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.”

(Y)Our Earth [It’s Two Artists Tuesday]

Take a moment to take a look around you. A thought to ponder and share from the melange.

our earth FRAMED ART PRINT copy

Tibetan monks have been in residence this week at a local technical college. They are creating a mandala sand painting. For the monks, creating the mandala is a spiritual practice, a meditation. As they construct the design they contemplate the meaning of the symbols within the design. In other words, they are in a constant state of prayer while they create. They invite the community to enter the prayerful space and contemplate with them; the “space” is, of course, the essential part of their creation. More to the point, the shared space of peace, an intentional communal tranquility, is the creation. And, to make sure we grasp the point, the final step in their creative process is to blow the design away. Nothing is permanent. Beauty is passing and so are you and me. It is, we are, energy in motion. The process, rather than the product, is the meditation.

our earth SQ PILLOW copyWhen Kerri drew this design it immediately reminded me of the Earth’s currents, a perfect sentiment for the coming Earth Day celebrations. The essential convection currents that create our wind, our weather. The currents in the earth moving layers of magma, the transfer of energy in the heating and cooling of the ocean. Motion creates life, tosses up forms and pulls them down again. Motion is life, life is motion. And, in this mandala we call Earth, there is a deeper meditation found within the sand and the impermanence: it’s all connected. We are all connected. Blowing sands. The process, the quality of our participation in impermanence, is the art.

From studio melange, an earth day meditation: this is your/our earth.

THIS IS (Y)OUR EARTH reminders/merchandise

society 6 info jpeg copy

our earth TOTE BAG copy

OUR EARTH MUG copy

our earth IPHONE CASE copy

iphone cases

OUR EARTH BEACH TOWEL copy

a beach towel!

our earth LEGGINGS copy

(Y)Our Earth Leggings

read kerri’s blog post on (Y)Our Earth

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kerrianddavid.com

 

this is (y)our earth ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

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

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kerrianddavid.com

 

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

Chicken Marsala Monday

A Chicken Marsala thought-nugget from the melange to help you start the new week

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Faith is one of THOSE words. So, as is my practice when wading into one of THOSE words, I look it up before writing about it. And, as is always true when writing about one of THOSE words, I find beautiful ambiguity within the proffered definitions.  1) complete trust or confidence, 2) strong belief based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Complete trust. Spiritual apprehension.

My life has taught me that truth (another one of THOSE words) can only be found within the paradoxes. If you can reduce something to a singularity, a black or white concept, something graspable, then it may be a rule or law but is never a container of truth. THOSE words point to deep experiences, the mysteries that cannot be fully grasped or squeezed into a container. Love is one of THOSE words, too.

We designate the first week of spring by a heavenly marker known as the equinox. Equal night. We look to the sky to understand the happenings on this earth. I’m happy to report that my first sighting of tiny green shoots breaking through the crusty earth in my backyard happened this week. The first sign of spring. The resurgence of green life after months of root-resting hibernation.

I couldn’t help myself. For kicks I also looked up the definition of the word apprehension. It smacked to me of being yet another one of THOSE words. Yep. 1) anxiety or fear, 2) understanding, grasp. Anxiety. Understanding.

Standing before a blank canvas I often feel as Chicken Marsala. I tie on the blindfold and step. Sometimes I step boldly with complete trust. Sometimes I step timidly with great apprehension. It is a full spectrum of faith. And, because I can never know (another one of THOSE words) the best I can do is practice.

cool FAITH TAKE PRACTICE merchandise [wall art, gift cards, tote bags….]

society 6 info jpeg copy

faith takes practice FRAMED ART PRINT copy

faith takes practice LEGGINGS copy

‘faith takes practice’ leggings

faith chicken iphone case copy

faith takes practice SQ PILLOW copy

 

read Kerri’s thoughts on FAITH TAKES PRACTICE

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

sometimes faith takes a little practice ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

DR Thursday

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This is a confession: for these blog posts, for these DR Thursdays, I’m finding the morsels of my paintings – a slice, a small detail – infinitely more interesting than the full painting. It’s not that I don’t love the whole painting, I do. But the morsels are helping me to see the original painting anew. The detail is illuminating the whole. Also, the morsel is spinning my artistic dials. I suspect my visual exploration is about to jump the fence into new pastures.

Kerri calls this morsel Cityscape. It comes from The Bass Player, a painting pulled from the deep recesses of my archive. It comes from a time when I was in love with vibrant color and the work of David Hockney. The Bass Player has lived in galleries, and coffee shops. It hung for many years in a now defunct bar in downtown Seattle.  More people have inquired about this painting than any other horse in my stable but it’s never found a forever home. I’m delighted that through this morsel, Cityscape, my colorful Bass Player has found another moment to step into the light. Who doesn’t need some color-pow! on a Thursday in March?

bassplayer sharpenedhighercontrast copy

The Bass Player, 24″ x 48″

CITYSCAPE merchanise

THIScityscape LEGGINGS copy

cityscape FLOOR PILLOW copy

cityscape FRAMED ART PRINT copy

THE BASS PLAYER reproductions

Purchase the original painting

read Kerri’s thoughts on Cityscape

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kerrianddavid.com

cityscape ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

The Bass Player ©️ 2002 david robinson

Chicken Marsala Monday

thismomentunique WITH EYES jpeg copy 2“What do I see?” It is, perhaps, the most important and fundamental question any person can ask. Seeing is never passive. It is never pure. Interpretation begins the moment you open your eyes. The ‘see-er’ stories – gives meaning to – what is seen. It is a simple truth: the very act of opening your eyes is a creative act.

Every moment of our lives is new. What else? You have never lived this moment before. You will never live it again. We blunt ourselves when we tell ourselves the story of ‘same-old-same-old.’ We dull ourselves when we weave the belief that this day is routine, that this moment of life is nothing new.

We blur our seeing and muddle our moments by asking the wrong question(s): how do they see me? what do they think of me? These are impossible crazy-making questions to answer. They generate a directional challenge. It is not your superpower to determine what the world sees when IT looks at YOU – mostly because you can’t. The world is not looking at you. You are seeing it.  IT is not giving meaning to you. You are giving meaning to IT. That is your genuine superpower.

The thought for today from the melange: open your eyes. See the new-ness. Create this moment as unique in every way.

THIS MOMENT UNIQUE IN EVERY WAY merchandise

ThisMomentUnique mug  ThisMomentUnique framed print ThisMomentUnique clock ThisMomentUnique pillow

read Kerri’s thoughts about this Chicken Marsala Monday

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

this moment unique in every way ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson