reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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ladders. [two artists tuesday]

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gay pointed to the ladders in the backstage of tpac and said, “see those ladders?  the front silver one on the right is where you are.”

this is true.  we are clumsily perched on that front silver ladder.  there are people scattered about on the other ladders, many of whom are on the top of the tallest orange ladder up against the wall.  our view, on the shortest ladder, affords us the opportunity to look out, to look up and still to be able to easily see the ground.  the view from the highest ladder, extended well up the wall, is a view of vast height, a view without a cluster of other ladders, a view more singular.

it has been our experience as artists that we must explain our livelihood, we must fight for acknowledgement of experience, we must advocate for our own fiscal equality.  our work is not easily measurable, our effort not easily defined.  we bring to every experience all we have learned about what touches the hearts of others, what resonates, what we can do to lift a message, how we can craft a concept, how we can build a program and forge a community, how we can help others see what is inside each of them.  from our rung, we can still see the ground so we know that there are others less fortunate than us and we remember pretty clearly the route up this ladder, each rung a step, each rung a gratitude.

it has also been our experience that, in a world defined by financial success, there are many on those tall extension ladders, firmly grasping the tippy-top, who have lost the story of getting there.  it is my belief that, too often, there are those who, each rung they clamber up, have forgotten what it is like to be on the rung below.  the climb to success foregoes memory, it exempts empathy, it elicits a sense of superiority; it is not kind.  the naysayers poke at those who are on rungs below, prodding them but, alas, with no reality for where those below-climbers are.  assumptions are unfairly made about ability, intelligence, budgetary decisions, effort.

in this world of bills and responsibilities, work and play, absolute joys and deep sorrows, brilliant hopeful sunrises and exhausted sunsets, i wonder about the tippy-top.  i wonder if it is possible to be clinging to that tippy-top and still remember.

as much as that tippy-top sounds like a world without worry, i don’t mind being on the silver ladder in the front.  and every step we step, i want to remember the silver ladder in the front.

i know that each day there might be someone who just may need me to understand, without feigning it, where they are.  to be able to really grasp how they feel, despite not being in their very shoes.  i don’t want to be the person who looks back at them, fear filling their eyes with tears as they tell me they don’t have enough to make it, and condescendingly ask them if they want me to point them to a budget counselor.  instead i want to understand their frustration in poverty, be complicit in their growth – real growth, empathetic in their fear.  i want to hold their hand on the rung they are on and remember what it felt like on that rung.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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contrast principle. [two artists tuesday]

contrast principle

we are living the contrast principle.  the elementary-school-workbook-page-which-one-doesn’t-fit principle.  that can actually serve you well or it can be the bane of your existence.  i’ll allow you to decide which one you think it is for us.

we are not from here.  we do not have roots that go back a generation, two or three generations, seven generations.  we weren’t born here, nor have we been coming here for decades on vacation.  this is a new place for us.  we chose to come here.  and we came here out of great and positive intention.

when i first saw the ad for the position we ultimately accepted, we got excited and were instantly full of ideas and possibility.  with our backgrounds, our education, our professional experiences, it seemed a perfect fit.  with our artistry, our passion, our zeal, our energy, our ability to facilitate positive change, it seemed a perfect fit.  but that assumes a “fit” and it assumes trust and it assumes the best of the contrast principle.

we work to create relationship, to mend the crevasse between arts organizations and between groups of people, to structure and build community and let the arts rise.  we brainstorm and read and study – new initiatives, data of the past, stories of success and stories of failure.  we strive to re-commit each day, choosing to step past the rifts, past the dysfunction, past the you-don’t-belong-here-ness of it all.

because we did choose it.  we chose to be the daisy in the field of black-eyed-susans.  we chose to be the new in the old.  we chose the contrast principle.  it would just be nice for it to be a tad bit easier.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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 the daisy in the black-eyed-susans © 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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fly like an eagle. [two artists tuesday]

 

“fly like an eagle…to the sea. fly like an eagle; let my spirit carry me. i want to fly like an eagle till i’m free…” (steve miller band)

it’s not often i see something and don’t think of a song to go with it.  whether it is a pre-existing song or one i make up on a dime, i want to just break out into song, spontaneously. it’s a by-product of the trade.

the eagle that makes its way across our yard, zig-zagging across the bay, is no less inspiring.  depending on the day, i hear the steve miller band singing “fly like an eagle…to the sea” or john denver’s “i am an eagle, i live in high country…”

if a song doesn’t occur to me rising out of the recesses of my brain i’ll make one up.  ask jen and brad about ‘the butterfly song’ or ‘sitting in the sun’ or ‘bigotry’, just for instances.  mary kay and i have had conversations about making up songs on the fly…in the car…in the shower….walking in the woods.  these are not – you might be surprised – serious compositions that may make the cut for the next album.  these are just meaningful-in-the-moment songs that you belt out and, mostly, promptly forget.

as the eagle passes over our heads, i am amazed to see it in ‘real life’.  i pause and steve miller fights with john denver for attention in my head.  i hush them both and just listen to the waves and the silence of this majestic creature catching the wind.

“…and reach for the heavens and hope for the future, and all that we can be is not what we are…” (john denver)

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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play. [two artists tuesday]

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we sat on schoolhouse beach, in the middle of the (figurative) storm around us, and made shadow puppets.  giggling, we fell back on the rocks, the healing beginning.

when i think back over the last decade or so, i am struck by how many things my menopausal brain can’t remember.  even though today, in a little shop, abba’s song Fernando came on and i sang along to every word, the last time i heard this song maybe 4 or 5 years ago….maybe, but i can’t recollect.

the things i remember over the years are the things that stood out.  moments of despair, of loss.  moments of confusion, of great pain as i sorted them out.  times of many tears.  times my stomach and the sides of my face hurt from laughing so hard.  times of hard work.  even more importantly, times of play.  ralph waldo emerson said, “it is a happy talent to know how to play.”

even in the midst of everything else, we must remember to play.  for that will carry us far.  further than grief will.  further than withstanding searing pain.  further than the sobs that make you lay on the kitchen floor.  further than hard work.

for in play comes laughter.  and in laughter, the release of great love.  love is everlasting.  it is patient and kind.  it does not envy or boast.  it is not proud.  it does not dishonor others nor is it self-seeking.  it is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.  love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  it protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.  love never fails.(I Corinthians 13)

so.  play.  and love.  together, those -in the rest of life-  will endure anything.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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three graces. [d.r. thursday]

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i don’t purport to understand every painting of my visionary husband.  if i ask him what a painting is about, he posits a question back to me, “what does it mean to you?”  in normal conversation, this kind of question-question response is not troubling, but in husband-wife conversation it is slightly irksome, one of those times where you gently roll your eyes at your partner and sort of hope that coffee grounds find their way into the bottom of their first cup of coffee the next morning.  ok, so maybe not, but it is from a little bit of laziness that i sometimes want him to just TELL me.  instead, groaning, i take a tiny step back away from the painting and let emotion take over.

the title of this painting THREE GRACES suggests (from research) the goddesses of things such as “charm, beauty and creativity”.  a wealth of goodnesses, a wealth of possibility.  an appreciation of every little gesture, every honey bee, the creation by others of a world of wonder and challenge.

in our world today, we first cover our disbelieving eyes with hands of despair. we look to the heavens for guidance. we ground ourselves, one hand firmly planted for balance, the other on our foreheads, thinking, thinking. we seek to find answers, ways for charm and beauty and creativity to thrive.  and the elusiveness of peace.

click here to view or purchase this painting in david’s online gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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THREE GRACES ©️ 2012 david robinson


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small gestures. [two artists tuesday]

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the first time that i walked into the bathroom and saw my toothbrush pre-toothpasted for me i was surprised and floored.  no one (except my sweet momma) had ever pre-toothpasted my toothbrush for me before.  a small gesture, but i was deeply touched by this kindness.  i was off-island without d a few days last week and three times (!) i pre-toothpasted his home toothbrush as well as mine, without thinking.   small gestures become kind habits.

it’s the little things that count.  not the grandiose presents or sweeping plans.  it is the kiss on the back of your head, the carrying of your bags, the holding of your hand, the packed lunch, the note on the piano, the bacon on sunday, the coffee while your head is still on your pillow, the opening of a door for you, listening through the umpteenth repetition, the patiently-waiting while you scurry about finishing just-one-more-thing, the tetris-packing of the car, the prepping of dinner ingredients, the hug when you didn’t even know you needed one, the quiet support and noisier praise, the questions you don’t want to answer, the reminder of the breath you need to take…

and the toothpaste pre-pasted on your toothbrush.  small gestures.  kind habits.  love.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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iconic. yoga series. [d.r. thursday]

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when we were first talking, we discovered we were both artists.  he – a painter.  me – well, you already know that part.  we were far apart in distance so we did not see each other or the work of the other in person.  he didn’t come to any of my concerts.  i didn’t go to his gallery openings.  but….there is this thing called the internet.

it was with much curiosity that i sat down to view his paintings.  i wondered about his style, his choice of color, the movement in his paintings, the emotion.  our budding friendship would not be dependent upon whether or not i liked them, or even understood them.  but i must say – in all honesty – that it was incredibly convenient to find that i LOVE his paintings.  i love his style, his choice of color, the movement in his paintings, the emotion.

this painting, ICONIC, was the first large painting in his YOGA SERIES.  full of grace and the expression of inner peace, ICONIC is stunningly big (54″ x 54″), a statement piece that i have no doubt will soon grace the wall of the owner who hasn’t found it yet.

anyone who has purchased an actual painting – not a print or facsimile of some sort – knows that it is a relationship that develops, that the owner and the painting find each other, that it is not merely a purchase.  it is the bringing home of a piece of someone else’s heart.  the hanging-on-the-wall of someone else’s heart.  or, in the case of music, as i well know, the listening to of someone else’s heart.

iconic:  that which can trigger emotion.  yes.

view or purchase ICONIC in david’s online gallery

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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ICONIC ©️ 2010 david robinson