE PHYSICAL CD: ALWAYS WITH US v. 1

 

KS DESIGNS on society6.com

society 6 info jpeg copy

always with us LEGGINGS copy

always with us FRAMED ART copy

always with us COFFEE MUG copy

always with us TOTE BAG copy

read Kerri’s thoughts on ALWAYS WITH US

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

ALWAYS WITH US from AS IT IS, ALWAYS WITH US v.1 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

Chicken Marsala Monday

juststart jpeg

High atop the list of obstacles we erect on our creative life path is this: I don’t know how…. As a coach, I heard it daily from clients. As a consultant, I heard it regularly from business leaders and educators (the pronoun changed: we don’t know how…) Artists regularly lock up in the face of a monstrous HOW?

When I was a young erector of massive obstacles in my path, Quinn would smile and say to me, “Nobody knows how. Just start.” I thought he was being flippant with encouragement but lived my way into recognizing that his advice was not only sound but it was sage.

Knowing how to do something is never a prerequisite for action. It is, however,  a really good excuse to prevent action.

Knowing how comes second. Always. It comes after the fact, after the experience of trying and adjusting and learning. It comes at the end of the day, looking back. That’s when “how” becomes visible. Today’s Chicken Nugget via the studio melange is timeless and simple advice. It would make Quinn smile: sometimes the best thing to do is start.

chicken just start mug


SOMETIMES THE BEST THING TO DO IS START merchandise

kerrianddavid.com

check out KERRI’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

chicken just start framed print

sometimes the best thing to do is start ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

Go Inward

a new painting perfect for winter and inward looking. it’s part of a set in my sacred series.

“The doctor may explain why the patient is dead, but never why the patient is alive.” ~Declan Donnellan

Once, tromping through a biodynamic vineyard, Barney explained to me that winter is the time for the energy of the vine to go to the root. The vine that appears dormant above ground is, in fact, actively recharging below the surface. The energy goes inward. The root rejuvenates, drinking in the minerals necessary for the new growth of the coming spring. The fruit of the summer is impossible without the rejuvenation of winter.

We are not so different from the vines though language can trick us into compartmentalizing, perceiving winter as distinct and separate from summer, the inhale as a separate action from the exhale, tides that ebb and then flow. Cycles of life have compartments in study but never in real life. The compartments are made up for the convenience of categorization and conversation.

These past few weeks we’ve been cleaning out our house, going through old boxes and files, shredding old bills, carrying furniture and computer carcasses to the curb. Old clothes are going away. Closets and bins are emptied. The house is beginning to breathe. There is space. Spaciousness. We are laughing at old pictures, sometimes cringing. This day’s new-found spaciousness inspires the next day’s cleaning rampage. It is invigorating. Rejuvenating.

and this is the other half of the set. winter has me looking inward and exploring simplicity in line and space.

Our cleaning tsunami wasn’t planned. Our computer crashed. Our work was interrupted. Our expression was limited. We complained and resisted and then turned our energies elsewhere. Inward. Going through and releasing old stuff, past lives, creating space, is rejuvenating. We are taking our time. We are going slowly. It is oddly restful.

Driving home from our walk in the woods, we laughed at ourselves. Mock-praising our virtuous cleaning, exaggerating and inflating our new found spaciousness to full spiritual illumination, we pretended we’d achieved life beyond wanting, living without yearning. Consciousness beyond compartments. Wiping laughter-tears from her eyes, Kerri said, “Wait! This could be boring! What is life without desiring some red wine while cooking dinner? What about the pleasure of yearning for morning coffee? With all this new found space….”

 

Look For The Two Points Of View

My latest. As yet untitled. It’s about dreams and angels.

It is the time of thanks giving in these United States and this week when I say my quiet thanks I will include Horatio in my list. Our conversations are life-giving and art-inspiring. And, best of all, tracking Horatio’s thought path is an utter delight. He is an expansive thinker! Here’s an example from our recent call:

“I’m the last person to really see my work,” I said. “Kerri routinely stops me from ruining paintings. She forces me to leave them alone until I can actually see what I’ve painted.”

Horatio said, “You have a parallax problem.”

I thought to myself (who else would I think to?): Parallax is a great word! The last time he flung that word at me I looked it up. In essence, divergent perspectives when looking at the same thing from two different points of view. You might say our political parties have a parallax problem.

Horatio continued, “All religions say, ‘Love your neighbor.’ All religions say it. Love your neighbor.”

What!? I thought. How did we get to neighbor-love from parallax? Grab the reins and hold on!

“The fundamental human problem is to know yourself.” Horatio said. “And artists confront that problem every moment that they stand in front of the canvas or sit down at the piano. Every moment is an exploration of the self, what you see, what you believe.”

From parallax to loving your neighbor to knowing yourself.

“Self. Other. That’s it!” Horatio continued: “That’s all there is! Isaac Bashevis Singer said that the purpose of literature [he was a writer but you can insert any art form] is to 1) entertain and 2) to educate. IN THAT ORDER! You cannot educate first! Playing matters! Fun matters! You must engage the heart first. It opens the path to the other thing.” [take note all ye test makers and proponents of head-driven education].

Parallax: differing points of view. Love your neighbor: a universal aspiration amidst the raging parallax. Know yourself: the fundamental human problem and the singular pursuit necessary to approach the universal aspiration. Heart first: the only route to all of the above.

“An artist has to play. Experiment. Step across the knowns into the unknowns. Question all of those assumptions. Doubt what they see,” he said.

It’s a beautiful paradox, isn’t it? The route to knowing yourself, the route to loving your neighbor, is to doubt what you think. In fact, it is to realize that the river of nonsense incessantly running through your mind is nothing more than a deflection from actually coming to know your self. It is not to be believed. It is the ultimate fake news. It is a great day when you recognize that your inner monologue is entertainment and not education! It’s a great day when you recognize that you need another person’s perspective in order to know your self. You need it precisely because it differs from what you see. Clear vision requires two points of view. It’s called perspective.  Having two points of view opens the door to questioning. It makes probable the birth of a possibility.

“It’s all about relationship.” Horatio concluded, “Now, the only real question surrounding the artist is, in the midst of all of this navel gazing, in the thick of all of this dedicated pursuit of the self, boundary-crossing-questioning, will your neighbors want anything to do with you? Will they want to have you around at all?!”

Oh, yes. Parallax.

Stay Fully Alive

a more recent smaller painting: In Quiet Prayer

Horatio issued me this challenge: do something new, something you’ve never done before. Paint something different, something that boggles you.

I love this challenge. In other words, step out of your comfort zone. Dare to not know where you are going. Make a mess with great gusto and intention. Court chaos and wrestle it into something that resembles order for you and no one else.

Horatio might have said, “Dare to see again, purely, with no filters, knowledge, or preconceptions.” He might have added, “What might you see, who might you be, if you stepped beyond the safety of your ideals, your beliefs, and great mass of weighty and important knowledge?”

The child in me, the one not yet accustomed to sitting in a desk or raising my hand or waiting my turn would loudly sing the answer: You’d be fully alive! I’d be fully alive.

from a few years ago, a larger piece: Meditation

I’ve always appreciated how similar are an artist’s path and that of a spiritual seeker. The aim of the exercise is the same. A meditation practice to still a busy mind is identical to an actor’s training to be fully present on the stage or a painter’s pursuit to see purely (to see without the disruption of interpretation). On both paths, truth is a fluid thing. Truth is what is happening right now. What happened yesterday or may happen tomorrow are distractions at best. They are stories that get in the way. They are of no consequence to this moment of living, this moment of aliveness. It is, an actor learns, a fool’s errand to attempt to repeat yesterday’s performance.

Horatio’s challenge is relevant for every human being wrestling with the big questions or trying to stave off or make sense of the chaos. Dare to dance with what’s right in front of you. Dare to drop the questions.

Picasso famously said that every child is an artist. The problem is to remain an artist once he or she grows up. He might well have said that every child is fully alive. The problem is to remain fully alive once he or she grows up.

playing around with simplicity. This one is hot off the easel and not yet named.

this is how she looks in a frame. Magic!

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