Artist captures messages hidden in the clouds

Tom Lumbrazo's photographs and paintings will be on display at the Downtown Public Library through mid-August
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Nine years ago, Tom Lumbrazo came to a literal fork in the road and took a piece of advice that saved his life. The Roseville resident drove down Highway 65 going 60 miles per hour in the fast lane when he approached the Sunset Avenue intersection. “All of the sudden, I get a voice in my Jeep and I’m all alone, telling me to slow to 35 mph,” Lumbrazo said. “I felt that was such an important voice, I slowed to 35.” Suddenly, a car containing three young men passed him on the right and turned perpendicular in front of him. The two vehicles collided. His chest banged into the steering column and he injured his legs — otherwise he left the accident scene unscathed. “A CHP officer said, ‘Mister, you’d be dead at 60 (mph). I see it all the time,’” Lumbrazo said. The near-death experience led the now 61-year-old Lumbrazo on a journey of self-discovery and the awakening of an artist. In his subsequent quest for the meaning of life, Lumbrazo learned to see hidden messages in clouds and rocks. He captures these images in photographs and paintings, and he’s published two books full of photos. “I think clouds are talking to us,” he said. “I believe everything is alive, even rocks have energy. It’s the same energy we have.” The man sees elves, dragons, mythical creatures, angels, faces, American Indians, hearts and other symbols in the natural world. One photograph captures what he describes as the archangel Michael on a horse killing a dragon with a sword. Through his journey, he’s traveled to the sacred sites in Stonehenge, France, Mt. Shasta, Hawaii’s Big Island, Egypt and Peru. “None of this was planned,” he said. Lumbrazo graduated from Roseville High School in 1966. After college at Sacramento State University and a stint in Fresno and Davis, he moved back to Roseville in 1978. He spent nearly 20 years working as a city planning director for the City of Davis and the next 20 years he ran his own urban planning firm. He hopes the next two decades of his life will be spent capturing the images of angels. In 1970, he married Carol. The couple celebrates their 40th anniversary in August. Lumbrazo said he used to be a pragmatic and business-oriented guy who worked long hours. Following the accident, he kept busy with his job but continued to wonder about the voice he’d heard that fateful day. “My mind is one that I have to have the answers to things,” he said. “So I set out to find out who that voice was.” He began meeting people he’d never thought he’d meet, as if they were pushed on him, he said. He sought out people with psychic abilities to help guide him and he said they all had the same message: “‘Tom, you’re going though a lot of changes and your life will never be the same,’” he said. About six years ago, he started to have visions in the middle of the night and witness odd occurrences — ceiling-fan lights turning on and off, his bed pushed back and forth. Lumbrazo said he’s not concerned about being called crazy. Instead, he feels he’s been given a special gift. “The question is do you follow these messages or not?” he said. “I determined after the accident, I will follow. I am not afraid.” One message led him to Grass Valley where he met a tarot-card reader. Another message took him to Fair Oaks’ old town, which led to a meeting with an intuitive woman in Palm Springs he thinks he knows from a past life — he’s a firm believer in afterlife and reincarnation. He later met a psychic in Sacramento who said he’d soon develop a desire to paint. “I said, ‘That’s it, you’re crazy,’” Lumbrazo said. “The last time I painted was in kindergarten. I have a great affinity for art, but no training and couldn’t even draw a straight line.” Then, out of nowhere, he had a craving to paint, so he bought canvas, paints and brushes. He doesn’t set out to paint any particular design, choosing to let the moment’s inspiration guide his abstract creations. He doesn’t worry about what the painting will look like in the end. His artwork will be on display at the Roseville Downtown Public Library through mid-August. Lumbrazo worked with Lesli Goto from the library to coordinate the exhibit. “Tom is a gentle soul whose work reflects his playful yet healing visions,” Goto said. “He has been featured at the Roseville Library before so we are happy to have him back as his art attracts many admirers.” Meanwhile, Lumbrazo continues to photograph the universe’s hidden messages. In 2007, during a trip to the Incan site of Machu Picchu in Peru, while traveling on a train with a glass ceiling, he spotted the figure of a condor in the clouds — an important animal in Incan mythology. “That made me think and I started to look at clouds,” he said. “If this could be formed, what else could be formed?” Together, he and his wife — an avid reader and researcher — take joy in exploring the messages of the world and capturing the information for other people to appreciate and ponder. “On a personal level, what has happened is a loss of all fear and a feeling of total unconditional love for everything and everybody,” Lumbrazo said. “I really can’t say what the end of all of this will be.” Sena Christian can be reached at ---------- What: 3rd Saturday Art Walk event featuring the paintings, photography and books of Tom Lumbrazo When: 6-9 p.m. tonight. Exhibit displayed through mid-August. Where: Roseville Downtown Public Library, 255 Taylor St. Cost: Free Info: ---------- 3rd Saturday Art Walk: see map drawing 1. Noel Flynn Gallery, 225 Vernon St., (916) 786-0702, 2. Blue Line Gallery, 405 Vernon St. Ste. 100 a (916) 783-4117, 3. Downtown Library, 225 Taylor St. (916) 774-5221, 4. Roseville City Production Dynamics Children’s Art Center, Royer Park, 190 Park Dr., (916) 474-0441 5. Live Media Entertainment, 244 Vernon St., (916) 521-4964, 6. ReCREATE Eco Art Center, 414 Vernon St., Ste. 110, (916) 749-3717 a 7. Image Provocatuer, 232 Vernon St., (916) 474-5578, Participating venues outside map area: Artists of Timber Creek Gallery, 7050 Del Webb Blvd., (916) 774-3888 High Hand Gallery, 3750 Taylor Rd., Loomis, (916) 259-4298, Lincoln Arts 580 6th St., Lincoln, (916) 645-9713, The Place! Gallery, 505 G St, Lincoln, (916) 434-0505, For more information, visit