Join [on KS Friday]

“I wouldn’t mind turning into a vermillion goldfish.” ~ Henri Matisse

To say we were out of place would be an understatement. Two crows in a seagull bar. The Fat Seagull, to be exact. Two artists step into the watering hole of a lumberjack town. The beginning of a joke.

There was a table of ladies playing a rowdy card game. Big guys leaning into the bar, a row of suspenders and worn baseball caps. Bottles of Miller beer. They wrinkled their brows when they caught sight of us. We sat at the only open table. A high bar table pushed into the walkway. Two stools. We knew we were outliers when we ordered wine. The waiter returned a few minutes later having found an unopened bottle. He explained that the only two wine glasses in the bar were broken. We sipped our wine from tiny cups.

We drove two hours north to see a special show. The last performance of a duo. This bar would be their punctuation point. They began to play and slowly the magic happened. Together, people leaned in to listen. Bodies swiveled and danced on stools. Hands clapped at the end of each number. The musicians wove a spell that brought everyone together. Two crows were no longer aliens but integral to the shared experience.

Our waiter refilled our tiny glasses and stayed to chat. He invited us to come back and try the burgers. We smiled and talked to those sitting nearby. Without inhibition, Kerri took photographs of the crowd, the musicians, the coolers, and the ceiling.

The punchline? The power of art. The magic of music. The easy recognition of common center. It is no less potent in a dive bar than in a stadium or auditorium or gallery. The place is incidental when the performance is pure.

read Kerri’s blogpost about THE FAT SEAGULL

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take flight/this part of the journey © 1998 kerri sherwood

Constellate [on Merely A Thought Monday]

constellation poem copy

Just outside our favorite island gem, Fair Isle Books, is this poem by former Wisconsin poet Laureate, Bruce Dethlefsen. We have stopped at the shop more than once and reread the poem.

our lonely stars though bright
and strong will quickly fade

unless we string the stars
together   choose illumination
then in constellation hope is ours

bring on another day
sing light in common song
~constellation by bruce dethlefsen

It is a lovely poem and captures perfectly how we now see our work on this island. In our short tenure it has become abundantly clear that the people in our sphere most often work as “islands.” Islands on island. That is, although very well intended, few actually recognize the impact of their actions (or inaction) on others. It is part of the evolutionary dna of the place. Everyone works multiple jobs. Divisions and territory define the island arts organizations.

I have long held (and experienced again and again) that the arts cannot thrive in a community until the artists turn to a common center, recognize a shared purpose, and realize that one cannot thrive without the other. Thriving is a team sport. If one theatre creates a large audience then it creates audience for all. If one painter sells a painting, a market is created for all. Reaching into the common space, facilitating shared experience, is what art is meant to do.

If an arts community falls into the mistaken notion that its members compete for limited resources, they will inevitably define themselves by their limitation.  The center turns to a battle ground and the art is diminished. Dog-eat-dog has no place in the sacred space of art.

It is why we visit the poem. The necessary guide star is already here. “Our lonely stars though bright will quickly fade unless we string the stars together – choose illumination – then in constellation hope is ours.”

 

read Kerri’s blog post about CONSTELLATION

 

schoolhouse beach k&d website box copy

Step Off The Treadmill [on DR Thursday]

sunrise, sunset copy

The county fair is over. Kids are heading back to school. Parents are taking their all-grown-up children to college. The rituals of summer’s end are all around us.

I was delighted when Kerri chose this morsel for this week’s melange. It comes with good memories. I painted A DAY AT THE BEACH after an afternoon at the beach last year. We were in Plymouth. The day was waning. We wandered. We played word games in the sand (I lost miserably, Kerri gloated loudly), watched children squeal and play in the surf, felt the heat of the day cool as the sun dropped below the horizon, the breeze that comes with sunset. There was no place we needed to be. There was no place we’d rather be.

Isn’t that the gift of summer? An intentional pause. Giving yourself the gift of stepping off the treadmill, forgetting about the list of things-to-do? Sun and the space to play.

Master Miller has been sharing with us photos of his summer fun with his young son, Dawson. A day of surprises at the art museum. Coloring together, surrounded by crayons. Adventures for the sake of adventure. Art making for the sake of art making. Laughter in the discovery, the pure joy of shared experience.

All of this goodness comes to you in one little morsel.  Kerri calls it Sunrise/Sunset.

sunrise sunset products copy

 

ADayAtTheBeach copy 3

A Day At The Beach, mixed media, 38 x 52IN

read Kerri’s blog post about SUNRISE/SUNSET

 

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sunrise-sunset/a day at the beach ©️ 2018/2017 david robinson & kerri sherwood