Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ahoy Columbus

Greetings All-

 I'm just getting back from the opening reception at the Columbus Art Gallery, so these pictures are hot off the press.

Many thanks to the patrons who came in from gorgeous weather on a Sunday afternoon to share this artistic experience with Abe Abraham, Lauralyn Pilakowski, Tom Hubbell and I. 

Abe retired from teaching art at Columbus Community College, and his work is a wonderful blend of styles and subjects.  His students were lucky to have had him share his immense talents with them.

Dick "Abe" Abraham takes a break from visiting with his fans.

Lauralyn uses creates pastel portraits that are sensitive and lovely.  Being a pastel painter myself I appreciate her skills with the medium.  Tom Hubbell's delightful ceramic pieces were a great counterpoint to what was hanging on the walls.  
The Columbus Art Gallery is located on the lower level of the Columbus Library, in a spacious room perfect for showing - and talking -  about art.  It was a pleasure meeting new friends and visiting about all things art.  It was a knowledgeable crowd, which made it all the more enjoyable.

Take a minute or two to see what's going on in the art world in central Nebraska.  It'll be well worth your time.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finding Ourselves

On May 10th, 1944, the young crew of a B-17 bomber joined hundreds of others just like it on a mission to destroy a WWII Nazi aircraft factory tucked away in the pastoral fields of Austria. 

© 2009 Patricia Scarborough  Warming Glen 9 x 12 pastel
Before the day was over, that plane and many more would be hit and their crews lost.  One such B-17 was piloted by 2nd Lt. Stanley Dwyer of Hastings Nebraska.  Left behind were his mother, father, and a sister who would never know the exact circumstances surrounding the crash, except to know that his plane went down, the whereabouts of half its crew unknown.  His only brother, Harold, soon to become a pilot like his elder brother, would ask a simple question some 5 decades later that would lead his family on a journey into their family’s history,  across the Atlantic to the site of the crash to witness its devastating results, and to the stories of healing for men and women on both sides of the conflict.
That question planted a seed which would be remembered a few years later when a devastating house fire required the opening of a long-forgotten trunk holding the physical remains of Stanley’s life.
Close friend Kay Hughes is the daughter of Harold Dwyer, brother to 2nd Lt. Stanley Dwyer, and author of the just released book ,“Searching for Stanley, Unforgotten Hero of World War II”.

Handsome Husband and I are honored to be a very, very small part of the Dwyer’s and Hughes’ search for Stanley.  It has been a pleasure to watch Kay blossom from an already very capable woman into a fierce defender of her family’s history, guide to WWII events, agent of stunning coincidences,  and now published author. 

Harold  Dwyer and Kay Hughes at a recent book signing for "Searching for Stanley, Unforgotten Hero of World War II”.
Journalist Gene Fowler said that writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.  In my experience, painting is the same. Ideas are born and nurtured until they are mature enough to be revealed.  Hours of solitary work are required, mixed with study and research, then more hours of solitary work.  Feelings of ineptitude, sometimes painfully drawn out, weave themselves into the determination to see this idea through to the end. Then there is the unveiling of the product of those hours of work, wondering if the skin is thick enough for what lies ahead.
Kay and I have shared hours of conversation discussing these issues. Her questions have stirred me to understand more fully my creative process. Her determination to write her first book to share the story of an uncle she'd never met, and see it in print, has inspired me to set high goals for myself, and to believe that I will achieve them, just as she achieved hers.
Follow along as Kay and her family begin their journey in the ashes of a house fire and travel back in time to Glasco, Kansas, where Stanley was born. Follow the family to Austria where they sift the earth looking for clues to Stanley’s final moments side by side with members of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.  Then join them in Scottsville, nestled among the wheat fields in northern Kansas, at the family plot where 2nd Lt. Stanley Dwyer has finally, at long last, been laid to rest.
The question Harold asked that inspired this epic adventure?  Chapter One, page 16  of  “Searching for Stanley, Unforgotten Hero of World War II”.  Discover for yourself how a young man who died too young lives on in the hearts of his family and friends.
©2009Patricia Scarborough  Highway 6, East of Hastings, Nebraska 12 x 9 oil

Sunday, August 14, 2011


This weekend I played hookey. 

Rather than spend hours on this blog crafting just the right tone and delighting you with my immense humor, wit and knowledge (caught you, you just looked up to make sure you had the right blog, didn't you?), Handsome Husband and I spent the last two days outside like little kids.

After weeks of nasty high temps and worse humidity Saturday dawned crisp and clear, dry and breezy, a day just begging for us to come out and play.  And so we did.  Tonight we are bone tired, sun burned, and happy as clams.

© Patricia Scarborough 5x7 oil

© Patricia Scarborough 5x7 oil

 © Patricia Scarborough 5x7 oil

Lest you think I was a bum all week, I'll leave you with some small pieces I've been preparing for the Museum of Nebraska Art's Kaleidescope event coming up in November. More details on that coming soon.

There are just a few hours left in the weekend, and I'm going to go squeeze as much out of them as I can.

What did you do this weekend to break your stride?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Durable Art Terms

I love paint, the way it flows and mixes and moves. I also love words, how they flow, what they mean, their rhythm.
Let me get something off my chest.
Compared to solving our national debt problems, using the word archival, rather than the word durable when describing an art item or process is not a huge issue.  Durable seems more useful in describing jeans or all-terrain vehicles than art products, and I get that.  Archival is a cool art word, like using juxtapose instead of next to. We creatives do like our fancy terms.
 The word “archival” means the ability to be archived, or saved. I looked it up. I am also supported by the good folks at AMIEN, a website resource for artists dedicated to "providing the most comprehensive, up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased factual information about artists' materials ", which of course includes proper terminology.
 An archive is a place for saving, like a warehouse, a library, or other safe place where one-of-a-kind items can be kept. Thus, to use the term archival when talking about artwork would mean that you believe said artwork should be stashed on a shelf in a warehouse,  next to a crystal skull or the holy grail or the very first Life magazine. 
Well, of course it could be, but we’d rather you didn’t.
Somewhere, sometime, the term archival came to mean something different in the art world. Supply stores, gallery owners and artists alike now use it to mean durability.  When an artist says, “I use only archival materials”, what they mean is “I use materials that will not deteriorate with time.” It is implied that “time” means centuries, not simply years.  It also implies worth, since no one would bother to archive anything that wasn’t valuable. This does not include the little old lady on the corner who has archived every newspaper, magazine and hamburger wrapper since the dawn of time. That's something different.
What I really wonder about, the issue that artists don’t like to admit they think about, is whether durable, or archival (to join the unwashed masses) is really necessary or desirable. 
Do I want everything I’ve created to last for 300-600 years? Everything?  Isn’t there something to be said for scarcity or winnowing out?
What if I botch a project, then what?  There is a landfill out there somewhere filling up with awful, half-finished art projects (not just mine) that simply will not deteriorate and become part of Mother Earth again, at least not for a very long time.  What will archeologists think when they tunnel into this landfill in a thousand years?  Can you see it now, a group of students and their mentor in pit helmets and cargo pants squatting over a pile of freshly unearthed rubble, carefully swabbing the remains with soft brushes for fear of destroying something immensely important .  Is it a sacrificial pit from an unknown civilization? A refuse dump? A modern Lascaux Cave? Unbeknownst to them, they have stumbled upon an archive of durable, long-lasting, extra fortified throw-aways the artist hoped would never see the light of day.
I use durable, long lasting, reliable, stable materials.  I like the way they feel and how they work. I love the idea that your great-grandkids or great- great-grandkids will someday argue over who gets a P. Scarborough painting from your estate, in part because it was well made. 

And rather than file it away, archived next to a crystal skull and CIA documents from Area 51, it’ll hang out in the open, in a place of honor, to be enjoyed by another generation of art lovers.