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assumptions. [d.r. thursday]

assumeawe WITH EYES jpeg copy

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

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CHICKEN MARSALA ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 


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“make hundreds.” [merely-a-thought monday]

make hundreds

when he said, “make hundreds”, he wasn’t referring to blogposts.  my sweet poppo was for-sure-analog and didn’t really even know what a blog was.  he was sending me off to school or work, calling after me to “make hundreds”, a tad bit of pressure for an A+ seeking student but taken with a bit of a grain of salt because my poppo said it with great love.  today starts the one-hundredth week of our blogposts in the melange and daddy-o would be impressed.  it’s one hundred weeks, after all.

clearly, in just a few short weeks it will be two full years.  two years that we have sat next to each other and written a post that was inspired by the same image, the same quote, the same painting or piece of music.  it has been a profound experience.  we have written on the raft with dogdog and babycat curled up next to us, on the beach, in the high mountains, in hotels and airbnbs, in coffeehouses, in relatives’ homes, in the noise of a city, in the quiet on island.  whether or not others are reading my words, i look forward to every single day of writing and am stunned to think that i probably have more in the way of written word now than songs.  is that possible?  (even at a mere 500 words a post it is somewhere around 250,000 words, about 3-4 novels worth.)  it is the best stuff of sitting up in the maple tree outside my growing-up-house on long island for hours on end, writing, writing, writing.

we sit at the starting gate with our inspiration of the day and then, without looking at what the other is writing, we expound on what we see or feel or think.  it’s ‘he said, she said.’  we’ve often thought about, and might just follow through, capturing them into a journal where the same image or quote could stimulate a third person’s writing.  a ‘he said, she said, you said’ book. having a prompt is the juicy stuff that makes it absolute fun.

my posts are often stories, emotional – perhaps poetic – glimpses into our life. david’s are more esoteric, more complex.  a friend of ours said she can tell the difference without even looking.  goodness!  i’m sure that is true.  when we share our writing with each other, reading aloud, i often wonder about the value of what i’ve said.  like recording an album, these are words ‘put out there’ for all to see and you and i both know that judgement is alive and well.  but i always bravely try to remember what our point is.

we wanted a place to put a variety-pack of endeavors, a place that our conglomerate artistries could live under some kind of umbrella.  that umbrella became our‘studio melange’ and we found we could offer our individual work (paintings and music) in addition to our cartoons (earlier on, the melange included chicken marsala and flawed cartoon) as well as the quotes we jotted down each week and the images i recorded on camera that we found pertinent or thought-provoking.  about a year along the line we changed the melange and added ‘merely-a-thought monday’ and ‘not-so-flawed wednesday’ in lieu of our cartoons.

if you pare our melange down you will find one overwhelming similarity.  hundreds upon hundreds of moments.  moments captured, moments written down, moments to remember, moments we’d sometimes rather forget, moments of confusion, moments of regret, moments of incredulousness, moments of fear, moments of scary honesty, moments of challenge, moments of pushing back, moments of questioning, moments of indescribable joy and moments of deep sorrow.  all of them moments of life, a reminder to grasp onto them and hold on dearly.  for that is what we have.  the ability to make moments.  the ability to make moments count.

make hundreds.

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

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187. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

187 box framed copy

i had no idea how much i would love designing.  through the first ten years or so of album covers, i watched.  i sat with my dear friend 20 as he designed so many of my CD jackets and tray cards.  i learned a lot.  not about how to use photoshop or illustrator or quark but i learned about balance and clean design and how to “see”.  so when we started designing for THE MELANGE, that part came more easily.  the photoshop part?  well, that had a bigger learning curve (as does website designing.)  manipulating images and navigating programs without real directions can be a challenge, but i was up for it.  lots of learning.

the thing that really surprised us was when we looked at each of our society6.com stores this week and literally counted our product lines.   there are 187!  187 lines created across the five stores.

187 product lines later, i look back in wonder.

mugs and laptop covers, tote bags, prints and cellphone cases, beach towels, shower curtains…not to mention leggings.  in the course of the last year, i have designed between 50 and 60 pairs of leggings.  leggings with morsels of david’s paintings, leggings with graphics we have designed or photographs we have taken, leggings with words of wisdom, leggings with punchlines, leggings with lyrics.  i was a leggings-designing-maniac.  i think about even just these leggings designed, available on an on-demand site, and think – we could have all those made and just sell them ourselves.  we could sell those designs elsewhere – to a company that already produces leggings.  we could open a shop with all these products – interesting, different, artistic, not mass-produced or mass-purchased.  we could…  there’s no telling what we could do.

i asked david if he knew how many blogposts there had been in this MELANGE year.  he had already done the math.  we each posted 260 posts, totalling 520.  that’s more than a few words, more than a few thoughts, more than a little heart.

immeasurable energy has been devoted to these designs, these blogs, to this MELANGE.  here – at the one-year-old mark – we are astounded by the amount of time and effort this has all taken.  and we look back in wonder.

what has been the reward?

there is no way to underestimate the power of i/we-can-do-this.  the sisu of sticking it out, meeting the challenge, staying in the game, learning.

THE MELANGE is celebrating one year.  but we are celebrating so much more than that.  we look forward in wonder.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this ANNIVERSARY MELANGE NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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THE MELANGE ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

images in THE MELANGE ©️ 2016-2019 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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feeling it. life. [two artists tuesday]

MelangeWk1 copy 2

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

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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]

button to button copy 2

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.

love needs no words jpeg copy 2

chicken marsala love phonecase

chicken marsala create phone case

 

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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]

inspirationisa WITH EYES jpeg copy 2

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

 

 

 


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inspiration and crazy things. [chicken marsala monday]

inspirationmakespeopledocrazythings WITH EYES jpeg

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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CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR WEBSITE

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