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

 

 

Live Without Fear [on Two Artists Tuesday]

withouttfear copy 2

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.

if you'd like to see TWO ARTISTS copy

read Kerri’s blog post about LIVING WITHOUT FEAR

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

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

Read The Back [on Two Artists Tuesday]

WelcomeTo21stCentury copy

Nothing I paint on the front side of this canvas will be as interesting, as vital, as curious, as the note that Duke scrawled on the back. It’s a mystery story. Duke has been gone for a few years now and his son, our dear 20, brought Duke’s canvases to me. Treasure upon treasure. For some reason, one day, Duke dipped a brush into black paint, flipped his canvas around and left us a note. An impulsive celebratory act on New Years Eve? Or, perhaps, in a moment of disbelief of world events, he scribbled his note in sarcasm?

Of course, there’s another possibility- and this is my bet – ‘Welcome to the 21st Century’ was the name he gave to his painting, the image that he created on the front side. He didn’t like it so he painted over it. He returned the canvas to white space, opened it to new possibilities.

That leads to an even greater mystery. After scrubbing the image, he flipped the canvas around, dipped his brush one last time into the white paint, scrubbed the date (3/93) but left the title. And in quick broad strokes for emphasis, framed his title, transforming it into a note. The back of the canvas becomes the front. A title transformed into a message.

I feel as if I’m having a conversation with Duke. The painting I created on the front side, on the white-space-possibility that he reopened, is one of my Earth Interrupted series, number 7. It is ironic or, perhaps, poignant? Put his title and my title together: Welcome to the 21st Century: Earth Interrupted. Apt, yes?

 

read Kerri’s blog post about WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

welcome to the 21st century/earth interrupted ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Follow Your Feet Home [on Two Artists Tuesday]

feet copy 2

I’m not sure how it happened. At some  point, early on in our life together, we began documenting our travels with photos of our feet. Feet in snow, on sand, on brick, tile, carpet, turf, and tundra. Our favorite wedding photo features our feet (red carpet, Frye boots). When pet sitting DogDog and BabyCat, 20 regularly receives photos of our feet on the dashboard. “Stop sending me pictures of your feet!” he rants, though I know he secretly appreciates being included in the foot photo loop.

It’s become a ritual and like most rituals no words are necessary. We just know what to do. On the subway Kerri will glance my way, the camera emerges and we raise our feet. In the museum, I point to the floor and we stand together. Click. At a wedding, Kerri raises her eyebrows and our dressed-up-feet know just what to do. In the forest, without notice, our boots come together. Click.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy clicks her heels together, chanting, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” I think of Dorothy and her ruby red shoes every time our feet enter their ritual photo mode, every time we are in a new and strange place and the camera comes out as our feet come together. I think, “Home is here. Home is right now, right where our feet have found themselves. Home.” Click.

if you'd like to see TWO ARTISTS copy

read Kerri’s blog post about FEET

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

feet collage image and products ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Raise A Cup To Unka John [on Two Artists Tuesday]

starbuckscups copy

We are fortunate. When we travel Unka John (aka 20) takes care of DogDog and BabyCat. Not only are our pets in excellent hands but they generally can’t wait for us to leave so they can have some Unka John time. They love their Unka John. We suspect that the party rages from the moment we exit the city limits until the moment we return. DogDog and BabyCat sleep for days after time with Unka John.

As parting advice, Unka John always tells us to “get some coffee! And make it espresso so you don’t have to stop a thousand times.” Sage advice for the over 50 traveler. It is our custom with each espresso stop to snap a photo and text it to him, “Cheers from Nashville. Missing you!” Or, “A double shot to get across Kansas! Want a cup?” If we’re ever lost, Unka John will be able to tell the authorities our location based on our last known coffee stop.

On this Two Artists Tuesday, raise a glass (cup) to those special people, your Unka Johns, who have your back, who cover your base, who worry about you, who care for your beloved DogDog and BabyCat, those precious guardians, givers of care.

 

if you'd like to see TWO ARTISTS copy

 

read Kerri’s blog post about Espresso Cheers!

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

 

Trust [on Two Artists Tuesday]

TRUST this one copy 2

When Kerri spontaneously smacked out this design, it was a case of process/design alignment. She simply trusted where she was going. “Hmmm,” she said, and moved on.

In improvisational theatre, it’s called ‘yes, and.’ Say yes to what you are given. Deal with what is there, not what you’ve decided should be there. Spontaneity, the freedom of movement and expression, is born of the kind of trust that ‘yes, and’ engenders. In trust, just as in ‘yes, and,’ there is no resistance. Artistry is pure relationship and requires giving up the illusions of control.

The word trust always brings me to the caterpillar (metaphors permeate my noggin). In cocooning, going to mush to be reborn as something utterly brilliant and unrecognizable, there is inevitability. In emerging from the cocoon, discovering wings, stepping to the edge of the branch, and leaping for the first time, there is trust.

if you'd like to see TWO ARTISTS copy

 

read Kerri’s blog post about TRUST WHERE YOU’RE GOING

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

trust where you’re going ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

Be Small [on Two Artists Tuesday]

Arches copy

On a crisp fall day, watching the waves roll in at Pismo Beach, Jim told me that people come to the beach to touch their mortality. “The waves were here long before we were born. They’ll be here long after we are gone.”

It is only in the moments when we recognize how infinitesimally small we really are that we ‘re also capable of grasping how glorious, how profound, how immense are our fleeting few moments of life. It’s a paradox. It is a joining. Watching the waves, standing on the mountaintop, feeling the sunrise, holding your newborn. Boundaries blend with beauty so vast it makes you ache.

While in Colorado, we jumped the border into Utah for a day and visited Arches National Park. It is one of those places. I felt so incredibly small. I grabbed Kerri’s hand and the paradox door swung open. For a few moments, we were part of the monument, life burned so keenly, so intensely, we joined the timeless, and laughed at the utter impossibility of it all.

if you'd like to see TWO ARTISTS copy

read Kerri’s blog post about Arches

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

arches national park ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood