Sunday, May 29, 2011

Remember to Remember

Today's blog happens to fall the day before Memorial Day here in the United States.  Rather than add to the mountains of opinions, poetry and essays on the benefits/horror/patriotism/valor of conflict, I will simply ask you to take a moment to be grateful for what you have. Regardless of your political persuasion, please pause for just a short while and honor those who have given so much to make certain the rest of us can live our lives in freedom and comfort.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ode to Green

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was entirely, totally, completely sick of green.
Nebraska is a beautiful state, and despite chants of “Go Big Red” heard at every University of Nebraska sporting event, green is its natural color. But not "just green" like the green out of a tube, unnatural in every way.

To name a green in Nebraska is to name a thousand different colors. Elm trees are a very different green than the green of cottonwoods. Trees down by a river are a different green than trees standing in a pasture providing shade to cattle huddled underneath. In fact, for every kind of tree there is a separate green, which separates again into sunlit and shade, interior and exterior, early spring and late autumn.

@2010 Patricia Scarborough  Refraction  7x5 oil
There’s a particular shade of green provided by the acres of lawn watered unnaturally by underground sprinklers. It’s different from the yards swept by sprinklers leashed to the house by miles of rubber hose which leave corners of sparse dry grass near the street.

garden hose green

Acres of corn provide a relentless blanket of green for miles and miles. Dry land corn, slightly less robust than its irrigated cousin, provides relief, but only of a duller sort.

Call it chartreuse, jade, lime, pea, pine, sage, verdigris, viridian or whatever, in the end, it’s always yellow and blue, with a dash of orange or red for relief. Cadmium yellow and ultramarine with cadmium orange; lemon yellow and cerulean blue with alizarin crimson; any combination of yellow with any combination of blue, with any combination of red in tiny but precious amounts to keep your teeth from grinding together from the sheer green-ness of it all.  After months of painting green my stomach got queasy at the thought of one more verdant summer landscape, regardless whatever clever combination of pigments I came up with.

Then winter set in. Chlorophyll vanished. Whatever was green dried, fell, was swept away in winds from the Arctic Circle. Months passed and all memory of my impatience with green dissolved and disappeared.

@2011Patricia Scarborough,  December, 5 pm  8x10 oil

A few weeks ago, spring came, sneaky at first but more recently like a high school marching band: loud, brassy, twirling batons and flags flying. Did I mention loud? Leaves of every kind unfurl, wave, salute, catch the sun, reflect and refract; green in all its glory.

work in progress, 30 x 40 oil on linen

Welcome home old friend. I admit now that I missed green just a little, proven by the piles of yellows and blues and crimsons on my palette.  I'm refreshed by winter, ready to take on the challenge again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Graduation Day

Yesterday was graduation day in Geneva. Young people bright and shiny from their commencement ceremonies are staring into their futures with bravado and trepidation served alongside beautifully iced cakes, sloppy joes and devilled eggs.

At each home Handsome Husband and I visited to congratulate both the graduate and their parents, we saw familiar paintings on the walls. Beautifully presented in places of honor, some I had painted over 15 years ago. A couple were portraits of the very graduate we were celebrating. ( I’d share the images with you, but they’re old enough that they’re still old-timey photographs.)

I’m happy to say that those paintings looked pretty darned good. Tiny seeds of my current style were there, subtle evidence of the hand of the painter even after all these years. HH and I were deeply touched and pleased that the owners of these paintings still loved them even after a decade of style changes and room re-do’s.

What we artists do is not “just”, as in just a decoration, just something to set off a pretty chair, just our job. It’s something far more mysterious and meaningful, yet difficult to quantify.

The creative act, whether purposeful or not, whether writing, painting or singing, is about tying then to now. It’s about weaving a moment in one life into the heart of another. It is communicating something beyond words and across time. Art in any form is alchemy, changing molecules of paint, voice, fabric or steel into a personal consciousness, a souvenir of sorts. 

©2010 Patricia Scarborough  "Going Home" 6 x 6" oil

I'm so much more aware of that as a result of the events of the weekend, being a part of the graduating of these fine young folk and seeing them into their new lives. 
Happy graduation.  Your life's education is just beginning.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

De LUX Reception

Friday night was the opening reception for my new collection of oils and pastels titled "Private Property" at LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Ne.
Ho-lee Cow.
Huge thanks to the staff at LUX for their dedication and hard work.  The exhibit looks amazing if I do say so myself.  LUX is a classy space, and seeing these paintings beautifully presented was a real thrill.  To top it off, the snacks were delicious. They even managed to get the weather to cooperate.
A sampling of the evening:

These are the fellas to whom I am most grateful. (Thanks Ann, for the great photo!) Their support and appreciation keeps me going.
You might recognize a couple of them from last week's post. 

"Private Property" will be on exhibit at LUX Center for the Arts through June 25th.  Stop in, and spend some time.  See what I see in the overlooked spaces of private property.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Memory Lane

Greetings Friends-

Some of you may have noticed that Handsome Husband and I have been away.  We made a delightful trip to the land of vacationers with Uncle Brudah and Sis.  It was great to get away, and always great to come home again.

The four of us had a great time monkeying around, and reminiscing about old times.  And because it's also just a few days before my opening at LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln, HH and I were also thinking back to my first exhibit there, just a short 15 years ago. 
Because I'm still fairly jet lagged from our trip, I'll leave you with two of our favorites from that very first LUX  exhibit.  Both paintings are of family members, the first our ancient dog, the second our very fine sons at a very young, very hip age.  It's fun to see how we've all changed. 

©Patricia Scarborough  "Bob, 6:00 am"  24 x 18 pastel

©Patricia Scarborough  "Photo Op"  24 x 18 pastel 
Collection of the Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearney, Ne.

Gentle reminder..."Private Property" will open Friday, May 6th at LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Ne. and run through June 25th.  If you can make it to the opening reception Friday, May 6th from 5 - 8 pm, that'd be lovely.
You enjoy, and I'll haul my tired bones to the laundry pile.