Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Two Cents Book Review

Greetings Dear Readers-

To celebrate a wonderful and enriching month in my art life (fabulous exhibit experience at The Burkholder Project, fabulous workshop experience at Lux Center for the Arts) I purchased a new art book for myself.
That's a big deal because 1) I'm pretty cheap and don't spend money on myself easily, and 2) I find reading about art fairly tiring. It's difficult to write about concepts and ideas, and art books tend either to get bogged down in gobbledygook or over-simple how-to's.

To blow a couple of hours I spent some time at a local bookstore browsing the art section.  Not known for their extensive collection of great art books, I was surprised and delighted to see a title leap out of the stacks at me, "Alla Prima, A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Direct Painting" by Al Gury. Alla prima is a method of painting taught to me by Dustin VanWechel at Graham Gallery a few years ago, and it suits me to a T. 
Warming Glen @2010 P Scarborough 11 x 14 pastel

To the uninitiated, alla prima is a method of painting in which little or no pre-planning is done, and it is not unusual to complete the painting in one sitting.  "Instinct and training are more important than exactitude and predetermined execution.  Suggestion, rather than detail, is used as a part of the expressive effect." says Gury in this beautifully written book.  I'm not much of a planner, in part because I get frustrated when my plans get waylaid.  I'm a go-with-the-flow kinda gal. I'm exactly the kind of person who revels in inexactness.

From Shadows @2010 P Scarborough

Gury starts with a clearly explained history of alla prima painting, which is refreshing in its simplicity.  He continues with concise descriptions of materials and a few demonstrations, all gorgeously illustrated with images of his work, as well as the artwork of those he admires.  I was introduced to a few artists I was not very familiar with, whose paintings are now firmly imprinted on my brain. In addition to Gury's gorgeous landscapes, Cecilia Beaux, Carolyn Pyfrom and Jon Redmond are now added to my faves list.

Consider this my recommendation - if you need one - as a gift to self.  It's beautiful to leaf through, and enlightening to read. 

How do you reward yourself?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

De-LUX Weekend

I'm just getting home from teaching a pastel class at Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Ne.  My brain is fuzzy, my dogs are barking and my heart is full.  What a great time!
It is a great honor to work with students like these, who are open minded and willing to stretch out of their comfort zone. 

I threw alot of information at these artists. We talked alot about color, building space, texture, and when to put the happy couple on the wedding cake. (You may have had to be there to understand that last one.)  It was really exciting to watch them go from making hesitant pecks  to confident strokes, from "whaddo-I-do-now?" to "here's what I have in mind".
A few moments from the weekend . . .

It's one thing to do the work, to make marks that the artist herself understands.  It's another thing entirely to do that while talking.  And making sense.  (That's a big one.) Remembering the why's and why nots of laying color down on a surface and sharing those discoveries is a challenge that every artist should attempt.  It's a gut check of sorts:  Why do I do what I do?  Is there a good reason?  If so, what is it?  If not, why am I doing that thing? And do I need to know why?  Can I just make that mark because it seems like the right thing to do?  All good questions, all deserve at least a moment of consideration, whether you come up with a final answer or not.

Tomorrow it's back to the studio for me, working by myself, figuring out the why's and how's on my own.  It'll be easier, though, thanks to students who challenge me and are patient while I dig around for the reasoning behind my artistic decisions. 
Thanks to all of you dear students, and thanks to Lux for providing a great space in which to create!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tah Dah!

It's a pretty cool milestone for me, Dear Reader, and you as well.
This post is number 100 in my blogging career. 
When I started this facet of my art life, I was fairly intimidated by the requirements, and by the number of posts so many of my more verbose friends were piling up.  To ease my fluttering heart, I promised myself (and you) that I wouldn't add to the cacaphony of the blogosphere by posting willy-nilly several times a week, or maybe worse yet, by posting only when the mood hit me.
I've kept my promise. I've posted once each week for 100 weeks. And to celebrate this achievement, I promised you that I'd draw a name out of my special name-drawing hat.  The owner of the name drawn out of the name-drawing hat would win an honest-to-goodness original P. Scarborough painting.

This 8x10 oil was painted on site at a little pond here in town. It's a lovely little piece, and quite honestly, I'm gonna miss it.

My name-drawing hat also serves as my plein aire painting hat.  It seemed appropriate that it be used for this event.  (Here I am, warming it up for the big drawing.  Wouldn't want to put valuable names in a cold hat.) goes!
The anticipation builds...and the winner of the 100th Post Drawing is...

...Chase!!  Chase my friend, email me at and we'll get the delivery of this lovely little celebratory painting figured out. 
For all you runners-up, I leave you with a cool gift in the way of a link to the Rowe Sanctuary's astonishing crane cam.  It's an amazing view into one of the world's amazing events, the annual sandhill crane migration right here in south central Nebraska.
What's cool in your world?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

One More Week

Greetings Dear Reader-
Post # 99.
For those of you who neglected to stop by last week, I'll wait just a moment for you to catch up.'s toward the bottom...tickticktick...
Moving on . . .
The opening reception at The Burkholder Project was nothing short of amazing.  Nearly 800 people walked through the front door on a lovely spring evening in the Haymarket District of Lincoln, Nebraska. 
The first Friday of each month is set aside for the galleries and art spaces in Lincoln to open their doors for what becomes an amazing gallery walk. After a long cold winter folks were ready to head out and see what's been happening in studios and galleries in the state's capitol. They weren't disappointed.

Huge and sincere thanks to friends and family who drove long distances to share this event with me.  These folks have seen me through my doubts and dreams and I am truly grateful for their support. And of course, there aren't enough thanks in the world to describe the support I get from HH (Handsome Husband).  (Big X's and O's to you!)
@2010 P Scarborough, Late Night Whispers, 12x12" pastel

Finally, I am absolutely delighted to share with you that a piece from my Square Mile Series exhibited at The Burkholder Project, "Late Night Whispers", was purchased by Doane College, a private liberal arts college in Crete Ne., for their permanent collection.  What an honor.  I'm still smiling over that one.

The Fam relaxing after Lincoln's First Friday

By the way, comments for the Big 100 Posts Celebration will close on Sunday March 14th at noon.  That'll give me time to make a big production out of the whole hat-drawing thing.  I'll have to find some drums, maybe some dancing girls and line up a parade for the big winner.
As for your part, well, you've just got to say hellow.