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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Musings, Mutterings and New Work

This is a long one.
You might want to refill your beverage.

I had a conversation over Christmas that has really stuck with me over the last two weeks and I feel that I need to share my train of though here in a confessional-sort-of-way.

I believe that part of being an artist is to feel life most keenly. This means the ups are sometimes magically high, laughter and mirth bubble up from your toes and the cup of joy runneth over. But this also means the lows feel that much more potent, crushing and dark. Sadness and frustration steal any semblance of eloquence from my tongue and I sit mutely. Writing in that place is akin to lancing a boil: that dark substance that has inhabited my body but is not a part of me must be released, bled dry, given exodus before I can stitch the wound and begin healing. I do not see this as all negative. Rather I find that the rawest parts of me lead the way to the most profound revealings. Many of my most "important" paintings (edit: important to my self-awareness-development) I've only been able to finish after a near existential crisis which lead me to new knowledge and renewed faith. In the struggle there is growth.

Which leads to what it is I really need to say:

I need the dark confines, those hard pages of my sketchbook to hold my secret murmurings safe. Not safe from anyone or anything, but safe for me. It's a subtle difference but one that means the world to me. As I begin this new year, renewing my focus and instating new goals, I wish to share ever deeper the lessons I learn though this thing I loosely term "art making." But there will be things I can not share publicly in order to maintain a safe boundary around myself and the great wide world. There will be days (as there always have been) when I can not bring myself to engage via the internet because my melancholy runs too close to the surface, and I wish more than anything, to be allowed to feel that genuinely.

I know you understand, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Now, in exchange for allowing me to get that off my chest, I want to share some new work that will be flitting it's way into The Shop pronto.

Our Lady of Quiet Tidings
6" x 6"
Our Lady herself (the original painting!) will be soon residing in the shop along with prints in her likeness. I have always harbored a love for religious iconography of all persuasions but particularly that which has to do with storytelling (creation stories, the annunciation, exchanges between mortals and immortals, the ascension, I could go on). I do not believe that we as humans are the only beings to give and receive messages, in fact, I believe that we can receive our messages anytime we're open to hearing them. I believe the collective wisdom of nature offers the richest lessons in true faith and honest love, and I can hear it all on the trill of a small beak.

Santo DeeDee
4" x 4"
Along with Our Lady, Santo DeeDee and his likenesses will be chirping right over to the shop. And believe you me, he has a trill unlike any other.

Searching the Forest for the Trees
5" x 5"
I don't know that I can live without this one. We had a long talk this past weekend; as I sipped tea and listened to Jeff Buckley and poured out my soul to this little painting, she opened her eyes and saw me so clearly. I need to live with her. However, she also has consented to prints in the Etsy shop, and is ready to view your path clearly when your lashes are too soaked with emotion to see.

I feel quiet inside. I think it's time to retreat to the joy of my filberts.

Peace this afternoon friendlies,
- Umber


John said...

I hear you Umber. Society does not want to allow people to be melancholy. And we are so uncomfortable with its expression that our reactions to it are shallow, and essentially dismissive. Parts of the human are to be hidden deep down as though we are ashamed; that's a shame.

I have immense admiration for those who can give themselves over to feeling in all its forms; I have trouble with allowing myself to feel, so I admire when people can do it so wholly and emerge on the other side full of life and character. Women are better at this than men. Melissa is better at this than me!

Sometimes feelings are not to fix,
they're to feel.

UmberDove said...

"Sometimes feelings are not to fix,
they're to feel."


Absolutely Yes.

And I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but it becomes more important to me all the time, and so I desire to grow in it.

Thank you so much John.

MrsLittleJeans said...

What a beautiful post dovely lady, and whatever the secret was/is, it resulted in beautiful art! : )
I love your little birdies, the others too, but those birds can steal hearts with a glance... Lovely seeing you!


resolute twig said...

I totally agree. i have come to appreciate the high high's and low low's. Fighting them for me is generally not very productive, or possible. Better to feel it, really soak in it and embrace it, and then get through to the end, learn from it. write or paint it, and then discard. then on to the next thing. The good and the bad.

and I love your art. :)

Michaela Dawn:Windy Woman said...

Oh dear Dove, these paintings are majesty, and I am left asunder to your depth in reflective writing/painting/thriving...

You are prismatic and multifaceted like that of dawns light and the sparkling starry velvet night...

You recall me of Georgia O'Keefe {her character, apart from her art} in that you look both to the budding of life for inspiration and also to the bone dense remnants of nature's past lessons....

You are sweet and spice, your work unforgettable... had I the finances to, I would buy all the pieces that have connected to me in your shop and that would have been plenty! But alas dear lady I do not so I will show the world through treasuries instead:)


Shell (aka Songsmith) said...

I just love (and really hear) your words!

Always a pleasure to get a giggle or a prophetic word or two, from you, precious Dove.


Good Girls Studio said...

I feel your passion in this post my dear! I thought I was the only sane person with the highest highs & lowest's to embracing the fullness of our emotions!

RosyRevolver said...

I loved this post, and needed it very much today. The work, of course, is moving as well.

Nellobeth said...

Although melancholy now is thought of as sadness, it used to mean "waiting for inspiration" and was a trait of genius. So be it.

UmberDove said...

One of my very favorite things about this blog business is the realization that I'm not floating all alone, that I do find camaraderie here in you, that out there, across the curve of the earth, know (first hand) just what it is I'm talking about.

I appreciate you ladies (and John too).

MDWW - I don't know that I've ever been paid a better compliment than "You are prismatic." I want that on a t-shirt. In rainbow colors of course. We can both have one, which we'll wear while stroking horsey noses and digging up potatoes.

Nellobeth - I'm just excited to see you here. And yes, "waiting for inspiration." Nothing could really be more accurate.

emmy d said...

"I want you to get into the deep beautiful melancholy of everything that's happened."

One of my favorite quotes from "Elizabethtown." I don't believe we can truly feel alive without allowing ourselves to feel out the full breadth of our emotions. Otherwise we slowly turn into cold, broken beings. Out of the depths we find the sun and the light, our eyes adjust, and see the world in a different perspective. How much better is the day after the sunrise, emerging from the dark of night?!

The important thing is how it makes a difference for YOU. Nobody sees the world as you do.

Kim said...

...sigh...there is so much I love about this post, Umber. Beautifully written. And such lovely new art you have created.

mme. bookling said...

Your melancholy is sexy.
You should definitely wear it more.

lulu said...

Ups and downs, indeed!
though, I admire any artist that takes the plunge and exposes her/his work and life to the world!
(I'm still mustering up the courage to do so - eekkk)

love the newly added little-ones!

Rekoj said...

This post, and the comments that followed lifted my spirits today. To know that I too am not alone in the melancholy distance. Those times when I just want to retreat into my world away from the bubbling ever present perfection that the online community sometimes seems.
Melancholy as waiting for inspiration? My oh my how that little phrase lifted my spirits and made this period of waiting seem not so bad.
Thanks Umber for opening yourself and your blog up to these eloquent flows of thought, inquisitiveness & poetry.

The Noisy Plume: said...

Dear Babe.
Never fear the inbetween. Grab hold of it like you do and let it whirl around in your heart and scrub you clean.

I love you.

More than ever, I believe in you.

she said...

thanks for this, redwood. and also for frank, who is bravery personified, and for all the other art (painted or otherwise) you have hung on the walls of my heart these past couple years. i love you!

Sunny Rising Leather said...

You could not have possibly put it better, the duality of the creative person.
I am worshipping those paintings, they are so amazing....
I like to think of those darkest moments as pearl diving or going into an abyss to bring up a sunken ship rich with treasure.
I find those dives necessary for so many reasons.


UmberDove said...

I think I might float along in this sea of warm thoughts today (pearl diving), and let it carry me back into the studio tonight.

XOX to each of you!

Kristina Sostarko said...

Hello there K... I think John said it better than I would have been able to put into words (makes this so easy now! ha ha) but I totally got your post. :) Your work is so beautiful by the way: I love how your animals are so expressive. Love them! Kristina