Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thank You - Just in Case

Read any Miss Manners column in any paper in the world, and she will extol the virtue of the Thank-You Note.

You've gotten of few of them in your life, haven't you?  And don't they make you feel all warm and yummy inside?  And maybe just a bit more generous toward the sender of that note, like you wouldn't mind doing something nice for them again.  (Unless of course, said sender's mother wrote the note for them, and signed it and addressed the envelope and licked the stamp, and you wonder whether the thank-er even knows a note was sent in their name.)

I - and many other artists I know - send thank-you notes when art is purchased.  I for one appreciate that another human being desires my work enough to separate themselves from some of their hard earned cash. 

Some establishments in the business of selling artwork do not want you (the artist) to know who bought your work.  Fearful that you will establish a relationship with the buyer, the gallery acts a bit the prom queen who doesn't want her Hot Date dancing with any Other Girl. Granted, there are rude, short-sighted artists who have spurned their galleries and had affairs with their buyers. But to assume that every relationship with an artist after that will lead to tears and deception is a bit, well, dramatic, eh?  For those who act the jerk (most likely to avoid paying commissions) it would seem completely acceptable, then, for the gallery to ditch the double-crosser, grab their corsage and go home. Or at least give them a stern talking to.

To those galleries who hold their buyer info with a clenched fist, relax. Buyers I know really appreciate hearing from artists who say thank you.  Having you do it for us just isn't the same.  Happy artist, happy buyer, happy gallery.

That's good all 'round.

So,  thanks in advance to those of you who will be coming out to Celebrate Geneva Patriotism.  This will be the first year for Art on the Green under the beautiful shade trees of the Fillmore County Courthouse.  We'll be exhibiting and selling from 9:30 to 5:00 pm on Saturday July 3rd.  See what some of the area's terrific artists and artisans have been doing.  (And buy!  We love sending thank-yous!)

@ 2010 Private Property, Late Afternoon P Scarborough
Available for purchase and thank-you note!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Art Zoos and other Tips

It's the middle of June and art festivals are in full swing.  This weekend Handsome Husband and I shared a spot in the Graham Gallery tent at Cottonwood Art Festival in Hastings, Ne.  It's a very nice event and we were happy to be there.  Big thanks to Angela Graham for hosting a wonderful group of artists to hang out with, and thanks to tent-mates Nicole Gustafsson, Max Miller, Steph & Chris with Pixybug Designs, and Mary Vaughan for being so much fun. 

Art festivals are a bit like being in a zoo.  People come and stare a bit before wandering off to look at something a bit more interesting. 

To make the whole affair a bit more civilized, Handsome Husband and I created a few guidelines for folks who plan on attending an art festival in the near future.

Forthwith our helpful hints:

Artist's don't bite.  Well, at least the ones I know don't.  It's okay to look at us and say hello.

Resist the temptation to ask the artist if they plan on being famous after they die. Most of us are working on it now.

It's really okay to visit with the artist.  Please understand, though, that the artist is there to sell their work, and while your Aunt Ruby and her purple-ribbon-winning county fair watercolor entry is truly fascinating, we must sometimes interrupt to attend to others. No offense intended to you or your Aunt Ruby.

The artist knows you can't draw a stick figure.  Neither can half the population of the free world, including the artist with whom you are sharing that bit of information.

Please do not allow your jaw to drop or your eyeballs to bug out when you inquire about prices.  Spitting out your lemonade is also unnecessary.  Simply take a slow, deep breath and back away from the booth without bumping into anything with a price tag on it.

Absolutely bring your children to art festivals.  Probably shouldn't let them in an artist's booth with their quadroople-scoop bubblegum pink icecream cone, however.

No, the artist is not starving.  Ha ha right back atcha.

Enjoy your phone conversations somewhere else.  Anywhere else.

Enjoy art.  Don't be intimidated.  It's okay to ask.  We love talking about what we do, and it won't cost you a dime.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Throwing Out the Recipe

After seeing the Landscapes of the Impressionists exhibit at Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha last weekend, I'm really inspired to look more deeply at those things I thought I knew. 

Most noticeably, I'm seeing greens differently.  Where before I would use my "recipe" to make my greens, (a little blue and yellow, more yellow, more blue, a touch of orange...) I'm considering more thoughtfully just what it is that's in front of me. An elm tree is an entirely different green than a cottonwood, which is altogether different than a maple. Each catches and reflects light differently. The challenge is to know which blue and which yellow and which orange to select for each green. For every type of plant life, and there are jillions, there is a sunlit side and a shadow side, a whole new combination of hues to evaluate. Unless it's cloudy, which is a whole 'nuther set of greens. Then there's distance to account for . . . 

Whew, I think I made myself dizzy.

@2010 Sovereign Patricia Scarborough 9x12

Another observation:  there seems to be an abundance of lavender  in tree limbs.  Honestly, check it out for yourself.  And a grey green as well.  The other day I drove myself crazy trying to follow a tree trunk that started out quite light near the ground, and ended up quite dark as it reached into the sky.  Same trunk, different context - what color?

I'm overwhelmed.  In a good way.  I'm excited to tackle the question of how to express just what I see.  It'll be  a huge challenge to stow away those automatic, muscle memory paint mixing responses and pause to consider other ways of dealing with a lavender-ish green-y sunlit kind of hue that I used to read as 'green'.

What did you see today that surprised you?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Best Weekend Ever

Oh, what a weekend.

My brain cells aren't used to that much activity.  I think I have a blister on one.

Handsome Husband and I took some time to skip out of town and spend a few days expanding our horizons.

First off was a visit to Bodies,The Exhibition. If you haven't heard, it's an exhibition of cadavers that have been preserved and dissected, then displayed for our pleasure.  It's thought provoking to say the least.  Not the sort of think you like, exactly, we're still mulling it over. I kept tripping over the idea that this body I was looking at, all opened up, standing there like it was frozen in time, was once a thinking, laughing, joke-telling, dreaming, human being. Having it preserved right before my eyes, unmoving and staring, was a bit jarring.  Yet fascinating. HH and I have a renewed appreciation for the complex activities going on right under our noses...literally.

Next was my opportunity to cash in on my Mother's Day gift.  HH made plans for me to spend some time with artist Hal Haloun. Our conversation was wide ranging, challenging and a true delight - for me, at least. I have tons to learn about painting.  And seeing. Huge thanks to Hal for his patience and kindness.

And as if the weekend could possibly get any better, HH and I spent a fantastic couple of hours at the Joslyn Art Museum enjoying the Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism Exhibit on loan from the Brooklyn Museum.  I have no words to describe this exhibit.  Honestly, I cried.  Right there in front of Edward Potthast's Rocks and Sea.  And then again in front of, well, most of the rest of them.  I still have a bruise on my chin from dropping my jaw in front of John Singer Sargent's Dolce Far Niente. No photograph could capture the richness of this painting. Really.  I checked.  And to my eyes, even more beautiful was A Stream Over Rocks. Nearly chipped a tooth over that one.  It took all I had not to leave nose prints on the surface of the painting in an effort to understand just how the paint was applied. 
Truly, it's worth the trip to see these paintings.

I know, some of you travel the great USofA, some of you go across the pond for your thrills, or fling yourselves down mountains at breakneck speed.  I spent a weekend with the best guy ever, looking at some of the most intriguing artwork ever, visiting with an artist whose work I admire immensely.  Honey, nothing tops that.

Completed earlier this week-

@2010 Plein Air Field P. Scarborough 8x10 oil