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 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


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



DR Thursday

editedcityscape morsel jpeg copy

This is a confession: for these blog posts, for these DR Thursdays, I’m finding the morsels of my paintings – a slice, a small detail – infinitely more interesting than the full painting. It’s not that I don’t love the whole painting, I do. But the morsels are helping me to see the original painting anew. The detail is illuminating the whole. Also, the morsel is spinning my artistic dials. I suspect my visual exploration is about to jump the fence into new pastures.

Kerri calls this morsel Cityscape. It comes from The Bass Player, a painting pulled from the deep recesses of my archive. It comes from a time when I was in love with vibrant color and the work of David Hockney. The Bass Player has lived in galleries, and coffee shops. It hung for many years in a now defunct bar in downtown Seattle.  More people have inquired about this painting than any other horse in my stable but it’s never found a forever home. I’m delighted that through this morsel, Cityscape, my colorful Bass Player has found another moment to step into the light. Who doesn’t need some color-pow! on a Thursday in March?

bassplayer sharpenedhighercontrast copy

The Bass Player, 24″ x 48″

CITYSCAPE merchanise

THIScityscape LEGGINGS copy

cityscape FLOOR PILLOW copy

cityscape FRAMED ART PRINT copy

THE BASS PLAYER reproductions

Purchase the original painting

read Kerri’s thoughts on Cityscape

melange button jpeg copy


cityscape ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

The Bass Player ©️ 2002 david robinson

DR Thursday

2mayyouBEpeace jpeg copy

Kerri calls them “morsels”: snapshots of a portion of one of my paintings. May You Be Peace is a morsel. I love watching her take the shots. I delight in how she helps me see my work anew. I appreciate how each morsel is a complete work of art in itself.

Shift the focus. Pull in the frame of reference. We live in a world of cameras and microscopes and telescopes and compartments; what we see and believe is very much determined by where we place our focus. Georgia O’Keeffe knew it; she was a master of the close-up.

A few years ago I began taking photographs of my paintings-in-process. The camera helps me sees aspects of the painting that would otherwise remain invisible. It’s odd. I stand before a canvas stapled to the wall and see one thing. I aim a camera at the canvas stapled to the wall and see a wholly different painting. Just imagine the infinite perceptions and perspectives at play in our world!

My photo-painting-practice is a constant reminder that my perspective, my perception is mine alone. You are most certainly looking through a different set of lenses.

Peace, I think, has nothing to do with sameness and everything to do with the celebration of  difference, the capacity to help each other see our lives anew.

MAY YOU BE PEACE merchandise

iphone  framed print  greeting card  MayYouBeToteBag

read Kerri’s thoughts on MAY YOU BE PEACE


May You, 55″ x 36″


may you be peace and may you ©️ 2016, 2015 david robinson & kerri sherwood




DR Thursday


Nap on the Beach, mixed media, 22.25″ x 55.5″

“I paint the way some people write an autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary.” Pablo Picasso

I’ve been selling my paintings from my studio, un-stretched and unframed. When potential buyers come to my studio they view the raw canvas tacked on the wall or spread on the floor. Many of my pieces are big. It’s how I like to paint: big canvas stretched and tacked to the wall. These days when I ship paintings to another state, when I ship paintings to those courageous people who take the leap of faith and buy an expensive (and very personal) painting based on an image from the internet,  I roll them. They receive the piece in a tender unembellished state.

There are practical reasons for my seeming-shoddy showmanship. It saves my customers money to stretch and frame the canvases themselves. The cost of shipping a large framed canvas is breathtaking! If I stretch or frame it myself, if I sell a painting through any gallery, online or brick-n-mortar,  the cost is easily inflated by 70%.

But, that’s not why I show the unfinished edges. Before moving from my Seattle studio I had studio open houses. People inevitably drifted to the paintings stapled to the wall. They touched the edges. They asked me about the drips and marveled over the charcoal lines. They gently brushed the bumps of paint. They entered the story and became a part of it, they took on a role greater than witness. Instead of approaching art – my art – as an untouchable abstract thing, they engaged with it, questioned it, touched it. I loved it. Art is supposed to be accessible. It is supposed to open and say, “Follow me.”

Recently a client slid this painting, Nap on the Beach, from the pile of paintings stacked on the ping pong table, touched its complex surface, and, with Kerri, he held it by the corners saying, “Oh, this canvas is heavy! This one makes me yearn for summer!” And then he asked, “Did you take a nap on the beach? Is this about something you did?”

Yes. And yes again.

On DR Thursday, on your visit to the melange, I hope this painting inspires you to embrace the raw edges, the drips and bumps, and perhaps give over to a quiet mid-winter yearning for sun and sand and a spontaneous nap.

A NAP ON THE BEACH reproductions

nap on the beach framed print

framed art prints

nap on the beach art canvas

canvas prints



read Kerri’s thoughts on DR Thursday


a nap on the beach ©️ 2017 david robinson




DR Thursday


[Held In Grace: Embraced Now, mixed media on canvas, 48″ x 36″]

Beaky showed me a photograph taken of Kerri and me early in our relationship. She said, “I like this one because your strong arms are holding my daughter.” I took her comment as a kind of blessing. It was her way of telling me, ‘This is right and good. In this embrace you two have found all that you will ever need.’

In the studio melange, Thursdays are for my paintings. I chose this painting as the first in our melange offerings because it came from Beaky’s sentiment. During this Valentine’s week, let this painting, Embraced Now, from my Held In Grace series, remind you, as it does me, that all is right and good. In this embrace you will find all that you will ever need. It’s not a shabby thought to help navigate through a Thursday!


HELD IN GRACE: EMBRACED NOW [purchase the original]



held in grace: embraced now ©️ 2017 david robinson



Think “And”

a second version, a second point of view of my painting Shared Fatherhood

I suppose it is the great trap in human nature to define life through oppositions. Was your experience good or bad? Are you liberal or conservative? Are you your brother’s keeper or is it every man for himself? Oppositions provide the illusion that there is a right way or a wrong way, that any issue can be reduced to a simplicity, a singular path. One way. Oppositions are great language devices for dictators and the righteous. They remove the grey tones and blunt the grey matter. With an opposition, us or them, “god” can be exclusively on your side (a small god, indeed) which self-grants permission for all manner of abuses enacted by “us” on “them.” The problematic word when employing oppositions is “or.”

“And” is a much more useful (and honest) term to employ when dancing with oppositions. Can you be your brother’s keeper AND take care of yourself? Certainly. Can you survive entirely by yourself without the participation of your brothers and sisters? Certainly not. No one lives in a vacuum; “or” is the great creator of illusory vacuums. “And” guarantees a conversation and perhaps a host of useful, challenging and robust perspectives. Both/And is always more functional than Either/Or.

AND the first version of Shared Fatherhood

The snag in “Or” is that there is very little truth in any reduction that ultimately lands on just One. This or that. All life is movement and all movement stops in One. Creative tension requires at least two points and a desire for someplace place to go. There is no single arrival station in real life. There is no achievement that stops all the presses. Every answer inspires new questions. Each question opens doors to multiple possibilities. Agreement is a fluid target at best and must be nurtured. Compromise is never an end state; it is a relationship imperative. Life is never found in the static “or.”

Do an experiment: go to the grocery store, choose any item and ask yourself how many people it took to bring your chosen item to the shelf at that moment. If you are not astounded by the complexity of participation, how dependent we are on actions of others, your imagination has most certainly failed you. Skip, entrepreneur extraordinaire and mentor to entrepreneurs taught me that a business cannot succeed until it serves its customer’s customer. Note the word “serves.” Businesses serve. Not simply a customer but the complexity of a customer’s customer. Entrepreneurism is a service to the creative genius of a community and multitudes of communities beyond.

Entrepreneurism, like artistry, ….even, yes, like governance…like all things vital, moving, complex and growing, live in service according to the good graces of AND. Anything else is a mirage.




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