Sunday, November 28, 2010

More Gratitude

As I sit in my over-stuffed chair, feet up, tummy full of the last slice of pie from the gigantic Thanksgiving meal we shared with family, I reflect on how truly blessed I am.  It's important to take time now and then to pause and let a moment like this soak in.
I'm grateful, really grateful.
There are the obvious things to be grateful for, of course. There is my Handsome Husband. He supports me, helps me focus, shares the bright side to my doubts and makes me laugh. A lot.
There are my sons. They support me, and eat what's left over. Being their Mom has helped me become a better person.
There is my family, allllll of them.

I've written grateful lists before. Consider this an addendum.

More things I'm grateful for:
blue Skies and calm winds
long walks
cadmium yellow
online friends
jars of paint brushes
stacks of gessoed panels
a sturdy easel
clean drinking water
my laptop
warm thick socks
a good mattress
funky ear muffs
good lighting
home made bread
utility companies
safe, easily accessible medication
time to paint
good, honest galleries
people who listen
zippers that work
templates for Internet communication
hand made Christmas ornaments
comfortable jeans
acceptance - of you, of me, each of us as wonderful and odd as we are.

Feel free to add to the list if you'd like.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


To be painfully honest, tonight I have nothing to say. 
Normally, that doesn't stop me.
I whack away at the keys until something sticks, and then build from there.
But not tonight.
Because lately I've been noticing how much blather there is in the world.  Signs posted on so many surfaces no one bothers to read, music in every corner of every store in every mall no one is soothed by and, yes, blogs by the billion with very little content.
So, despite the admonitions of all the coaches and gurus out there who warn that without my online presence, my presence on the planet will go unnoticed, I'm not going to share anything this week.  I'll take a risk and simply leave a little space where some words could have nestled, a sign could have been posted, a tuneless melody shared. I'll do my part and leave you with some quiet.
Take a slow breath and enjoy it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Getting Un-Organized

It's the season to renew, and I'm not talking holiday diet plans.

By the number of reminders in my mailbox, it's Membership Renewal Time! Arts organizations across the country are reminding me to plunk down $20, $30, even $60 for another year of membership in their exclusive we-only-let-a-few-of-you-in clubs.

The prevailing wisdom is that it's important to join professional organizations to show. . . well. . . how professional you are. 

One priviledge of membership in professional arts organizations is that you, as a member in good standing are allowed to use the initials of that organization after your name.  For instance, signing my name P Scarborough, IAAPPG would show the world that I am a member of the International Amazing Artist's Professional Painters Guild. Proving of course that I am Amazing as well as Professional.

My signature is already tricky enough to scrawl across a painting as it is. 

Not quite messy enough for medical credentials, and not florid enough for signing declarations of independence or anything else, my signature will not improve by adding any more letters.

But I digress.

The importance of adding letters behind a signature is to ensure for Mr. &  Mrs. John Q. Patron the validity and quality of a work of art.  I know this because the organizations with which I hold membership tell me so.
Imagine this scenario:
Mr. & Mrs. Patron are looking at a fabulous painting by, oh, say, P Scarborough.
©2010 PScarborough  Firefly Morning 36x48 oil
In hushed tones, she says, "I love it. I must have it...even if it  doesn't match my sofa".  To which Mr. Patron says, "Of course!  The composition is strong, yet subtle.  The artist is a master of her technique, rendering light with a skill and understanding unseen in other paintings in this gallery.  And yet..."
"What is it darling? " Mrs. Patron responds with alarm.
"There are no letters. No alphabet soup after the nearly illegible signature indicating membership in a professional organization thereby indicating quality."
"No darling.  Without those letters this painting could be, well, un-professional."
And Mr. Patron gently takes Mrs. Patron by the elbow and directs her to another painting, one that matches her sofa perfectly, and has extra letters attached to the signature. "You see, dear?  It's a better piece.  It has letters."
I haven't decided whether or not to renew my memberships for the coming year. It's a risk, not having letters.  Patrons might whisper about me behind my back. They might leave me, unable to stand the risk of adding a letter-less artist to their collection. On the other hand, it's kind of exciting to be a rebel,  fighting the good fight, armed only with a palette, a handful of brushes and a canvas or two.
When did it become de rigeuer to join up? Tell me, do  I need letters?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Take Facebook. . . Please

That's what logging onto Facebook is for me. One low buzzing hum of fascinating conversation about pizza orders, stoopid bosses (reminder: bosses read Facebook), late night crying babies, surgeries (do I know you?), requests for farm aid (call Willie Nelson - please!) and plans for the weekend (I missed that invitation...).

I bring this up because Alyson Stanfield, art business guru, has shared several posts lately on reaching out and touching someone - lots of someones. She believes strongly in networking and sharing our art-based businesses using Facebook Fan Pages. Since she makes it her business to know and share important information about growing an art business, I decided to stop rolling my eyes and play along.

Over the weekend I felt like Sally Fields giving an Oscar speech. After creating a Fan Page, it's important to reach out and "Like" the Fan Pages of others. It's an encouraging thing to do for a kindred spirit. Of course, basic politeness suggests then that they, in turn, "Like" you.  And so it goes.  Build your page and feel the love!

That's me feeling great with flesh and blood Facebook friends.

Despite my curmudgeonly ways, I have to admit there is something to this.

On my Fan Page I get to share with you what I'm doing art-wise. I post, you read at your leisure. No pressure on either of us. You don't have to be a Facebook member to view it either. That's a plus.

Having a Facebook Fan Page shows that an artist is engaged.  We're working, and we're ready to show you what we're working on. You get to participate, quietly if you like, or more publicly if you'd rather by commenting or "Liking". It works for everyone.

Like broccoli, having a Facebook Fan Page is good for me - even if it's not my favorite thing to do. If used judiciously and wisely it will help me share my work with more viewers and, after all, that's what I'm working toward. I'll meet new people and maybe even make a few new friends.  That's cool too. 

So do me a favor, please.  Click on over to my Facebook Fan Page and "Like" me.  Bookmark me and see what I'm up to every now and then. 

You could even tell me about your boss and your next operation.  I'll listen, I promise, because I "Like" you too.

I'm really quite "likeable".