Reach With Wonder [on DR Thursday]

CloudWatchers morsel 2 copy

“One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways to wonder.” ~John O’Donohue

I loved this canvas before I painted Cloud Watchers on it. It was old and used. Chunky with layers. I can’t remember how it came to me but I do remember thinking that it was the Velveteen Rabbit of canvas. Loved. Well worn. A long history – that is to say – filled with lots and lots of story. Perfect.

And, how appropriate that it is living a next chapter as Cloud Watchers, part of a series that  I call ‘narrative.’ All narratives – inner and outer – are projections. Life’s stories are image transfers, meaning imposed just like the meaning we place upon the movement of clouds. There’s a duck! Look! There’s a dragon, a dinosaur, an elephant. A fear. A goal. An opinion. Mr Magoo! Belief! There’s Thomas Jefferson! The Buddha.

We reach with wonder from our isolation. We touch through imagination. We are cloud watchers full of story, filling the air with our stories. We are glorious creators all!

 

read Kerri’s blog post about CLOUD WATCHERS

 

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cloud watchers/morsel ©️ 2002 – 6/2018 david robinson

Juxtapose [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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I come to this eve of the new year holding two images, two art experiences juxtaposed. One is a review of the past. The other a resolution. Together they resonate.

The first, the review of things past that influence things to come, is Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary film, And They Shall Not Grow Old. It is a miracle of film making (stay to see the segment about how it was made that rolls after the credits. You will shake your head with wonderment). It takes you into the trenches and horrors of war.  We left the theatre both wowed by the film-making and shocked by the utter senselessness of war. Wowed by the human capacity to innovate and despairing at our capacity to willingly destroy ourselves for imagined gains. Both are technical achievements.

The morning after seeing the film I opened Brain Pickings and, given the film, I was smacked by a photograph of Earth taken from The Voyager spacecraft in the mid 1990’s. The Pale Blue Dot. It brought instant perspective to war – and everything else we imagine to be so important. Within the vast expanse of space, “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” I had to look twice to see the speck that is Earth. Our imagined importance is out of perspective with the realities of our circumstance. The fragility (the miracle) of our existence is generally lost in our daily myopia.

Two images.  Juxtaposed.

 

read Kerri’s blog post on THE NEW YEAR

 

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No Words. Just Thanks.

thank you

Go On A Fool’s Errand

50% OFF ALL PAINTINGS THROUGH MIDNIGHT APRIL 22nd

 

 

“I paint the way some people write their autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages of my journal, and as such are valid. The future will choose the pages it prefers. It is not up to me to make the choice.” ~ Pablo Picasso

 

 

The further I walk down this life path, the more I identify with this quote. A younger version of me would have thought it interesting but not much more. A younger version of me wouldn’t have admitted to trying to pre-determine the choice for the future; trying to determine what others see. A forgivable fool’s-errand as I am certain I am not alone in my folly.

There is a flip side to my fool’s-errand. There are things I see in the paintings that no one on earth will ever see. I am the channel. It is the privilege of being an artist to express from personal experience what cannot be fully expressed, only approximated. And, in the attempt to fully express the personal (another fool’s-errand!), a common ground is created – art is a universal meeting place, a crossroads. It’s a paradox. It is also a truth: individuals create common ground through the experiences they share and the stories they tell about those experiences. Society is a creation just as a painting is a creation. Society is an expression just as a painting is an expression.

The future will choose the pages it prefers because it will choose the pages it relates to, the pages it understands, the pages that inspire, remind, or give pause.

For me, at this point in my autobiography, it is enough to paint without regard to validity or investment in value of my paintings. It is enough to discover yet another facet of my life as an art-fool on errands .

See Art Everywhere

50% OFF ALL PAINTINGS THROUGH APRIL 22nd

Together we read the local paper every morning. Yesterday there was an essay from the executive director of a new ‘creative space’ making a case, financial and otherwise, for why the community should value and support the arts. Everything he wrote was true. Everything he wrote has already, as Kerri likes to say, fallen into the moat.

Fifteen years ago I might have written that essay. I am an artist and need no case made for the necessity and essential nature of “the arts.” However…. In a past life I consulted with schools and many times found myself in the position of lobbying the school board to support arts programs. I jumped up and down making a case for the arts and rarely achieved my desired result. Until, one day, a word-angel grabbed my tongue and instead of using that mystical word “arts,” I replaced it with the phrase “experiential learning.” Doors blew opened. Angels sang. Kids made movies, painted paintings, held poetry slams, wrote musicals, made plays…came alive. And learned.

Our mistake is “to make a case” for the arts. Our mistake is to define it narrowly, relegate it to museums. It is not a separate thing. It is everything. It is everywhere. The design of our cars and blenders is an aesthetic as well as an engineering process. The apps on our phones (the very design of our phones) requires artistic as well as technical skill. Every piece of marketing that clogs our streams requires an artistic sensibility. We live in age of narrative, of artificial intelligence, of imagination run rampant. We story ourselves on Facebook and Instagram and share our pins on Pinterest. Step back and listen to the competing narratives we call The News. Listen not to the content of the question but how it is asked; these things are not accidental, they are designed, targeted to influence and move our imaginations. The “arts” are not lofty nor dusty, they are throbbing, vibrant, and central to every nuance of our lives. Why do we insist on  keeping them in such a tiny little box?

Stephen asked me more than once, “Why don’t people value the arts?”  He is a prolific painter, brilliant, and exhausted from living on the margins. “They do,” I’d say, “they just don’t know it.”

Kerri and I said goodbye to a few more paintings yesterday. They found their right home and that is more than gratifying.  It is the moment of completion of the painting (or the play or the composition…or the car, couch, and coffee mug) when it finds an audience or its home. It’s a life cycle, deeply connected. It is everything. It is everywhere.

Commune With Color

50% OFF ALL PAINTINGS THROUGH MIDNIGHT APRIL 22nd

I always loved gallery openings of my work because they served to remind me how deeply personal a relationship with a painting really is. And, isn’t that the point? For instance, when I first showed my painting, Canopy [featured in a post yesterday], it literally stopped a woman in her tracks. She burst into tears and spent the next hour communing with the painting. Literally communing. I love this story because a few moments before the communing woman entered the gallery, a young couple stood before Canopy and said, “Ooh. I don’t like this one.”

As John once said, “Your job is to paint the paintings, not to determine what people see in them.” True enough.

There are two paintings in my stable that have drawn more attention than any others. By far. They were painted at roughly the same time. They are the same size. Both are acrylic on two panels. Both have shown often, always have multiple inquiries, and always return to the stable. They are favorites to be courted but are always left standing alone at the altar.

Once, when taking them down after a showing, a gallery rep. told me she thought they were abandoned yet again because they were too colorful. “Too Colorful?” I questioned. And she said, “You’re right. That’s not possible.”

Something Old, Something New

50% OFF ALL ORIGINAL PAINTINGS THROUGH MIDNIGHT APRIL 22nd

Horatio and I just finished one of our famous calls. He, too, is an artist [and film maker] and so I look forward to our all too rare and epic conversations. They are pot-stirring and life-giving. Today, among a host of other things, we talked about the necessity of letting go of the old story in order to move forward into the new.

Non-attachment. It is an artistic imperative (and spiritual practice). It is one of the reasons I love and appreciate Kerri’s total attachment to my paintings; I know my work is loved and in good hands so it frees me to continue stepping forward. I no longer walk this path alone. I have the same attachment to her compositions and trust my embrace of her work opens safe space for her artistic voyage to the edge.

Kerri treats the sale of my paintings more as a placement, a matching of hearts, than as a transaction. She’s helping me tell a new story even in the selling of my work. ” I hope you sell a lot of 50% off paintings,”  Horatio said.

“Me, too,” I thought. In my new story that would mean a meeting of many, many hearts.