Practice. [on DR Thursday]

WaitingKnowingMorsel

a morsel from Waiting & Knowing

The quote is from Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality. In a nutshell, it is this: know that you are waiting. Know what you are waiting for. To me that seemed to be a kind of yoga. A practice. It is a practice that might be useful in the age of one-click fulfillment, twitter diplomacy, road rage, ubiquitous impatience. It is a practice with balance as its intention.

WaitingAndKnowing Process

in process

It is also a practice that in many ways encapsulates the art of painting as I understand it. So, it seemed a useful spark for a painting in my yoga series. Waiting and knowing. Balance. Sisu. The practice of being where you are.

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post about WAITING & KNOWING

 

shadow bristol woods website copy

 

waiting and knowing ©️ 2015 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Let It Catch You [on DR Thursday]

the shadow of division copy

a morsel of Earth Interrupted IV: shadow of division

Sometimes you have to stand still to let what you seek catch up to you. Kerri said that to me one day. Her words found their way into me and then became a poem and then the poem found its way into a painting, Earth Interrupted IV.

This week the painting found its way into a morsel for Studio Melange. A wisdom inspired a poem, became a painting, became a morsel called Shadow Of Division. Today, it becomes a post. Which, I am sure, will inspire another poem or a song (anything is possible in our house).

Art begets art. The well of possibilities is bottomless. And, rather than chase the possibilities as was once my strategy, I am learning to stand still. A wisdom, a poem, a painting, a morsel, a post about cycles and all things life giving.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about SHADOW OF DIVISION

 

shadow des plaines river trailwebsite box copy

My favorite thing about shadows? They blend divisions. They make cool new and surprising shapes out of seemingly separate things. Transformation is so simple and just a small shadow away.

 

shadow of division/earth interrupted IV ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Wait [on DR Thursday]

WeWait Morsel copy

morsel of the painting They Wait

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

My studio often serves as a retreat, a place to escape the noise and nonsense-of-the-day. It is a quiet place. A sanctuary. I recoup perspective when I step into it.

Lately, when I am painting, I find myself pondering the paradox of living in the time of Google. I rarely have a conversation these days that doesn’t include a quick dip into Google to check a fact, pull up a statistic, check spelling or a date or data. We rely on it. We can investigate or verify anything in an instant. Yet – and here’s the paradox – no amount of data or information seems to put a dent in people’s beliefs. In fact, we’ve learned, that confronting a belief with data that contradicts it will serve only to reinforce the belief. Information threatens, and so, is useless.

My dad once told me in a fit of frustration that I had educated myself into stupidity. I question everything. He grew up in a simpler time, in a smaller town. I understand the opposite to be true, the path out of stupidity IS education. The capacity to question, to doubt, to consider, to compare what is said with what is provable, is what makes us powerful. Propaganda is only useful in a society that does not or will not question what it is being told.

Collaboration, cooperation, the capacity to organize, to contemplate and pursue possibilities, to unify disparate points of view is only possible in a mind that doesn’t fear being wrong – in a mind that opens (chooses to open) and isn’t constrained by fear of what it doesn’t understand. Fear makes us stupid. To be educated doesn’t mean to be rigid or buried in knowledge. It means the willingness to question, the ability to look, experience, to see, to reach. To learn.  Fear blinds. Curiosity illuminates.

This painting tumbled out of my Google meditation. It is a sketch, a quick gesture. I used to tell my students that daydreaming was an essential skill. Looking out the window and pondering, imagining,…daydreaming is the first step of invention. Waiting, too, is also an essential skill. It is invaluable when entertaining a thought….

 

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post about THEY WAIT

 

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they wait ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Contemplate [on DR Thursday]

 

I do more than my fair share of contemplating (just ask Kerri. My incessant contemplation drives her bonkers). For instance, years ago, it occurred to me that every thought we human-storytellers have IS a kind of meditation. It’s a fair question – a necessary question – to ask: what are you meditating on? Your pain? Your troubles? Who you blame? Your grudges? Your obstacles? Your joys? Your opportunities? Your privileges? Your love? Your losses? Your list? All of the above?  Keep in mind (where else would you keep it) that most of your thoughts are repetitive. The majority of what you think today is a repeat of what you thought yesterday. Your thoughts are not passive. They are also not truth. They are patterned, mostly made up, and a powerful lens through which you define your experiences. The good news is that you can change your meditation if you want to.

Listening to the news it will make you gag when you stop and realize what actually populates our national meditation and how our angry narrative permeates your personal mediation. We are not as separate as we like to pretend. That’s good news. That, and, we can change our meditation. We can tell a better story.

 

This morsel comes from a painting that recently returned to the stable. It is, quite literally, a blast from the past. What I find most amazing about this particular return-to-the-fold is that, just a few months ago, I uncovered the old drawing that inspired Contemplation and sourced it again for another painting, Softly She Prays. And then, in a fit of good timing, Contemplation arrived at our door.

Paintings are like journal entries. It is not often that happenstance provides such a rich opportunity for comparison. Comparison of contemplation. What was my meditation 15 years ago? What is it now? Horatio told me my body of work is a study of stillness in motion (not a direct quote H, but I love the reflection non-the-less). The deep river story remains. The top layer meditation has shifted.

Ah. Do you see? Incessant contemplation.

 

 

color & contemplation copy

Contemplation, circa 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

softly she prays copy

Softly She Prays, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

read Kerri’s blog post on CONTEMPLATION

 

 

babycatContemplating website copy

 

contemplation/softly she prays ©️ 2004/2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

Listen To You’re The Wind [A New Song on Not-So-Flawed Wednesday]

In our house we mark significant and auspicious dates (actually, we think all days are auspicious). Today is one of those. I never knew Kerri’s father. Her mother, Beaky, had a profound impact on my life during the 18 months that I knew her. Beaky and I united in two common causes: 1) To convince Kerri that her naturally curly hair was beautiful and to stop blowing her curls away, and 2) To convince Kerri to share with the world her music, those incredible unrecorded pieces – some of her best work – that live only in a notebook by the piano. Today is an auspicious day! It would have been Beaky and Pa’s 75 anniversary. It is also the day that Beaky gets one of her wishes  (hint: Kerri’s hair is still straight so…more work to do).

 

 

mom and dad youre the wind copy

read Kerri’s blog post about YOU’RE THE WIND

 

 

cropped head kiss website copy

 

you’re the wind ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

Appreciate It [on KS Friday]

every breath song box copy

Yesterday we drove the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive to see the fall leaves. It was our anniversary gift to each other. A day off. A day away. A conscious decision to step out of the busy-list of to-dos, the concerns and stresses, the tug and pull and demands…. What could be a better gift to each other than presence with each other. Time less wandering with intent to appreciate.

Every Breath could be the soundtrack of our gift-drive. The crisp air, the glow of the leaves (“Look at that hillside!” she gasped). An utter appreciation of all things passing. Every Breath.

On another note, if the cello line in this piece doesn’t kill you, then you need to take the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive and wake up. Kerri’s compositions were made to be played with the rich depth of a symphony. Every Breath will make you catch your breath. It’s gorgeous like the leaves.

 

EVERY BREATH on the album AS IT IS available on iTunes and CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about EVERY BREATH

 

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every breath/as it is ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

Open The Time Capsule [on DR Thursday]

Morsel - Waterfall Dreams copy

Kerri calls this morsel ‘Waterfall Dreams’

This week some long lost paintings came home.

Nearly 15 years ago, an acquaintance opened a physical therapy office. She asked if I would hang my work in the reception area, hallways and therapy rooms. I was delighted and installed 8 paintings, all wildly colorful. I was in my phase of vibrant swirling color. The local galleries told me that my work was too colorful so I was delighted to have any opportunity to share my paintings. Over time, three of the paintings sold. I brought in a few more. They sold. Ownership of the office changed but the paintings remained. Years went by.

When I left Seattle, I left those paintings behind. I couldn’t get to them. I counted them as lost. And then, a few weeks ago an email popped into my box. They were looking for my address. They wanted to ship to me the paintings. Three remained.

Opening the box was like opening a time capsule into my past. A life I remember but am almost too far distant to recognize. They were a delightful abstraction like a TIME magazine from 1950 would be interesting, a curiosity, but intangible.  It was looking at the baby shoes your mom saved for you, the drawing you did in kindergarten.

Skip and I talked yesterday about points of orientation. We – all humans – story ourselves based on events. We orient according to the passages of our lives. Every so often life pitches an event so profound that it reorients everything you knew. It changes who you know yourself to be. The first stage of reorientation is disorientation. Getting lost. Struggling to know who you are. And, in being lost, the very first thing we do is try to make the old orientation points valid. It is deeply human to hang on to what you know, to try to fit into an old suit even after the body has forever changed. In the story, the knight takes off his armor. He weeps. He can never go back.

Leaving Seattle was one of those passages for me. Looking at these three paintings was like looking at the old armor. I had a double rush of appreciation. The first for having armor when I needed it. The second for being so far from the place where I stripped it off and left it behind.

hot springs copy

I can’t remember if I ever gave this painting a name so Kerri has dubbed it ‘Hot Springs.” acrylic on panel, 2′ x 2′

 

standing in vail website copy

waterfall dreams/hot springs ©️ 2018/2004 david robinson