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Cancer, Fear, and Strength

This is a picture of my daughter. Two days after she was born. The morning after the day we left the hospital. A couple hours before I got the call. The one where the doctor had to tell me I had cancer.
I had Melanoma. Not a lot of people know that about me. I didn’t tell a lot of people. I was mad. Mad that it tried to crowd out the joy and magic of a new baby, with fear.
So I said there was nothing to worry about. That’s what the doctor had said, more or less, and everyone knew I’d be fine. Everyone but me. I was terrified. Terrified, because I’m everything everyplace says you shouldn’t be when facing melanoma.
I’m fair skinned. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and lots of moles. I tanned every day in college. I burned all the time when I was a kid. I never had a skin check, heck, I’d never heard of a skin check.
I had the realization that I was neglectful and because of it, I was going to die.
If you don’t know a lot about Melanoma, like I didn’t, and you google it, you’ll find everyplace says basically this-

Melanoma is very serious and one of the most deadly cancers. It is difficult to treat. If it spreads at all the chance of survival is very small.

You won’t find anything nice, or hopeful. Like I kept hoping I would. (You should though, this is the mirage of the internet, not the truth. The hope is in early detection, so get your skin checks!)
Mostly you find horror stories. Especially if you are a doctor phobe like I am. Especially if you’ve never had a skin check in your life and didn’t know the importance of one.
Now that I knew what the internet had to say, and what I had done, and that melanoma was real and inside me. I knew I was going to die.

And this is where I saw something I’d overlooked until that moment.
First I saw what the fear of death really looked like. It looked like three small children growing up without a mother. Never knowing how much I really loved them, what I would do for them, how far I’d go, just to see them smile. Or to keep them safe. It looked like my husband having no one to lean on when he needed to lean. No one to meet him half way or understand his pain when one of the kid’s heart inevitably broke. Him having to be strong for three of them when they lost their mom, that they needed, while trying to survive himself.

The fear of death doesn’t look like me, it looks like them.

And so I found the strength. The strength society views as just going on because you have to, until you don’t.

Do you know the idea that it takes darkness to recognize light? If you stood outside in the light of day for your entire life and there was never darkness, no night or shadows, you would see the trees, and the grass, and the flowers… But you would never see the true glory of light. And then one day, night fell. Imagine that first sunrise, the following day. I imagine you’d see the light then.

Strength is the light cancer lets you see. You never know the strength of humanity until you face the true fear of death. The dragged out, prolonged fear that’s there when you fall asleep, and back when you wake up, and you absolutely can’t shake it, because you’ve been handed the C word.
Because let’s be honest, it would be easy to run away and cry in a dark closet until you die. But how would your friends, family, and children feel?
This is why the strength is beautiful and something to admire in humanity.

We don’t live for ourselves, we aren’t strong for ourselves, we do it for the people around us. We do it for the people we love.

This strength is so very much like light, it is woven into the very fabric that holds humanity together. It has to be, because without it, death would break us, the fear of death would destroy us, the diagnosis of the carrier of death would cripple existence.
The strength can be found in hope, and in the fight, but it is present in every moment where we continue on. It is so beautiful, and admirable, and so easy to overlook.
I’ve lost some of my closest relatives to cancer. And I didn’t notice it then, but now I remember it so clearly. It is like a lovely silver lining to the tragedy of the end. It is their love for those that go on, shining in their efforts to carry on, until they don’t. The way they try and hold the fabric of normalcy together. I see it in the survivors of loved ones that have lost their dearest too.

I went to all my doctor visits, got checks and more tests. I had my surgery. Earned the scar. And came out on the other side cancer free. The doctor said something like, “We don’t like to say 100% with any cancer, but if we could…” So, whatever that means. But I take it daily as, “I’m fine,” and actually believe it.

However, I will never forget the strength it took when I didn’t believe it. The strength it took to read my children their bedtime stories peacefully.
To go to a party, holding the baby I thought may never remember my face, and let someone else hold her.
To smile at my husband across the dinner table and assure him I was fine.
The strength that is so easily overlooked.
And this is why I need to do my next series. If we can paint light, I can paint this strength.
This is my mission for my next series.
The strength that hides in the day to day, of everyone touched by the pain and fear of cancer, because we live and die the way we do, so often, for each other.
I want these paintings to be there for the fighters, to let them know their strength is seen. To remind everyone of the bittersweet beauty. This quiet, and sometimes last, stand for love. And to capture the silver lining, so survivors may remember, it’s not all darkness.
I will be painting the strong and their strength.
If you know someone, or are someone who would like to take part in this series, as a model, you can email me.
I also intend to donate a portion of proceeds to appropriate cancer charities.

So there it is! My next big thing! Follow the blog to keep up on the details. You can also like me on Facebook


Nicole Dieckman “The Kiss” Arrives in Indiana

❤ I'm so flattered, I'm glad you like it Amber! ❤ 🙂

The Amber Light's Blog

I am excited to show everyone the beautiful print I bought from my talented and lovely cousin Nicole. Her artwork is on display on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington. The exhibit opened April 1, 2014 and will run through April 30, 2014. Stop in and see the originals on display if you are in the area.

I purchased a 12′ x 12″ giclee of “The Kiss”. She signed it, numbered it (I got #1!) and she even drew a pretty heart to indicate it was sold to a family member!

I am honored, elated and so very happy to represent my Aunt Jeanne (Nicole’s grandmother) in supporting and celebrating her talent, her drive, courage and passion to follw her dream and make it happen!!!

Thank you SO MUCH Nicole for being such a wonderful example of what hard work and determination will result in if you are willing to put…

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You Can Now Afford To Buy a Work of Art by Banksy (Sort Of)

Hmm.. What do you guys think about this guy, trying to make the art market more like the stock market?
My two cents-
If you want an investment you don’t hang on your walls, why not go stocks? But I guess if someone out there is adding value to art, introducing artists to more people, I guess I won’t complain?
I just feel like people are really looking too hard at a dollar sign and not the canvas at this point. If you can’t afford a Banksy, you still can’t afford one in this scenario, you can only afford to be an investor. You aren’t hanging a Banksy piece over your mantle. Banksy seems kind of a bad example though since he might show up on your street corner and paint one on your lawn, I’ll say Hirst. Good luck getting your hands on that. With this Wolf on Wall Street type or not.
But that’s not where you are supposed to enter the art market folks. The art market is not for the elite, or the investors, or the flippers, it’s for the lovers of art and the believers in artists. It’s for the buyers of art. The person who finds Hirst in a gallery somewhere before he’s Hirst and buys his diamond studded skull before it’s a million bucks and displays it proudly and properly for years with that sparkle in his eye that says, “I freakin love this artist and there is no way that one day the world won’t see what I see, and when they do, you’ll know what I really have… A piece worth a million freakin dollars.”
I’m just saying… That’s the person who belongs in the art market.
Maybe I’m wrong.


Have you ever dreamed of wading into the lucrative market of cutting-edge art, but lacked the funds to do so? A new art-buying platform called My Art Invest could help you purchase at least a piece of a piece of art.

The business, which launched an international website last week, is designed to allow art lovers to purchase shares in works by leading contemporary and street artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Katrin Fridriks and more.

My Art Invest founder Tom-David Bastok, a 25-year-old one-time finance student, says that he was inspired to start the business because he wants “to make the art market more democratic.” Speaking to TIME in his newly opened gallery in London’s trendy Shoreditch neighborhood, Bastok says he wants to revolutionize the “elitist” way art has been previously bought and sold. “This is very important for us — that everyone can have access to the art market.”

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The Show is up in three days!


I’m super busy today, getting ready for the show! But a couple notes… I have a few official proofs for prints up on my website-

I’m also planning on having the rest up sometime tonight!

Exciting News!! — I’m going to have a 24 hour pre-order sale on Monday, the day before we hang the show, so friends, family, and blog followers get a chance to get prints before I sell out– So stay tuned Monday!!!

And finally… I have a Facebook page you can like now, if you like that kind of thing. 🙂 I’m not a total Facebook junkie but I know some people like to keep up on stuff that way, so I’ll keep it updated for you guys!

Where humanity’s innocence thrives

Find me over at Timothy’s Blog! And check out his music too!



Today is a good day. An awesome day, a beautiful lovely day. I always feel that way after I get done volunteering. It makes me feel good!
Sharing art with kids is pretty much the coolest thing on the planet. If you are an artist, you NEED to do this. It will change your life, I swear. If you can’t volunteer at a school (which you probably can, most schools love to have professionals come in and teach a little real life lessons) then hold a workshop at your studio or even your house for neighborhood kids.
Remember Picasso and his famous quote about “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.”
Every time I do a class this statement becomes more clear. They amaze me. Every time!
Today we practiced Mandalas. We are making a bigger one later on. This was an intro to Mandalas class. And they did amazing. Each one was so beautiful and unique.


How cool are they? The very coolest. That’s how cool. 🙂 Good job first graders… You are amazing.

Have something to say about artists volunteering? Comment! 🙂

Paramount Theatre – Marshall, TX

Taking a minute out of my day here to mention this awesome blog that’s featured on WordPress today.
This is the first time I’ve used the reblog button since moving my blog to WordPress so I hope I’m doing this right…
But can you say WOW!! The stories of the abandoned theaters in the days of their youth and what they’ve been through since then create movies in your mind of the excitement that used to buzz through the grand spaces, paired with the gorgeous photography of the complete abandonment and neglect of these old theaters.
It’s heart wrenching yet beautiful. It’s moving in a way that proves it is successful art.
I feel empathy for the theaters because they parallel the truth of my own life, all life, and everything in life. Destined to age, there is no escape.
Well done Matthew Lambros; After the Final Curtain. Amazing.

After the Final Curtain

View of the auditorium from the main level. View of the auditorium from the main level.

Delayed and over budget, the Paramount Theatre in Marshall, Texas opened on March 31, 1930. The opening was the first event in what the city of Marshall dubbed “Program of Progress” month. The East Texas Theatre Company, Inc. commissioned Emil Weil, Inc., an architecture firm based in New Orleans, to design the 1,500 seat atmospheric theater.

The auditorium is currently used for storage. The auditorium is currently used for storage.

On opening day the front windows were decorated with telegrams from prominent movies stars congratulating the theater on the opening. The first feature was “Young Eagles,” starring Buddy Rogers and Jean Arthur, and “Brats,” a Laurel and Hardy comedy short. Live acts, including Rajah Vogi, an East Indian hypnotist, played at the theater during its early years.

Sunlight pours in through holes in the ceiling, due to years of water damage. Sunlight pours in through holes in the ceiling due to years of water damage.

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Hi WordPress!

Hi! My name is Nicole Dieckman. This blog is being moved here from, so it’s new to wordpress but you can find older posts from me at the weebly address.

Here’s an intro to me-

Hi there, this is my first blogpost on my artist blog sooo… Awkward silence. (Cough) Soo.. I’m an artist. I have a degree. Yay. No one cares. 🙂 I love art and do it whenever I can, all over the place, like I have art turrets, so my portfolio is just scratching the surface, besides painting I do a lot that doesn’t belong in a fancy pantsuit portfolio anyways… I forgot to mention I’m also juggling three small kids, yeah, literally, I throw one in the air while I’m catching another. ;-).
So, I wanted to make this blog. A place where I can share things I’m doodling and doing. My artsy world sketchbook style, without the stuffy pressed portfolio, resume, and breathtaking bio (yes, I’m that fascinating :-)).
My favorite thing I’m doing right now is working with kids. I volunteer as an art docent for my daughter’s first grade class twice a month and I love it. I love seeing little people discover art. It’s beautiful. I love teaching them the little tricks I have up my sleeve and the magic of little things like mixing paint.


Yeah, I taught first graders that. 🙂 So welcome to my blog. You can always visit my portfolio at
I’m also available for commission, if you need an artist email me,