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the path back is the path forward


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my palette. [k.s. friday]

her palette - the piano

yesterday david wrote these words about his palette.  as i read his words, i realized he was conveying many of my own sentiments.  with his permission, i have only slightly modified his words this morning to express my own artist palette – my piano.  the re-posting of this, and even using the same verbiage, reminds me of the intertwining of all soulful expression.  bear with me as i experiment, my words in red, an exploration of two artistic planes running parallel.

true confessions: i never rarely clean my palette the music stand on top of my piano. i like the messy build up of color. color is found in many forms but mostly notebooks and pa-pads, scraps of paper, snippets of tracks recorded on an iriver or an iphone. i like the chunky texture pile. it serves as a gunky history of my work, a genealogy of paintings compositions past and future. and then, over time, it becomes a tactile work of art in its own right. unfettered by any of the mental gymnastics or over-ponderous considerations that plague my “real” work, it is the closest to child-mind that i will achieve. it is accidental. it is free.  it is idea, melodic gesture, poetry waiting for notes, phrase waiting for the rest of the lyrics.  ready.  waiting.  free.

this might be a stretch but it is, for me, nevertheless true. i love my palette because it is the place of alchemy in my artist process. it is the true liminal space.   long before the space spanning the route taken from introduction to coda.  i begin with pure color. i begin with the rest, silence inbetween the notes, the place for breath so you can hear the vibrations of sound.  i smash the pure color together with another color and transform it into a third color, the hue i intend. note upon note i build a melody, smashing note upon note i build a small unaccompanied orchestra of harmony, the hue i intend.  on a palette, color becomes intention. sound becomes intention.  and then, once transformed, with a brush or knife i lift the color-intention from my palette and in an action that is often more responsive than creative, i place it onto a canvas. i play, i listen, i play again.  i lift it from the keys of my palette and place it onto the canvas of paper, attempting to capture the fleeting moment it has created and etch it into a piece of music that can be repeated, played again.  it transforms yet again relative to all the color it touches. it transforms yet again relative to the air in the room, the echo of an intention, the listening ear it touches.  an image emerges. more color is called for. it emerges, this composition of music, and more color is called for.

and, somewhere in this call and response of color, i become like the palette. the pass-through of alchemy, the door that color passes through en route to something beautiful. and somewhere in this call and response of color, i become like the palette.  the pass-through of alchemy, the door that color passes through en route to something beautiful.  this!  can there be a more pure statement of artistry? and, in the process, perhaps i, too, in my messy build up of life/color, grow closer to that child mind. unfettered. accidentally interesting. free.  and in the process, perhaps i, too, in my messy build up of life/color, grow closer to that child mind.  unfettered.  accidentally interesting.  free.  the rest between the notes.  the breath of music on the air. 

“You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough” ~ William Blake  i paint.  i write.  i compose.  i don’t know what is enough until i know what is more than enough.  truth. 

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

iTunes: kerri sherwood

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(it is) as it is. [k.s. friday]

AS IT IS songbox copy.jpg

ken calls this my MUSH album.  he is an amazing producer and i feel fortunate to call him my dear friend as well.  he produced 14 of my albums and, although one of my albums and a few vocal singles were done in nashville, now i can’t really imagine any other recording projects without him.

MUSH stands for made-up-shi* and is aptly named.  this album came at a really inspired time for me.  artists have their highs and lows, inspiration-wise, and this was one of the highs.  i’ve mentioned the story before, but i’ll short-story it here again:  i had a list of titles – titles i wanted to use eventually for compositions; i carried a notebook and scraps of paper everywhere i went.  i had this list with me as i recorded two other full-length albums in nyc at yamaha artist services.  in-between recording the two other albums, i would choose a title and play it.  simply play it.  my heart is laid out in the tracks of this cd; every title was meaningful to me, every piece tells what it means.

AS IT IS is the title track so it’s interesting that i gave over the melody line to a flute, the only piece on all of my albums that has a flutist playing.  it’s also rare for me to step away from the piano and, in the production-post-initial-recording phase, play a keyboard.  but life is like that. you have to give over sometimes.  the texture changes.  the melody isn’t yours to own; sometimes you are support staff.  make peace with it.  it is as it is.

AS IT IS:  life.  we are right here…where we are supposed to be in this part of the journey…the best time is now.  simply because life is as it is. (liner notes)

purchase and download the album AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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AS IT IS from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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unfolding. [k. s. friday]

unfolding song box copy

“…and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should…” (desiderata by max ehrmann)

when i listen to tracks i have recorded i can either picture the time i spent writing at the piano or the time i spent in studio recording.  this piece drums up the same image; in a time of pronounced inspiration and the transferring of much emotion into music, this was simultaneously written and recorded at yamaha artist services in nyc back about 15 years ago.

even then, i could see the willows-bending-in-the-wind characteristic of life – it will unfold as it should, despite our best efforts to stymie it or change it or enhance it.  and so i loved when ken, my truly amazing producer, added a bended electric guitar line, arching and buckling, flexing around the melody line, a musical painting.   even now, and i suspect as will always be, i try to be that willow, bending as the wind takes me, allowing the universe to unfold.

“unfolding: trying to trust that life is unfolding the way it should be” (liner notes)

download AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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UNFOLDING from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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make others happy. [merely a thought monday]

pt barnum quote

wendy aka ben aka saul brought the movie so that we could watch it together.  the musical the greatest showman was completely entertaining.  there are so many quotes and moments in that movie that are worthy of repeating but the one that is on-screen at the conclusion is by far the umbrella quote.  “the noblest art is that of making others happy.” (p.t. barnum)

so often, it is the arts that people turn to for a breather, for something beautiful, for something to relieve their stress.  a person will listen to music, gaze at a painting, get lost in reading a book or watching a play, feel their breathing slow down during a ballet, sink into a poem. invaluable offerings of peace, of happiness, the arts give pause.

it is humbling when someone tells me that a piece of music has touched them, that a song has made them weep, that something i wrote made them stop a second and ponder.  it is my job as an artist to do my best to reach out with my work.  i can’t determine if it will resonate with anyone; i can only “put it out there” as they say.

it is more often lately that i bemoan the priceless value of the arts that coincides with the oft-price-less earnings of the arts. for what better work than to make others happy.  what better work than to be part of what people turn to when they need to breathe, when they need beauty, when they need to de-stress.

it is noble work.  however you achieve it.  for at the end, will we remember anything other than what made us happy and, more importantly, how we made others happy?

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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i didn’t know. [k.s. friday]

i didn't know song box

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yesterday, the senate passed the Music Modernization Act, a complex bill that is supposed to help songwriters in these days of streaming.  as quoted in one article questioning the feasibility of pushing through this bill as is:  “…niche labels and independent musicians face either a zero, or statistically insignificant, chance of a return on their investment through streaming. many report barely paying for a sandwich with their royalties.” (maria schneider, musicanswers.org) yes. creatives are still facing a grotesque misalignment of power and income despite an effort to supposedly be “helped”.

i didn’t know, back when i released my first album, that there would be another…and another…and another…

i didn’t know how vulnerable i would feel each time i released a collection of my soul, turned into tracks of music.

i didn’t know how grateful i would feel each time i stood on stage and spoke to an audience that was there to hear this music – my music.

i didn’t know how many stores, in the early days, would carry these cds (and cassette tapes, way back when), how many times i would be live on QVC-TV, how many radio interviews i would be relishing.

i didn’t know how humbling it would feel that many people would respond to something in my music, something would resonate with them, something would be healing or heartening or touch them.

i didn’t know, through the years, how many thousands of cds would sell, how many boxes i would carry, how many wholesale shows or retail shows i would be present at or how many phone calls i (or wonderful people who worked with me) would make or receive, taking and shipping orders.

i didn’t know that the BMI royalty statements i was getting earlier would soon decline as our world and the internet changed them drastically.  the one i got two days ago for a period of the year included 59,000 performance counts and a $47.47 check.  streaming has made it unnecessary to purchase a physical cd or even pay for and download an artist’s music and so i agree with the writer who said: “streaming revenue for most independent musicians doesn’t even amount to pocket lint.” (m.schneider)

i didn’t know that the yearning inside me to compose and record more music to be released on cds would be stymied by the cost vs earnings debacle that has been created by an industry that doesn’t lift up the independent, while the behemoths remain behemoth.

i didn’t know how sad it would make me.  i didn’t know how it would change me.  i didn’t know i would keep wondering ‘what next?’  i didn’t know i would be seeking answers to where i stand as a composer.  i didn’t know my piano would call from my studio and i would ignore it, feeling betrayed by a profession that should pay my bills like any other.

i just didn’t know.

purchase the physical cd THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY or purchase a download of I DIDN’T KNOW (track 4) on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

I DIDN’T KNOW from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood


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the 21st century. [two artists tuesday]

WelcomeTo21stCentury copy

side B of the canvas

along with the portable record player we take out on the deck, we have the you-remember-the-case-with-the-handle box of 45’s.  with titles like sugar sugar and IOU and julie do you love me and….the side A of these records are the likely hits.  but if you turn it over and play side B you can often be surprised by a song you like even more than the touted “side A” song.

when david brought up this canvas to photograph the painting on the front side, i was reminded of what we had seen when 20 so generously gave d a slew of his dad’s canvases.  on the side B, his artist dad (richard “duke” kruse) had written, “welcome to the 21st century” on the back of the canvas he had so meticulously stretched.  we laughed when we first saw it, but it remains a mystery as to why he wrote it; we can only guess…maybe he was bemoaning the loss of something of the 20th century; maybe he was truly welcoming the next.  either way, we get it.  we are both 20th century artists.

as a painter, david uses actual brushes to apply actual paint to actual canvas, a process that doesn’t necessarily need explanation, but, in the 21st century art world, isn’t necessarily always the trend.  with computer design and sketchpads -aka graphics tablets- the feel of bristles can become foreign to a contemporary artist.  what about the smell of the paint?  the light from the window on the canvas?  the spatter of acrylic matte medium on your clothes? the wooden brush handle in your hand?

as a composer, i use paper and pencils and erasers and a piano.  i have a couple of keyboards that have traveled all over with me, but the piano that takes up an entire room in our house is my tool of choice.  it is stunning how much time it took me to write a full score way back in college compared to the ease of scoring on the computer.  if i made a mistake on the score, i had to -with my pencil and then calligraphy pen- redo the whole page.  then i had to write out all the parts individually.  the 21st century has advanced the ability to have a computer generate all the individual parts off one score that is online.  pretty amazing and time-saving stuff.  not to mention the “playing” factor.  the computer program will “play” the part you write; you don’t have to.  but what about all the pencil eraser dust that falls on the keys of the piano?  what about the scraps of paper spread out all over the top?  what about the feel of the action below your hands, the response, the whooshing sound of the pedal?

acoustic vs plugged-in, analog vs digital.  kind of old-fashioned.  that’s probably why i like to sit in one of the rocking chairs in david’s studio and just watch.  and why he will come into my studio and just listen.  we don’t need a lot of fancy stuff.  he just wants to hang his paintings and i just want to sit at a piano on a stage with a single mic.  pretty 20th century.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

EarthINteruppted7 copy

the new side A:  earth interrupted VII (36″x48″)

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

welcome to the 21st century/earth interrupted vii ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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give me roots, give them wings [ks friday]

roots wings CANVAS

The Girl and The Boy were little when i wrote and recorded this piece of music GIVE ME ROOTS, GIVE THEM WINGS.  the title wording was deliberate; it was stunning to me how rooted having children made me feel and yet i knew that, even from the very start, just as i was giving them roots, i was also giving them wings.  the toughest part.  that letting go thing.  The Girl told me today that i was high maintenance.  me??? “what???” i said.  she said, “have you ever MET you?”  wow.  straight to the gut.  lol.  she made me laugh.  i guess as a momma i may want a littlemorelittlemorelittlemore time….

when The Girl was a baby, jenny gave me a cross-stitched picture with the words “give them roots, give them wings.”  bittersweet words.  how little i knew back then.

no matter any other job i have had or will have or any other work i have done or will do, i will always consider motherhood the most important.  i cherish every moment of all of it, even the very hardest moments.  The Girl and The Boy are out in the world, doing what makes them happy, close or far away.

they root me.  yes.  even as i continue to watch their wings lift higher and higher.

ROOTS WINGS product box BAR JPEG

click here (or on the product bar above) for ROOTS WINGS products

 

click here to download GIVE ME ROOTS, GIVE THEM WINGS track 14 on album RELEASED FROM THE HEART on iTUNES

click here to download GIVE ME ROOTS, GIVE THEM WINGS on CDBaby.com

click here to purchase physical CD

KS FRIDAY (KERRI SHERWOOD FRIDAY) – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts on this KS FRIDAY

give me roots, give them wings from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood