Open To It [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

stripes of grey copy

I stood gobsmacked on the deck. The horizon, the straight line bank of clouds. It was a piece of contemporary art worthy of Richard Diebenkorn or Ellsworth Kelly. A study in grays and greens and purples. Monumental.

Sometimes I forget that the very best art can only approximate what already exists in nature.  Try to capture the totality of a sunset. We simply can’t do it. We can approach the feeling but our scope will always be smaller, less dimensional. Our work is to see it – to see beyond the thought of it. To dance with it. To be vulnerable to it. To share the dance.

Last night we saw author/musician Michael Perry on stage. He closed his performance with thoughts about gratitude. He told his audience that, as an artist, he is vulnerable every time that he takes the stage or publishes a book. Opening himself to the thoughts and judgements of others is not an easy thing to do. It is, however, a necessity for an artist. But, here’s the gift: vulnerability becomes gratitude. If you are never vulnerable, living in a fortress, you will never arrive at gratitude. Gratitude is forged from the fire of vulnerability.

Openness begets openness. There is a full spectrum of color, an embarrassment of riches that vibrates between vulnerability and gratitude. Grays and greens and purples. Stand on the deck and open to it. Stand on the stage and open to it. Stand with your neighbor and open to it. The best of contemporary art. Monumental.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about GRAY

 

sunsetonisland website box copy

 

Put On Your Rubber Boots [It’s Chicken Marsala Monday]

A Chicken Marsala Monday nugget to help kick-start your week.

We were clearing the room of furniture. We needed wide open space to do our work. It was early in our collaboration and my business partner and I were facilitating a workshop for a group of high powered lawyers. “They’ll never do it,” she said.  The office was fairly ostentatious, granite and polished wood. “They’ll never do it,” she repeated. “You’ll never get a bunch of lawyers to play.”

I’ve long believed (and proven to myself again and again) that everyone, regardless of status, role, or title, wants to play. Create safety and ferocious playfulness rises to the top. And, more to the point – especially when facilitating workshops, with play comes open-hearts, vulnerability, and the capacity to speak personal truth. Pathways forward become obvious.

Status is a great liar, role is a very thick protective mask. There is no better road to honesty than laughter. And, most often, all that people need to find the honesty-road is permission to play.

A few hours later, suit coats tossed aside, sleeves rolled up and ties strewn hither and yon, we were no longer working with a room full of lawyers; the people behind the role had emerged and they were playing mightily. In their play, great truths emerged and fortresses fell. They laughed. They shared.

From studio melange on Chicken Marsala Monday, we suggest that you put on your rubber boots. Give yourself permission to play.

PUT ON YOUR RUBBER BOOTS reminder/merchandise

 

 

society 6 info jpeg copy

puddles CHICKEN TOTE BAG copy

puddles LEGGINGS copy

go play in puddles LEGGINGS

puddles FLOOR PILLOW copy   puddles CHICKEN SQ PILLOW copy

puddles BEACH TOWEL copy

BEACH TOWELS

puddles CHICKEN FRAMED PRINT copy

read Kerri’s blog about PUT ON YOUR RUBBER BOOTS

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

put on your rubber boots ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

Dance With Parallax

My favorite word of the week is ‘parallax.’ Horatio pulled it out of the word bin during our latest conversation about art and artistry. We were discussing the difference between what an artist sees in their work and what others see – and how artistic “sight” changes over time. I scribbled the word along with the phrase, “the difference in what you see and what others see. Perspective over time.” After our call I looked up the word in my dictionary:

paral-lax (noun) 1. Apparent change of position. 2. Angle measuring star’s distance from Earth.

Many years ago in a fit of vulnerability I showed my mentor, a great theatre and visual artist, my paintings. I lined them all up for him to see. I followed him around the room as he quietly studied each piece. Finally, after taking in all of my work, he asked, “What’s the meaning of the spheres?” I was dumbfounded and had no idea what he was asking. “Spheres? What spheres?” So he led me back around the room, revisiting each painting, showing me the three spheres that appeared in EVERY single painting.

“What’s with the spheres?” he repeated, knowing that there wasn’t an answer but there was certainly a vast new question. My universe spun a bit that day so astounded was I at my inability to see the unifying principle in my own paintings.

I needed his eyes to see my work. Isn’t that the point?

When I think back on that day, on that younger version of my self, I revisit the fear, the raging vulnerability I felt in sharing my paintings. I feel again the deep doubt I held against myself. I recall the nausea of inviting someone I admired into my house of doubt. I somehow believed that, to be an artist, I had “to know” what I was doing – yet knew with certainty that I had no idea what I was doing. I knew with certainty that he would see through me to my lack of knowing.

And, he did. Thank goodness. “What’s with the spheres?” Such a simple question yet it spun my universe and pitched me through the portal of a new perspective.

I learned that day that artistry has nothing to do with knowing. Life has nothing to do with knowing. Knowing is an illusion, temporary at best. Knowing has everything to do with hiding.

Making a life, as Master Marsh just reminded me, is an engagement with the unknown. It is to have experiences. It is to make meaning of the experiences. If you are lucky, you learn to have the experiences first, and make the meaning second. It is to understand that, in this dance of knowing and not-knowing, sight and blindness, chaos and order, consciousness and unconsciousness, there are no fixed points. There is dance:

dance (noun) 1. An act of stepping or moving through a series of movements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fine art prints available at society6.com

my original work on zatista.com

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Truly Powerful People (459)

459.
Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Today while having a video chat with my home-away-from-home-people-I-adore in Nebraska, Lora shouted over my shoulder into the screen, “Don’t believe a thing he says. He exaggerates.” To my shock there was general agreement from Nebraska. “We know!” they chimed in unison. “He’s a story teller.”

Seeing an opportunity to feign disbelieve and betrayal, I cried, “What! I always tell the truth!” My brow was knit, my eyes wide in manufactured incredulity (not easy to do. Try it but if you sprain your face I will deny that I suggested it. You are on your own). Thinking I would win at least one voice of sympathy (Jill…) I was truly taken aback when both sides, virtual and actual, said, “Liar!” Not knowing when to stop I put my head on the keyboard and sighed, “I can’t believe this. I’ve never lied in my life.” With the explosion of loving mocking laughter and riotous derision I knew I was bested – and was grateful for it. “Well. Occasionally I might exaggerate,” I admitted. “Occasionally!” they crowed. “Always!” They see me and love me for what they see.

Sometimes when working with groups I guide an exercise called See And Be Seen. It is a powerful moment when a group recognizes that Seeing is easy, directional, outward; To Be Seen is another story. To Be Seen, one must stand still, open and allow. It requires vulnerability and trust. It is where presence becomes possible. In our too fast world it needs to be a conscious act. We choose to be seen or not. We rarely see what is right in front of us; we rarely let others in to see what is most important in us. Look beyond the role and you’ll find treasure every time.

I am fortunate to have in my life so many wise and powerful eyes willing and capable of seeing. These amazing women who are teaching me to stand still and open my heart.