Sunday, April 24, 2011

Details Details

This week I delivered my upcoming exhibit, titled "Private Property", to it's destination at LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Ne. Its a very cool space and I wanted to make a good impression on the staff. I'd worked for months to put together a collection of paintings that would show not only my skills as a painter, but also my readiness to be on that particular stage.

There's alot to putting an exhibit together.  Creating the artwork may be the easiest link.  The devil's in the details, y'know.

My newsletter went out last week reminding my readers of this exhibit.  Despite my checking, re-checking and double-checking the re-check, I put the wrong date down for the opening reception.  There is no Friday, May 5th in this year of our Lord 2011.  Try Friday May 6th instead. And I assumed (you know what that means) that the exhibit would run from the beginning of the month.  Not so. The very official dates for the exhibit are May 6th (yes, it's that Friday) through June 25th.

Last year I took Alyson Stanfield's advice and made fabric enclosures for delivering artwork.  Made from blankets, they were royal red and leopard print, very hip and cool, because I'm a hip and cool artist, oh yessiree. Alyson explained that delivering artwork in proper packaging was an important detail that shouldn't be overlooked. I scored on that point.  My artwork would be delivered in style.

These homemade slips are hip and cool, however, they are not waterproof. A detail of a detail overlooked. I woke up early on delivery day to the deep throbbing sounds of thunder, interspersed with the crisp rat-a-tat-tatting of hail on the house. Or maybe that was just rain being driven by 30 mile per hour winds. It was hard to tell.

My vision of driving up to LUX's front door looking like a capable accomplished artist took a definite U-turn.
After a bit of fretting and fuming, I realized that there are some details a person can control, and some they can't.  Despite all my whining and griping, the weather falls into the latter category.  The more painful realization was that no amount of nifty red and leopard-spotted art bags were going to out-cool soggy artwork. 

Do you suppose it was bad form to show up with 12 paintings stashed in garbage bags?

Taking a deep, humbling breath, I packed the car with paintings nestled in leopard spots and deep, ruby-red fabric  - and white plastic garbage bags with bright  blue draw-strings. Very un-cool, despite my best efforts to tie the draw-strings in a sassy bow.

You're invited to the opening reception on Friday May 6th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. (If you come on Friday, May 5th you will be 6 years late.)  If it's raining, not to worry.  There's a pile of garbage bags in the gallery's store room. I'm sure they'll share.

©2010 Patricia Scarborough  "Good Morning Spring"  8x10 oil 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

You Can Quote Me on That

There are several quotes I appreciate.  They're exactly the sort of thing I would scrawl out on large paper and tack to my studio wall for both inspiration to lofty purpose and for keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground.

Painting, n.: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather, and exposing them to the critic.       
Ambrose Bierce
(So much for lofty purposes...)

Painting is one thing but art is another. You can teach an elephant to paint, but you can't teach it to be an artist.
Warren Criswell  
(Touche to all you elephants out there who think you can paint just because someone ties a brush to your tail.  If you were a real artist, you'd tie your own brush to your own doggone tail.)

I've never really had a hobby, unless you count art, which the IRS once told me I had to declare as a hobby since I hadn't made money with it.
Laurie Anderson
('Nuff said!)

It takes two to paint. One to paint, the other to stand by with an axe to kill him before he spoils it. 
William Merritt Chase 
(Would this position be under the professional or blue collar listing in the want ads?)

What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit.
John Updike
(I love this quote. Breathing room.  A space where spirit exists.)

The most common form of despair is not being who you are.
Soren Kierkegaard
(Frank Sinatra knew this when he belted out "I gotta be meeeeeee...)

Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.
Roy Adzak
(This should be written on every wall in every art museum.)

These are my faves. What would you scrawl on your studio wall?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Perfect Ten

This Tuesday, April 12th, is the anniversary of Handsome Husband’s birth.

He’ll be 55 years old. Fifty – five. 5 + 5.

In other words, he’s a perfect 10. That he is.

I want you to know about the man behind the woman behind the blog.

Handsome Husband has been at my side for 35 years, so I’m a bit of an expert on him. Even at that, describing him to you will be a bit of a challenge. How do I find words to tell you what a fine man he is?

I could list the many things he does to help, like taking over household chores so I can spend time in my studio, or hauling display panels or attending receptions when he’d rather be home in his jams. What I want you to know is that it’s not the list of things he does that I appreciate so much (and I do), it’s how he does them. Enthusiastically, patiently, kindly, always in my corner, he is the foundation of our family and my rock.

HH supported me fully in making the leap from sometime-squeeze-it-in painting to all-out-go-for-it-full-time artist. He’s the one who encouraged me to leave my paycheck job and follow my dream. Never ever did he say, “Gee, are you sure?”, or “Why would you want to do that?”, or anything of the kind. In fact, in his calm sure way he said, “If it doesn’t work, you can get another job”, in a way that told me it would work. His belief in my ability to have a successful art career gave me the courage to step out into my future with confidence. His belief in me and my abilities has made it possible for me to be who I am.

HH is willing to listen to me talk my way through the issues I’m faced with, whether it’s deciphering a color wheel or figuring my taxes. He readily admits that he doesn’t understand a lot of what goes into either the business end or the creative end of being an artist. He is, however, willing to share a conversation to help me evaluate what I have learned and to figure out what it is I need.

Handsome Husband is the best kind of human being. He is an honest and ethical man, one who believes in others until they give him a reason not to. His goal is to make those around him rise to the occasion, and generously gives them all the credit they are due. He is loyal to his friends and family.

Of course he has his faults. Sometimes his socks don’t match and he’s not bothered a bit by that. He can’t tie a tie and has no interest in learning as long as clip-ons are still being made. He’s been known to fall asleep on me during a fascinating conversation about the difference between cerulean blue and cobalt blue. Shocking, I know.

Happy Birthday Sweetie.  You're my perfect 10.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Delivery Music

Yesterday Handsome Husband and I traveled up to the Norfolk Arts Center to pick up my paintings from their 4th Juried Exhibit.

"Is that all there is to it? HH asked, " Just waltz in, pick up your paintings and head for the car?"

"Yes," I said. "It’s kind of like dropping them off, only in reverse."

"Hmph", he harumphed. "Seems like there should be something more to it than just this."

I know what he means. Simply walking in and walking out seems incomplete. After all, a lot of effort goes into making it into these exhibits.

First off you create a masterful piece of art. Photograph it multiple times. Fill out the application form – completely. Properly identify images on CD. Write or update your artist’s statement (which takes monumental dedication), and bio. Write out a check to accompany the application and CD, and dash to the Post Office just minutes before closing. Then wait for the magic envelope to appear announcing your acceptance into the exhibit.

Hopefully, the next step is to deliver the artwork. Sometimes that involves building a safe container for shipping with another mad dash to the Post Office, other times a drive of several hours for hand delivery. It's a big committment in time, finances and energy.

HH and I believe a little TLC on the part of the exhibiting venue is in order.

A parade would be a nice touch. Nothing fancy like New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade of course. A couple of high school bands, a baton twirler, one of those guys in the little scooters would be fine. The bands wouldn’t even have to play the Hallalujah Chorus, a simple high school marching band rendition of "Louie Louie" would suffice. A couple horses bringing up the rear.

Since some venues might not have the resources to produce even a couple of clown cars, couldn’t there at least be music? Maybe it’s my television-addled brain, but it seems to me that when significant events occur on television (which, as we all know, is a perfect reflection of real life) there is theme music, even if it’s only barely audible. Something along the line of Theme from Rocky  would really set the tone.
If you're really confident about your artwork,  I Feel Good  would be awesome to march in to.  Anything to add to the occasion, something uplifting and exciting to herald the delivery of the next Best of Show and Big Check painting.

©2011 Patricia Scarborough 6x9 pastel  Created to "It's a Wonderful World" in my best Louis Armstrong voice

Extra attention is even more appropriate when picking up artwork after the exhibit has concluded. Egos might be a bit raw if your art didn’t sell, or wasn’t noticed by the judge. At this time, a parade is probably unnecessary since a parade for 3 (Best of Show, first and second runner up) is extravagant by anyone’s standards. However, a small group of volunteers could easily form a line to pat you on the back, congratulate you on your effort, or even chat about the lovely weather we’re having. I nominate Frank Sinatra signing “My Way” ,
or even Tubthumping by Chumbawumba. (Or maybe its Chumbawumba by Tubthumping. I can never tell.)

What extra attention would you like when delivering or picking up? A harpist? Perhaps balloons released upon your arrival. Doves? (Not so much on the birds. There are usually repercussions.)

You choose. How would you like to be treated when you next deliver your artwork to an exhibit?