Study Opposites [on DR Thursday]

a haiku for today.

study opposites,

we reach forward, move backward.

life is a yoga!

read Kerri’s FORWARD BACK haiku

forward back ©️ 2012 david robinson

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

Leave Her A Note [on DR Thursday]

IMG_2686 copy 2

my loves, mixed media, 24 x 48IN

I came around the corner just in time to see it. Kerri crawled onto the bed, resting her head on DogDog, she closed her eyes. BabyCat, not wanting to be left out of the snuggle, moved over and curled into the cuddle. I stood very still and memorized the moment.

My artistic well has been dry all winter. I believe dry spells are great opportunities to experiment, to make messes and learn again to be free, to not take anything on the easel too seriously. And so, in my emptiness, I began playing with my memorized moment [last week I published the rolling iterations this image passed through].

Sometimes playing with an image feels like wrestling with an angel. It has the upper hand and is toying with you, the mere mortal. One day, after wiping the latest iteration off the canvas, I had a very mortal thought: this might be the last painting I ever paint. Pandemic thoughts reach deep.

And, what if this was my last painting? What if? I would want my last painting to be a love note to my wife. I would want her to know that one day, as she laid her head on DogDog and BabyCat curled against her, I stood in absolute adoration and appreciation of my family, my wife, my moment. My life. My loves.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about MY LOVES

 

 

pumpkinfarm website box copy

 

my loves ©️ 2020 david robinson

*this painting is not yet up on the site. the paint is still drying.

**there’s another canvas on the easel with a painting already in process! (phew).

Why Wait? [on DR Thursday]

they wait copy

they wait, mixed media,  24 x 18IN

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.” ~Rainier Maria Rilke

And, so, we wait. We sit in our homes for the benefit of all. I’ve heard from my pals that time has seemed to warp, twist, and fade. Routines are broken. Patterns scattered in the new necessity. It begs the question, as we wander from room to room, where can we go if cannot go from here?
I’m fond of a thought from Eckhart Tolle: Presence is when you are no longer waiting for the next moment, believing that the next moment will be more fulfilling than this one.
In our daily walks, we often end up in the cemetery at the end of the street. It is the only place we can go and not cross paths with other people. Cemeteries are good for perspective. There are birth dates and death dates and nothing in between. Whole lives lived, loves lost and found, fortunes made and lost.  ‘Imagine all the crap this person worried about that didn’t really matter,” I say. Kerri nods. I imagine each and every one of these souls would give anything – anything for a single moment of precious life. Any moment would do, but I suspect they’d want back all of those moments that they branded as “waiting.” Moments wanting to be somewhere else and completely missing what was right before them, rich and beautiful.
Presence is one of those easily abstracted and often misunderstood experiences. It can be found in the drawer labeled ‘spiritual things.’ It is loaded with paradox. One cannot strive for presence. Striving for presence is the ultimate oxymoron. Presence is actually very practical. Stop striving to be elsewhere. That’s it. Simple. Yet, that is what makes it so hard to embody. It requires a bit of surrender.
And, so, in this time of pandemic, we wait. We sit in our homes for the benefit of all. Time twists. Assumptions turn to dust. Tomorrow cannot be planned. We writhe for entertainment, places to go. We grouse for something to fulfill us, distract us. We make up things to fill time.
Strolling through the cemetery, I ask myself, “How much of my life am I willing to give away to waiting?”

feet on the street WI website box copy

they wait ©️ 2018 david robinson

Talk To Yourself [on DR Thursday]

softly she prays copy

softly she prays, mixed media, 40 x 30IN

Sometimes an image exploration does not feel finished. This painting went into the stacks a year ago. I pull it out all the time because something about it is calling me.

Each time I pull it out I sit with it. We have a long silent conversation. I am compelled to work into it again. I should have named this painting The Siren.

I’ve promised Kerri not to work into this piece – or paint over it. That used to be a common practice for me. This version will remain untouched.

It amuses me because this painting was the result of another version, a very colorful painting that hung in a public space for so long that I forgot about it. I left Seattle without it. A few years ago, an honest gallery owner sent it back to me. It inspired this chatty descendant, Softly She Prays.

If my math is correct, when I one day in the future decide that the next version is complete and toss it into the stacks, I will have had a twenty year dance with this image, a sketch from a long ago sketchbook. A thirty year conversation.

It occurs to me that I  am now talking to a much younger version of myself. The figure/image is the same. The prayer is much, much different. Maybe I’ll title the next version Reaching Back In Time. Or, perhaps a better title is Just Another Way Of Talking To Myself.

Either way, there’s so much more to discuss.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about this painting

 

 

bootsbythestage website box copy

softly she prays ©️ 2018 david robinson

Note The Milestone [on DR Thursday]

David RobinsonYoga Series 7 - Version 2

Some paintings are milestones, markers of change. This is one of those paintings.

And, although I recognized it as a marker, I had no idea what to call it. Since it was the seventh in a new series of experiments that I called ‘yoga’ paintings, I cleverly named this piece Yoga Series #7. A catchy title, don’t you think?

It became the lead image on my website. It was the banner image on my society6.com store. It was the image that identified this blog site for a few years.

I painted it a full two years before I met Kerri. Early in our lives together, I showed her my paintings, this painting. She asked me what I called it and I told her. #7. Sometimes my wife looks at me like I’m an idiot. Actually, she stares at me with a searing look of utter incomprehension. Her thought bubble carries a single word, “dullard.” This was the first time I experienced “the look.”

“That just won’t do.” she said. “It’s your icon. I think you should call it Iconic.”

Not only was it the first time I experienced “the look,” it was also the first time I received “the correction.”

“Iconic,” I said, pretending to try it on for size, feigning that the decision was mine alone to make and secretly loving that the decision was now – and forever – a joint affair. The moment was iconic.

“I like it,” I said.

David RobinsonYoga Series 7 - Version 2

iconic, 54 x 54IN, mixed media

 

read Kerri’s blog post about ICONIC

 

 

BootsWeddingBoots website box copy

 

iconic ©️ 2010 david robinson

Frame It [on DR Thursday]

classic framed copy 2

Meaning is made through a frame of reference. Concepts of time, of nature, of community, of the divine, are not universal. They are local and they provide the distinct frame through which individual and communal experience is interpreted. No one reaches the age of 2 without the installation of a frame.

What we call truth is largely a result of the frame we see through. For instance, is it best to protect the rights of the individual or the needs of the community? The preference largely depends upon what kind of society is asking the question, individualistic or communal.

Frames pop forward certain aspects and make other aspects retreat. Put a frame on a painting and various colors and shapes seem to stand out. Put another frame on the same painting and entirely different shapes and colors dominate. The same is true of every lived experience. Mood is a passing frame. Expectation is a made-up frame.

One day, for grins, Kerri and I took a few paintings to the frame store to see how they might change. CLASSIC was one of the paintings we took that day. I had an entirely different vision for what would make it sing. I’m generally not a fan of big frames but, when Kerri placed CLASSIC in a heavy, slightly ornate choice, I nearly fell over. Not only did CLASSIC sing, but it surprised us with an aria. Gorgeous. Grounded. The frame brought forward the simplicity.

I love it when my paintings blow back on me and I see them again as if for the first time. That is the gift of a frame: the opportunity to see again.

 

classic framed copy 2

yoga series: classic, 20 x 16IN

read Kerri’s blog post about CLASSIC

 

 

feet on dashboard website box copy

 

yoga series: classic ©️ 2013 david robinson

 

Feel The Joy [on DR Thursday]

Joy copy 2

joy, mixed media, 50 x 56IN

The 4th of July is DogDog’s birthday. Today he is six years old. He is generally nonchalant about his big day. No fireworks needed. No parade necessary. He was appreciative of the special rawhide bone. I suspect he’ll receive more than the usual amount of belly-bellies and a long walk is in order (his favorite thing in all the world). Mostly, he will hang out and love the world just as it is, just like any other day. He’s a happy spirit, a contented soul.

Six. That means he was two years old when I painted JOY. It’s a big painting. It is, in fact, the first painting Kerri named. It was a spontaneous naming, her initial response in seeing the finished painting. I was, at first puzzled by the name she chose. And then, I caught sight of two-year-old DogDog, relaxed in his pose. Quiet and fulfilled in his posture. Joy.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about JOY

shadow des plaines river trailwebsite box copy

joy ©️ 2014/15 david robinson

Blatant Art Sale Reminder

preadventure painting sale box copy

The 24 hour day is half over. The 50% off sale remains. The adventure is coming.

 

PAXunframed copy 2

pax, mixed media, 24 x 24IN

 

weeping man copy 2

weeping man, mixed media 48 x 36IN

 

David RobinsonYoga Series 7

yoga series: iconic, mixed media, 54 x 54IN

 

AngelsAtTheWell framed copy

an oldie but goodie: angels at the well, 24 x 48IN

 

all paintings/images ©️ david robinson

Chase Bubbles [on DR Thursday]

morsel copy

a morsel from Chasing Bubbles

“I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!” ~Mark Twain

Lately, I’ve been hoping that my paintings are really more iconography than autobiography. When I sit and review my pieces I see a festival of introversion and introspection.  Lots of figures looking inward. Or down. It is true that I would have made an excellent hermit. Most of the news of the day seems to me like so much noise. I mean that literally. It’s too loud and drives me in search of quiet places. All of this is to note that my autobiography would most certainly be a snore to read so I worry that my paintings – if autobiographical – put people to sleep.

So. The sweet saving grace, the possibility of symbol. A reference to something bigger. Chasing Bubbles. A few years ago at the farmer’s market I saw a young girl racing after a  huge bubble. She was laughing with delight in the chase and I took a photo thinking, “This would make a great painting.” And, then, I thought (this is a confession)…a great painting of the human condition. We are bubble-chasers all.

This is the point where Kerri routinely tells me to ‘gear down.’ “You think too much!” she gasps, clutching her now-aching noggin. “Why can’t it just be a painting from something you saw!?” Well, that would make it autobiographical. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

It’s a dilemma.  And, there I go again, chasing bubbles.

 

 

Bubble Chaser in process copy

Chasing Bubbles (in process). It still has a long way to go. Mixed Media 33 x 48IN

 

read Kerri’s blog post about CHASING BUBBLES

 

not our best morning minturn website box copy

drc website header copy

Chasing Bubbles (in process) ©️ 2019 david robinson