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the path back is the path forward


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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.

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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

 

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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

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

 

 

 


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inspiration and crazy things. [chicken marsala monday]

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i’ve never bungee-jumped or parachuted out of an airplane or ziplined across a gulch or dropped on a snowboard off the side of a mountain.  but i understand how inspiration can make you do crazy things.

i remember my first album, 23 years ago now, felt like a crazy thing.  it was scary stuff, putting my own music ‘out there’; it was scary standing on stage telling the stories that went along with those pieces and playing my first full-length concert.  i imagine the adrenalin i had standing in the wings of the stage before the lights dimmed was much like that of stepping off the platform in a body harness ready to fly.  now, the scary stuff would be not doing that which i know so well.

so many people who have stepped out – trusting their instincts, trusting their training, trusting their beliefs and values, trusting their resilience.  following a path that might look unlikely.  following inspiration.  seemingly crazy stuff all of it.  stuff that opens them to a wide spectrum of possible results, from wild success to something that looks like failure.

all inspired.  all crazy.  all learnings.  all life.  it may not all be safe, it may make you feel vulnerable; it may even invoke fear, but it sure is interesting.

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inspiration makes people do crazy things. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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the chase. [chicken marsala monday]

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dogdog drags babycat across the wood floors through the house with babycat’s head in his mouth.  at first, when dogdog was new to the family, it really frightened us and we admonished dogga for dragging the cat around.  but then we realized that it was a game.  if dogdog wasn’t playing, babycat would slap at dogdog with his claw-paw and make the chase start.  it mattered not who “won” the match, for there was no obvious winner. (although i must say that it appears that babycat is indeed the alpha in the house.)  most important for the two of them was the chase.  just having fun.

it’s the same with anticipation.  i can clearly remember having great anticipation for something-or-other, relishing that feeling, the adrenalin rush, the quickening of heart, the excitement i could feel.  when the actual Thing happened, it wasn’t nearly as delicious as what led up to it – the anticipation, the process, the chase to it.  the Thing was almost anti-climactic, a sort of denouement of all the details getting there.

albums are kind of like that.  the process of writing, practicing, the anticipation, the work, chasing the perfect recording.  and then, the tying up of loose ends, the post-project letdown. as much as i wish i could, there is no way i can control what the ‘catch’ will be, whether or not the music will resonate with listeners, whether or not the album will do well in the market.

as an artist, it is all the magic in the middle that matters to me.  the chase.

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it’s not the catch, it’s the chase that matters ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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not enough crayons. [chicken marsala monday]

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as i am writing this, The Girl just texted to say she was driving off the pass and that she and lumi-dog had finished their hike in the back-country.  earlier she had texted (as is safe practice for all back-country activity) to let someone know both that she was going to be out of cell service, off the grid, in the high mountains on a hike and where she intended her hike to take her.  she is a conscientious hiker and boarder and i can’t tell you how much i appreciate that.  and so, early early this morning, i looked up the hike she was taking.

the #1 hike in the san juans (according to my trail app) it was taking her on a giant elevation gain and to a stunning lake, the color of which i couldn’t describe by the picture, and evidently was un-grasp-able even by the people reviewing the hike.  this was a place incapable of being captured by even a crayola 64-box.

that is what i love about our world.  countless places we couldn’t begin to capture with crayons.  no matter how many we could get our hands on.

the places that take our breath away.  the places that give us breath.

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to see THERE AREN’T ENOUGH CRAYONS products, click on box above and scroll down page to see various products

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there aren’t enough crayons in the world to capture it all ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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play like there’s no tomorrow! [chicken marsala monday]

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for us, it’s easy to like chicken…our chicken marsala, that is.  we made him up; he is the (mutual) son we didn’t have together.  and so, he’s a jeans-wearing-black-shirts-mostly-flip-flop little boy.  he takes after david with his esoteric wisdom and me with his high forehead and sentimentality.  he has much more brevity than either of us, but he’s little, so give him time.

it’s easy for us to be invested in chicken’s antics, to laugh aloud at his shenanigans, to get a little misty at his emotional ties.  but we have driven across the country with david making up his little voice in the backseat; we have taken a three foot tall flat-chicken into welcome centers and family gatherings; we have taken pictures of our chicken at the colorado border and hanging out in the back of the xb.

and so, it’s easy for us to believe that chicken marsala would have an instant following – an ever-growing group of people who believe in him kind of like how they believed in charlie brown or calvin (well, maybe a teeny little bit like charlie brown or calvin.)  because we do.  we believe in him.  his snippets of wisdom, his goodness, his take on life.  i realize that, like any story, it’s possible that maybe it is hard to start in the middle.  (i am the worst at starting in the middle of any movie – i ask a million questions trying to catch up…)

so i just want to say this:  if you had a chance to have a little boy in your life, one whose wise words entered your heart and whose voice countered the narrative so prevalent in our world now, and, even if he was, ok, make-believe, wouldn’t you just love it to be a little boy like our Chicken?  this nugget is for you.  play.  with abandon.  like a little make-believe boy.  like there’s no tomorrow.

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play like there’s no tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood