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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back in Oregon and Other Woes of an Artist

Well technically I'm back in Seattle as I sit her in my ol' faithful white sweat pants (see Jordan? Every gal breaks out the sweats!) but I was back in Oregon all last week.  To be more exacting, I was vacationing in a true vacation house alongside the Umpqua River in prime wine country with my BC and a couple of old friends.  It was also prime insect country as I quickly discovered (I don't care how much time you spend in the woods, when a 2.5 inch - 6.3 centimeter - moth flies into the bird's nest of hair you keep perched on top of your head, dive-bombing your scalp and trying to evade your swatting fingers, you DO squeal).  
While the house allegedly offered internet in it's long list of amenities and I had grand plans of daily blog-photo posting, the service ended up being worse than dial-up.  Dial-up people.  I just don't do dial-up (I gave it up years ago along with margarine and spiked belts).  So mercifully, it was a techie-free week.  
Does any one else find bliss in not being able to check their email and voice messages-oh-oops-I'm-out-of-range-reading-by-the-river-so-sorry?  
At any rate, the week consisted largely of painting, reading, wine tasting and eating.  As all good vacations should.



I was lucky enough to find a spare patio table, drag it off to the very edge of the yard overlooking the river and set up a mini-studio.   Absolutely beautiful, exactly what I needed and wanted.  I watched the river slur by at a fast clip and a loud swush, light playing off every peak and unexpected splash.  I sat in the phosphorescent glow of afternoon light filtered by a thousand sheer maple leaves.  I ran down to the water one afternoon, rubber gloves still on, brush in hand, to watch a whole family of wood ducks flitting across the water, the young small enough to fit in my palm and in numbers no less than 15.  I listened to the Stellar's jays fighting over the best way to build their nest, chasing robins off prime materials.  I swatted the fat summer flies and hummed little tunes to myself, the song of oil pooling on a tight drum of canvas, an ode to pushing and pulling neat piles of paint with my palette knife, a ballad of the slick bend of my favorite round brush.
And herein lies the difficulty.  
I have been suffering from an acute case of studio restlessness.  Please don't get me wrong, I love my studio, it is truly my space and I've built something there.  But sometimes I long for a space close enough to jaunt into the house to pour up that second cup of joe, a space that looks out into the trees, a space I can work late into the evening (my studio is not in the best part of town...).  I don't mean to complain, not at all, but sometimes I wish I DID just have it all AND a slice of dark chocolate cake too.

I'm writing up new goals.  I think I need them, printed in bold lettering, in my best handwriting, to clear my head and focus my direction.  I know where I want to be (figuratively), but I need to uncover where I want to be (literally).  But this time of indecision, well, I'm done with it all together.  It's just too exhausting.

I'm making my way.  A bird of bright plumage, buoyed up by the currents of her clan, flying soft across the deep summer moon.

~ Side Note ~
EEK!  It's so tiny, only 5 inches square! I've been on a bit of a kick with these little canvas, so intimate, cradled in my hand, each one a complete thought, like a single sentence in the novel of my life.  I could make a thousand and every one would still be individual, still be able to stand on it's own two feet, but grouped together they weave a complex tale.  In this, painting makes more sense to me than the very molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide that play tag team in my lungs.  

13 comments:

mme. bookling said...

Thank you for these pictures.

jordan said...

oh jeez. i love that little canvas - are you selling them?


and thanks for the reassurance on the sweatpants front ;). your pictures are lovely as always, and i STILL say you need to try out northern saskatchewan sometime - i'm pretty sure that for your awesomely creative mind a whole HOST of pieces would be conjured up upon just smelling the place. it's incredible.

BC said...

"Dial-up people. I just don't do dial-up (I gave it up years ago along with margarine and spiked belts)."

HAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

UmberDove said...

Oh Jordan, I agree, I NEED to try out the farther North (and did you know - I had a painting done several years back titled "The Scent of Eucalyptus," all about the scent of a particular stretch of country highway around Petaluma, Ca? I can't even imagine what the smells of Saskatchewan would do to me!)

And yes, the little guys ARE for sale! They are priced from $85 to $225, and sized from 4" square up to 8" x 12". Email me if you would like some more pictures / specific prices. I'll also be posting more pictures of them here on my blog-o.

Elly said...

Oh wow, those photos are gorgeous! It looks like such a lovely, lovely place :)

UmberDove said...

it IS lovely there! The rivers of the pacific northwest are MAGIC!

Nancy*McKay said...

...no apologies needed...

dearest love...

...your symptoms are classic...

why...

you've a case of...

plein air...

sweet Umber Dove...

jordan said...

yup i totally want. i'll send an email asap.

Shell (aka Songsmith) said...

I adore this post! And I particularly adore that little 5 inch square painting - I think it's time I went etsying your way Umber Dove!

UmberDove said...

That's absolutely it! I've got a case of near-terminal plein air!

Nancy*McKay said...

...& when you start to shake...rattle...& roll...shimmy...& shiver...ruffle & bowl...

over...

high tail it the closest...river or forest...cuz then you got da fever, girl...the plein air fever...& nothin can cure it... 'cept...

iced blue waters & marshmallow skies...
deep pine inhalations & wild berry pies...
jack~in~the~pulpits & jillian plumes...
mountain view windows & meadow land rooms...

& then there's always... a GOOD roll in...

the clover...

UmberDove said...

I'm gonna be shimmy-n and shaking my thing all day to that little ditty, "da plein air fever." With a thump and a bump.



Yes mame, I'm sining it already...

she said...

it's so good to see you doing what you were born to do.

she