Friday, March 18, 2011

Who Me? Yes, Yumi...Darling Yumi!

Yumi as "The Painter"
in "Every Painting Tells a Story",
a comedic musical drama based on Romeo and Juliet
at Ciao Bella Caffe Bar e Ristorante

 Hello All,

I can hardly believe it. How time flies. Once again, Yumi Climenson brings her vision and unique persona to Gallery 21 for her annual show. The exhibit runs from 3/9/11 - 3/21/11, and is open to the public daily from 11:00 a.m. to 400 p.m. Gallery 21 is located at the center of Spanish Village Art Center in historical Balboa Park. This year Yumi entitled her exhibition, "Beyond the Light", and dedicates it to, "My Parents and Kazuko, for their Love and Wisdom".

As I walked through the exhibit with Yumi, she shared with me the essence of two paintings which she says, essentially, embody the theme of the show. The first and primary painting, entitled "Beyond the Light", shows a clear brightly lit day where seagulls walk on a beach, and gaze quizzically at two Japanese characters, seemingly, inscribed in the sand. In the background, a pristine jewel-toned wave, lit from beyond, breaks gently on the shore. The characters are alluring and, on second glance, have the appearance of remnants of sea drift objects, sticks awash on the beach. When I asked Yumi what the characters meant, she said, "They say, Peace, Harmony and Love" for her mother's name, which means child of peace, harmony and love. This painting, Yumi says, "represents the natural light that is in us all".

"Beyond the Light" by artist, YUMI

The second painting central to the theme of light, is that of "Seine - Paris", showing Yumi's favorite bridge over the river Seine. This piece depicts the bridge bathed in blue and yellow light from an ornate lantern attached to a time worn lamp post, where three children prance like cherubim. Yumi recognizes that, "The light represented in this painting is artificial, but also important for lighting our way. For this we must be thankful". Yumi, also, chooses this painting because she loves children, and predicts that children are our hope for the future. She, therefore, embraces them for they alone will determine our survival. An inscription underneath the painting reads, "The city lights casting over the Alexander 3 bridge in Paris. This is the 2nd painting of the "Beyond the Light" theme. The statues of children represent our future. Peace on Earth!

And, so you have it, Yumi's vision. The light of nature and the artificial light created by man to simulate. In Yumi's vision, we are seekers. "We seek the Light, we move Toward the Light, and once Beyond the Light, we become the Light. We are the Light". The choice now is what we do with the Light once we achieve it. It is every individual's personal choice...our individual journeys to become the Light. "It is what we do with it that matters". I believe this is what Yumi envisions, what she imbues into each canvas that she touches. The Light that radiates from the vision within her, and pours out onto her brush.

Witness to this are her many paintings that coat the eye and shower the mind with blinding colors of light, as seen in "Dusk in Paris", a shimmering flood of pure golden light at sunset, along a riverbank walkway. A colorful couple walks along the left bank of the river, where the entire city scene is bathed in gold so brilliant, that it bounces off every molecule of architecture, water and space. Seen up close or viewed far across the room, the golden light in this painting mesmerizes and enraptures.

Likewise, "Adieu and Hello", a painted tale of enchantment and mummery as seen at the Grand Circus, is filled with fantasy, fiction and grand performances cascaded with warm citron light shining down upon the players in the center ring. Of this piece, Yumi says, "Life is like a Grand Circus filled with laughter, suspense, running and stumbling. But Light is always there for us to find".

"Adieu and Hello", by artist, YUMI

Her animal portraits convey the same joy of Light with their spontaneity and humour. Particularly enduring to me was one small painting named "Peek-a-Boo"! It is a miniature painting of a fluffy puppy who has shoved his head through a small partition, but didn't quite fit the opening. He is obviously elated with this game, and does not appear to notice or care that his ears are pinned back on the other side of the opening. Absolutely charming, purely comedic and so full of the Light of baby things.

This pouring out and capturing of Light transcended into an unusual venture for Yumi, who recently participated in a comedic musical drama presented by Ciao Bella Ristorante in La Mesa. The play entitled, "Every Painting Tells a Story", was based on the tale of Romeo and Juliet and centered around a monk named Friar Lawrence. In the play, Yumi is the Painter, who paints a portrait of Romeo from the beginning of the story to the final scene, where it is presented. She expected to paint for five performances, thus producing five portraits of Romeo. What she did not expect was the "acting part". The Light of her brush swiftly became the Light and birth of her thespian abilities, and she got quite the workout during the performances. Everyone loved it, and Yumi soon found herself, and her Light, stretched to two additional performances. Seven in all. Seven performances, seven Romeos. It was a priceless experience, in which the portrait of herself became another projection of Light that she had not expected. Happily exhausted, Yumi eagerly returned to the Light that she knows. Her brushes and oils. And, the Light poured forth once more.

Please join Yumi in this celebration of Light, Peace, Harmony and Love. A visit to her exhibition is always an enlightening experience, and a confirmation of Yumi's wish for a better world. A world where we walk in the Light. Most importantly, she believes in the vision.  I have to admit, when I am in her presence and long after, I can see no better vision than Peace, Harmony and Love on Earth. Yumi invites us all to travel "Beyond the Light" and guarantee a peaceful future through our children.

"Seine - Paris", by artist, YUMI

Yumi Climenson lives in La Mesa, California where she paints as an artist dedicated to her vision. She may be contacted through her website at: For lectures, demos and workshops contact Yumi at (619) 697-0465, or by email at:

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2011, all rights reserved

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