Collaborate & Hear Blue [on DR Thursday]

blueblueworldwithframe copy

blue, blue, this world is blue

Kerri took a photo of a blue ball, the initial under painting for the next piece in my Earth Interrupted series. And then, giggling, she disappeared up the stairs. I knew the blue ball met its fate in Photoshop because her giggle became a full scale cackle. I call it “the design cackle.” I only hear it when she is reordering the visual world, when she drops out of the known reality (a shared space) and plays gleefully in designland (an internal space).

Later, when she reemerged, my distant-traveler wife, flipped her screen around. Instead of showing me an image, as I’d expected, she’d cued a song, Love Is Blue. “Have you ever heard this?” she asked, “The blue ball reminded me of this song.”  As we listened. She told me the news of the day makes her blue. I learned which notes were blue. Finally, she opened the image for me to see. “I call it, “blue, blue, this world is blue. What do you think?”

It was a full blown experience in synesthesia, tasting words, seeing sounds.

Last week our neighbor, John, a terrific artist, asked if Kerri and I ever collaborate or discuss our work. I smiled, my answer as much a surprise to me today as it was the day after Kerri and I met. “Every day,” I said. Every day.

The latest morsel. Ours. Beautiful, bold, and primary.

 

dr blueblueworld PRIMARY IMAGE BOX copy

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BLUE, BLUE, THIS WORLD IS BLUE

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

blue, blue, this world is blue ©️ david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

BlueBall copy

 

Don’t Ask Why

DR 002

From my archives. I call this painting Alki Beach.

When I woke up this morning, researching the color blue was not on my to-do list. Did you know that in Belgium blue is the color associated with baby girls? Pink is for boys. To be blue in the German-speaking world means to be drunk rather than the English assignment of depression. Color associations are cultural.

I jumped down the rabbit hole of color symbolism and meanings because I’ve been building a new catalogue for my paintings. I’ve been revisiting the eras of my work, looking at every painting I’ve done (those that I documented…). A few days into my cataloguing Linda asked me why I never paint with the color blue. Linda loves the color blue. She is a veritable celebration of blue in earth, air, and water. “You never use blue!” she exclaimed. “Why?”

BlanketOfBlueSky

A Blanket Of Blue Sky

“I always use blue,” I sputtered, convincing no one. Since my move from Seattle to Kenosha my paintings have been more earth tones, umbers and sienna. The blues are there but certainly not dominant. Linda has never seen the work from my blue period.

“Why don’t you use more blue?” she laughed.

‘Why’ is one of those words that can either bring you to clarity or will drive you crazy. Knowing ‘why’ is useful in a Simon Sinek seminar or valuable in the pursuit of a purpose driven life but is near-to-impossible when attempting to articulate an artistic choice. The top two responses are conversation stoppers: 1) I don’t know, and 2) It feels right. I suppose there is a third response, the anti-why: 3) why not? It, too, leaves no room for discourse and is generally a lousy explanation.

IslandDreaming

This one is called Island Dreaming

“Why don’t I use more blue?” I asked Kerri. Without looking up or missing a beat she responded, “Why don’t I use seventh chords?” Leave it to my wife to hit me with a musical-zen-koan.

Horatio often reminds me that to enter the studio is to also enter stillness. Working in and from stillness precludes all questions of why and how.

Did you know that blue is the most commonly used color in corporate identity and that it is a color rarely found in fruits and vegetables? It has more complex and contradictory meanings than any other color. Among the seven billion people on earth, roughly 4 billion of them prefer blue to any other color.

This morning while entering images into my catalogue – most were predominantly blue – I heard the echo of Linda’s question. “What’s up with blue?” I asked myself. Abdicating all responsibility for internal answers, I did what we all do at such moments: I turned to Google.

Did you know that blue is generally embraced as the color of heaven?

Why?

 

Shared Fatherhood

My latest: Shared Fatherhood.

 

Make Purple

Polynieces and Eteocles

I dug out an old drawing this morning. I’ve been thinking about it for days and finally decided to heed the impulse and find it. I drew it years ago, a study for a large canvas I intended to execute but the timing wasn’t right or the thought was not complete. I can’t remember. It would have been a statement piece, based on a myth. Polynieces and Eteocles, two brothers fighting for control of the kingdom after the death of their father, Oedipus. They refused to share the riches. They lost sight of the kingdom in their lust for control and killed each other in their battle. Both lost.

I remembered the drawing after reading the daily news. It popped into my head as an image that seemed relevant as I listened to the intensity and insanity of the blues and the reds. These days I hear a lot of rhetoric about what is good for “the American people” and I am certain – it is among the dwindling things I am certain of – that these diverging rhetorical paths are not good for anyone. The kingdom is nowhere to be found, so lost are we in the power struggle, the alternative-truth-games and all of the accompanying hyperbole.

Recently 20 came over for dinner. He read to us a disturbing article from the newspaper and asked, “So, do you think we have it all upside down?” It was, of course, a rhetorical question. The article was from a February 12th issue of The New York Times, Husbands Are Deadlier Than Terrorists, by Nicholas Kristof. It was an appeal to stay focused on what matters in the midst of so many smoke-and-mirror-power-play intentions. It was a plea to not be lost in the diversions:

            “Consider two critical issues: refugees and guns. Trump is going berserk over the former, but wants to ease the rules on the latter….In the four decades between 1975 and 2015, terrorists born in the seven nations in Trump’s travel ban killed zero people in America, according to the Cato Institute. Zero.

            In that same period, guns claimed 1.34 million lives in America, including murders, suicides and accidents. That’s about as many people as live in Boston and Seattle combined.”

           It’s also roughly as many Americans as died in all the wars in American history since the American Revolution….”

There is, admittedly, much to fear in this world but it is rarely where we pin the blame. Insanity almost never recognizes itself.

According to the myth, Oedipus put a curse on his sons. That was the reason they could not peacefully share the rule of the kingdom. It was a curse. They couldn’t help it. So, it was their fate. No lesson learned. No growth possible.

We have a long legacy of using inequity to create and reinforce division. Perhaps that is the curse we inherited? That is the “reason” we cannot find common ground and shared governance? Is it our fate to murder each other and project the danger onto the people least capable of defending themselves: the current wave of immigrants? It seems lazy but certainly appears to be effective.

It might now be time to execute my painting. I’ve lately been focusing on grace and images of internal peace. I seem to be out of accord with the times in which I am living. According to the data we are killing each other faster, more efficiently and more eagerly than any external threat. All the while our ruling class seems singularly devoted to keeping us in primary color-coded camps rather than working with the creative tension that moves divisions in a unified direction. And, we seem singularly devoted to playing along, not a hint of purple to be found.

Art is, after all, an expression of who we are and I can find no other more relevant American image. It will, of course, be a symphony of reds and blues.

 

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No, Right!

662. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

The man in front of me in line calls me “Dude!” and affirms my statements by saying, “No, right!” He speaks in exclamation points and I like him a lot. He’s a free spirit although, like me, his hair is going grey and he’s traveled more than a few miles. He asked me if I make resolutions this time of year. I liked the question because it includes the possibility that I might make resolutions at other times of the year. I told him I make resolutions everyday right before I don’t keep them and he laughed and said, “No, right!”

There is a moment I look forward to when flying out of Seattle. It is the moment that the plane lifts through the clouds and punches into a clear blue sky; it is a cusp moment and I see that the clouds are local and temporary; the broad blue expanse is universal, ever present. Occasionally the plane rises above the clouds at the moment the sun rises. The moment before was grey and bleak and in an instant it is vibrant orange, turquoise, cold and clear shades of blue. Those moments are rich in paradox: they evoke quiet and excitement, a thrill that washes me in peace

I am more capable than ever before of living with my head above the clouds, seeing the universal and standing in awe of the color even when my eyes can’t see it. I know it is there if I open myself and breathe it in. “Dude! What are you thinking?” my line mate asked. “I think I’m going to fly above the clouds this year,” I replied. He wrinkled his brow at my odd resolution before nodding his head and saying, “No, right!