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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A serious case of the warm-fuzzies...

... is exactly what's happening in my belly right now.

I may have said it before, but I mean it more and more every time I utter it:

Thank You.
You mean the world to me.

I appreciate you from the unruly hairs on your head to the very tips of your toes, and am constantly awed by your support and belief.  I just sent off our donation to Doctors Without Borders and my heart is, quite literally, brimming with joy.  Thank you.  I'm full inside and bubbling over.

In love,
~ Umber

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Loving Kindness

I do not often discuss matters of current news, foreign affairs or domestic politics publicly, here on my blog.  This place is my little haven and there are millions of other places to read up on the world's turns.

But something about the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan have stuck to my skin in a way that compels me.  Private gestures seemed somehow short, so I spent a deal of time mulling over how to give, and give publicly.

I spent much time thinking, breathing, wishing quiet prayers of loving kindness upon those who need it so desperately right now.  And in that spirit I sketched, then cut, then tooled, then painted, then punched, then stitched and finally photographed these pieces.
Loving Kindness
1.  Because the world needs more of it.
2.  Because acts of kindness, motivated by love, carried out with a pure spirit never go unnoticed.
3.  Because I'm enamored with the idea of a key fob acting as a tiny prayer flag; every time it flips through the air sending small blessings across the globe.
4.  Because I love a physical reminder to pray, a solid prompt to be carried every where, every day.
5.  Because you and I, he and she, and ALL of them deserve it.
There are five key fobs, each sporting a slightly different color-way, each sporting an individual sprinkling of cherry blossoms, headed to the shop momentarily.  I will be donating fifty-percent of the price to Doctors Without Borders** so that you and I can BOTH physically and monetarily send our love and our kindness.

Thank you my friends, for hearing me out and your prayers on wings!
~ Umber

** Doctors Without Borders is an amazing program, doing good across this earth.  The donation from the sale of these key fobs will be an open donation (not necessarily specific to Japan) so that the money can be used immediately and where the need is greatest.

Monday, March 28, 2011



Thy name is Sancho.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Soulful Armor and a Cuff of Hareish Proportions

A broad slice of soulful armor.
A supple weight against the chest.
A reminder of balance between that which we put on and that which we shed.
I've been a bit obsessed lately with this idea.  The thought that sometimes, letting go is the only way to move forward.  That our bodies are so wise, that the release of what is no longer necessary doubles as our best line of defense.  And perhaps most importantly, that we may gift the dust of our bodies back to the earth, not in death but in life.  That the soil of our hearts will grow richer through the detritus of our experience.  That when we open our clenched fingers and let the wind roll over our palms we do not lose anything at all.  Suddenly our breath comes freer and our hearts beat stronger.
* * * * *
A Jackrabbit Totem Cameo Cuff.
For one who has looked deep into the eyes of the wild things and found something that resonates right to their core.
A reminder to leap with faith when the time is now, to trust our own hearing, that clear voice of intuition, to understand both stillness and speed as virtue.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sketchbook Writings

~ From my Sketchbook Writings, Sunday March 20th 2011 ~
(At the summit of the Trinidad Head Trail)
(In the lightest rain the heavens could drop)
Up here the air is thick.  Rich.  Each mouthful a culinary experience.  Up here the wind has tidied her kitchen, taming the brush into an orderly existence, perfectly uniform curves and closely shorn foliage.
I check in on my senses one by one, lest I'm overwhelmed with all this peak has to offer.  When I open my mouth I can taste the sea.  I detect a hint of sweetness from the sugared blooms, each pink saucer smaller than my fingernail, a tang that causes my jaw to clench from the years of detritus below my feet, a chalkiness from limestone grinding away, and finally a bright note that can only be attributed to the ten thousand trilliums raising their holy faces to the wind.  My undeniably human odor is mixed in there too; I wonder if the sparrows sense me on the air, breath in all my idiosyncrasies, if my scent compliments the rich soup of this coastal air.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Third and Final Round

On the Duality of Hope and Hopelessness
On The Duality of Hope and Hopelessness
16" x 20"
Receiving Messages: Wait
6" x 6"
Tribute: Facing West
8" x 8"

Listy listed in the shop...

Which brings me to say this:
Thank you.
For looking, for seeing, for considering the work of my hands, for communing with me what you see in it, for supporting this path I tread in SO MANY different ways.  Art becomes intrinsically richer when shared.

You are the cherry on top.
A big, homegrown, brandy-soaked, crimson red cherry sitting tip top.

None of that maraschino formaldehyde business.
Here's to the waning hours of our weekend!
~ Umber

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Round Two: Smallies Galore

Hear Your Intuition
8" x 8"
Receiving Messages: Hear
4" x 4"
Tribute No 7
12" x 4"
The Virtue of Instinct: Fight
8" x 8"
The Virtue of Instinct: Flight
8" x 8"

Available in the shop right now...

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Bird in the Hand

Good Noon to you!
I'm not quite ready to admit that the morning has passed, but clearly the clock is reading afternoon, and therefore almost cheese-and-apples-hour.

I've been working this week on my 2011 art show schedule - very exciting things in the works! - details to come as the times approach!  In the meantime, I will be offering a selection of my works in les ol' Etsy shop for a limited engagement.  Some of these works you may have seen, some had been offered only as prints in the past, and some are brand spanking new.  The paintings below are the first; I'll be slowly adding to the shop over the weekend starting now!

(Full story-titles and descriptions can be found in the Etsy Listings)

The Gloaming
12" x  4"
Santo DeeDee
4" x 4"
Receiving Messages: See
4" x 4"
Searching the Forest for the Trees
5" x 5"
Be Here And Now
8" x 8"

In other news, BC is taking me out tonight for the Official Celebratory Dinner and Drinks and Hot Tubs!  I plan on lounging in a steamy cedar tub under the open skies with a full belly and a contented heart, letting the music of rain fall on my shorn head.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the subject of post-apocalypse wear

Just a small announcement to let you know:

In the event of a zombie apocalypse (since, according to American media, we are heading that direction and fast), THESE boots will be the first thing I put on.
1.  I can easily tuck my side arm in the left calf.
2.  Stacked heel equals stability when running for dear life.
3.  Solid toe for all the round house kicks I will need to deliver.
4.  Does any body really want to mess with the bad-ass-ery of over the knee boots?

I thought not.

~ Umber ~

The Virtue of a Good Sweat

This may veer in the direction of a confessional.

(hang in there with me)

Yesterday the skies shone mottled grey, the light cold and pale.  My skin felt itchy, stretched too tight, like the suit of me, the one that fit perfectly yesterday, was ready to molt.  My feet felt restless, wandering these rooms without purpose, fingers clumsy with brushes and pencils, my mind a slush of distractions.  I tried to push through in the studio, but found myself back in the kitchen.  I tried to scrub the countertops, but found myself strolling the backyard.  I tried to check in on the last of the kale, but found myself driving to the post office.  I tried the usual quick fixes: herbal tea and a short letter, trolling the property with PierrĂ© grabbing images of black rain and frail new shoots, turning the speakers up high and belting it out.  But after each half hearted attempt, I found my discomfort still firmly attached, my mind still heavy with unfounded fear, foreign tragedy, future frustrations, and pressure of time on the back of my skull.

So I tied my laces tight.  And I sweat it out.

Now I'm not one of those girls who glistens with a pretty flush and can walk out of the gym and out to dinner.  I'm not the type who maintains a well styled coif while covering miles of trail.  
I'm the type who feels sweat rolling along her clavicle, sliding down the small of her back, hair plastered to her ears, breathing hard, skin glowing red.

It's not pretty.
That's not what it's about.

Yesterday I dived in to long, double workouts, back to back, pressing those toxins, those toxic thoughts out through my pores.  I gulped air, sucking in hard, blowing out the muck clinging to my insides.  It was like spring cleaning in my cells, baptizing each one in the salty sweat, then leaving it out to dry in the brilliant light shining once again from my chest.

Afterwards I fairly floated.

Now this morning I can feel each of my ribs, expanding in unison.  The sun has broken through the hail storm and my raspberry starts are shooting out chartreuse.  The studio is fairly singing my name.

What are you doing for YOU today?
And tell me,
any one else out there confess to being a sweater?

P.S. I don't often give photo-less posts, but in this case, I though NO pics were the best pics. Yes?  You too?  Well good, we're on the same page.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Path Less Traveled

~ or ~
A short story of where my feet have wandered over the past two weeks.
I left the wilderness of the North in a flurry of snow; unheard of drifts piled along these ocean highways, pristine crystal structures glinting in turn as they fell fast and thick, then melted in a blaze of sun.  As the ice clung I drove slow, mesmerized: This winter I've been touched with a sort of reverse seasonal affect disorder - a slight panic with the lack of cold, a deep desire to see fat flakes dusting the earth, a pining for the ache of cold that reminds us just how alive we are.  In truth, I've prayed for winter to touch down on this coastal town.  And on the day I drove out, the day I finished radiation, the snow fell and I laughed out loud, childlike in sheer delight.  I felt like Noah seeing the rainbow, the dove returning with the branch.  As though the snow was my very own promise of life after the flood.
* * * * *
Two words: sugar coma.  And red dye number 40 be damned, but that cake quite literally took the cake, reducing a gaggle of grown women to squealing and clapping like preschoolers at a roller skating party.  A party with lemon drops made by the pitcher that is.  Nothing like getting tipsy with the fam, eh?
* * * * *
I played with fire.
I smacked hammers.
I snuggled with the studio mascot.
The truth is, I am ever hungry to learn, hungry to explore new art forms and determine if and how they compliment and inform my own art.  I never want to grow stale, trapped in the verbiage of labels ("I am a painter" or "I am a seamstress."  No, I am a free ARTIST, and the song of my soul is as complex as the movements of my fingertips and the truth I seek is the translation of the message written on my heart).
* * * * *
In the expanse of coming Spring, I stretch out my fingers and feel only sunshine.  There is peace cultivated here, heart-space, head-space, space to expand my ribcage wide, space to feel the beating of my living.  All nature intrinsically knows the globe turns, the seasons come, and the sun will warm our bones.
* * * * *
Over the course of two weeks I felt the chill of snow numbing my toes, the wind whipping my skirts into an inappropriate frenzy, the rain thundering, rainbows spanning the skies and the turn of the tide as bare skin answered the call of the spring.  The day I drove out, the hillsides grew lush and the sky flushed cobalt, cumulous clouds hung like accessories.

I can hardly believe it's already been two weeks.  Today the rain is pouring down sideways, a purr machine is flicking his tail on my lap and my house feels like Sunday.  I'm home.  And I've missed you like the dickens.  Let's make some magic, ok?

~ Umber ~