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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Dove has come back to play

What's that you say? It's Tuesday, today? I think it was about this time last week I donned my hermit hat (it happens to be rather fuzzy and orange) painting apron covered with delicious smears of oil, tights layered with knee socks layered with leg-warmers (I like a toasty sort of day) and closed the door on the rest of the world to live in the ebb and flow of my brushes. I also ate too many Club crackers with avocado, but that's a whole different story.

When I finally emerged, sometime around 3pm yesterday, I brought with me a whole family of new paintings.

I'd like you to meet them.

I think you'll get along quite well.

They sing the river song, the tale of dew in the morning and rain come down. They know the quiet secrets of the field after dark, when the city lights fade and the grass blades morn the sun. They remember the fallen, not in sadness but in respect and appreciation, for in nature none go to waste. They know the rhythm of the season, the bounty of the earth, the resilience of the wild. They mark the days with an eye to the barren aspens and the creeping fingers of snow on the mountain. They are Deliberate. They are Purposeful.

Click here to trot on over to my Flickr site and see the individual paintings in all their glory!

Individually they stand alone, each a solitary chapter in the greater narrative of this last month I've spent living in North Bend. Together they tell the tale of my observations, the epiphanies I've had while walking though these forests, the sights that have caught my breath and caused my heart to skip a beat.
They feel Important.
They feel like me.
They are exactly what I want to say right now, right here.

Oh friends, I can not tell you enough how necessary paint is for my soul, how I would simply implode if I could not put these thoughts down on canvas, thus honoring the messages I receive.
It's so good.

And that's the understatement of the year.

- Umber

* If you live in the greater Seattle area I'd LOVE for you to come and see my work in person! This collection of paintings will be shown at La Familia Gallery in December, with the official art opening on December 3rd from 4:30-9:00 (oooh an extended opening! come for art, me, and snacktivities!) *
** To answer the question (as it's been posed) yes, these guys are available for purchase! If you'd like more information on any of these pieces, please feel very free to contact me at umberdove[at] **

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Finch Named Frank

I'd like to tell you a story.

Once, in a magical mountain town, there lived a dovely little gal who resided in the rainfall and ferns. Every sunrise she would throw open the curtains, pull the shades, bid the trees Good Morning and check on the growing pile of pine cones left on her stoop. She brewed her coffee dark but poured in cream, she bundled up her toes but left her fingers exposed. She would sit for hours in front of the windows, watching crystalline droplets catch the light as they slid down lanky branches and understood each one was a profound message. She noted tuffs of moss poking cheekily though the leaves and stubby fir needles glowing blue at the tip, understanding that they were fulfilling their life's purpose by simply being. But most importantly she watched Frank.
Frank was a bit of a rascal (but that only make her love him more), always being scolded by the jays, peeping in on the gal from his side of the window ledge, and playing eagle games with the chickadees. The rain fell thick, the fescue frosted over, and snow capped the peak of the mountain. The gal worried for Frank: would he be warm, would he eat well, would he be safe through the winter (for these were her own fears, manifested and transfered)?
But Frank showed no fear.
For Frank knew something the gal sometimes forgot. Frank's place in life was here and now, Frank's purpose was to be Frank, and because of that, he would make it. Destiny had no time for fear, and certainly no patience for worry because the path was much too long for that. So on the good days, Frank would shake his umber tail feathers just so the gal would see Joy. He would sing with all the bravado he could muster just so the gal could hear Trust. He would preen and leave one snowy plume just so the gal could feel Hope. For Frank's purpose was to be Frank, but it was also to remind the gal. Day in, day out, Frank fulfilled his destiny. And for the gift of Frank, the gal gave thanks.

"A Finch Named Frank" 5"x5"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Excited Am I?

Skippetty-Dee! Scoopetty-Doo!
Ok, you get the point.
You need to go here right now.

My UmberDove interview on the Seattlest is live and
running and I'm superiorly pleased!
So chop chop!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Followed by a Post of No Substance Whatsoever

Monday, November 9, 2009

And Now for a Post of Substance

What with all the tra-la-la-ing out to the river, gluttonizing on Autumn foliage and giggling over kitty trees I'm afraid you may think I'm going soft around the edges. I'm now here to offer the rebuttal, to convince you that yes indeed, life here in North Bend consists of far more than wooded frolics and 20 cups of tea in one day (although they both happen - really) and being slightly freaked out by squirrels who look you dead in the eye with an "I mean business" stare (also true).

I've actually been so busy, there may or may not still be cardboard boxes in my living room.

** Side Note **
I decided that today needed to be a heeled-boots-and-pink-prettiness day after I woke up, stumbled into the kitchen, opened the fridge and briefly considered eating nothing but 5-layer bean dip for breakfast. I had to nip that in the bud. Pronto.

As it is already November (rubber boots:homemade cranberry sauce:tall knit cowls), I'm stitching away, adding to the greats found here (they're better than goods) and putting secret gifts away for giving next month. Debuting over in el shoppo, for the first time ever, UMBERDOVE GIFT CERTIFICATES! Don't act like you're not excited, because I know you are! They're a positively perfect way to gift handmade love while simultaneously knowing your privileged giftee is picking out their heart's desire!

In painting news, since it's been a precious long time, I've set up my make-shift-Winter studio in the back of the house (the charmingly rustic studio building - which will be the permanent studio - located in the back, has no heat and these lithe fingers must stay limber enough to hold a brush!). I've a plethora of upcoming shows and a large stack of white canvas sparkling in the light, waiting to be created. Last week I kissed a handful of paintings on their little gessoed heads, wrapped them up with tidy labels, told them to be safe, then shipped them out to Florida for a December show (Aqua Art Miami ** whoot!).

The shelves in my studio-room are becoming jam-packed with tiny canvases, loads of 5" squares jostling shoulders as they vie for attention. Leaves and feathers tumble with tally marks and rings, bird skulls, hollow rabbits, and ghostly antlers all share space, simultaneously nodding to religious iconography and the early American surrealist movement. This place is so full of inspiration, I feel that I can hardly scribble down a single idea before ten more are crowding my head. Every time I walk the trails out back I see moss covered maples (totems), ferns pressing upward (arms lifted in praise), fallen birds (tributes to the cyclical nature of life), clouds on the horizon (all that is still hidden) and blazes of sunlight (blessing on my face). I see my lines reflected in the river currents, my words written in bare branches, my movements in the toss and flip of leaves. I often feel torn: it's hard to be inside looking out at all there is to observe, but as soon as I'm out, I only want to feel the paintbrush, solid in my grip.

The longer I sit, the more I think about this thing I do, the more certain I am that my path is steady underfoot. That's not to say it's easy; sometimes the fog rolls in thick and the rains blind me. But I know it's my path, and I must pull on my boots and walk.

Adieu my friends,
- Umber

Shameless (or shameful) Desire

Image by Pet Tree Houses, listed here.

1. I have a shamelessly codependent relationship with my kitty boys.
2. I hate cat decor.
3. I love trees.
4. If you happen to be driving cross country, Florida to Washington, would you pretty please pick this up for me? I can pay you in gin and tonic.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Friday Confessinal: Friday November 6th

*** (this photo is here for a reason, promise - see below) ***

Confession Number 754: I am a terrible lookie-loo. I don't mean to be, but I see such amazing sights and want to really SEE them and I sorta forget everything I'm doing in order to give said sight my full attention. Here's what I'm talking about:

Last weekend as we drove home on All Hallow's Eve I nearly caused my husband to crash our car three times. Each time it went something like this:
Talking talking, mid-sentence...
Silence and WHIP CRACK my head around to look at something outside the window
[BC breaks hard to ensure we're not about to be run down by the ghost train]
"What? What?"
"No, it's okay" I say, "it was just a huge Elk cow standing right over there. I just wanted to look at her. Keep driving, it's cool."


"No, no, I'm sorry, I did it again, didn't I? There was just a buck on the shoulder and he hardly flinched as we drove past. He was beautiful, but yeah, no, keep going, everything is okay."


"Oh! I thought I saw a bobcat! But it's gone now, don't worry about it."

It makes him a little crazy when I do this, but I really can't help myself. Plus my eyesight is better so I figure I should look double and then I can tell him about it. Plus I'm an artist so I tell myself that it's Important and Necessary for me to look at anything that could possible one day inspire me (like today). So maybe this isn't so much a confession today as it is a justification. Yeah. That's right.

*** Thank God I now live in a town with a population of only 3000! I was innocently driving my car along when the neon moose yelled at me (You! Take my picture! Now!) so I obediently rolled my car to a quick stop in the very middle of the road, rolled down the window, hung out from the torso up and took a whole series of neon and fog. Hallelujah, praise be, I was not run down by any angry hipsters in hybrids! ***

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Heart North Bend

Can I photographically gush for a bit on how enamored I am with my little town?

I am the girl who, two weeks into a relationship, decides she has fallen in love. I'm a fool for the turning tide of Autumn, the marriage of cold air and rosy cheeks, the sweep of fog across the valley and the break of sunlight dancing on dew. I walk outside and fill my lungs with the scent of our affair. I fill my hands with the colors of fire and twirl my fingertips along trails of moss. I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to these things and they know it.