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I am UmberDove.

And by that, I mean an artist.  One who hears stories in the wind, who paints because it is what her soul tells her to do, who smiths because the muse moves through her fingertips, who loves nothing more than the promise of an unexplored trail, the sound of the ocean in her ears, and scent of a serious cup of coffee.


A Few Thoughts on Process


Good Morning!
Have you had your coffee yet?  Is the world white around you?  I've been watching with terrible envy as the pacific northwest receives a dusting and friends report they've been sent home from work for a snow day.  Here, a mere twelve miles as the crow flies from the ocean (and they do), the dawn breaks through a world of frost and freeze.  Everything glitters as the sun rises, turning hard crystals into dew.  I'm holding my breath for the snow flurries the weatherman promised, wool cowls and down vests at the ready.
Last night I finished up this ring; an ongoing learning project I've had tinkering about on the studio bench for the last two weeks.  It's about creative DNA and cellular ownership and our very marrow and I truly look forward to telling you all about it soon.  This particular ring fits my finger like it arrived with me from the womb: a sure sign that I must keep it close (to borrow a friend's words: an artist always knows when a piece belongs to her).
But what I'm really thinking about is process.
I'm not the speediest artist on the earth.  Those shows, the "America's Next Artist" type, are the things my creative nightmares are made of.  Now today we're going to tell you what to be inspired by and give you 48 hours to create a masterpiece and make it your own, but really make it exactly what we want to see.  No thank you (although don't get me wrong - I'll chain-watch Project Runway any day of the week and twice on Sunday - mmnn... fashion gluttony)!  I hem and haw.  I look hard, trying to commit shapes, lines, tonal values to memory.  I read.  I talk out things of wonder.  And when I finally sit down to work, I find my fingers make repetitive moves, mundane tasks, patient, patient work.  In that there is always a sort of meditation, a freedom to either daydream or carry on huge existential debates about the subject weaving itself from fingertips.  I sing just a hair off-key.  I talk aloud - crazy woman style.  Sometimes I get lost, lose my path entirely, set aside a piece for weeks, even months hoping that same muse will waltz back in.  Sometimes I catch myself thinking about painting while I saw silver, other times I'm mentally bending wire while spreading sweeping watercolor washes.  And if I'm very lucky, when the final polish is applied, the signature signed, the sealant sprayed, I've learned a fraction more about myself than I knew before.

Today I'll be working on a trio of necklaces in clear, dashing colors and spending time thinking deeply about what my deer painting needs.  The studio is cold these days; I nearly sit on top of my little heater while working and there is always a hot cup of something at hand.
Speaking of that, I think I might pour a second cuppa.

~ Umber ~