What shall I create for the skateboard this year?

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Two years ago I "doodled up" this skateboard by painting it and adding golden carved leaves.  A furious bidding war took place and the piece raised a good sum of $$ to build McNair Skate Park.  Last year Raymond stepped in and decorated two wonderful skate boards since the project for the king of Bhutan left little time for me.   I've just two weeks to figure out what to create with a new blank board for what has become an annual fundraiser.

Stretching my horizons, heart and stomach

The once-in-fifiteen-year snowstorm happened while I was in Paris....twice...! Traveling is damn good for....everything...!  The opportunity to go to Paris was totally unexpected and lucky-for-me travel expenses were in a large part paid for as I was asked to speak to youth at a business school (one of my favorite experiences from the trip).  My first day in Paris at Muse d'Orsay and my final day in Montmarte were my two favorite days with plenty of goodness (and LOTS of art) in between.  I was struck down by food poisoning one night.  The attack was intense enough that I passed out and hit my face on the way down (in my hotel bathroom) but once again luck was on my side as the black eye from the fall waited until I was on my way home to "bloom."  Although the attack was violent and I was alone, it was rather quick-lived and I was able to recover and resume Paris goodness.  Plus a good friend from home arrived in Paris with her friend at about the same time as the attack so Raymond knew that if I had to be taken care of then she would step up and mother me.  While in the bathroom (for the second time) of the Museum in Monet's house (I was still recovering) I remember thinking happily how I was sooooo inspired all I wanted to do was draw and draw and draw (and then I remembered that is all I wanted to do before I left for Paris).  I laughed out loud.  Happy as hell.

 

Happy Feet off to Paris!

My two happy feet left for Paris after sharing a blissful afternoon with Heidi and Kobi together in this sweet little spa followed by tasty lunch topped off with a walking tour of public art and fresh chocolate factory samples all in their ‘hood. #blessedwithfriends #happyfeet #gratitude

New Year's Day Sledding Party

We love sharing our epic 2 mile downhill sled run with gleeful kiddos and jolly adults. Forty adventurers young and old giggled and screamed their way down our mountain again and again. Momma Nature offered blue sky, sunshine and stellar views, we contributed shuttle rides up (1000 foot elevation gain). My studio a warming hut/party place complete with hot chocolate, warm soup, yummy treats. What better way to enjoy New Year’s day? [embed]https://www.facebook.com/amberjeanart/videos/10155266832299021/[/embed]

Winter Solstice

Darkness brings reflection.  But also, I found myself slowing down more than usual the past few months as my heart, body and mind needed to rest a bit after the intensity of the last several years.  I kept chipping away at all the chores left by both my mother's and Cliff's passing.  Piles of unfinished business.  I read a passage by Louise Nevelson earlier today which totally resonates with me,

"I believe that we can clean our minds out and not carry too much  waste.  Anything that's cluttered is a constipation of some sort.  Anything - a house, a closet.  If it's clear you can put something in it, but if it's crowded you can't put anything in it.  So I always started with that kind of premise." - Louise Nevelson

I have been working - lots - it feels good to be inspired.  May winter solstice bring blessings with the promise of more light.

The legendary Fred Becky (and little o'l me)

Patron Saint of the Dirty Sock Club, Fred Becky dosed my life with inspiration right at the budding beginning of my intoxicating love affair with ice climbing. Super lucky to have shared a few days, a few meals, lotsa stories and some unforgettable pitches of ice with the legend when he was 83 or 84 years old.  He kept after it, climbing rock and mountains for yet another decade before he passed away in October.  One of highlights of the Bozeman Ice Festival last weekend was the screening of “Dirt Bag - The Legend of Fred Becky.”

Meeting Fred and viewing the documentary has spurred me to step up my game - both inside the studio and outside in Momma Nature.

Memorable Thanksgiving (mixing it up)

Two Thanksgiving dinners were shared with my mother in the warm embrace of Raymond's family (which honestly feels like less than a year ago).  But lordy the last Thanksgiving with mom was TWO years ago (last year I celebrated Thanksgiving in Bhutan...!)  Grief induces a weird time warp.  Intensely vivid memories play with weighty emotions.  I needed another totally different Thanksgiving holiday experience. We found it:

Rocky took this photo of me Thanksgiving afternoon at the "Kicking Mule Saloon" - one of several buildings restored and recreated into an imaginative western ghost town beneath the Tobacco Root Mountains.  The ghost town was conceived and created by Kat and Rocky - two lovely warm-hearted inspiring people.  The wooden boardwalk western "Main Street" sits as a full-of-character embellishment between their home and Rocky's studio.  We were lucky to be able to spend the holiday talking art, life, survival and adventure at their awe-inspiring home.  Kat prepared a scrumptious traditional dinner.

Rocky's studio is one of my favorite places to refuel with "art juice."  I've admired his work for decades:

Rocky Hawkins