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the path back is the path forward


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unpredictable beauty. [two artists tuesday]

“sometimes beauty is that unpredictable; a threshold we had never noticed opens, mystery comes alive around us and we realize how the earth is full of concealed beauty.” (john o’donohue)

a simple errand. we needed to pick up some furniture to transport in big red for a friend. destination: ikea.

there is something magical about ikea. we hadn’t been there in ages and were relieved to find few people there and everyone masked properly. vowing to hopefully come back soon and browse a bit, we pulled the boxes off the shelves on our pick list. pushing our cart to the front checkout lines, david, more than once, had to re-focus me away from the enormous displays of product. iphone in hand, we wove our way through the covid-floor-circles-disney-style line, waiting our turn at the cash register.

every where i looked, we were surrounded by interesting color, repeated pattern, textures that begged to be touched. david, more than once, softly called my name from the other side of the pushcart, gently spurring me out of the threshold-of-alive-mystery-of-concealed-beauty, snapping pictures with inordinate joy. “k-dot,” he would quietly prod.

the spatulas called my name too, repeating patterns of red-mama-dear-lips making me smile. spatulas are usually not mysterious creatures, but their color, design, stacking lures you out of ordinariness, opening that threshold, the place for glitter to be seen.

it wasn’t just the spatulas, though. i was victim to the lint rollers, the stainless steel utensil holders, the cork trivets. hidden beauty everywhere. i could feel my sweet momma and poppo cheering me on; they were likewise entranced by ikea.

if safety allows, we will return. there are a few small things on my own pick list i’d like to consider purchasing. but mostly, i just want to wander the aisles with my camera, noticing the unpredictable beauty.

yes, not a bad way to spend any day. noticing the unpredictable beauty.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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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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©️ 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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apples and bananas. [d.r. thursday]

Eve copy

EVE 48″ x 48″

like many of you, i have laid awake many nights now.  exhausted when i lay my head down and then, voila!, wide awake.  the middle of the night has many monsters these days.  it used to be that as i lay awake and would get hungry and hungrier, i would convince david that the perfect thing, rousing him from sleep, would be to have a 3am bowl of cereal together.  since we went dairy-gluten-free i’ve substituted and have chosen a banana in the wee hours.  somewhere i read that bananas are sleep aids, so waking david up to have a banana seemed like i was helping him.  but now, we have no bananas.

we need to go to the grocery store.  but it’s complicated, with disinfecting wipes during our trip there and being absolutely careful upon our return home to wash everything or store it for a period of time.  it’s important, vital.  we step back from the person who is a  personal-space-invader.  we make room on the walking path for those coming the other way.  we marvel at the recklessness of large numbers of people still gathering in spaces.  we weep for those who have succumbed to a disease that is apparently sorely underestimated.

this painting, eve, is a beautiful landscape of color and shape.  eve, religiously historic as the first woman.

is it possible that the apple of eve and adam, the one in the story from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, could now be seen as a casualness toward the spread of this pandemic, a cavalier attitude, a lack of regard toward social distancing or the peril facing citizens, medical personnel, workers at essential businesses?   the apple that, in the story, changed everything, for all time?

another reason to choose bananas.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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EVE ©️ 2004 david robinson

 


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spring stripes. [two artists tuesday]

nature's stripes copy

stripes copy

you have to admit – the first set of stripes is way more interesting than the second.  the first set. in the woods.  the color combinations.  all alive with hue and subtlety.  the second set.  static.  no air.  no depth.  no variance.

this weekend, on a warm-day hike along the expanding des plaines river, the colors were spectacular.  the blue-purple of the water late in the afternoon.  the fresh-baby-grass-green of the small island across the river.  sky blue, white clouds, golden sunlight.  it wasn’t capture-able on film.  you just had to stand there and breathe it in.  stripes, patterns, shadows, delicate light, elusive dark.

by hiking often on the same trails, we can see the minor changes along the way.  we take note of them, commenting on a felled tree or more water in a pond or a new nest high in some branches.  there’s more mud, there are goslings, the daffodils are in full bloom, the groundcover is rich.  the earth coming back out of fallow.  winter’s rest is over; spring’s explosion has arrived.

for us, these winter-spring-summer-fall hikes are necessary.  they allow us to see, outside of ourselves; they allow us to process good earth growth and change and color.  for us, these hikes are like a security blanket.  they soothe worries, sort problems, wrap gently around us.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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contemplation. [d.r. thursday]

morsel - color & contemplation

i visit this place everyday.  the place of contemplation.  of pondering.  of remembering.  of dreaming.  of silent conversational prayer.  this morsel of david’s painting CONTEMPLATION speaks to me and my need to sometimes go inside…to sort, to be grateful, to relinquish a hold on something negative, to wonder.

softly she prays copy

SOFTLY SHE PRAYS

there is a similar painting, based on a similar image…called SOFTLY SHE PRAYS and i adore this for its monochromatic approach, its gentle existence.  conversely, this piece CONTEMPLATION is filled with color – the colors of life and vibrance, saturated with the palette we live in every day, the colors we don’t always notice as we walk by, missed in our efforts to move into the next moment.  ahh.  yet another reason to sit and rest and contemplate.

color & contemplation

CONTEMPLATION acrylic 48″x24″

click here or on painting above to view CONTEMPLATION

click here or on painting in this post to view SOFTLY SHE PRAYS

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CONTEMPLATION & SOFTLY SHE PRAYS ©️ 2004 & 2018 david robinson, kerri sherwood


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a painting is born. [d.r. thursday]

andthentheydancedprocess

i have a unique front row seat to paintings in process.  running downstairs to throw in another load of laundry or seek out a tool i need, i will glance at the easel in the studio to peek at what’s up next…this time, the sketch of two people dancing made me stop.  it immediately made me thinking of when we have danced in the front yard or the kitchen or out on the deck or on a mountain trail.  i got lost in the tango and wandered back upstairs, no new laundry spinning in the washer or tool in my hand.

the next time i looked at the easel i found these two people emerging and color exploding off the canvas.  i have learned, in this time of living with a brush-in-hand-artist, that this is the under-painting, a place that involves steps at which i often want to tell him to stop!wait!it’s perfect!  sometimes he does – stop.  other times he keeps going, for the vision in his mind’s eye is beyond what is on the easel and there is more to develop.

it’s a unique place in the front row.  maybe more comparable to back-stage or the green room or the recording studio before “record”…a place of preparation, a place of reflection, a place of swirling beauty, a place of possibility, a place where the-painting-someone-dreams-of-hanging-on-their-wall is being born.

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and then they danced ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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aqua agua mit rouge [d.r. thursday]

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AQUA AGUA MIT ROUGE

the little mermaid music swirls in my head, “under the sea, under the sea…”  i can’t help it.  the gorgeous brushstrokes of blues and greens and deep reds inspire thoughts of beautiful oceans full of color and hues that are untouchable by dictionaries far and wide. this morsel, from the painting EARTH INTERRUPTED VII, i titled AQUA AGUA MIT ROUGE, a name derived from several languages (english, spanish, german, french), a nod to the inability of words to describe it.

this morsel is somewhere underneath this beautiful painting – within the depths of EARTH INTERRUPTED VII  – not visible, but part of the underpainting, a layer of, well, the earth.  how much more perfect could that be?

FullSizeRender

EARTH INTERRUPTED VII, 48″X36″

click here or on canvas above for AQUA AGUA MIT ROUGE canvas, wall art, and many practical products (be sure to scroll down the society6 page for all options)

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aqua agua mit rouge/earth interrupted VII ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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not enough crayons. [chicken marsala monday]

therearen'tenoughcrayons WITH EYES jpeg copy

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

 

 


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color.

flowers and trees have dominated the photo stream on my phone this summer. soaring pines against snow-topped mountains and streamside wildflowers, a street called “daisy dr”, aspen trees reflecting on a building in a light show, roots of fallen trees in sculpture untouched by hands, gorgeous flowers in a downtown boston median, window boxes filled with red geraniums on a beacon hill walk, IMG_0031the nurse-log’s new life in the lake up north this year, the strawberry patch, the new herb garden we built out of re-purposed schtuff (as wendy calls it), and, speaking of wendy, the tulips on her wall (sometimes the flowers aren’t real-live-in-the-dirt-flowers). there are photos from ocean-side marshland, the sweet gift of farmer’s market sunflowers, saved pictures of susan’s porch with hanging flowerpots…just to look at…as if i were there. flowers in linda’s abundant garden, IMG_0035huge basil at jen’s, gorgeous orange impatiens that stubbornly live in our backyard, even when we don’t notice them. black-eyed susans from our walks, white-flowering hostas on an iowa farm. soybeans in the field and bamboo alongside the lake, unidentified purple flowers IMG_0033and pink and yellow flowers along a neighbor’s front walk, purple sedum buzzing with bees a few houses away. the first tree to turn in the woods we were hiking in, a lone red leaf on a maple in the ‘hood. my photo shoot of the painting david painted me before we married, the daisy we used on our invitations, the daisy we are using in website and marketing materials for our upcoming, soon-to-be-released two-person play, “the roadtrip”. so many flowers. so much color.

perusing through right now, i see that isn’t the only source of color…the IMG_0040old painted chairs hanging in the shop in the mountains, the homebuilt faux-adirondacks in front of the liquor store in breck, the photographs of texture in vibrant colors, the gay pride flag flying outside a church in the city, the peeling-paint side of the old barn, the sunsets, piles of rocks, the solid blue sky, the sand, aqua water, white snow on the mountain in june, rainbows, the red moon. color.

now, truth be told, there are a TON of pictures on my photo stream. i take a ton of pictures and save everything that the boy or the girl send me, so at any given moment, i can re-visit the whole summer IMG_0034and breathe it back in. sometime, in the middle of winter, when the days are not as fluffy or romantically snowy, i will want to look at these pictures. to remember. you know, the whole thready thing. it’s a curse.

last weekend we went to a wine and harvest festival in a little town up north a bit. expecting it to be like the winter festival we attend there with friends, a kind of joyous and outstandingly fun mecca every february, we were surprised when we got there and it was a mob scene. the streets were full of vendors, food and art and creations of all sorts. overgrown humonga-pumpkins were being weighed in a contest and we hear we missed the carved-out-pumpkin races on the river. we walked around, squished between people, laughing about how hot it was, how crowded and how we had underestimated the festival. it was absolutely a blast.

there was this bag there…just a simple backpack. from the side of the vendor’s 10×10 IMG_0029tent, which i am well-acquainted with, it called my name. “look at that happy bag,” i said to david. usually i don’t purchase much at these shows. i am often feeling that i-don’t-need-more-stuff feeling. but, as david told someone recently, pieces of art (really, despite what medium they are) reach out and find their true owner. and, i have to tell you, this happy bag found me. and you’ll never guess what the fabric was. for this dedicated wear-blue-jeans-and-black-tops girl (ok, that term “girl” may be outdated for me, but humor me, ok?”), this flowery backpack found its way into my hands. now i am using it each day. i know i will return to other purses i own (aka pocketbooks, aka handbags), but this happy bag will bring back -with just one glance- the hot day at the festival, the flowers in my summer, the color in my life. and we all need that, don’t we?

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