reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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artists and bootstraps. [two artists tuesday]

the bootstraps are getting a good workout.

the flutter in my heart, my racing pulse, uneven breathing.

i tug at the bootstraps.

i don’t have a choice.

i am an artist. bootstraps come with the job. they are inherent. they are undeniable. they are a burden. they are a release. they are imperative.

we cannot hide from the here and now. we cannot hide from the truth, be it light and airy, be it ugly and heavy. we speak to now; we help provide access to truth, to raw emotion, to the basic fundamental sameness – and yet individuality – of humans. to where the rubber meets the road.

we pull up the bootstraps and take a deep breath.

we dive in.

“just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,” the infamous tagline from the box office movie hit “jaws”. we are shocked by the cold water, the lurking sharks, a symbiotic ocean with underlying danger. we muster on.

the art, the music, the prose, the poetry, the dance gently ease us all into a place of rest, of reassurance. the art, the music, the prose, the poetry, the dance prod us all out of a place of mediocrity, past complacency, past laissez-faire. the art, the music, the prose, the poetry, the dance urge us into thought, into action, revitalize our fire. this is the job of an artist.

i take a breath. try to slow my pulse. feel the slight flutter in my heart. take another deep breath. i re-tie my boots. pace. glance in the mirror. look at my notes. say a quiet prayer. breathe. shift from one foot to the other. breathe. my pulse runs faster. the curtains part. i walk to the apron, bow my gratitude, take the bench. hands on the keys, boom mic inches from me, i begin to speak.

i take a breath. try to slow my pulse. feel the slight flutter in my heart. take another deep breath. i re-tie my boots. pace. glance in the mirror. look at my notes and the score in my hands. say a quiet prayer. breathe. shift from one foot to the other. breathe. my pulse runs faster. the musicians take their places. i walk to the front, sweep across the singers and accompanying instrumentalists with eye contact, appreciation and love, stand in front of the piano. hands on the keys, all at the ready, we begin to speak.

i take a breath. try to slow my pulse. feel the slight flutter in my heart. take another deep breath. i re-tie my boots. i pace. i glance in the mirror. look at my notes. say a quiet prayer. breathe. shift from one foot to the other. breathe. my pulse runs faster. i stand in my boots. i walk to the front, bow my gratitude, nod to the empty bench. hands trembling, no microphone, i am escorted out the exit.

i pull up my bootstraps.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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art is like that. [d.r. thursday]

i don’t understand this painting. nor do i feel connected to it. art is like that. sometimes it resonates, sometimes it does not. and in just the way that it does not vibrate within you, it still stirs something else.

for me, this has stirred up images of one of my beloved nieces. her wedding, now years ago, was a blur of blue sky, warm sand, rich brown gowns, the setting sun and her, in stunning white. her home combined these tones; it echoes the sentiment of that landscape and never will i see blue and brown together without thinking of her. art is like that.

we each carry a palette of color at our hips. we carry tunes of music in our hearts. snippets of image, of music that evoke memories of other times.

right now, in the middle of this raging pandemic perhaps this is most important. we have nary a chance to have new treasured times with our loved ones. we face quiet thanksgivings, quiet holiday seasons. we wonder what it will be like, we wonder how we will get through it.

walking through the neighborhood yesterday, we took note of how many people had already decorated for the holidays. lights and giant hard plastic snowmen, candy canes adorning sidewalks, stars lighting up gardens. there were yards that looked like a cacophony of giggling sound, competing with other yards for attention. while this seems early for all that, it made us smile.

for, in all that wiring and plasticware, was a trove of memories. each homeowner must have yearned for the resonance of that magic. each homeowner must have had stories of years-past echo through their heart and mind. each homeowner created art – their own art – chronicling their life and experience through time, re-telling a story, expressing what they feel and creating a rich offering for others.

grateful for their gift as we wandered home through the darkened streets, i thought about holidays past, traditions on hold, gatherings at bay, much longing. it stirred a deep store of memories, made me hope yet even more for the pandemic healing of the world.

and it made me wonder if this is the year to consider having a “regular” christmas tree, bright with lights. if this is the year to respectfully light a menorah, tend a kinara, break open a star pinata…

i wonder if this is the year to celebrate the story of life with the whole world, full of color and sound, vibrating loudly and ever so quietly. art is like that.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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so as not to forget. [d.r. thursday]

KDOT sketch

a few years ago i went through all the thousands of photographs taken for the previous three to four decades.  they were not neatly in photo albums, which would have made it much simpler.  instead, with a mere few albums capturing the earliest of years, they were in envelopes in boxes, envelopes in drawers, envelopes in bins, envelopes, envelopes, envelopes.  it was a gigantic task with the dining room dedicated to boxes marked with years and headings like “christmas”, “birthdays”, “summer fun”, “trips”, “visitors”, “losing teeth”… an opportunity to re-live all of it, the heart of life lived.

one thing i noticed in my goingthroughgoingthroughgoingthrough and sortingsortingsorting was that it was really obvious that i had most often been the one taking the pictures.  through my lens, my focus, my read of the moment, the wisp, the instant the aperture closed, my blink.

there is always the picture-taker, a designated recorder, the secretary of the emotions, the faces, the light and shadow, the view, the action, the moment-in-time.  i grab my camera all the time.  it’s second nature for me.  and now that it’s the same device as my phone, it is incredibly easy to always have it at-the-ready.  i just told a friend that i am difficult on a hike – always stopping to take pictures on the trail.  it’s not because i’m so much a collector of things-to-have.  it’s because i am a collector of things not-to-forget.  each photograph, each image reminds me not-to-forget a certain time, a certain place, a certain interaction, a certain story, a certain feeling.

so when i walked into the basement in july and i saw the wisp of me on the easel, it moved me.  that wisp is now gone and in its place, paint-over-paint, is this whispered iteration, on its way as d says.  a moment snapped of my time, a moment of his.  but this one, this wisp, this color-put-to-canvas photograph, is one i didn’t take and, my heart gently points out, one he clearly didn’t want to forget.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

visit DAVID’S online gallery

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their palettes website box

©️ 2020 david robinson


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messier. more color. [d.r. thursday]

sketch image

heart and strawberry

peter max, a pop-art-expressionist, popped into my mind when david showed me this sketch.  add bursts of color to this and it’s the happy full-spectrum pieces of the 60s and 70s, full of rainbow and light.

one of the presents i received for my birthday this year was a coloring book and colored pencils.  at the time i was unable to use it, but i put it aside for when my broken right wrist might cooperate and i might be able to lose myself in good-old-fashioned coloring.

i dropped david’s sketch into photoshop and started to peter-max it.

the more i worked on it, the happier i became.  it was so messy.  but it was just so – fun.

color – this infinitely wide range of possibility – fills the lines, goes out of the lines, overlaps and bleeds into the next, reminds me that life, even in these very times, times of chaos and unrest and pandemic and exponential worry, is not just black and white.  and, surprisingly, not just the blurry grey in-between.

life is much more peter max than that.  messier.  more color.

which brings me to this:  while it is easy, particularly right now, to sort to grey, perhaps an answer to the myriad of questions is to open the delicious tin of 50 premium artist pencils.  and just color.

yes. as dear jeff used to say, “that’s the ticket!”

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

colorized

early on…just a little bit of color…and infinite peter-max possibilities

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during this time that FB, impossible to contact, figures out i am not ill-intended nor do i post SPAM, i would ask you a favor:  if you have found any post of mine to be thought-provoking or encouraging or reassuring in some way and have enjoyed reading, please “follow” this blog.  you can “follow” it on this post or later go to our website www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange to find the link to this blogsite.  wordpress will send you an email each day with my 5 day-a-week blog. you can certainly choose to read or not read each day and, at any time, you can choose to “unfollow” the blog.  just as it is your decision whether or not to read my post on facebook each day, i would like to think you still have the option.  subscribing gives you that.  hopefully, FB will allow and restore my written work soon.

 

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©️ 2020 david robinson, kerri sherwood


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co-exist. [d.r. thursday]

marc chagall quote

at a time when i couldn’t afford paint and knew nothing about painting, i painted.  i was drawn to big canvasses and the household cans of black and white paint in the basement workroom.  there were housepaint brushes on the workbench, many with twisted brushhairs and dried wall paint from previous projects on the handles.  they felt good in my hand.  i didn’t know what i was doing, but i was compelled to do it.

and so, my paintings are black and white.  layers of white on black and black on white and white on black on white and black on white on black.  i brushed on paint; i stood back and spattered paint.  i kept going until i felt “stop”.  when i ran out of canvas i taped off a rectangle, ventured out with the leftover from a can of khaki interior paint, and painted on the wall, later framing the box with a clearance frame, broken but not obviously so.

in that time of a compelling need to paint, to preserve emotion-in-black-and-white-on-a-canvas, i wonder what my paintings would have looked like had i access to all the colors in between?  where would i have gone with mountain meadow green or razzle dazzle rose or canary or cornflower or atomic tangerine or fuzzy wuzzy brown?

anyone who has merely stood outside and looked up at the sky knows that the colors of life are as transient as breath.  they morph and change in the moments that go by.  capturing color is like capturing the wind.  one cannot see color without light reflections, refractions, wavelengths, shadow, absorption.  they work together so we might see the twilight sky, rainbows and unicorn horns.

is black black without white?  is white white without black?  is cerulean blue without scarlet?  is any spectrum complete without all others in the band of light, without all the wavelengths?  any spectrum at all?

do we actually realize that none can exist without the other?

“all colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.” (marc chagall)

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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lost. [d.r. thursday]

Peri Winkle Square copy

lost.

in these times.  the emotional upheaval is exhausting.  worry is the crux of insomnia.  we measure every step, every decision.  we look to each other for reassurance, for a fast-receding touch of normalcy.  we feel…lost.

in these times.   we remember other times we felt this way.  other times of confusion and fear, of social responsibility and adherence to new rules, new realities.  too many calamities to name, it seems.  too many times…lost.

this little book Peri Winkle Rabbit Was Lost was the product of such a time, as david created it – a one-of-a-kind – in response for a call for a children’s book that addressed the tragic hurricane katrina, a book given to children that offered empathy for the plight in which they were standing, their lost.

we, as artists, do what we can to offer comfort, to bring a little solace, a moment of breathing, a slice of hope in darkness, a tiny map in lost-ness.

we, as people, look to the arts for a little solace, a moment of breathing, a slice of hope in darkness, a tiny map in lost-ness.

in these times.  standing in the darkness with each of you.  maybe together we will not feel as lost.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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PERI WINKLE RABBIT WAS LOST ©️ 2005 david robinson

 

 

 

 


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the simple line. [d.r. thursday]

the sketch

yesterday, while i sketched moments on various keyboards, both pipe organ and piano, d sketched on paper.  and he somehow captured how i was feeling.  the lifting of eyes to the universe, the imploring of the heart.  his scribblings on paper, my scribblings on keys.  two artists, expressing.

the telling of the story – through music, through painting or drawing – does not demand complexity.  sometimes it aches for simplicity.  a pure line of melody, unadorned.  a few fast pen-lines, unfinessed.  the telling of the tale, honestly, pitch by pitch.  not the skirting of the story, the fancified version sung by an vocal acrobat.  instead, the straight-up carole-king-richard-diebenkorn-versions, sung note for note, painted line by brushed line, color by color.  intense in their clean simplicity.

the more complicated things get, the more i list toward simple.  less is more.  my piano left hand has always been a virtual non-stop accompanist to my right hand, arpeggiating  ad nauseum.  in recent years, i’ve asked it to calm down, to allow room for the delivery of the right hand, to allow breath, to allow lift.  together, they have given space for the real scribblings, the true expression.

if you have ever been to a taize service, you will have experienced the wisdom and power of repeated simplicity, a line of music that will take you to your knees.  nothing advanced or embellished.

if you have ever held a child’s drawing in your hand, you will have experienced the wisdom and power of innocence, art that will take you to your knees.  nothing advanced or embellished.

it’s the simple line. both ways.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

boardwalk shadow feet website

 


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looking in. [d.r. thursday]

Sacred Looking In with color copy.jpg

the fresh simplicity of this painting makes it feel scandinavian to me, clean lines, blues, yellows.  i recognize it.  its warmth.  its less-is-more-ness.

i also recognize the image.  the moments we stop, head down, turning inside.  pondering, wondering, musing.  the palette of our hearts, our lives,  a mixture of emotions, we try to wrangle a few minutes of quiet to sort it all out.

this painting – INNER LIFE – is a breath of fresh air for me.  a reminder of what a few silent minutes can offer.

view/purchase INNER LIFE on david’s gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

shadows on TPAC sidewalk website box.jpg

SACRED SERIES:  INNER LIFE ©️ 2017 david robinson


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constellation. [merely-a-thought monday]

constellation poem.jpg

at night, if the weather is clear, with the backdrop of waves lapping at the shore, we look up and see the milky way in the night sky.  it makes us feel tiny.  tiny in a vast world.

we string happy lights about our home, inside and out.  they are the simplest of holiday light strands, eensy white lights on green or white cords and we use them year-round.  one white light alone barely lights a space, but together, a constellation of tiny bulbs, the illumination is magical.  one alone.  all together.  it makes a big difference.

we are working in a place that is divided.  the division is deeply rooted and exacerbated by stubborn attitudes and time.  we must “string the stars together” to bring hope; we must “sing light in common song” to move forward.  community must prevail over a schism of proportion.  no place can truly be beautiful without stringing together.  we have our work cut out for us.

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fair isle books is one of the sweetest spots on this island.  a breath of fresh air with warm ambience and overtones of the joy of learning, this little shop is owned by deb, whose heart is gigantic.  outside her shop is this plaque, a snippet of a poem ‘constellation’ by wisconsin poet laureate bruce dethlefsen, a presenter at the washington island literary festival in 2013.

how fortuitous that this poet should capture in a mere 33 words the work that is to be done.  we are not alone, each of us on this tiny-planet-in-the-vastness.  though seemingly individually strong, we are indeed actually weak.  we must link arms, act in community, string together, work collaboratively.

division doesn’t create more for each on the sides of the chasm.  it creates less.

collectively, we can create boundlessly.  our constellation -together- creates hope.

we have our work cut out for us.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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three graces. [d.r. thursday]

ThreeGraces.JPG

i don’t purport to understand every painting of my visionary husband.  if i ask him what a painting is about, he posits a question back to me, “what does it mean to you?”  in normal conversation, this kind of question-question response is not troubling, but in husband-wife conversation it is slightly irksome, one of those times where you gently roll your eyes at your partner and sort of hope that coffee grounds find their way into the bottom of their first cup of coffee the next morning.  ok, so maybe not, but it is from a little bit of laziness that i sometimes want him to just TELL me.  instead, groaning, i take a tiny step back away from the painting and let emotion take over.

the title of this painting THREE GRACES suggests (from research) the goddesses of things such as “charm, beauty and creativity”.  a wealth of goodnesses, a wealth of possibility.  an appreciation of every little gesture, every honey bee, the creation by others of a world of wonder and challenge.

in our world today, we first cover our disbelieving eyes with hands of despair. we look to the heavens for guidance. we ground ourselves, one hand firmly planted for balance, the other on our foreheads, thinking, thinking. we seek to find answers, ways for charm and beauty and creativity to thrive.  and the elusiveness of peace.

click here to view or purchase this painting in david’s online gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

HH coffee cups website box.jpg

THREE GRACES ©️ 2012 david robinson