Be Iconic [on DR Thursday]

Watercolor-Tree copy 2

I’ve learned that much of my work traffics in ideals. A quiet picnic beneath a tree. A mother holding her child. A nap on the beach. Over time, the elements of my ideals congeal into patterns and symbols.

This watercolor painting was a study. It was one of the first paintings that this tree, circles of broad leaves, wispy floral shapes, appeared. I liked the symbol. It connected me to Giotto and the middle ages when artists were purposefully iconic. This tree made me purposefully iconic. It is a sentinel. It watches over. Like a mother holding her child or a husband and wife napping together on the beach.

 

read Kerri’s blog post on the WATERCOLOR

 

drc website header copy

 

warm springs ranch statue website copy

watercolor tree ©️ sometime in the 21st century by the little known artist occasionally referred to as DR

Meditate [on DR Thursday]

mother&childprocessshot copy

It’s a universal theme that I’ve painted over and over throughout my life. Mother and child.  Sometimes the painting is inspired by a dear friend becoming a parent. Sometimes, like this iteration, I look up and find it staring at me from the canvas. When that happens I know I need to follow it.

img_3998I learned when I was a teenager that the act of painting was, for me, a form of meditation. Sometimes the meditation has nothing to do with the image that I am working with. The process becomes an exercise in presence. Sometimes, like this painting, the image has everything to do with the meditation. The image is the meditation.

So. Birth. New life. Possibilities. Life giving. A good meditation for the middle of winter. A good meditation for an artist surrounded by good friends retiring from work, becoming grandparents, asking what is next. A universal theme. A universal symbol.

 

read Kerri’s blog post on MOTHER AND CHILD IN PROCESS

 

hands website box copy

 

drc website header copy

 

mother & child (in process) ©️ 2019 david robinson

Find Love Everywhere [on Two Artists Tuesday]

uncropped acorn love copy

In a former life I had an office and on the wall of the office was a poster with the English alphabet as found on butterfly wings. Sometimes I think our only real purpose on this earth is to appreciate the utter beauty of it all. We do a shoddy job of it mostly but everyone has their moments of recognition. A sunset. A mountain top. The color of a cardinal. I loved my poster and put it on the wall to remind me that nature is infinitely more beautiful, expansive and powerful than I can contain. My job is to open my eyes. To see. When I needed a reminder of natural order in the midst of my square-taupe-office-with-grey-metal-desk, I’d look at those glorious wings.

if you'd like to see TWO ARTISTS copyKerri and I walk almost every day. We find peace in walking and have favorite trails, some for the morning walks and some for the end of the day. When we travel to new places, we always find and explore the trails. We have been known to walk late at night. We have ventured into the silence of a midnight snow. On our walks, Kerri is famous for finding treasures. My job is to tote them home. Most of the treasures are hearts. Heart rocks, heart leaves, heart shaped knots, or, like this treasure, the heart found in an acorn. Our house is filled with heart-treasure.  Each, like the wings, is a reminder to open my eyes and see the wonder, the love of it all.

read Kerri’s blog post on FIND LOVE EVERYWHERE

www.kerrianddavid.com

find love everywhere ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

Don’t Ask Why

DR 002

From my archives. I call this painting Alki Beach.

When I woke up this morning, researching the color blue was not on my to-do list. Did you know that in Belgium blue is the color associated with baby girls? Pink is for boys. To be blue in the German-speaking world means to be drunk rather than the English assignment of depression. Color associations are cultural.

I jumped down the rabbit hole of color symbolism and meanings because I’ve been building a new catalogue for my paintings. I’ve been revisiting the eras of my work, looking at every painting I’ve done (those that I documented…). A few days into my cataloguing Linda asked me why I never paint with the color blue. Linda loves the color blue. She is a veritable celebration of blue in earth, air, and water. “You never use blue!” she exclaimed. “Why?”

BlanketOfBlueSky

A Blanket Of Blue Sky

“I always use blue,” I sputtered, convincing no one. Since my move from Seattle to Kenosha my paintings have been more earth tones, umbers and sienna. The blues are there but certainly not dominant. Linda has never seen the work from my blue period.

“Why don’t you use more blue?” she laughed.

‘Why’ is one of those words that can either bring you to clarity or will drive you crazy. Knowing ‘why’ is useful in a Simon Sinek seminar or valuable in the pursuit of a purpose driven life but is near-to-impossible when attempting to articulate an artistic choice. The top two responses are conversation stoppers: 1) I don’t know, and 2) It feels right. I suppose there is a third response, the anti-why: 3) why not? It, too, leaves no room for discourse and is generally a lousy explanation.

IslandDreaming

This one is called Island Dreaming

“Why don’t I use more blue?” I asked Kerri. Without looking up or missing a beat she responded, “Why don’t I use seventh chords?” Leave it to my wife to hit me with a musical-zen-koan.

Horatio often reminds me that to enter the studio is to also enter stillness. Working in and from stillness precludes all questions of why and how.

Did you know that blue is the most commonly used color in corporate identity and that it is a color rarely found in fruits and vegetables? It has more complex and contradictory meanings than any other color. Among the seven billion people on earth, roughly 4 billion of them prefer blue to any other color.

This morning while entering images into my catalogue – most were predominantly blue – I heard the echo of Linda’s question. “What’s up with blue?” I asked myself. Abdicating all responsibility for internal answers, I did what we all do at such moments: I turned to Google.

Did you know that blue is generally embraced as the color of heaven?

Why?

 

Shared Fatherhood

My latest: Shared Fatherhood.

 

Let Owl Guide You

With the guidance of an elder, I made this medicine shield years ago.

With the guidance of an elder, I made this medicine shield years ago.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. . . . Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung

For a few disconcerting moments, I thought the crows had followed me across the country. You will remember that while living in Seattle, I was plagued by crows. They swooped me on a daily basis, picking me out of crowds for a sneak attack. I came to the conclusion that they were trying to wake me up. According to Crow Medicine, crows are an omen of change. When crows are around, something special is about to happen, consciousness is about to change and dis-ease will be dispelled. Since we can only connect the dots backward I can now say with great confidence that I took the medicine and it worked. They hammered me on the head for months before I stepped into the void and allowed new forms to emerge. Needless to say, I have a love-hate relationship with crows.

Yesterday afternoon our backyard was a festival of crows frantically barking. It brought back visceral memories and I went on high alert. As it turns out, the crows were focused on our owl and not me. I haven’t heard the owl since autumn and had forgotten that we have an owl in the backyard. I was happy that the owl was back. The crows were not happy as owls are great nest robbers and also, if hassled excessively, will make a dinner of an adult crow.

A detail from my shield. Owls have been with me for a long time. The owl is the top symbol.

A detail from my shield. Owls have been with me for a long time. The owl is the top symbol.

Last fall I googled Owl Medicine when the owl hooted above my head almost every night. I learned that, as a totem, Owls have great intuition. They follow their instincts. They see clearly (meaning they cannot be deceived). Owls see what others cannot. For instance, Owls see into the inner life of others; generally, they know more about a person’s inner life than that person knows about him or her self. This is why people do not sit next to me at parties! Also, owls are fierce warriors if something dear to it is threatened.

What a fantastic collision of bird archetypes for the crows and the owl to return to my world at the same moment. The owl was mostly indifferent to the incessant crow barking and attacks. There was no contest. In the evening the owl flew away to hunt and I wondered if there might be one less crow barking in the morning.

Both owl and crow are harbingers of change. They both speak to a comfortable relationship with the unknown and an attraction to the mysteries of life. I laughed when I re-read the symbols as I’ve lately been preaching through my book, The Seer (owls and crows are both seers) to cultivate “not knowing” as a necessary step on the path to health and creative vibrancy. In the practice of “not knowing,” one learns to see.

Later in the night, while driving back from Chicago, Kerri and I were talking about the extraordinary and meteoric changes in our lives this past year. She encapsulated my crow and owl commentary when she said, “We make plans according to what we know. It’s what we don’t know that changes us.” Her thought reminded me of another Carl Jung quote. He famously wrote that, “Religion is a defense against a religious experience.” Just so, a life plan is often a defense against a vital life. Adventure and discovery are never in the direction of the known. When you pay attention to the symbolic crow hitting you on the head you can also rest assured that when you step into the void there will always be an owl waiting to guide you.

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