reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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faith takes a little practice. [d.r. thursday]

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blind faith.  every day.  dare i say that is the way we live?

live (verb): to be alive or have life.  we rise, we go about our day, never really certain what or who will cross our path, never absolute about any single thing we might encounter or be challenged by or be gifted with.  we make plans, we have hopes, we dream of freely checking off that which is on our list-of-things-to-do and our bucket list.

in this moment now, we cannot see the moment of the past or the moment of the future, but we know that they are there; they exist.  there is much we cannot see.  words that elicit emotional response but nothing you can see as a thing with your eyes – love, grace, forgiveness, freedom.  you can see evidence of them but not an actual thing, like the simplicity of a table or a chair.  faith is one of those amorphous things.  present as a gentle reassurance, zealous as a fire in your heart.  you can no sooner lasso faith as you can lasso love.  both are omnipotent; both are invincible.

“well i will walk by faith, even when i cannot see.” (walk by faith – jeremy camp)

and so we keep walking, never really knowing anything for sure.  we trust.  we trust the next day will come.  we trust we understand these words that capture that which we cannot see; we embrace them.  we trust we have life and that #allwillbewell.

but it suggests giving over to something bigger than us.  it suggests belief in a universe where we are aligned with each of the stars in the milky way, where we are equally important – each of us, where we are held and richly loved and granted grace and forgiveness.  where we lay our heads down to sleep and rest, believing, blindly, that next will come with the sun.

none of it is easy – our lives are not pre-scripted for ease.  but we have been gifted with big hearts, thinking minds and the ability to keep on, despite all of life’s ambiguity.

my sweet momma loved these words, “breathe in faith.  exhale fear.”  no real proof.  unless of course you count all those around you who love you, who have loved you and who will love you.  the grace you have been granted with each day.  that new day that comes.

“none of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward.  because we trust.  because we have faith.” (paulo coelho)

sometimes it takes a little practice.  one foot in front of the other.  stepping lightly.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

CHICKEN MARSALA WISDOMS

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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put your fingers on the keys. [d.r. thursday]

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nine.  i have nine fingers i can use right now.  and, like chicken marsala, i am putting them on the keys and following the music.  two weeks after breaking my wrists i was back playing and directing.  who needs wrists anyway?  who needs all ten fingers?

music can’t be stopped.  it’s in the sound of the sunrise, the sound of your baby waking up, the sound of the clink of coffee cups.  it’s humming as you ready for your day, singing along in the car, laughter shared over the phone.  it’s in the hug you give your children as you drop them at school and the help you give your aging parents.  it’s in dinner you prepare for loved ones, and in the volunteering you do for a local service organization.  it’s in the walk in the woods, a stroll by the water’s edge.  it’s in the quiet weary at the end of the evening, the sighs of a life-day done well.  it’s in dreams and in hope. and it can’t be stopped.

we will always turn to the arts for comfort, for meaning, in joy and in sorrow.  the music follows us; it surrounds us.  it waits silently, ready to volume-up when necessary, hush-down when needed.  it’s background.  it’s foreground.

we need only put our fingers on the keys.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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assumptions. [d.r. thursday]

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the sun lights our room early in the morning.  we don’t have room-darkening shades so   if artificial measures haven’t been used (read: obnoxious alarm clocks) we wake with the light.

thoughts stream in with the light in this just-past-the-dark-hour.  our quiet as we sip coffee, like jiffy-pop starting to pop on a hot stovetop, is punctuated by bits of conversation.  the dreams we are climbing out of, the babycat’s snoring through the night, dogdog’s sweet need for early pets, what the weather looks like out our window peering into the backyard, projects we are working on, what is on the docket for the day.  ideas, reminiscences patter through.  we stretch into the day yawning in front of us, putting on, and trying to keep on, caps of making-good-assumptions.  today is a good day to have a good day, as the saying goes.

good assumptions.  apparently, they are a high ticket item.  for we all are, in the world, surrounded by those who do not make good assumptions.  my sweet momma would tell me, “don’t jump to conclusions.”  “ask questions,” she would admonish. a difficult lesson worth oft-repeating.

we would sit on the couch at the end of the day, sipping tea and eating chips ahoy cookies.  we’d talk about the day, bitter jabs by classmates or exclusionary moments i had endured.  “try to find something good,” she’d remind me, while at the same time not underplaying the hurtful behaviors.  “make good assumptions.”  this is the same woman who, on the emergency room table in the wee hours of the night, in great pain and fearing a broken hip, looked up at a cranky and tired nurse and remarked, “you have a beautiful smile.”  it changed the moment; i suspect it changed the rest of the nurse’s day; perhaps it changed all those who she interacted with thereafter and so forth.  those undeniable concentric circles.

in early days with david, clearly in the beaky-beaky school of thought, one of the most-oft-repeated things i remember him saying is “ask questions.”  don’t assume you know.  don’t assume anything.  ask.  listen.

quite some time ago, mike stated, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”  watch, ask questions and listen, he advised.  don’t make assumptions.  the best way to learn, the best way to collaborate, the best way to approach challenge, the best way to move in the world.

momma would smile and look at me, facing down adversity or standing tall on a personal summit, and say, “wowee!”

i can practically hear her now, her eyes dancing, saying, “see?  if you ARE going to assume anything, assume awe.”

thank you, chicken marsala, for the reminder.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

assume awe & other fun chicken marsala products

chicken sideways inthecar website box

CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 


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a morsel among many. [d.r. thursday]

PeaceOnEarth

i distinctly remember designing this.  for over a year i spent tons of time designing products:  pillows, tote bags, cellphone covers, prints, beach towels, cutting boards, mugs, travel cups, coasters, cards, shower curtains, side tables, leggings.  i would study david’s paintings and extract morsels and execute the process – with great joy – of the choosing of the product lines i wished to represent and the designing of those.  it was our intention to sell these pieces.  i would have absolutely loved to fill a brick and mortar store with these pillows and mugs and journals and tote bags, but the sheer outlay for merchandise and stock and the overhead for a physical store made that impossible.  but online – at an online storefront called society6.com, which would manufacture the pieces as they were ordered – it was possible.  it was a good premise.   so we opened five storefronts online (listed below in case you want to stop by with a cup of coffee) to represent each day of our studio melange postings.

only it didn’t really work.

hundreds, literally hundreds, of designs and thousands of products later, we decided it was time to stop putting the hours of effort into these designs.  we had some sales and it is truly a delight to see someone carrying a tote bag i designed or a laptop cover or to hear from someone who is enjoying their purchase.  the sales trickle in still, $4 here, $2.10 there.  the mark-up, as you would expect, lists mightily to the side of the host company, but we dreamed of great volume – so many pillows that earning a few dollars for each-one-of-many would be a big help to our working budget.

only it didn’t really work.

every now and then i visit these sites and am astounded at how actually cool the products are.  the designs aren’t so bad either, if i do say so myself.  (tee-hee)  there are some really beautiful pieces out there, like this PEACE. EARTH. PEACE ON EARTH. morsel.  simple and profound.  timely.  if you click here, you can see it as a pillow.  if you scroll way down on that linked page, you can see all the other products that we designed and made available with this image.  it was within the painting INSTRUMENT OF PEACE that i found this morsel.

even though it didn’t really work, i suppose it worked.  because i can’t begin to tell you how much i learned.  maybe that’s the point.  maybe that’s always the point.

InstrumentofPeace copy

for more morsels of david’s paintings, click here:

www.society6.com/davidrobinson

for various designs of mine, click here:

www.society6.com/kerrisherwood

for products with photographs or graphic designs or inspiring messages, click here:

www.society6.com/twoartists

for products with our beloved cartoon chicken marsala, click here:

www.society6.com/chickenmarsala

for products that make you laugh, images of our flawed cartoon, click here:

www.society6.com/flawedcartoon

and for david’s online gallery of paintings, click here:

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read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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INSTRUMENT OF PEACE/PEACE.ON.EARTH © 2015 david robinson


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feeling it. life. [two artists tuesday]

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in the beginning…..

i just re-read the first week of our MELANGE, a calendar-year ago now.  words about our little boy CHICKEN MARSALA, words spoken by my sweet momma, words about our community, words about david’s studio and my studio, two artists living together, and our own work-in-the-world.  i can feel it.  that first week.

we come to this place.  one year later.  i kind of want to go back and re-read each day.  study the images we chose, browse the products we created, watch the arc of changes in design through the year, notice the growth, the things we added, the things we let fall off.  somewhere around week 3 i wondered if i would have enough to say, enough words that would be interesting or, at-the-very-least, palatable, inviting for others to read.

i write from my heart, most of it experiential…moments i have netted and captured, written down to hold onto the feeling-of-it.  i wondered if that might be too….much…for some.  in the middle of living life, i want to remember some of the tiniest morsels of time, layered in the sedimentary layers, bits of shining mica in the middle of ordinary….mica that is celebration, that is eye-opening, that is excruciatingly simple bliss,  that is painful, that is full of maturing, that is on-the-edge-of-your-seat-nerve-wracking, that is full of hopes and dreams and regrets…all mica indeed.

“live life, my sweet potato,” my sweet momma said to me.  yes, momma.  this sweet potato is feeling it.

live life sweet potato mug

live life sweet potato pillow

anniversary haiku copy

read DAVID’S thoughts about this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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TWO ARTISTS DESIGNS ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 


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old dogs. [merely-a-thought monday]

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a couple years ago our CHICKEN MARSALA went with us everywhere.  i mean literally everywhere.  FLAT CHICKEN traveled across the country and we have pictures of him in the scion, in front of the ‘welcome to colorful colorado’ sign, with rest area volunteers, sitting with family at an outdoor bbq.

we had submitted CHICKEN to all the major cartoon syndicates with some interest on their part and so we were bringing him with us, to document his travels and keep our hopes up.  ultimately, CHICKEN MARSALA, the strip, was not syndicated and we ended up concentrating our efforts more on short bursts of wisdom and thought in one-panels of CHICKEN in life.

CHICKEN MARSALA and another one-panel cartoon named FLAWED CARTOON, graphic designs we were making or photographs we were taking, david’s paintings, my music – all were fodder for what became a melange, a mixture of it all, the crux of what we would write about each day.  and so THE MELANGE, offered monday through friday,  was born.

it has – this week – been a year since the first MELANGE was published.  and monday through friday since, we have had an image that we each have used as a jumping-off ground for our blogposts, the chute through which we have funneled our thoughts.

i was a crazy person designing products for each of these days…mugs with our sweet CHICKEN MARSALA on them, BE KIND tote bags, FLAWED CARTOON prints, painting morsel throw pillows, what-seems-like a zillion leggings with song lyrics. we posted links for our product lines and re-assessed things daily – placement of images in the blog, placement of hyperlinks, whether or not to include FB ‘like’ buttons….it is an endless list.

somewhere along the way we realized that it was possible that other people might not be as invested in our CHICKEN MARSALA as we were.  he wasn’t their imagined little boy; he was ours…

i have this great tear-off calendar i enjoyed every day last year.  it sat on my dresser and had a unicorn on every page.  it also had a saying of some sort…some words of wisdom, some tongue-in-cheek, some downright sassy.  although i love unicorns, for obvious reasons, i found that i could not tell you what the unicorn was doing each day; i barely looked at the unicorn.  for me, the important part was the saying.  when i realized that, i also realized that was possibly the same reason people were not investing in CHICKEN.  it was whatever the panel said, the words, that held the interest.  when someone would randomly come upon the image of CHICKEN MARSALA, no matter how adorable the drawing, they wouldn’t ‘see the unicorn’ so to speak, but instead would read the words, the starting gate for our posts.  ahhh.  we are ever-learning.

and so, we changed our MELANGE monday from CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY to MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY.  and i stopped, for now, designing more CHICKEN products for a society6.com store that was already full of products.  CHICKEN MARSALA will have his time in the light; it just isn’t right now.

the same thing happened for our FLAWED WEDNESDAY.  as funny as those single panel cartoons were, we found they weren’t necessarily connecting in-a-big-way to our audience, so it was time to re-evaluate our posts for wednesday.  FLAWED WEDNESDAY became NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY with interesting tidbits we encounter in life.

today (ok, technically calendar-tomorrow but alas let’s not be too detailed) we celebrate this monday in february a year ago.  a year of our MELANGE.  a year of selecting images we would feature.  a year in which we have we have blogged every monday-friday.  a year of designing websites, blogsites, products.  a year of questions and thoughts.  a year of assessing and re-assessing.  a roller-coaster of learnings.

who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

thank you for riding along with us.

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chicken marsala love phonecase

chicken marsala create phone case

 

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy

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

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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inspiration. a gathering storm. [chicken marsala monday]

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a few years ago, after my tealight-vessel-throwing-on-the-wheel experience, i felt like i still needed to express myself in another medium (other than music).  as much as i adored the idea of throwing pots, the cost of the clay and studio time was not in direct proportion to my level of ability; it was time to put that aside till the budget was flush and i could return to the pottery studio without counting pennies.  a tealight vessel (ok, there were a couple tealight vessels if you must know) and one lonely bowl were a total joy but it was clearly going to take some good-long-time to get better on that wheel.  demi moore (in ghost) made it look easy.  it is not.

and so i went to the art supply store and bought a huge canvas.  the biggest one they had in stock.  the kind with a deep side (1.5″).  i brought it downstairs to the workroom and searched around for paint.  since i am not well-versed in this area (to say the least) i selected a can of black paint and a can of white paint.  both household paints. latex.  semi-gloss.  i searched around for one of the old brushes i had been using to paint furniture and i set up my “studio”.

day after day i would go downstairs to look at this spot in the basement.  i could feel my excitement gathering.  i had no idea what i was going to do with this canvas, but it was ready for me.  until one day, indeed, i was ready.

i stood before the canvas and began to paint.  i brushed on paint.  i threw paint.  i spattered paint.  i painted over paint.  time fell away and i kept painting.  i’d walk away and let it dry and then return (this doesn’t take very long with household latex…long enough to pour another cup of coffee or glass of wine) and i’d paint some more.  i’d stand back and i could see what it needed (at least what my eye said it needed.)

and then, i knew.  it was time to stop.  i didn’t know where it was going, but i did know when it was time to stop.

now, i can’t say if the cost of the canvas and studio time were in direct proportion to my level of ability, but i can say they were way less than what my heart felt.  these moments, gathered together, a storm of inspiration, fed me.

this painting hangs in the hall in our house. when i sent a photo of it to a friend of mine right after i was done, scordskiii wrote back to ask whose work it was.  i told him it was mine, laughing and apologizing for it.  he was appalled by my apology and made me promise not to apologize again. so now there are a few more in the living room.  arriving after these paintings all had their dedicated spots on the walls of what-is-now-our-home, david, the real painter in our house, said he loves them.  i’m always invested in real art made by real people, regardless of the genre, so i love them too.  not necessarily because of what they look like.  but because of what they made (and make) me feel.

my first painting

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

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inspiration is a gathering storm ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood