Sunday, December 30, 2012

Up for the Year

It’s time for New Year’s Resolutions!!
Or not.

I’ve never been one to jump on that bandwagon. My thinking was, why pick one day of the year to decide to do something (or quit something or lose something?  Why that one day rather than any other? Couldn't I accomplish that feat any other day of the year - and without all the hooplah?
What makes the day of January First so powerful that all promises to self will stick?

Poof! It’s January First and I will be very organized!        

Poof! It’s January First and I will lift great weights over and over and run miles and miles and lose 10 pounds and inches and inches!
Poof! It’s January First and I will get along with everyone (even if they’re idiots)!

Poof! It’s January First and I will achieve all the great things I’ve not been able to achieve up to now!
Seems to me the key to change resides within, rather than with a number in a square under the heading ‘January’.

A more helpful  tool, in my opinion, is Christine Kane’s Word for the Year.  Go on ahead and read what she’s got to say. It’s pretty heady stuff.

This is my 4th year of choosing a guide word to move me through the next 12 months.  I can attest to the power and growth of starting a bright and shiny new year this way, having chosen Moxie last year.

Of all the fancy words that could have drifted across my brain pan and heralded change and excitement, challenge and delight, the word that came to me for the next 12 months is “up”.

No compassion, generosity, effortlessness, engaging, gratitude, abundance, growth, creativity, delight, presence, courage, confidence, releasing, trusting, expansion, exploration or adventure.

Up, as in heavenward? (Look up)  Increasing? (Pile up)  Finishing? (End up) Growing? (Up your game)
Up as in eyebrows lifting, mouth curling in a smile, chin higher?

I'll let you know. Looks like I've got something to learn.

How about you? How will you move into the next 12 months?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

More Help for Santa

Greetings All -

For those of you who believed those pesky Mayans and didn’t do the shopping you should have because you thought the world was coming to an end, here’s another helpful holiday list for the artist in your life:
A drawer-full of just what you were looking for. 
A calendar full of dates for upcoming exhibit opportunities.
Determination to keep going.
Everything you need right at your fingertips

An empty wall waiting just for you
Good, solid friendships

 An ego strong enough to keep you going, but not so strong that you go too far.
A pile of red dots
A sense of adventure
Pleasure in simple things
People who are on your side

©2012 Patricia Scarborough.  My last painting of the year.  See you 2012, it's been good to know you.
Feel free to add to the list. Surely Santa can use the help.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Due to general internet problems I am unable to post my usual weekly blog.

You're smart though, and asking how I managed to get this far if I have no internet, right?  I'm sitting at the public library, and as I type there's a 9 year old looking over my shoulder, waiting his turn.

And to be honest, in the wake of the horror in Conneticut just a few days ago in which the lives of children and teachers were brought to an end in a way nightmares are made of, nothing I have to say seems very worthwhile.

Take the day off. Go tell someone you love that you do, in fact, love them. Pat someone on the shoulder.

Connect with a human being rather than the internet.

(Okay, kid. Your turn.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Plumbing and Painting

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.       - James Goldsmith

We’ve had some major plumbing done recently. It involved digging giant holes in the yard with complicated machinery and finally a mound of dirt that they promise will settle.

The bill will be enough to raise our eyebrows, of that I have no doubt.

We’re a lot the same, plumbers and painters. We have expenses that others outside the business don’t stop to consider but which still have to be accounted for. We also have skills that others don’t have but wish they did. The better the skill the better the product, and the final price will often raise eyebrows.

Have you ever hired a cheap plumber? Bet you only made that mistake once. 

Handsome Husband and I will pay our plumber on time and sign the check with a flourish because he earned it. We want water, and we want it in the right place at the right time and the exact time we need it. Our plumber has earned his paycheck.
Into the Woods, 6 x 8 oil, $300, available at Burkholder Project, Lincoln, Ne.
Buy the fine art you love.
Coming Home, 11 x 14 oil, $540, available at Norfolk Arts Center, Norfolk, Ne.
Don't play cheap.

Howard County at Dusk, 6 x 8 oil, $250 available at MONA in Kearney, Ne.
Really gorgeous artwork is also available at Graham Gallery in Hastings, Ne., and Lux Art Center in Lincoln, Ne.

Buy the good stuff the first time. You'll never regret it.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Leaping and Landing

Leap and the net will appear. 
The image connected to this saying is of a lovely woman doing a graceful dive from an obviously high place, perhaps a skyscraper or cliff on the ocean front. She’s silhouetted against a clear blue sky, and made to look like a swan soaring into her future.  There is no tension in her body; her face looks upward with hope and delight. The whites of her eyeballs are covered by confident lids, probably with mascara perfectly applied.  Her expertly manicured hands are gracefully placed to help control her flight like ailerons on a sleek Lear jet. One can almost hear Rhapsody in Blue played as the soundtrack.  True to her promise, a net appears out of nowhere allowing her to land light as a feather. She steps confidently from the net in 3-inch heels . . .

Let’s take a step into reality, shall we?
Fact is, last time I did any soaring it involved swinging from the neighbor’s clothesline pole. Sure that was a long time ago, but I distinctly remember no net appearing to soften my landing. In fact, my landing involved a visit to the emergency room to repair my dislocated elbow. That’s stuff you just don’t forget.
Most of the time leaping, as in taking some kind of risk, is not pretty. There is no mystical net that appears and saves us from smashing our elbows into the ground.

In my art career I have leaped and soared effortlessly. Some days I fight headwinds that leave me feeling like I’m not making any progress at all. Landings have been interesting to say the least; graceful touch-downs and  more than a few thumps and bumps. Every day I hold on to my safe perch and every day I let go. Every day.

There are gaps between the leaping and the landing, and we get to make the rules about how we let go and how we land. Some days we let go effortlessly, some days it's all we can do to peel our fingers from the rail. There's no right or wrong, just the fact that we try. At least in letting go there are possibilities.
©2012 Patricia Scarborough Miletta View 6 x 8 oil Recently Purchased
Many thanks to the kind individual who added a Scarborough original to their collection. That act gives me a little more faith that when I leap I just might land solidly with both feet on the ground.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Not Today

Greetings Dear Reader –

I've often said that the goal of this blog is to post something by 9 pm on Sunday whether I have anything to say or not.
For the most part I am able to rub a couple of brain cells together and squeeze out a thought that I may or may not have known I had.
File today's post under the “not” category.

This is the weekend after Thanksgiving. We had a lovely holiday with gobs of siblings and spouses, with a few young’uns tossed in for fun.  The table was laid out with abundant food and shared with those we love most. For that I am truly grateful.

The hard part is not the preparation, cooking or cleaning up. The hardest part is in saying goodbye to family who, it seems, just arrived. How is it they spent days here and we hardly had time to visit?
And now, because it is the Sunday After Thanksgiving, the Christmas tree has been hauled in from its place in the garage, erected and lovingly graced with priceless, one-of-a-kind ornaments.


After laughing and eating and teasing and eating and debating and eating, eye-rolling and eating, long walks and one last lick of the spoon, I confess I am pooped.
As I sit here in my jams at noon, dining on the remains of our holiday feast, all I can think of to say is, thank you. I am deeply grateful for all of you. And maybe this:  while you're out and about this next month, keep this in mind ...

My exhibit, titled Common Ground, will be at Norfolk Arts Center until December 29th. I’m pretty proud of it.

The Burkholder Project and Lux Art Center in Lincoln proudly display my work, as does Graham Gallery in Hastings and the Museum of NebraskaArt in Kearney.

As for me,  I've got just one more thing to do...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Week in Pictures

Holy cow!!

 Most of the time I spend my days alone in my work space.  I share witty repartee with myself, and win almost every debate.  This week, however, was an exception.  Handsome Husband and I ventured up to Norfolk Ne. for the opening reception to my last exhibit of 2012, with a stopover at the high school for some art class fun. 

My week in pictures -

Handsome Husband and I ventured to Norfolk Nebraska to attend the opening reception for my exhibit titled "Common Ground". I shared gallery space with Omaha sculptor Travis Apel.

Because Travis and I have completely different points of view, I wondered how the two collections would mesh in one room.  Turns out they look pretty fabulous together.
Those who attended were very gracious in their praise of our work. Exhibiting in a place like the Norfolk Arts Center is such a pleasure. The room is elegant and airy, with lots of room to breath. More importantly, the staff is terrific to work with and were very helpful when I needed their input. 

Huge thanks to Kara, Melinda and the board of Norfolk Arts Center, as well as Le Roy and Pat Von Glan, and Jody and Tom McQuillan, for a fantastic receptionMuch appreciation as well to Jaicee, who played grand piano for us. Tres chic.

The next morning I showed up at Norfolk High School to hang out in the art room. Their instructor, Ms Fonder, is an exceptional educator. I hope these kids understand how lucky they are to have her in the classroom. That's her in the back, making sure I don't get too carried away with my demo. 

 An added bonus was catching up with a former classmate who happens to teach at the same school. We look pretty good for a couple of girls who graduated at least  a century ago.

Handsome Husband and I barely had time to toss the suitcases in the door before I dashed off to the Mary Mary Quite Contrary Gallery in Friend, Ne. for a wine tasting event to kick off the holiday shopping season.
It was very inviting to see the lights warming the street on a chilly evening, and a perfect way to wrap up a busy week.
 Like many artists, I'm an introvert and the studio is where I'm truly most comfortable.  However, this last week of travel reminded me how important it is for artists to leave the safety of their workspace and join up with others for camaraderie and support. I'd forgotten how many working artists there are in nearly every city and town around, and I'm grateful for that reminder.
Next week it's back into the studio, with only myself for conversation and companionship.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Art Travels

Now that my painting commitments are complete for the time being I can slow down and see what others have been up to.
Members of our local art club and I ventured out to David City Ne to visit Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, as well as the private collection of two of the founding  members, Anna and Alan Covault.

Anna truly enjoys sharing her love of collecting with others. Knowing this makes it a real honor to have my paintings in her home.

 Covault’s have collected a wide variety of art, always with an aim to bring home pieces they love.
Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, the second leg of our journey -

Anna adjusts a painting in keeping with the museum's high standards.

Current exhibit by Grand Island, Ne. artist Doug Johnson
The museum prides itself on providing an opportunity for the public to celebrate the agrarian roots of this part of the country through exceptional art. A mere 5 years old, Bone Creek Museum is an example of what happens when a community of people with an understanding of the artistic process and a deep respect for rural life combine their unique talents toward a common goal. It's a real gem and worth taking time to visit.
I could snag some great info from their website but that seems silly. Check them out for yourself. It’s okay, I’ll wait…

Better yet, drive there and see it up close and personal. (That I won't wait for.)

It was a joy to spend time with others who understand the need to put their nose right up to the surface of a painting and peer behind the outer layer of pigment.  Technique, style, framing, subject matter…the day was a master class in artistic process.  Just what I needed.
Gentle reminder  -  my exhibit, Common Ground, is up at the Norfolk Arts Center in Norfolk, Ne until December 29th.  I’ll be sharing space with Omaha sculptor Travis Apel.  Our very different styles combine to make a pretty amazing exhibit.  And another goodie!  I’ll be visiting two Norfolk High School art classes on Friday November 16th for a painting demo and Q & A. That should be great fun.

A little teaser to get you interested

The opening reception for Common Ground is this Thursday, November 15th from 6 – 8pm.  Not to worry if you can’t make it, the exhibit will be available until December 29th,  but really, the reception would be so much nicer if you were there.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kaleidoscope Weekend

Greetings dear reader –
If you’ve been paying attention you know that this weekend the gem of the midwest, the Museum of Nebraska Art, is hosting their annual Kaleidoscope of Art event.  This is the second time I’ve been invited to participate.  It’s a heady experience, showing my paintings in the hallowed halls of this beautiful museum. This is the weekend Mona hosts a variety of interesting, exciting artists whose only desire is to help Santa fill the stockings of good girls and boys the world over.
Photos of a few of the artists sharing the day with me :

Susan Leise  fun and functional pottery

Carmela Schnoor hand woven textiles. Btw, I look fabulous in my new hat!

Martha Pettigrew beautifully crafted sculptures and paintings

Jodie Marshall lampwork beads shine like candy

 Dede Elsen beautifully hand crafted woven goods

 Pat Weiderspan Jones had a table of delightfully quirky artful items.

Herm Rauth gracefully elegant stoneware pottery

Keith Lowry and his collection of beautiful atmospheric oils

Sally Jurgensmier , the woman of steel, with her funky found-item welded artwork

And me!

No sooner will Handsome Husband and I pack up and arrive at our humble abode than we’ll re-pack and head for Norfolk Arts Center to deliver my next exhibit, Common Ground.  Whether I’m coming or going remains to be seen.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

What's Next?

Handsome Husband and I were chatting recently about ideas and themes I wanted to explore soon.
 I was tossing out ideas right and left; another painting-a-day series, a highway series, a batch of itty bitty pieces or maybe some great big square canvases would be interesting. Skies, tree rows, open fields, alley-ways or maybe even some still life paintings would be appealing. Oooh! I saw some collages that looked like fun! And there was this abstract piece…

True to form, HH cut through the fog and said, “What’s your goal here?”
2012 Patricia Scarborough 4x6 oil Patterns of Spring

For the last couple of years my focus has been in interpreting the landscape of central Nebraska in the best way I can. My goal was to be prepared to exhibit whenever invited to do so, and to provide the best work I could for these opportunities. I’ve been honored with multiple exhibits to showcase the work I’ve done in this vein. I feel comfortable saying I achieved my intent.

Faced with an open calendar and time to explore, I find no easy response to HH's question.
I don’t have an answer.

I don’t have an answer because this is real life, and solving the riddle of Now What? is not as easy as picking from a list of multiple choice responses.  I don’t get an A for picking the best answer or for impressing Handsome Husband – or you – with my cleverly worded statement of intent.
Whew. This is going to take some thought. In fact, even as I sit here ready and willing to type out the answer to that question my fingers hit the delete button as often as they pick out words to explain my intentions. That fact alone should tell me something.
So, rather than continuing the rhythmic typing-deleting-typing-deleting that I’ve been engaged in for the last hour, how about I spend some time over the next weeks or months pondering this idea.  There’s no deadline to sweat. No expectations other than my own to deal with.

2012 Patricia Scarborough Reconciliation II 9x24 oil
I do know that I want to learn to paint really well. In the end that may be enough. I’ll let you know.
In the meantime:

The Museum of Nebraska Art’s Kaleidoscope of Art event is the weekend of November 3 and 4th. I’ll be there with some really lovely small paintings for you.
My Norfolk Arts Center exhibit titled Common Ground will open November 8th through December 29th.  Opening reception is Thursday November 15th from 6 to 8 pm.
Make it your goal to stop by and see what I’ve been up to.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Getting Groove-y

I love my groove.

A groove, not to be confused with a rut, is a lovely smooth place where one can glide easily through the day. The mind, not bothered with routine details like which hand to grab a spoon with, or which direction to take a walk, can fill itself with more delightful pursuits such as scooping up just the right colors of paint for an autumn landscape. Unfettered from repetitive details the mind can focus on imaginings and what ifs.
My groove has taken quite a beating lately.  Not one single event, but several of varying degrees of importance, have thrown me off kilter. 

I lurched along rather badly at first. Starting this before finishing that, muddling through and around before wobbling toward evening uncertain whether I’d gotten done what I’d gotten started. (Kind of like that sentence.)  With some thought and awareness my scattered stumbling has become a kind of dance, however clumsy and awkward. With some practice and attention I have developed a suitable sort of jitterbug-careening two-step that has helped me accomplish the tasks that I once floated through without missing a beat.
Tomorrow is Monday, as good a day as any to start fresh.  Monday October 22nd. 

Monday October twenty second??
I think it just happened. I can feel the cogs slide into place and the machinery begin to move smoothly. 
Ah the specter of deadline.  The dot at the end of the sentence, the slamming of the door, the raising of the curtain.  It’s now or never.  Zero hour.  Play big or go home.

Here’s what’s coming like a freight train:
The annual Kaleidoscope of Arts at the Museum of Nebraska Art Nov 3 from 11am to 5pm and November 4 from 1pm to 5pm.  This is a terrific 2-day event showcasing over 30 artists with new work suitable for holiday shopping.  I’ve got some real beauties to show you.

  ©2012 Patricia Scarborough 6x8 oil Into the Woods
Available soon at the Museum of Nebraska Art's Kaileidoscope of Art event

Then it’s off to the Norfolk Art Center in Norfolk Ne.  to deliver paintings for an exhibit there with sculptor Travis Apel which opens November 9th.  More excellent work to show you.

Graham Gallery and The Burkholder Project, as well as LuxArt Center are getting ready to open their doors with fresh new work for the holidays as well. Yeah, lots of goodies for them as well.

©2012 Patricia Scarborough 6x8 oil Moonlit
Available soon at Lux Art Center

I got my groove back. Funny how a little panic will do that for a person.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Doggone It

I am riding on the horns of a dilemma. What a lovely place to be.
Perhaps an explanation is in order.

©2012 Patricia Scarborough Spring Dance 8 x 6 oil 
Available beautifully framed at Lux Art Center, Lincoln, Ne., November 7- December 24
Early on in this painting adventure I tried to follow the crowd, painting what the decorator’s promised were the popular colors and motifs. They warned us that if we didn’t paint sunflowers or angels or whatever was popular that year, and in just the right combination of colors, we’d never sell a thing.  When the dust settled I ended up with no sales and a pile of art I couldn’t stand to look at. 
That was the end of that. From then on I painted what interested me in a way that interested me. My ultimate goal is to sell my paintings to others. But, gee, doggone it, if I can’t find that special buyer, I’ll just have to keep my own artwork and hang it on my own walls.  It’s hard to be disappointed when you’re secretly delighted.

©2012 Patricia Scarborough  Spring Dance 8 x 6 oil 
Available  beautifully framed at the Museum of Nebraska Art Kaleidoscope of Arts Event,
November 3-4 in Kearney, Ne.

The dilemma now is that I am ahead of myself. I really, really like what I’ve been painting lately. The little gems that have come off my easel please me in a way that is deep and rewarding.  If I hadn’t promised them already for upcoming exhibits I’d be thoroughly content to hang them on the walls here at home.
©2012 Patricia Scarborough Howard County at Dusk 6 x 8 oil
Available  beautifully framed at the
Museum of Nebraska Art Kaleidoscope of Arts Event,
November 3-4 in Kearney, Ne.

That’s a dilemma I’ll have to learn to live with. Doggone it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Landscape Hunting

Greetings Dear Reader –

Today Handsome Husband and I are off on a shooting safari of sorts. We’re not hunting elk, buffalo or even wild mushrooms.  We’re traveling into the hinterlands of northern Kansas in search of the legendary rolling hills and undulating tall grass prairies that give this area a special kind of beauty.

It’s been awhile since we’ve taken off on a trip like this. Too often lately we’ve been dashing off, hither and yon, tied to a long list of to-do’s.  Not this time. Our goal today is to get off the interstate and cruise the back roads with an eye toward the landscape rather than the clock.

 Copyright 2012 Patricia Scarborough  Country Lane 6 x 8 oil

My goal for this trip is to fill a memory card with as many photos as possible. Consider it homework of a sort, gathering information for a new series of landscape paintings. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. 

What's on your to-do list this weekend?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Solo All Together

I do not understand artists who get together to paint.
It just doesn’t occur to me that a conversation could be had, jokes told and secrets shared while juggling issues of composition, color harmony, mixing paint and getting all the letters into my signature in the right order.

When I am at my easel I aim to be totally focused, either with what is on the easel, or in conversation with myself, or in wiping the paint off my elbow where I smeared it trying not to get it on my shoulder. ( I was close to getting paint on my shoulder because that’s where the painting was headed after it fell off the easel. That is a story for another day.)  I’ve tried it before. It seems I can either paint or converse somewhat coherently but I simply can’t do both at the same time.
I pace when I paint, talk to myself, wiggle and stagger. I’ve been told I whine and sigh a lot too.  
Now that I think of it, maybe it’s not so much that I would rather work alone but that others would rather not work with me. Either way…
In my world creativity, especially of the painting variety, is a solitary pursuit. 

Saturday I ditched the solo act and joined a whole roomful of amazing people. This was my first meeting with Impact, artists living in Nebraska who have made their mark on a national level.  Impact was created 27 years ago to give the public an opportunity to experience the wide variety of exceptional art created by Nebraska artists through a variety of group shows held across the United States. This is a plates spinning in the air while juggling experience; Impact keeps 4 shows with different themes going at any one time. It’s not for sissies.
To my great delight I was juried in to this group earlier this spring. Holy cow is right.

It was a real honor sitting among these highly accomplished artists. Meetings with creative people can be challenging, but not with this crowd. They are exceptionally professional and personable, on task and focused on the issues at had. It’ll be a perfect balance of solo work and thoughtful networking.

©2012 Patricia Scarborough  Bessey's Legacy, pastel, for Impact's Dead or Alive Exhibit
Our first exhibit just wrapped up at Rall Gallery on the Doane College Campus in Crete, Ne. That collection, Impact’s Best, will hang at Mid Plains Community College’s Wrightstone Gallery during the month of October. It’s a gorgeous show. In the meantime, Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Ne. is hosting “Dead or Alive”, art selections created to honor a notable Nebraskan of each member’s choice. You’ve got until the end of November 4th to see who and how each artist met this challenge.

©Patricia Scarborough Broken Tree Line 8 x 10 pastel Currently available at Mary Mary Gallery
Also this weekend I’ll be greeting people at The Pour House’s Mary Mary Gallery in Friend, Ne.  during the afternoon.  After so much conversation and elbow-rubbing I’ll be ready to spend time alone again, pondering the deep questions of which blue to use with which yellow to get that elusive green.

And that’s a perfect balance for me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Goodbye Hello

Autumn has officially arrived.  Today, Sunday September 23rd, the sky is that particular kind of blue that only this time of year can produce.  Nights now are quite chilly,  during the day the sun warms the air just enough. 
The end/start of a season requires a different pace.

There is a quickening that comes from preparing to complete one season while readying for the next.
For me, there is also a need to pause, to absorb the hue of the sky and the warmth of the sun. Soon both will be replaced by cold grey skies and arctic winds of a Nebraska winter.

©2012 Patricia Scarborough  working title - York County View 11 x 14 oil
I see a few more tweaks needed before I delare 'finis!'  It'll have to wait a few days though. It's just too darned nice out.
With your indulgence I will spend the day outside enjoying what may well be one of the more perfect days of autumn. All too soon there will be plenty of time to stay inside being bizzy.