See [on DR Thursday]

HH sketches copy

These days, I draw to sort out a composition. That’s it. I open my sketchbook if I need help seeing beyond what I am thinking.

I used to draw everyday. It was a rule. It was an essential part of my daily life and artistic development. I now know that, during that phase, I was teaching myself to see.

Nowadays, I take my sketchbook when I go on vacation. For a few moments every morning, I open it and do a series of quick gesture drawings. 10 seconds max. I rarely look at the page. Quick gestural lines of what’s right in front of me. Quick capture of a memory I want to record. Eating watermelon on the deck. Picking up a shell to see if it’s occupied. Seeing the moment. Seeing the memory. I close my sketchbook and later in the day take a peek at what I drew.

Once, long ago, I was jammed up. A blocked artist. Liz had me do 100 paintings in an hour. Ink and a brush and no time to think. No separation between the seeing and the movement of the brush. It was fun and fast. No thought means no judgment means no blockage. It bears repeating: seeing = no separation. My block disappeared in a single night. My artistic well sometimes goes dry but since Liz’s lesson I have never again been blocked. She reminded me that artistry is about seeing and not about showing.

I sat on the deck overlooking the ocean. The morning sun, hot coffee and a few pencils. I opened my sketchbook and my eyes. As my hand moved quickly across the page, the world sparkled, and I knew that I was the luckiest man alive.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about HILTON HEAD SKETCHES

 

juiceglassesonHH website box copy

Create A Ritual [on Two Artists Tuesday]

flip flop parking copy

The deceased horseshoe crab was the perfect marker. It was the place we could leave behind our flip flops and venture onto the sand. And, like all actions that become repetitive, the horseshoe crab parking lot became one of our rituals.

It became assumed. Known. We leave our flip flops at the horseshoe crab. To the horseshoe crab we will return. There is comfort in knowing the leaping point. There is even more comfort in knowing the landing place. Home is just beyond.

Our ritual began like many rituals began – out of necessity.  From the house to the dunes and the beach beyond, it was necessary to cross the land of sand spurs. “You have to step with intention,” Kirsten instructed us. “Otherwise you get stabbed.” And, so, we put on our cheap flip flops and stepped with intention all the way to the dunes. The horseshoe crab marked the safe zone. To park our flip flops meant we were out of danger. It meant the armor required to cross back over to the house was waiting for us when we needed it. After several crossings and returns, the horseshoe crab became a location ritual. And then, the crab grew into a symbol.

Once, late at night, we stayed out too long and the houses in the distance blended into shapes without distinction. For a time we were lost. The only way we found our place, located our path, knew home was just over there, was finding the sentinel crab standing guard over our footwear.

It all sounds silly, doesn’t it? Consider how carefully we protect our holiday rituals, our morning rituals, our rituals of identity (what’s in your closet? Why do you wear your hair that way and not this way?). How vigorously we defend our rituals of location (‘This is where I belong!’). Our known paths. The repetitions that give us comfort. The expectations and the stories we tell. The beliefs we embrace despite all the evidence to the contrary. You are not broken. Nothing needs to be fixed. We, humans, create rituals. And then embrace them as story.

The horseshoe crab, for us, will forever mark the leaping place. It will, forever, be a symbol that home, that safety, is just beyond the dune.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about FLIP FLOP PARKING LOT

 

HH waves feet website box copy

Re-Member [on DR Thursday]

alki cropped copy

a morsel of ‘alki beach’

I was surprised. This was the first painting Horatio pulled from my stacks. It’s an older painting, a piece I’d forgotten.  “I like this one,” he said, and told me why.

Horatio is a great artist so it was a rare treat to rummage around the studio and talk about my work. I don’t often talk about it, not really. When showing paintings, people ask questions and I usually deflect the question back at them. It’s a rule. Artists often get in the way of the relationship between their painting and an observer. I want people to see what they see, not what I think they should see. There is no right answer or any one way of seeing a painting.  That’s the point; they have the power to re-create it for themselves. The magic is on the purity of the relationship. I’m more interested in their re-creation than I am in what I think they should see.

Horatio gave me a great gift. He helped me see ALKI BEACH anew. He helped me remember and in remembering I saw the painting again as if for the first time. It was like meeting an old friend after many years. Since Horatio’s visit I’ve had a chance to chat with ALKI BEACH over coffee. We reminisced about the day, the event that inspired it. I remember how the sun and air felt walking that day so long ago on Alki Beach. I remember sitting in my chair in my studio staring at a blank canvas. I remember the birds, the gulls and crows and eagles. I remember reaching for the charcoal.

I remember my surprise at what emerged on the canvas, the day I stepped back, paint on my face and hands, and saw ALKI BEACH for the first time. I remember thinking, “I like this one.”

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post about ALKI

 

rhode island website box copy

 

alki beach ©️ circa 2009, david robinson

Step Off The Treadmill [on DR Thursday]

sunrise, sunset copy

The county fair is over. Kids are heading back to school. Parents are taking their all-grown-up children to college. The rituals of summer’s end are all around us.

I was delighted when Kerri chose this morsel for this week’s melange. It comes with good memories. I painted A DAY AT THE BEACH after an afternoon at the beach last year. We were in Plymouth. The day was waning. We wandered. We played word games in the sand (I lost miserably, Kerri gloated loudly), watched children squeal and play in the surf, felt the heat of the day cool as the sun dropped below the horizon, the breeze that comes with sunset. There was no place we needed to be. There was no place we’d rather be.

Isn’t that the gift of summer? An intentional pause. Giving yourself the gift of stepping off the treadmill, forgetting about the list of things-to-do? Sun and the space to play.

Master Miller has been sharing with us photos of his summer fun with his young son, Dawson. A day of surprises at the art museum. Coloring together, surrounded by crayons. Adventures for the sake of adventure. Art making for the sake of art making. Laughter in the discovery, the pure joy of shared experience.

All of this goodness comes to you in one little morsel.  Kerri calls it Sunrise/Sunset.

sunrise sunset products copy

 

ADayAtTheBeach copy 3

A Day At The Beach, mixed media, 38 x 52IN

read Kerri’s blog post about SUNRISE/SUNSET

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

facebook logo copy 2like us on facebook. like us other places, too

 

sunrise-sunset/a day at the beach ©️ 2018/2017 david robinson & kerri sherwood

DR Thursday

NapOnTheBeach

Nap on the Beach, mixed media, 22.25″ x 55.5″

“I paint the way some people write an autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary.” Pablo Picasso

I’ve been selling my paintings from my studio, un-stretched and unframed. When potential buyers come to my studio they view the raw canvas tacked on the wall or spread on the floor. Many of my pieces are big. It’s how I like to paint: big canvas stretched and tacked to the wall. These days when I ship paintings to another state, when I ship paintings to those courageous people who take the leap of faith and buy an expensive (and very personal) painting based on an image from the internet,  I roll them. They receive the piece in a tender unembellished state.

There are practical reasons for my seeming-shoddy showmanship. It saves my customers money to stretch and frame the canvases themselves. The cost of shipping a large framed canvas is breathtaking! If I stretch or frame it myself, if I sell a painting through any gallery, online or brick-n-mortar,  the cost is easily inflated by 70%.

But, that’s not why I show the unfinished edges. Before moving from my Seattle studio I had studio open houses. People inevitably drifted to the paintings stapled to the wall. They touched the edges. They asked me about the drips and marveled over the charcoal lines. They gently brushed the bumps of paint. They entered the story and became a part of it, they took on a role greater than witness. Instead of approaching art – my art – as an untouchable abstract thing, they engaged with it, questioned it, touched it. I loved it. Art is supposed to be accessible. It is supposed to open and say, “Follow me.”

Recently a client slid this painting, Nap on the Beach, from the pile of paintings stacked on the ping pong table, touched its complex surface, and, with Kerri, he held it by the corners saying, “Oh, this canvas is heavy! This one makes me yearn for summer!” And then he asked, “Did you take a nap on the beach? Is this about something you did?”

Yes. And yes again.

On DR Thursday, on your visit to the melange, I hope this painting inspires you to embrace the raw edges, the drips and bumps, and perhaps give over to a quiet mid-winter yearning for sun and sand and a spontaneous nap.

A NAP ON THE BEACH reproductions

nap on the beach framed print

framed art prints

nap on the beach art canvas

canvas prints

 

A NAP ON THE BEACH original

read Kerri’s thoughts on DR Thursday

kerrianddavid.com

a nap on the beach ©️ 2017 david robinson