Follow The Trail [on KS Friday]

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I like the idea of a blueprint for souls. As if each life has an underlying design. As if each day of life was part of the overall construction.

When Kerri and I talk about our story we often talk about design. The impossible sequence of random coincidences that led to our paths crossing. Have you ever played that game: what if I left the house 2 minutes earlier? What if I’d decided not to go?

Lately, many people have been telling us their stories of things-that-were-meant-to-happen. “The pieces just fell into place,” they say. “That’s the sign it was supposed to be.” I’m not the only one who likes the notion of a blueprint. Ease is a sign.

We can only see the connected dots when looking backward. Sense-making is rarely a forward looking affair. Yet, Kerri’s BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL is like a popcorn trail through the woods. It is a kernel of hope that leads to another kernel of hope and, if you follow the hope-trail long enough, you come to a place where you can turn around and see with clear eyes the path, the unique life that was designed by you, just for you.

 

 

BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on the album BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL is available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL

 

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blueprint for my soul/blueprint for my soul ©️ 1997 kerri sherwood

Risk The Adventure [on DR Thursday]

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On Monday, I pulled out the Chicken-Marsala-rough-draft folio. I was searching for a rough concept sketch. It was an early-Chicken idea, a joke mostly, but I thought it would be a good choice, an encapsulation of the melange, for our anniversary week. In it, Chicken Marsala is a nascent angel en route to his very first assignment. He is in full resistance. His mentor angel is pushing him forward. She’s trying to convince him to that this first mission is ideal, a cake-walk, but he knows better. It’s a mess. He’s being assigned to an aging couple. Newlyweds. Two artists. Chicken screams, “But they’re BOTH artists!” The mentor-angel responds, “Get in there, tiger! They’re lucky to have you!”

How many times in life, in your moment of resistance, have you heard, “It’ll be good for you.” Translation: what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. The problem with this bit-of-wisdom is that being killed is one of the options. In the face of hungry tiger, who doesn’t need a push!

I found the sketch of angel-Chicken but got lost looking through the hundreds of drafts and idea sketches in the folio. If you are looking for something to lift your spirits on a cold and bleak winter day, flipping through the Chicken folio is guaranteed to bring some sun and a smile. He became a festival of optimism. He jumps for the joy of jumping.

The  joy of jumping. That is a much better and more accurate encapsulation of the melange. It is not a story of survival or resistance. In fact, at this one year mark, by measures of survival, it makes no sense at all. Our original intention, making a living, has long ago given way to something more essential. We are doing it because we love doing it. We write for the joy of writing. By measures of joy, of vibrant living, nothing else makes sense.

We regularly slip off of rocks and find ourselves sitting in the water. It is the necessary risk for doing what we love. Life rule #1: Have the experience first; make meaning of the experience second. “Risk,” as Chicken has taught us, is just another word for “Play.” Jump. Welcome the adventure. And, see what happens.

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read Kerri’s blog post on RISK & ADVENTURE

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here’s the full panel

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Reach With Wonder [on DR Thursday]

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“One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways to wonder.” ~John O’Donohue

I loved this canvas before I painted Cloud Watchers on it. It was old and used. Chunky with layers. I can’t remember how it came to me but I do remember thinking that it was the Velveteen Rabbit of canvas. Loved. Well worn. A long history – that is to say – filled with lots and lots of story. Perfect.

And, how appropriate that it is living a next chapter as Cloud Watchers, part of a series that  I call ‘narrative.’ All narratives – inner and outer – are projections. Life’s stories are image transfers, meaning imposed just like the meaning we place upon the movement of clouds. There’s a duck! Look! There’s a dragon, a dinosaur, an elephant. A fear. A goal. An opinion. Mr Magoo! Belief! There’s Thomas Jefferson! The Buddha.

We reach with wonder from our isolation. We touch through imagination. We are cloud watchers full of story, filling the air with our stories. We are glorious creators all!

 

read Kerri’s blog post about CLOUD WATCHERS

 

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cloud watchers/morsel ©️ 2002 – 6/2018 david robinson

Follow The Path [on Chicken Marsala Monday]

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Rule #1: When a path announces itself it will make no sense. Trying to understand it will make stepping onto the path problematic. The order is clear: Step first. Make sense second.

Rule #2: A path is a living thing, a relationship. A path requires engagement, experience. If you confuse yourself into thinking that the path is about achievement then you are most certainly off the path. Achievements are fixed, like trophies. Paths are fluid, like friendship. Achievements are finite games. Paths are infinite games.

Rule #3: Paths do not speak in loud voices. They whisper. To hear the path’s announcement it is often necessary to get quiet. A path is patient. It will know you are ready to listen when it sees you turn away from the chatter.

Rule #4: A path requires a single action: pick up the paint brush, preferably the big brush, dip it in the bucket of paint, and start. The need is not to know where you are going. The need is not to be right or best or wise or clever. The path merely needs you to start.

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy

 

read Kerri’s blog about PATHS

 

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

sometimes the path forward announces itself ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Feel More [on KS Friday]

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I’m sure that accountants never sit at their desks and review their accounting of the past 30 years. Lawyers, I suspect, may review a case here and there but I doubt that they ever sit in a room, surrounded by all their cases, and consider them as a body of work. Artists necessarily review their work all the time.

Because of our melange both Kerri and I have been sitting in our studios surrounded by our life’s work, revisiting every era. She listens, pours through old notebooks, tinkers with pieces that never made it to the recording studio. I pull out canvases, flip through old sketchbooks, and portfolios. We compare notes. We share our favorites. We disavow our least favorites (“Someone else  painted that and stuck into my stack. That piece is awful!”)

if you'd like to see kerri sherwood.. copy 2It is much more emotional than you might imagine. Each piece comes thanks to a potent life experience, a funny story, a period of loss, lostness, foundness, utter ful-fill-ment, the vast and empty void. We stare at what we achieved, we face what we aimed for and missed.  We stand on the edge of what next calls to be explored.

It is not an intellectual review, a study. It is a feeling pathway, a conscious opening to experience in all its many colors. There is no rational sense to be made in what we do or have done. “Making art” is a dedication to feeling more. It is a love song.

 

BUT I FEEL MORE on  AS SURE AS THE SUN is available on iTunes & CDBaby

PURCHASE THE PHYSICAL CD

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BUT I FEEL MORE

www.kerrianddavid.com

but I feel more/as sure as the sun ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

 

Think “Isn’t It Weird…?”

my new tree;-)

Wide awake in the middle of the night, we snacked on handfuls of Chex cereal and indulged in my favorite kind of conversation: “Isn’t it weird that…?” Little did we understand that our late-night conversation would set the theme for the week.

The next night high winds toppled our neighbor’s ENORMOUS aging maple tree into our backyard. The insurance company called it “an act of God.” It is a phrase implying no fault, no responsibility. It just happened. I laughed aloud when, immediately following the “act of God” designation, the insurance adjuster heaped on us a load of legal cautions, new responsibilities (the tree now ‘belonged’ to us), property line designations, and small print reminders meant to minimize financial risk and responsibility to the insurance company. The layers of irony are too many to count though I suppose if wacky preachers can assign responsibility for hurricanes and other natural disasters to the wrath of God, then it is no less ridiculous for insurance companies to invoke the fickleness of God to absolve themselves of liability.

Isn’t it weird that…?

P-Tom reminded us that the “act of God” was that no one was hurt in the tree fall. For P-Tom the act of God was a kind of intervention. A few degrees to the right, a slightly different wind direction, and the tree would have landed on our bedroom. Life does seem fragile by the slightest of degrees. We told people that we were lucky. Intervention? Fortunate? Fate? Design?

Isn’t it weird that…?

We cut a branch from the fallen tree and brought it in the house. It is now our Christmas tree.

Had you asked that branch a week ago if it would ever become a Christmas tree it might have laughed at you.

As a maple branch it had no aspirations or intentions of being wrapped in lights or decorated with silver baubles. In truth, it probably cares little if it makes us laugh or invokes a smile each time we enter the room. But it does. Or, better, we make sense of it that way. Sense making? Story telling? Either way.

Isn’t life weird?

Our work-in-progress

 

 

 

 

 

Make No Sense

these hands will change

these hands will change

The woodpecker hammered high atop the ancient television antenna. He seemed not to be bothered by his lack of progress, beak on metal. At first I thought it made no sense and then it occurred to me that progress was not the goal. Perhaps the woodpecker hammered for the pure pleasure of the sound of it. It need not make sense. This woodpecker was an artist to his or her core!

Yesterday was a “no-power-tools” day. No sharp objects were allowed. No walking near ledges permitted. I was distracted; tired to the core. Late in the day we drove 45 minutes to a bakery called ‘Simple’ in Lake Geneva. They make the world’s best flourless chocolate cake. “This makes no sense,” Kerri said as we stepped out of the bakery with our cake. We laughed and ate a slice in the car; pure pleasure before driving home.

Every time the neighbors let their dogs out, Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog runs a frenetic figure eight in the backyard, over and over and over. He exhausts himself. He is having some exotic shepherd fantasy or perhaps he cannot contain his delight. It makes no sense for him to run a trench in our backyard for dogs he’s never even seen. He runs for the pleasure of it.

We sat in the sun this morning drinking coffee. The sky was cloudless, the air was cold but the sun was warm. We leaned against the house, saying little, feeling the warmth seep into our bones. We both knew that on this day we would do nothing. There would be no visible progress toward any defined goal. The wheels of society would have to grind on without us. We needed most to stop, to sit, to stare, to laugh at the Dog-Dog.

photo-2I started a painting a few weeks ago. It is a figure falling through space. Something has been wrong all along and sitting in the sun I figured it out. The hands are all wrong. Rather than reaching for something to grasp they ought to be letting go.