Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gratitude 2011

I am sitting here in my comfy chair, pondering the events of our annual  Thanksgiving Family Extravaganza.  There are 2 slices of pie left in the fridge just waiting for me to finish this post so that they – and I - can go to pie heaven.
Our  family and guests have been hugged hello, coats tossed on the bed, tables set, food laid out, stories shared, seconds scooped, belts unbuckled, babies tickled, dishes washed, crumbs swept, recipes shared, and goodbyes hugged with promises to keep in touch.  Laughter still hangs in the air, along with the aroma of turkey and stuffing. 

I'm grateful, really grateful.
First on my list is  always my Handsome Husband. He supports me, helps me focus, shares the bright side to my doubts and makes me laugh. A lot. He inspires me by his patient, kind demeanor, and his desire to be a good example for those around him.

There are my sons. They’re on my side as well. No one makes me laugh like they do. And no one makes me more proud. Being their Mom has helped me become a better person.

There is the Campbell Clan. I’m delighted that they’re willing to come long distances to share a meal with us.
The Campbell Clan, Thanksgiving 2011
To live in the middle of this fine country is a blessing indeed, despite what the news declares.  There is health and home, jobs and friends, a full pantry and knowledge that tomorrow will indeed arrive at the appointed time.

What else am I grateful for?
A good haircut


Belly laughs
Really good art supplies

Warm sun on a cool day

My little yellow sailboat

Butterfly bushes

Colored glass insulators

Clean motels

The furnace guy


An early newspaper that lands on my porch
Friends, including you, dear reader.
Feel free to add to the list. What are you grateful for this year?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Buyer's Guide Part Deux

©2011 Patricia Scarborough  County Rd 2  5x7 oil on linen covered panel  Available at Graham Gallery
Many of you are interested in buying art.  As I recall, last week's post was about that very thing. With an abundance of venues, styles and opinions to guide you, it can be a bit overwhelming. 
In the same way that you would educate yourself before buying a car or a washing machine, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into when buying an art piece for your home. And because I like you, I’m going to help you out.
Knowing some of the language can make the difference between leaving a gallery feeling secure in your investment of time and money, or waking up weeks later feeling doubtful.
Let’s come to terms:
Too many artists, gallerists, and people in general use this term incorrectly.  And sorry, just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it okay.
©2011 Mavis Penney  "Climbing" 3" x 5.5" linocut
The term “print” in the art world refers to a specific kind of creative work; lithograph, etching, wood-cut or mezzotint.  The artist is deeply involved in the actual creation of these works, which involves cutting, scraping, drawing or scratching on a special surface and then running through a press once, or multiple times. A print is numbered and signed by the artist.  The top number indicates the actual number of the print, while the bottom number indicates the number of total prints made. The notation A/P indicates an artist’s proof, which is generally deemed more valuable since it is used by the artist to make changes or to validate the first printing. It is also generally agreed that the smaller number of total prints gives them more value than if, say, 50,000 of them were made since the printing process will degrade the quality of the print microscopically each time it is run through the press.  This is why those prints closer to 1 are possibly more valuable than those prints numbered higher.
This is where it gets sticky.  Many people refer to reproductions as "prints". I’ve noticed that many galleries and artists are among those mis-using the term. Whereas a print is considered an original piece of art, a reproduction is a copy of an original.  It’s a subtle, but major difference. Kind of like the difference between an organic tomato grown locally, and one of these hothouse vegetables grown in a giant warehouse under fluorescent lighting.  Same thing, only very different. 
In that same vein comes the term “giclee” (zhee-clay, pronounced with your pinkies out).  This is simply a French word meaning ink-jet.  Giclee printing, developed in the 1980’s, uses long-lasting inks on high quality paper for fine art reproduction. Many artists are using giclee printing to reproduce their work for those collectors who are interested in a low-cost alternative to buying an original piece. 
Regardless of the way in which it was produced, a reproduction can be run in unlimited numbers, making them considerably less valuable than many buyers realize.
Reproductions of paintings by Patricia Scarborough. Available in greeting cards by the jillions.


©2011 Patricia Scarborough  Fresh Water  5x7 oil available at the Museum of Nebraska Art gift shop. Only one of its kind. Worth every penney.

This is another term whose meaning has lost its way.  Archival means the ability to be archived, or saved in a special place.  When people use the term in discussing the quality of an art piece, they are talking about its  durability, as in how long one can expect it to hang on a wall or sit on a pedestal before age or the environment begin to take its toll and cause changes.  Many works on paper can be affected by the acid content in the pulp used to make the paper, causing yellowing over time. The main thing to consider is this: How long, really, do you want this thing to last?  If you’re shelling out a large chunk of money to pay for an original piece for your living room, you’ll want to know that in 10, 40 or 80 years your purchase will be as beautiful then as it is now.   If however, you are in the market for something to match the curtains in a guest room, ask yourself if the expense of a durable piece of art is necessary, since you’ll probably be changing curtains in the next decade anyway. 
It’s not a huge issue, since the intent is to communicate quality.  The term has become a marketing tactic used by all but the pure at heart. 

Birdbath by Patricia Scarborough  7x9 pen & ink on typing paper .  The yellowing was caused by acid in both the cheap paper and mat. 

Just like it sounds.  You will enjoy texture and quality of color unlike any reproduction no matter how fancy the name.  Originals are quite often more affordable that you think. Plus, you, and only you, get to hang it on your wall.

I’m not saying do not buy a print or a reproduction of a 2-d piece of art you love (whether it's on fine linen or typing paper). Absolutely not. I am saying that you should simply be aware of what you are shelling out your hard earned cash for. If you are covering a hole in the wall in an apartment you’ll be leaving when you graduate, go for a less expensive reproduction by all means. If, however, you are looking for something that will make you smile for the next 40 years and will be fought over by your heirs, consider the quality of the materials and the way it was produced.
 Buy a Jaguar XJ, or buy a Ford Pinto; they both have tires and steering. One will get you there, and one will get you there in style while your neighbors stand by wishing they were you.

©2011 Patricia Scarborough Spring on the Far Bank 5 x 7 oil on linen covered board  Available at The Burkholder Project.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Your Holiday Shopping Guide

With the biggest shopping season of the year nearly upon us, I’m going to add my 2 cents worth and encourage you to buy original art for your family and loved ones for your holiday giving.
Here’s why:
It’s classy. 
Anyone can go to X-mart and grab a vase off the shelf. Anyone can dash past the carrots and celery, through the underwear aisle and past the computers and bike tires to snag a bracelet that says,
"I love you just like a thousand other guys love their wives".
Anyone can join jillions of people milling through stores that can be found in any faceless mall in the world and paw through piles of merchandise looking for that one special thing that says,
"You’re just as special as 10-thousand other fellas”. 
It takes a classy person to resist all that and shop for a one-of-a-kind item for a one-of-a-kind person.
Choosy shoppers choose fine art.

Buying fine art puts you in a class of your own.  Why stand in line at a jewelry counter to buy the same rock or watch or pendant fifteen other schmucks are hoping to impress with?  Do you really want your sweetie seeing her jewelry on some other woman? Investigate a local painter or sculptor who will share a creative vision with you that extends far beyond the reaches of the cash register.
Fine art, whether thrown and baked, framed, sculpted or blown will always, always be in style. No matter what Martha Stewart is doing, no matter who HGTV puts in the screen, you will be assured of having taste.  Think about that before you paint everything according to the latest Modern Copycat magazine. Buying art that stirs something deep within, a memory perhaps, or an idea, will help it retain its interest and personal value long after you’ve re-covered the sofa and your easy chair and yanked the curtains off the walls.

"Honey, let's be different and buy one-of-a-kind, original art.  All the cool kids are doing it."
There are lots of great galleries in your area waiting just for you.  Drop by and say hello, and tell them a bit about yourself.  Let them help you in a way that no bored teenager who would rather die than wait on you can.  They'll guide you to a purchase that will have your loved ones feeling truly cherished.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Review

It appears that finally the gremlins who attached themselves to my blog have moved on to some other poor schmuck's blog.  Good luck, fella.

As promised, photos of my amazing weekend...

That's me, on top.  Dee's floral watercolor, and Harry's lathe turned vessels.

Prairie Winds Art Center in Grand Island, Ne. provided a lovely opening reception for Harry Adams, Dee Rodgers and I for our exhibit, "Nature's Bounty".  Crowds were exceptional, as you can see.  I'm so very grateful to art lovers, family and friends who came out to share the evening with us.  This exhibit will be up until November 30th.

Elbow to elbow nearly the entire evening

While the Prairie Winds reception was winding down, I dashed down Highway 30 to Kearney to prepare for the Museum of Nebraska Art's 2-day Kaleidoscope of Art event.  I joined over 30 artists sharing their creative endeavors with appreciative crowds at one of Nebraska's crown jewels, the Museum of Nebraska Art.  The former Kearney  post office, this beautiful building is perfect for housing and showing the artwork of Nebraska artists.  I am delighted to have shared space in the large main gallery with Keith Lowry, Jane MarieDel and Martha Pettigrew, Pat Jones, Karen Krull Robart, Jorn Olsen and others. 

The main gallery, just before the crowds moved in.

Hey Mom, look!  It's me!

Special thanks to Handsome Husband who kept the home fires burning while I was out peddling my wares. It's a group effort here, and I'm grateful to HH for his support. 

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bad Timing

Well, this is awkward.

I just wrapped up a wonderful week.  Twice I talked with groups about my life as an artist.  It also happened to be the same week  I had 2 major art events scheduled.  The first, an exhibit at Prairie Winds Art Center in Grand Island, started with an opening reception on Friday evening, and the Kaliedescope of Art at the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, Ne opened on Saturday.  Both were terrific fun and I'm so grateful to the many friends that came to share the fun with me.

After all this rubbing elbows and visiting with friends old and new I had hoped to be able to post a batch of pictures. I find that I'm unable to upload anything at all, and I don't have enough brain cells left to string words together that make any sense.

So, it is with great humility that I beg your forgiveness and promise you that I'll post photos of my weekend along with witty banter as soon as I can figure out how to overcome this annoying and untimely glitch.

Until then-