reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


1 Comment

we are naked trees. [two artists tuesday]

it is entirely and utterly exfoliated. delaminated. naked.

the slender tree stands alone in the marshland, like a graceful ballerina in allongé. barely a side branch, it is stunning against a blue blue sky.

and, yet, in all its raw nakedness, its vulnerability, it stands proudly, stalwart, determined. it is still alive.

we stand next to our canvases, in front of microphones, in recording studios, on wooden stages, at qwerty keyboards, poised in front of 88 keys, with ballet shoes or tap shoes or jazz shoes, behind the cine-camera, in front of the cine-camera, at the potter’s wheel, baton in hand, holding sculpting tools or playscripts, focusing lens and aperture, holding written words in our fingers.

we are naked trees in the marsh. we stand – vulnerable to the elements – unprotected. we brave lack. we brave abundance. we withstand the inbetween.

we are exfoliated every single time we put it out there. we are artists.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


1 Comment

beyond the edge. [d.r. thursday]

this installation was beautiful. stunning. olafur eliasson’s rainbow bridge was in a room full of light and the spectrum of color was immediately striking. and then, we walked into the room further and all the color disappeared, instead spheres of glass reflected the windows and the water outside the museum. “the appearance of the spheres is unstable, slipping between clarity, colour, and blackness in response to the slightest movement of the viewer.” (olafur) if you stand right in front of one of the twelve spheres, you can see your reflection upside down, teasing you to make faces and play. we could have visited with this piece all day – moving around the room, standing still, watching the light waltz and dip as the hours wore on.

“its [the extraordinary] concern is the edge, and the making of a form out of the formlessness that is beyond the edge.” (mary oliver- upstream)

and so, when we finally moved on, past the sunlit rainbow, i’m quite sure we were both in that dreamy place – the place where you linger in all the vast possibilities that are out there – combinations of color and sound, notes joining together, brushes brushing, harmonics floating above you and bass notes stabilizing your foothold. it is a place of creation, where you feel the tendrils of ideas, of paintings, of songs, of melodies of piano, of sweeping strings and mournful french horns, of spattered acrylic, of photographs with intense depth of field. it is the place we visit on the trail, on the mountains, on the seashore, in our studios. it is beyond the edges of billpaying folders and mortgages, student loans and job searches. it flies past all the details of everyday mundane. it is nebulous and it is visceral.

we moved out of the room – newly equipped with dream – refreshed because someone else had “put it out there”. someone else – also – had vision and the impulse to express it. someone else – also – had stood for long hours, sat for long hours, pondered for long hours in front of canvas or a piano or on a wooden dance floor or waiting for the perfect snapshot. someone else had composed – the extraordinary – from out beyond the edge. and its whisperings fell on our ears, encouraging our response to it and reminding us to jump.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

earth interrupted VI

visit the ongoing construction on david’s website


1 Comment

the softer side of selfies. [two artists tuesday]

it’s the softer side of selfie.

i take many photographs of us in shadow. it lowers the how-do-i-look bar to practically zero. though it does leave me a tad bit curious about why my head always looks bigger than his. i think it’s my hair poofing out; his is pulled back neatly, while mine is helter-skelter flying in the wind. nevertheless, whether we are smiling or not, whether our eyes are open or closed, whether we have a funny look on our faces – none of this matters.

some of my favorite shots of us are in shadow. we are on the dock at northport harbor. we are on trail in breckenridge. we are at the john denver sanctuary in aspen. we are on a frozen lake up-north. we are walking barefoot in florida, carrying our flipflops. we are in the sun on our back patio.

i know i might be accused of over-documenting. so many photos. “1.81 trillion photos are taken worldwide every year, which equals 57,246 per second, or 5.0 billion per day,” according to photutorial.com. at least they are not all mine.

yet i know that it takes many, many shots to get the right one. my dear friend scott is a world-class photographer with a compositional eye to die for. he shoots thousands of shots at a-list events. which makes me feel justified in my overshooting. i have loved being behind a camera since my parents gifted me my first 35mm when i graduated high school. crunch and i would go out and about for hours on end, on escapades, taking pictures and dreaming of what they would look like developed. the advent of cellphone cameras – as they are today – makes it infinitely easier to snap, snap and over-snap. and, though i can confess to that, i will not stop.

because every now and then, when i go through all the photographs i’ve taken on a hike or at home or traveling or with one of my children, i find a jewel. like the lyrics that are tucked into notebooks-upon-notebooks, scraps of paper of melodies, pa pads with ideas for smackdab cartoons and blogposts, sometimes something special turns up. “practice makes perfect,” my sweet poppo would always quip.

so, the other day, while we were hanging out with richard diebenkorn, i thought i would document our time together. not a gem of a shot, but – truly – they aren’t always gems. sometimes they are just reminders of time spent, thready mementos of moments, scraps of lyrics or color samples or heart rocks. they are a diary of time, back and forward, threaded clockwise and reverse.

despite the vast ponderings of art critics and pedantic curators, it would seem that richard might just be trying to create mood, evoke emotion. this ocean park painting – like the whole series – depicting shimmering light and air, his extended time in santa monica sun. he painted and re-painted 145 canvases in this series. a diary of time.

selfies and shadows, smiles and light. all stuff that counts on the way to 1.81 trillion.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


1 Comment

the icing on the cake. [merely-a-thought monday]

it’s 925 miles from the corner of sixth avenue and west 55th street, but it displaced me in an instant. there i was – back sometime in the 70’s, in new york city, seeing robert indiana’s love sculpture for the first time. i loved love then. i love love now. (could that be any more redundant?!)

a part of sculpture milwaukee in 2018, this sculpture has returned and was permanently installed at the milwaukee art museum in 2019. we saw it for the first time last week. life and covid interrupted our visits to mam. we were really happy to be back. seeing love out the window facing lake michigan’s lakefront was the icing on the cake.

there are nearly fifty of these sculptures around the world. people travel far and wide to have their photographs taken next to the iconic stacked word. it became a u.s. postal stamp in 1973. it has big history. its artist has big history.

the success of this giant – yet simple – sculpture begs questions for me: what musical gesture might be equivalent to this sculpture? what rhythmic or melodic motif has this kind of powerful impact? googling these questions produces a plethora of suggested lists – everything from classical to motown to the beatles and beyond. i suppose it’s a truly personal thing.

any listener of albinoni’s adagio in g minor or j.s. bach’s air on the g string or arvo pärt’s spiegel im spiegel or ennio morricone’s gabriel’s oboe or john denver’s annie song or leonard cohen’s hallelujah or carole king’s you’ve got a friend or aretha’s r-e-s-p-e-c-t or the beatles’ here comes the sun or, for that matter, eldar kedem’s you and i or any piece composed and played or sung by giant artists or tiny independent artists …. any listener of anything arrives at the place of listening – the dropped-down-out-of-the-universe of their own world – individually. we tote along with us our lives-at-the-moment, our busy schedules, our worries, our longings, color and breath and heart, a distinctively different set of ears. we hear and we listen and we are transported by music to worlds away, places and times stored up, a chorus of commentators in us telling silent stories in viewmaster snippets, our hearts grasping the filmy tails of memories. impact. giant impact.

the love sculpture means something different to everyone who poses in front of it; every person’s story has different details, a different emotional spectrum. how we connect to this emotive piece depends largely on where we are when we visit with it, what we bring to it, how open we are to its energy.

the love sculpture stands outside the museum and i know that each time we now visit, it will demand our time as well. we will stand and gaze and visit with it. and we’ll keep loving it. it’s simple. it’s that kind of piece.

*****

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


Leave a comment

our mélange. still a toddler. [two artists tuesday]

every weekday for four years is kind of a long time. we kicked off our mélange on february 12, 2018 with the intention to blog each day using a mutual image. we’d see where those images would take us: down backroads of memory, forays into wondering, dropping into the tiniest cracks of things that happen in our days. they would generate stories and pondering and poetry and a dedication to a practice we both love: writing.

1106 blogs later – in the context of the mélange – and we are just as committed now as we were then. in these tens of hundreds of posts, we have been both succinct and verbose, grateful and snarky, questioning and certain. mostly, we have sat next to each other – every single post – typed on laptops and read aloud to the other what the chosen image evoked. it has been an absolute gift.

from an analytical standpoint, we can see that people all over the world are reading. we marvel at the number of countries where someone has opened up what we have blathered. it is not without wonder that we -every so often- hear from someone from afar. and then, there are those days that the analytics suggest perhaps no one is interested and our writing is for naught. yet, we write anyway. because, we have discovered, this is for us – a gift we have given ourselves.

in the beginning our monday-friday topics included two cartoon days: chicken marsala monday and flawed cartoon wednesday. those days have since morphed and changed into merely-a-thought monday and not-so-flawed (and sometimes flawed) wednesday. in the beginning, too, every day had products i designed for that day. we had (actually, still have) five stores on society6 where people could purchase prints and canvases and tote bags, mugs and phone cases, throw pillows and leggings and shirts with our original work. hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of products. and so much fun to design. we have featured morsels of david’s paintings and youtubes or mp3s of my music, tiny snippets of color and texture and devoted artistry. we dove into the telling-the-tale of these pieces and we have shared the soul of our work.

soon it will be a year since we first added saturday morning smack-dab, our smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-middle-age cartoon. we’ll be setting up an additional separate page for smack-dab, the cartoon. some people want less words and that will be the place to go for the less-is-more approach. this cartoon is one of the delights of my week and the scripting, layout, colorizing, design work give me a distinct honor of co-cartoonist.

we have learned – in this practice – to photograph, to look, to listen – even more carefully and intently than before. so much to notice, to pay attention to. life is about how you take it in and respond to it all.

the learning curve on anything worthwhile can be steep. toughing out the vulnerability factor, finding your voice, using it to write, putting-it-out-there, brings a mélange of emotion. for us, it has been about 1106x joy.

thank you for reading.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

our first mélange post

click here for our mélange

and – if you are in the mood for browsing:

CHICKEN MARSALA SOCIETY6 STORE

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY SOCIETY6 STORE

FLAWED CARTOON SOCIETY6 STORE

DAVID ROBINSON SOCIETY6 STORE

KERRI SHERWOOD SOCIETY6 STORE

THE MÉLANGE ©️ 2018-2022 kerri sherwood & david robinson


Leave a comment

the horizon! the horizon! [k.s. friday]

like 7th chords vs major 7th chords, some things are irrefutable. the horizon is one of them.

each and every time i take a photograph i can hear crunch in my ear, “the horizon! the horizon!”. decades have passed and i still will look at my photographs post-snap and evaluate the horizon and its relationship in the whole image. post-click i will think, “ahh, crunch would like this one!” and i’ve considered time and again to send it on to this person who has instilled his words in my head from years of taking sunrise and sunset pictures out on long island sound, on the beaches, in the boat, in-between fishing or diving adventures. there is nothing like a sunrise over the water with a crooked horizon. if one has to tilt one’s head to the side to accommodate the degree of angle of horizon, crunch -and i, now – have no forgiveness.

it’s how i feel about dominant 7th chords (using the minor 7th). i find them cringe-worthy. overused and trite, i have, many-a-time, tossed out, “major7th! major7th!” to others, much like crunch’s “the horizon!” admonishment. it’s used as a resolution pass, moving to another chord (usually a fifth below, but that’s too much information for right here). suffice it to say, we all have our quirks, the things that make us grimace or make our eyes twitch.

the gallery where david’s piece “unfettered” is showing is right on the water. the center is filled with delicious light and warm wood floors and white walls and white woodwork. it is a gorgeous place, a mecca for an eye seeking tiny morsels of photo-worthy images. i wander through, admiring pieces of the opening show and taking pictures of the space.

but i am reminded of the huge art expo we attended in chicago. winning – and mightily expensive – exhibits included jute strung across the booth with a kitchen sponge painted blue hanging from a clothespin. this was for sale for literally thousands of dollars and there were curators/representatives/dealers in the booth – those who would privately shake their heads in astonishment, giggling all the way to the bank – who would happily explain its meaning to you. perhaps i am a bit jaded – by looped recordings and garage band and auto-tune and acrobatics and the machinations of the music industry – but i have to admit that, while there were fancily-clothed-people gathered around seemingly breathless-with-anticipation, i did not stick around for the explanation. like the emperor with his new clothes, the oh-i-MUST-have-it crowd amused me and i could hear crunch in my head, “the horizon! the horizon!”.

one of my favorite experiences – albeit adding to my cynicism – was attending a talk given by a curator at chicago’s institute of art. she was speaking about the work of christopher wool and she was giddy that he was present. she had developed wordy narrative all around his work, describing his temperament, his mood swings, his supposed depression. his work is pretty blatant; he uses words and images to speak to or portray conceptual ideas. referencing one particular piece, she spoke about how his dark depression contributed to his art. she glanced over at him as he made a gesture to speak and invited his-own-perception of his-own-work, a photograph. i could see his tic from our seats. “i just thought it was a cool shot,” he interjected into her soliloquy on the spectrum of his personality. the audience laughed and i breathed a sigh of relief. some 7th chords are just overused, overplayed, over-analyzed.

i’m wondering about stringing up some jute in the sunroom and hanging this week’s scotch-brite.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY


Leave a comment

the underwear moments. [d.r. thursday]

as you walk in the front door of the gallery, it is straight ahead of you. “unfettered” seizes your attention and the light streaming in the windows spilling onto a warm wood floor and white woodwork seems to embrace it in a cloud. i know how this feels. showcasing a piece is allowing it to come to full bloom, to let it breathe in the world, to share it. but showcasing a piece is not for the meek at heart.

in the way you would likely feel standing in your underwear in a town square, introducing the world to some new piece of your heart is raw. on old wooden stages with a piano and a mic, centered on a wall with a tiny price tag placed nearby, during poetry-reading night in the corner of the general store, sharing with the novel-writing club every first thursday, skating the first performance on ice, tapping “publish” on a blog each day … pieces of your heart float shakily about as you try to hold onto sisu and stay grounded. it matters not how many times you have done this. your heart has been unbridled and you are allowing others in. each and every time.

“unfettered” is gorgeous. it’s – coincidentally – exactly how i feel on wooden stages. it is how i feel on the top of mountain trails. it is how i feel dancing in the front yard. it is how i feel those moments i have been cantering on the back of an exquisite horse. it is how love feels. it is how the sun on your face feels.

“unfettered” is the epitome of its own hanging-on-the-gallery-wall boldness. the uninhibited freedom of expression – artistry come to fruition in the moment of utter sharing. terrifying and liberating. raw and real. the underwear moments.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

click on this image to visit UNFETTERED & other bold-heart paintings


Leave a comment

more ellsworth than i thought. [d.r. thursday]

i like fine-tipped pens, both regular ink and markers, though i do love the wrinkle sound and feel of a notebook page written on all lines on both sides with a medium-tip pen…the physical-fingertip bumpy-words-on-the-page and that crunchy sound it makes when you turn it over or flip to the next. so there is definitely merit in medium-point. but fine-tip? there’s a grace and allowance of white-space that fine-tip encourages.

this tall red pole installation at the chicago botanic garden makes me think of a ball jar i have holding an assortment of wooden paintbrushes. standing and waiting. because i’m not sure if these poles are part of the lightscape show or an art piece, i am drawing my own conclusions about its presence. somehow, this striking stand of red seems to communicate an invitation to the sky and, in its simplicity, was one of my favorite pieces on our walkabout. stark color, plain. i suspect ellsworth kelly would have loved them too, regardless of their context.

there were lots of people there on sunday, a picture-perfect fall day. our drive down and our return were on the back roads, keeping the lake close, past ravines and through beautiful neighborhoods filled with sprawling yards and wise old trees touting autumn. the trip there – for us, we agreed – is just as important as the time spent at the garden. we love the-back-way and never take the interstate down if we can help it. even to visit our son, we build in the time it takes to meander to his home. we’ve encountered magical snowfly on the return home at night, flakes illuminated by our headlights and sunday didn’t disappoint, as golden and crimson leaves fell around us as we drove this windy-back-road-route.

although i prefer to walk in the woods on some trail in the quiet with hardly anyone else around, our time with our dear friends at the crowded garden was the perfect early november gift-of-a-warm-day escape. we picnicked on a blanket, chatting. we wandered, chatting. we took pictures and googled interesting plants, chatting. we admired installations and gardens with themes, chatting. there are ornate sculptures and formal walled gardens. there are fantastically groomed flowers and trees. there are preparations for an intricate holiday light celebration.

we took our time together, the four of us, promising to return again soon, and then d and i drove back on the roads through northern suburbs, wishing we had time to stop and sit at one of the tiny restaurant bistro tables we saw, spaced on sidewalks, against brick walls with the later afternoon sunlight warming the faces of many people who had chosen to dine al fresco.

when we spoke of our time at the garden, it wasn’t the intricacies i remembered, walking in beauty. it was the simplest stuff. the vertical slices of rock in a pondside rock garden. the candlepots on the rails in the lake. the lone rosebuds on a bush inviting fallow. golden grasses waving in the breeze. the evergreens up close. the past-waning bowed blooms on the hosta. the white birch calling out from the green. and the red fine-tipped pens reaching for the sky. there was definitely something about those.

though i – at first introduction – questioned his work, i guess there’s more ellsworth in me than i thought. we really never stop discovering. any.where.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

his gallery website – this link is to the EARTH INTERRUPTED series, but a cup of coffee in-hand and i know you’ll enjoy perusing around


1 Comment

kneeling on the stripes. [d.r. thursday]

“do you have the courage to be in the pause between what is ‘no longer’ and what is ‘not yet’?” (octavia raheem)

i kneel down in the middle of the road. it is up-north and there are few vehicles. i want to be in the yellow stripes in the road, to gaze their expanse and, in seeing the curve, not be able to see beyond it. it’s visceral.

i am in liminal space – in the pause – waiting and not knowing. it feels right to stand smack in the middle of the street. to own it – these stripes, this curve in the road, these questions. it pushes me to move, and, in the way of irony, prods me to stand still. it is not short-lived. it is lostness. and, at this aarp time of life, it is a little unnerving.

though i know found follows lost, just as not yet is out there beyond no longer, it leaves me in the orange-yellow stripes.

i miss the days on washington island when we walked right in the middle. it didn’t matter. no one was coming down the road. and when someone did, so infrequently, we moved over. but there weren’t stripes in the road there; it was just asphalt. it’s when you are walking on the stripes, squatting on the stripes, kneeling on the stripes, that you feel a tiny bit of powerful.

we are broken records of liminality. we know the lyrics of the song and are disgruntled when the record skips and skips and skips again, leaving us to repeat the same over and over. stuck. surrendering into a groove in the surface of vinyl, surrendering into a groove of fallow. without reaching over and touching the needle, the record continues to skip. without reaching and touching the liminal space, sorting and reflecting and resting, we cannot see beyond the bend in the road.

none of that is helpful, though. i stand in it. on the stripes. what was is no longer. what is not yet is not even a blurry image.

i think, this time, this must be what it feels like to retire, without the benefits of retirement. to no longer do what you have done for decades, to step away (or be thrust away, let’s be brutally frank). and to realize you don’t want to go back.

to wonder what is next. to reach into all-the-stuff-you’ve-done and pull the long straw of passions set aside. to decide to ferret out, in due time, direction and sense. to not fight the fallow or the pause. to try and have courage not to just fill in the gap. to kneel on the stripes. to trust.

“when we surrender, when we do not fight with life when it calls upon us, we are lifted and the strength to do what needs to be done finds us.” (oriah mountain dreamer)

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

peruse DAVID’S online gallery