Catch His Hand [on DR Thursday]

Many years ago, somewhere in the middle of the 1990’s, I painted a portrait of my dad. It is monochromatic and a fairly quick study. In the painting, he is either emerging or returning to the corn. Or both. I can’t remember why I painted him in the corn except that he was born in Iowa and wished his entire adult life to return to the small town where he grew up. Perhaps this is a painting about yearning. Perhaps it is a painting about returning home.

It occurred to me, when I found it while re-stacking paintings after the great studio flood, that I painted this when he was roughly the age I am now. For a fleeting moment I wanted to paint a monochrome self-portrait simply so I might place it across the room. We’d have a staring contest that reached beyond both of our lives.

I chucked the idea for many reasons but mostly because I had no idea what “field” I might emerge from or into? My symbolic return home would be…what? I am not connected to a single place, a tiny town in Iowa or, like Tom Mck, a ranch in California. I have been a wanderer.

I’ve always loved hands. They are, in many ways, more expressive than faces. They are not as guarded and rarely put on airs. My dad was a working man and has working man hands. He was proud of the work he did. It was hard and broke his body but he loved it. It was out of doors under the open sky. He started his career as a teacher and, although he never confessed as much, I think he hated teaching. The classroom was suffocating. He needed to get his hands in the dirt, feel the sun on his face. Even after he retired, as he aged, he sat on the porch in the mornings, he worked his garden or clipped his grass or cleaned his gutters; anything to be outside.

I had a dream many years ago that has stayed with me. My dad and I were free-falling through time. As we fell, he reached out his hand. I stretched out my arm, tried to grasp his hand, but in falling, we were just out of reach. In the dream I stared intently at his hand as I tried to extend my arm, tried to grasp his hand. I knew, if I was successful, if we could catch his hand, it might not stop our fall, but we, neither of us, would fall alone.

read Kerri’s blog post about COLUMBUS HANDS

Find Your Treasures [On Chicken Marsala Monday]

A Chicken Nugget from studio melange to start your week.

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I adored my grandpa Chan. I carry his middle name. Because he lived in Iowa and I grew up in Colorado my time with him was rare and precious. After his death, as his sons were sorting through his possessions, they asked if I wanted anything, something he might want me to have or to keep close. Immediately I thought of one thing: an old, barely functioning nutcracker that he kept by the pool table in his basement. He let me win many games at that table. We often cracked nuts during my surprising winning streaks.  I wanted it because he held it and, as treasures go, now, for me, it holds him.

find your treasures rect pillow copyI keep Chan’s nutcracker in a special box (DeMarcus’ paint box – another priceless treasure). When I am feeling blue or somehow alone in the world, I retreat to my basement and hold that nutcracker in my hand. I feel the presence of a man, my grandfather, so full of laughter and more than his share of mischief. “Do you want to shoot some pool?” I ask, feeling the alone-ness dissipate.

FIND YOUR TREASURES reminder merchandise

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find your treasures CARD copy

Chicken Gift Cards

find your treasures CHICKEN SQ PILLLOW copy

Chicken Pillows

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Find Your Treasure Leggings

find your treasures FRAMED ART PRINT copy

Wall Art

find your treasures mETAL TRAVEL MUG copy

Mugs & Travel Mugs

read kerri’s blog post about FIND YOUR TREASURE

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find your treasure ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood