Leave The Studio [on DR Thursday]

Kerri calls this snippet REACH

One day at the farmer’s market we saw a little girl chasing an enormous soap bubble. She was gleeful, squealing with delight. Looking at the faces of the adults watching the little girl, it was clear that they wished they were also racing across the grass, gleefully chasing bubbles. It was clear that they yearned to feel that carefree. In some distant place, they remembered.

These days I occasionally sit in my studio but I do not touch my brushes. There is a canvas on the easel. It’s good and worn and chunky just as I like them. It is waiting. I am waiting.

I believe, as Tom McK. taught me, that “a writer writes and a painter paints.” There is no magic to it. Well, that’s a lie. There’s plenty of magic when the painting begins, when the artist disappears. But first, the paint has to hit the canvas. Before disappearing the artist has to show up.

Yesterday, Skip sent me this lovely reminder. It’s from a tweet:

“I believe it was John Cage who once told me, ‘When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, your enemies, the art world, and above all, you own ideas – all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one-by-one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.'”

That little girl chasing bubbles, her glee, is what happens when “even you leave.” All of the ideas of who you are or what you need to do or achieve, the expectations, the burdens and worries, the pandemic, the politics, the notions of success and failure, all leave the room. That’s when the bubble chasing begins. That’s when there is ample space for glee and delight.

Kerri chose this morsel for today and I’m so glad she did. “I want to do another version of this painting,” I said. That little girl, so long ago chasing an enormous soap bubble at a farmer’s market, is calling me back to my easel, she’s pointing to the studio door and asking me to leave.

Chasing Bubbles, mixed media, 33.25 x 48IN

read Kerri’s blog post about REACH

reach/chasing bubbles ©️ 2019 david robinson

Love The Game

Dog-Dog-Dog in the joy of the pursuit

Dog-Dog-Dog in the joy of the pursuit

Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog likes to chase bumblebees. He snaps at them in an attempt to catch them. He never catches them but that does not deter his endless attempts or the glee of his pursuit. He loves the chase. He loves it.

Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog also loves to be chased. He only requires something to carry, something to claim that makes the chase necessary. Any stick will do. I walk to the center of the yard, pick up the most available stick, he takes it from my hand and races away. My job is to give chase (as I pursue the Dog-Dog, I say again and again, “Give me my stick!” as if the stick was mine. Such is the power and grace of the human imagination!) Wild-eyed and joyful, he races around the yard at Mach speed, a bumblebee to my snapping dog. I never catch him but that does not deter the glee of my pursuit.

Dog-Dog is teaching me the secret to a joyful life. It is simple: love the chase. It is the glee of the pursuit. As James Carse wrote in Finite and Infinite Games, the point of the game is not to win but to continue the play. The point is to become a better and better player. In an infinite game, winning is not an outcome, it is a way of being. The point is to love playing.

I am grateful that Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog leaps for bees that are nearly impossible to catch. I am grateful that Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog runs from me even though he knows I will never catch him. When I am too tired to continue the chase, he drops the stick and circles back to where I stand huffing and puffing, ready to give him a few pets. His entire body wags with delight. His eyes shine with the thrill of the game and I laugh at his unbridled enthusiasm. He teaches me without using a single word. When I’ve caught my breath, I’ve learned to say, “Hey! Where’s my stick!” Picking any twig from the ground, he snatches it from my hand and we are off and running.

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Show Me The Gold!

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

Walking down Queen Anne hill I came upon a man dressed in a green tutu, a sleeveless green low cut blouse, shamrock slathered green knee-high socks, and red high top Chuck Taylors. I said, “Girlfriend, you look lovely.” He said in a surprisingly deep base voice, “Why thank you. Do you really like it?” I replied, “You are my favorite.” He seemed pleased with my compliment.

That was my first clue that it was St. Patrick’s Day. As I continued down the hill I wondered what St. Patrick would think of his celebration. What would a 5th century bishop of Ireland do in the midst of a fun run and pub crawl? I hope he would toss off his miter hat and join the fun. That’s what I would do if I were transported through time; I’d work hard to pick up the local customs. Things need not make sense.

As I crossed the grounds of the Seattle Center, passing by the international fountain I saw more wondrous combinations of green on gender. And green on green! I felt as if I was on the back lot of a film studio (and, come to think of it, life often seems like that to me). I heard a little girl shout with glee, “Momma! I saw a little green man!” Her clearly exhausted mother said with weary expression, “Yes, dear. I saw him, too.” Her brother whispered to no one, “I saw him first.” On any other day, a bona fide Leprechaun would stir enthusiasm even in the most hardened adult; on St. Patrick’s Day, they are common. The little girl’s mom no longer believes in pots of gold found at the end of the rainbow. If she did, that little green man would be in momma’s net and she’d be shaking him shouting, “Show me the gold!”

I’d only been awake for an hour and look what the day provided! The pot at the end of the rainbow is filled with metaphoric gold and I found it! So many rainbows, so many pots of gold!