Speak Back To It [on Two Artists Tuesday]

Noguchi might have designed this unintentional sculpture. A massive stone made delicate, the smaller carrying the weight of the greater. The shapes are not precise; they tend. As a final touch, the piece is set at water’s edge. Elemental commentary, a sculpture exposing the meeting of forces.

My favorite part: no one intended it. Yet, had Noguchi or Andy Goldsworthy walked by, they would have made flowing sketches, taken photographs, and rushed away to make it their own. Nature inspires. A happy accident. I suspect all great art comes into being this way.

Kerri often talks about placing her piano on a seashore or atop a mountain. Composing by responding to what nature presents. The sound of wind through trees, the pull of water rushing away from the beach. Once, she sat at her piano with a stack of image-phrases. She pulled one from the stack, closed her eyes, and played. I was a most happy witness to the wonders of creation.

Yesterday, for the first time in months, I pulled out my sketchbook and drew. The previous day, we visited the Botanic Gardens and I took dozens of photographs. The patterns and shapes of leaves. Startling color. I drew the shapes. I sketched the patterns. No expectation save the movement of hand and pencil. I felt as if I was blowing the dust out of my system. The patterns moved me.

The best news for any artist? We will never match the power and majesty that we find in nature as we reach to discover and express our own nature. The best we can do is draw from it, play in it, speak back to it, simply saying, “Thank you for the inspiration.”

read Kerri’s blogpost about ROCKS

Feel The Stir [on DR Thursday]

“It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.” ~Henri Matisse

The canoe glided silently through the lily leaves. I counterbalanced the canoe as she stretched over the side to take a photograph. Leaning, I stared down at the leaves. Vibrant color and pattern, Matisse might have painted them. They stirred within me the deep desire to paint, something I haven’t heeded for too long. Nature is a great artist.

The trees surrounding the lake signaled autumn’s imminent arrival. Crimson reds and yellows dotted the shore. Fall paints me melancholy and I felt the first whispers of the coming-sweet-sorrow. Deep quiet. Still water reflection. Hearing rhythms beyond sound. Nature, I am told, is a great healer.

Although I’ve painted all my life I’ve never thought of myself as a painter. For me, painting is not about the image I produce. It is about walking into the dark cave or soaring into the blinding light. Icarus. Nature’s call.

My sister remains confounded that I have not given myself over to the wealth and riches of pet portraiture. Early in my life I was paid-not-well to copy masterworks, alter the colors so they might match a client’s couch. I can paint anything. I can paint like anyone. I left that behind. It was soul draining. I paint to answer Nature’s call, to discover how to paint like myself.

Counterbalancing the canoe, staring at the Matisse leaves, the brilliant white lily, I acknowledged the stir. I promised myself, my easel, like autumn’s imminent arrival, “Soon.”

read Kerri’s blogpost about LILY

icarus © 2008 david robinson

DR Thursday

thoughts from the melange to give lift to your thursday

THISquarterearth interrupted I sharpened copy

this is a morsel of the painting Earth Interrupted I. Kerri calls this morsel Quarter Earth

I’d completely forgotten about this painting. It is so utterly different from everything else I’ve ever done that after I painted it I rolled it and never showed it. In truth, it was an experiment, something I didn’t at all take seriously. At the time, I was discontent with my paintings. I was bored and uninspired. I’ve worked long enough to recognize that my discontent signals an empty tank, a need to rejuvenate. Rest and refill the creative tank.

Earlier in my artistic life, these periods of emptiness caused me to panic. What if that’s it? What if I’ve lost my muse? What if my creative well is permanently run dry?  In my panic I’d try and force things to happen, which you can imagine, served only to magnify my empty-discontents. There’s nothing like a good panic, a deep investment in creative-lack-theory, to generate a serious case of artist block. It took me a while to learn that I run in cycles, just like the seasons, that my creative spring ebbs and flows. Blocks are not necessary.

Now, when I hit one of ‘winter’ phases, in addition to taking it easy, I’ve learned the best thing to do is play. Experiment. Loosen the grip, spin the dials, re-open the eyes. Leave the studio and pretend I’m Andy Goldsworthy, stack rocks, arrange leaves, take walks and photograph random textures. Make snowmen. Scribble with crayons.

The morsel for today’s melange is an ancient map of my long-ago play. Paper sacks and paint and palette knife scribbles. I usually throw these things away or paint over them. But, this painting, so utterly different, created so many years ago, must have whispered, “Wait. Just put me aside and wait. I have something for a future you.” I’m so glad I listened. At this very moment, drying in the studio, is Earth Interrupted II. Earth Interrupted III is on the easel and already Earth Interrupted IV is calling me.

earthInterruptedI copy

Earth Interrupted I, mixed media 48″x 53″

society 6 info jpeg copy

QUARTER EARTH MERCHANDISE

quarter earth FRAMED ART PRINT copy

quarter earth LEGGINGS copy

quarter earth TRAVEL MUG copy

quarter earth TOTE BAG copy

read Kerri’s DR Thursday thoughts

purchase the original painting, Earth Interrupted I

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

earth interrupted I & quarter earth ©️ 2012, 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood