Sunday, November 29, 2009

One Down . . .

@2009 P Scarborough Square 6 12x12" oil

I'm still reeling from our Thanksgiving get together. Hope you all had a lovely weekend, and are ready to embark on the next leg of our Holiday Trifecta.

Leave a message, a comment, or just a sweet hello. Whatever you choose, please, please do not leave any dishes in the sink!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Give Thanks

@2009 P Scarborough Square 5 12x12" oil
It seems as though the Pilgrims did not, after all, invent Thanksgiving.
Nor did they have pumpin pie, mashed potatoes, or cranberry sauce.
A truely American 'melting pot' of holidays, our current Thanksgiving is a collection of myths and traditions handed down and mingled with other myths and traditions.
It's original purpose? To take time to honor the humble beginnings of our country and to give sincere and humble thanks for what people had after all was said and done. Needless to say, the table was barely cleared and the dishes put away before the holiday was "improved" upon by well meaning politicians and business owners.
It's been a crazy year for so many people. Crazy good, and crazy bad. Slowing down to honor a holiday dedicated to thanks is probably the best kind of holiday to have. It was 200 years ago, and it's a good idea today as well.
Maybe the Pilgrims didn't mash potatoes, and so what if they probably had fish instead of turkey? However we celebrate, whether by gorging on turkey and football games, or by lighting a candle in a darkened corner, we give thanks.
My grateful list is long, and includes you, dear reader.
What does your list include?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monumental Bovine

@2009 P Scarborough Square 4 oil on canvas

After a fairly busy week moving artwork from place to place in hopes of snagging a happy patron, I'm settling down to a quiet Sunday evening. For me this means taking the evening off, for you this means you are treated to Number 4 in my Square project.

Pared of all extraneous information the shape and the value that remains gives the sense of a monumental beast. She's just one cow of many in a field that falls within my selected Square Mile.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Create Peace

@2009 P Scarborough Square 3 12x12" oil

After the horrific events at Ft Hood, TX recently, I am humbled in what I can offer.

For those of you who've been living in outer space, a member of our own armed services turned on his own brothers and sisters in arms, killing 13 and injuring - physically - over 30. The emotional toll is deep and it's reach may never be completely known.

It's hard to know what to do now. My painting challenge (thirty square paintings of one-square-mile) seems ridiculously pale in comparison to the challenges our service men and women take on daily - even when they're not under attack in their own backyard.

What to do? I have an inkling of understanding of the admonition to live our lives as normally as possible after a tragedy like this. And do it honorably.

Because there are men and women who are willing to take on the challenge of protecting our country, and because there are people willing to face gunfire - even when it's coming from someone they know, I'll do my part. I'll show up for work everyday, thankful that I can. I'll honor my place in the world, that place that transforms ideas and overlooked places into cathedrals of light and shade. My paintings - and yours - won't keep angry men and women from hating each other, but perhaps they'll offer a sanctuary for hope and peace for a moment in a heart burdened by the weight of living on this planet.

If you paint, sculpt, etch, knit, bead - whatever - keep at it. For all the negative energy in the world, there must, must be positive creative energy balancing that force.

All I have to offer is the result my creative endeavors. I offer them humbly and respectfully, and with the hope that my tiny effort will counter-balance someone else's distress.

I hope you do the same.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Limits On Creativity

Do you ever get the feeling someone's watching you?

I don't mean in the scary sense, like you've got a stalker. I mean it in the sense that certain phrases or words keep making themselves known to you. And they're just the phrases or words that you need to hear.

Lately the term 'focus' has been leaping out at me from blogs and books and newsletters. So much so that I wonder if there's something I need to pay attention to (oh, sorry 'bout that).

It happened again today, just a few moments ago. I received a newsletter from Barbara Martin, author of Reptitude, a cool blog about creative endeavors. Her inaugural missive deals with setting deadlines and other limits for creative effort. And if I may toot my own horn, Barbara mentions Mavis Penney's and my Off The Highway blog which chronicles our 100 days of painting experience as a way to describe different ways of setting intentions - cool!

Ahem, back to focus...

I have noticed that since finishing our Off the Highway project, I've been a bit adrift. No flaming deadlines looming, no one checking to see what I'm up to. I can do anything I want now that I'm all caught up. Interestingly, I' haven't been all that certain what I wanted to do with all that newfound freedom.

@ 2009 Square One P Scarborough 12 x 12 oil

I took my cue from the universe, or whoever it is that's nagging me, and I'm starting a new project. It's all about focus and limits. I'm committed to painting at least 30 one-square-foot paintings of one-square-mile I've picked out north of town. Just like the Off The Highway project, in which we allowed ourselves the leeway of painting anything that could be seen from a highway, I can paint anything within that square mile. To enforce the goal, I announced the project as an exhibit to be shown at The Burkholder Project in March, 2010.

Why a limit on what I can use for inspiration? I became aware that when I was immersed in the Off The Highway experience, I felt a certain freedom to experience more fully what I was seeing when I was limited to the highway. It's called "inspired monotony". If you do the same thing, or a small set of things, over and over, innovation is almost a necessity. It's, well, un-limiting.

Off The Highway Series @2009 Day 57 - First Light Heifer P Scarborough 5 x 7 oil

Marla Baggetta painted 100 paintings using the same simple landscape as inspiration. To relieve the monotony (her selected landcape doesn't include too many cathedrals or fruit markets) she conceived her landscape in startling and beautiful ways. My square mile may not be the most interesting piece of real estate in the world, but I'm fairly certain that by the time March rolls around, I'll have learned a fair amount about what goes on there, and I'll have learned a bit more about painting.

@2009 Square 2 P Scarborough 12 x 12 oil

I'm excited about being limited. It's kind of freeing, in an odd way.

How do you set limits to inspire your new projects?