Sail The Silence [on KS Friday]

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Albert used to come by my studio each evening and pick me up. He knew me well and feared my studio solitude. He’d take me to a coffee house and sit with me until I recovered my capacity to converse. He’d wait until I was capable of crawling out of my silence. We’d laugh when I finally “returned.”

He was right to fear. I didn’t know at that time that the work of an artist – the real work – is to comprehend and navigate their silence. To sail the immensity. We live in this odd age of the individual so an artist’s life is often like solo spelunking. So many get lost in their caves – as I almost did – or their fame (same thing).

My brother-from-a-different-mother recently directed a play. It was a great success. He wrote in the midst of his play’s triumph to tell me how hard he has to work at giving himself any credit. He wrote, “It’s amazing to think how *surprising* that might be for non-artists…” Silence, as he knows, is vast. It is bigger than any single person. When a work of art comes from the vastness it is nearly impossible to claim it. I didn’t tell him that his wrestling match is the mark of a mature artist. How do you claim the ocean or the universe? Success for an artist, unlike the success of a dentist or business person, is an infinite game.

Kerri’s SILENT DAYS could be the soundtrack for the infinite game, sailing into the immensity of the silence. She knows its yearning and awe and brings it back to share with us. I tell myself that she composed SILENT DAYS so others, unfamiliar with their silence, might catch even a small glimpse of life in the boundless places.

 

 

SILENT DAYS from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about SILENT DAYS

 

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silent days/blueprint for my soul ©️ 1997 kerri sherwood

Believe In The Impossible [on Chicken Marsala Monday]

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All of my life I’ve been surrounded by people who believed in the impossible. At a school for developmentally disabled children, there were therapists who believed against all odds that they could help a child catch a ball. And, one day, after ten thousand tries, extraordinary therapies on frozen muscles, endless encouragement for the child and for each other, those little hands closed around the ball at just the right moment. A catch. Cheers, celebration dances and tears erupted, this feat greater than winning a Super Bowl. The impossible became possible. And then, as if there was not a moment to waste, the next impossibility was named: ball catching could become routine!

Artists, who go day after day to the studio or the stage, their lives an impossibility of economic headwinds and community disinterest. They create. They find a way. They keep the doors of deep humanity open, mythology alive. In this age of dedicated differences and echo-chamber-information, they reinvigorate the experience of a shared story. The impossible becomes possible, even if only for a moment. And the next day, they do it all over again, refreshed with inspiration and improbability.

Teachers who walk into classrooms every single day, their budgets cut, their student load swelling, their hands tied with standardized-testing-madness, and yet they reach. They try. They inspire. Like icebreakers, they cut new paths through impossibly frozen circumstances to locate and nourish the minds and hearts of their students. To free them from disbelief. To embrace the challenge of an obstacle. To encourage discovery of self and other. The impossible becomes possible. And, the next day, they do it all over again.

Inspiration. It’s all around us. It makes people do crazy things.

 

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inspiration makes people do crazy things ©️ 2016/18 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Pivot [on Two Artists Tuesday]

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I learned many things following Skip through the curious world of technology entrepreneurism. Peculiar terms like ‘incubator” and “accelerator,” once reserved for premature babies or the gas pedal in my car, were reassigned to ideas: ideas in need of nurturing or, more remarkable, ideas pumped up with steroids and released ravenous upon investors (who were also ravenous but more composed by virtue of their power position).

Among the most important lessons was this: despite the best incubation, even with warp speed acceleration, the best idea, the best product, was probably obsolete the day it hit the market. Someone, somewhere in the world, had already improved upon it. A better mousetrap has little or no shelf life. And so, I also added to my vocabulary a new understanding of the word ‘pivot.’ I love how similar an entrepreneur’s terminology is to a ballet dancer. Pivot, move, fluid, flow, swivel, turn, revolve. Keep your center. Keep your eyes on the spot or you will grow dizzy and fall. The spot is not the individual product, the single idea. It is the business spawned from the idea. It is the ongoing relationship with relevance/obsolescence.

Those in my age group are distinguished by our dance with obsolescence. Graphic designers, publishers, musicians, educators,…artists. We are distinct in having one foot in an analog world – I prefer easel and canvas to stylus and computer screen –  and the other foot in the digital tsunami. The art is innate. Relevance is another story entirely. Reinvention (another word for pivot) is a necessity. Entrepreneurs and artists are not so different.

After seeing our melange post on Surfing Uncertainty, Master Marsh  reflected that surfing uncertainty was more than a design, it was my credo. Horatio jested that I was either a dilettante-from-hell or a bodhisattva. I laughed. Illumination seems a bit out of my reach. I think technology makes dilettantes of us all!

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read Kerri’s blog post about ART ALREADY IN ME

 

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i was came into the world with art already in me ©️ 2016/2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

Look Close-In [on DR Thursday]

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Georgia O’Keeffe was a master painter of paradox. Her paintings open the expansive universe by focusing close in, approaching the mystical, the sensual through the minute. She expressed so much through minimal strokes. I suspect her paintings are an expression of how she lived. Standing still in the arroyo, listening. Moving inward to reach the outer spaces.

I am a artist of a by-gone century. While I appreciate the digital world (you would not be reading this without it), I love the visceral, the deep inner driver, the instinctual. I am tactile. I am fed by the feel of the brush moving across the canvas, the smell and splash of the paint, the dance.  A world of possibilities and paths open when mistakes are not easily erased. Kerri calls this analog.

This is a morsel, a close-in crop of my painting, Earth Interrupted VII. Look closely and you will see the meeting ground of the methodical and the spontaneous, the controlled and the improvisational. I am learning from looking close-in. I see forces merged that used to be at odds, now good dance partners. Compliments. I, too, am learning to stand still, not in the arroyo but on the shores of Lake Michigan. Visceral. Listening. Moving inward in the hope of reaching the outer spaces.

read Kerri’s post about this MORSEL

 

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earth interrupted VII/morsel ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Get Ready To Bowl [on DR Thursday]

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Kerri laughed when she made this morsel. “It looks like a bowling ball, doesn’t it?” she giggled. It is a slice from one of her favorite paintings, Joy. “I can’t believe I’m seeing a bowling ball!” her snicker bursting into a full laughter blossom. “Do you hate that I’m seeing a bowling ball?” she asked, struggling to stifle her chortle.

READY TO BOWL PRODUCT BOX copyBefore I could answer she had already launched into designing products. “Oh my god! It makes a cool pillow!” she turned her computer to show me  but before I could see the pillow she spun the computer back around and was already dropping the image into the next design possibility. “This is fantastic!” she declared. “This cracks me up!” Her chuckle was infectious and I began to laugh. “It’s a great tote bag!” she howled.

I love watching her design.

The painting is called Joy. It is one of her favorites. Watching her do this design work is pure joy. It is magic. It is one of my favorites.

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post on READY TO BOWL

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

joy ©️ 2014 david robinson

ready to bowl designs/products ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

DR Thursday

thoughts from the melange to give lift to your thursday

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this is a morsel of the painting Earth Interrupted I. Kerri calls this morsel Quarter Earth

I’d completely forgotten about this painting. It is so utterly different from everything else I’ve ever done that after I painted it I rolled it and never showed it. In truth, it was an experiment, something I didn’t at all take seriously. At the time, I was discontent with my paintings. I was bored and uninspired. I’ve worked long enough to recognize that my discontent signals an empty tank, a need to rejuvenate. Rest and refill the creative tank.

Earlier in my artistic life, these periods of emptiness caused me to panic. What if that’s it? What if I’ve lost my muse? What if my creative well is permanently run dry?  In my panic I’d try and force things to happen, which you can imagine, served only to magnify my empty-discontents. There’s nothing like a good panic, a deep investment in creative-lack-theory, to generate a serious case of artist block. It took me a while to learn that I run in cycles, just like the seasons, that my creative spring ebbs and flows. Blocks are not necessary.

Now, when I hit one of ‘winter’ phases, in addition to taking it easy, I’ve learned the best thing to do is play. Experiment. Loosen the grip, spin the dials, re-open the eyes. Leave the studio and pretend I’m Andy Goldsworthy, stack rocks, arrange leaves, take walks and photograph random textures. Make snowmen. Scribble with crayons.

The morsel for today’s melange is an ancient map of my long-ago play. Paper sacks and paint and palette knife scribbles. I usually throw these things away or paint over them. But, this painting, so utterly different, created so many years ago, must have whispered, “Wait. Just put me aside and wait. I have something for a future you.” I’m so glad I listened. At this very moment, drying in the studio, is Earth Interrupted II. Earth Interrupted III is on the easel and already Earth Interrupted IV is calling me.

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Earth Interrupted I, mixed media 48″x 53″

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QUARTER EARTH MERCHANDISE

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read Kerri’s DR Thursday thoughts

purchase the original painting, Earth Interrupted I

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earth interrupted I & quarter earth ©️ 2012, 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

Chicken Marsala Monday

fallingdown WITH EYES jpeg THIS COPYIf blocking  your creative arteries is the goal then there is no better illusion to consume than trying to be perfect. Eating the idea that you can be free of flaws or experience mastery without mistakes is guaranteed to clog your capacity to move. Notions of perfection turn the imagination toward the fear-monsters and breeds an especially severe  inner critic. Perfection is like the Medusa, give her your gaze and she’ll turn you to stone.

Imagination, creativity, learning, growing,…are words of movement. They are experiences of free flow. If investments like perfection crimp flow, then granting simple graces like trial and error, or “seeing what happens” will inevitably open the channel. Creative flow, like profound learning or wild imagination happens when inner-judges retire; it happens when nature is allowed to take its course. Nature is movement. Falling down is a necessary form of movement. Perfection is about appearances. Learning is about process.

From studio melange on this Chicken Marsala Monday comes this simple reminder. Try. Remove failure from the gallery of options. Get on the bike and ride. Expect to fall down. It’s the only way to learn how to stand up.

FALLING DOWN IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LEARNING merchandise

chicken falling down mug     chicken falling down pillow

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check out Kerri’s thought’s on this Chicken Marsala Monday

falling down is an essential part of learning ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood