Sunday, February 26, 2012

Finding Truth

Ugh. As I sit down to write this post Syria is going to war against its own citizens. Journalists have been killed; innocent civilians by unknown numbers have been murdered by their own government. There is no end in sight.
Our president is apologizing for a boneheaded mistake by our military, and those who were offended are themselves offending in retaliation.
A woman living near my town is accused of murdering her husband. Someone left the scene of a terrible accident. Children leave school with backpacks full of food for the weekend because the cupboards at home are empty.
Often I wonder: Am I lame for painting pretty pictures? As an artist, isn’t it my job to pull back the curtain and reveal to the world the truth?  Shouldn't I be bearing a harder burden?
Truth is life on this planet can get pretty ugly. It is also true that we as humans are woven together not just by tragedy, but by shared joy, by experiences of common delight and wonder. The sun rises and burns through mist on the horizon revealing the earth patiently waiting on us humans to get our act together. Trees rise from verdant fields with arms that spread wide and envelope us under shared memories, worries and hopes.
If it is important that we understand how depraved a human being can be, it is also important to express the magnificence of our every day-ness.

©2012 Patricia Scarborough  Fullness of Summer 30 x 40 oil
During the opening reception for Land Marks at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Ne, many patrons shared warm feelings inspired by my paintings. Memories of kicking dirt on county roads, camping out in the pasture by the creek, watching the sun rise over a fresh new day.
I, and others like me, do pull the curtain back to reveal the truth, which is that while we humans can be a pretty nasty bunch, this planet is a place of wonder. HH just said to me, "your work is a time out, a precious moment to forget about all the ugliness around me and to enjoy a calm pause in my day." Thanks Sweetie.
To connect with another human being in an emotional way, to thread experiences together of a kinder place, to share that truth, is a burden I am willing to bear.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Land Marks and other Events

What a weekend!

As you recall, the festivities began with the opening reception for the “Wings Over the Platte” Juried Exhibition and Sale, and my Featured Artist Exhibit, “Land Marks”.

Stuhr Museum knows how to treat a crowd. Chocolate was flowing, roses were given out and the exhibit was beautifully hung.  Congratulations to those artists who won awards at the "Wings" exhibit.  There was so much beautiful art expressing a deep appreciation of the Platte River and the wildlife that inhabits this area.

Thanks to all the patrons who came out to greet me and purchase paintings. I’m still grinning like a nut. 

A sampling of the evening ...

The central display room of the Stuhr Building is elegant.  The "Wings Over the Platte" exhibit is hung in this room.

Just in case you weren't sure where you were ...

A few quiet moments before the crowds rolled in...

 Sharing a laugh with fellow artists Sheila and Jane...

crowds were substantial, and very appreciative...

Huge thanks to Lynn, good friend and reception photographer...

Four paintings so far have found new homes with lovely people. I can’t tell you how really happy I am about that. Knowing my work is appreciated and will be taken care of means a lot.

In addition to reveling in friendships new and old at Stuhr, I enjoyed a quick trip out to San Francisco to share in a wedding celebration between two very wonderful people.

I was a tourist of the first order, going so far as to make a dash out on the beach to stick my hand in the ocean despite chilly 45 mph winds and a raging surf. I may have even made squealing sounds as the tide rushed in and I rushed away to avoid getting soaked. I walked around with my neck craned and my mouth wide open absolutely enjoying every aspect of our tour of the city.
So, that was my weekend. What did you do?

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Greetings Dear Reader-

As you recall, I will be posting later than usual this week.  My review of "Wings Over the Platte", including photos of the opening reception for "Land Marks" will be posted on Tuesday.

Looking forward to seeing you then-

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Land Mark Event

Greetings Dear Reader-

The countdown has begun.

What seems like an eternity ago, I was selected to be the Featured Artist at Wings Over the Platte, a juried art exhibit and sale at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska, dedicated to sharing the wildlife and rich environs of the Platte River which threads its way through Nebraska.

©2011 Patricia Scarborough  Windswept  9x12 pastel

So, right off the bat, let me tell you that my pastel painting, "Windswept", was selected to be a part of the juried exhibit. Additionally I will be sharing over 30 paintings in my featured show, "Land Marks".  Pretty heady stuff.

Thanks to the good folks at for the photograph
The Platte is a particulary beautiful river, "one mile wide and one mile deep", so we Nebraskan's say. Then we wink and add with a smile, "it's just that it's filled with sand".  Currents of the river braid themselves through and around rich agricultural land, providing water and food for an amazing array of wildlife.  Literally millions of birds will settle for several weeks in the safety of shallow water on their migratory journey, saving strength and gaining reserves for the long trek home.

Especially fascinating are the Sandhill cranes.  Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, these magnificent birds fill the air with their strange trumpeting, and delight viewers with their amazing dance moves.  Many sites up and down the river celebrate their return, including Stuhr Museum.

In just a few more days "Wings Over the Platte", and my exhibit, "Land Marks", will open to the public.  I have spent the last year painting with this day in mind. Ready or not, here I go.

Just for fun, here are some tidbits to tempt you.

©2011 Patricia Scarborough  Broken Tree Line 9x12 pastel 

 ©2011 Patricia Scarborough  Early Morning Spring 6x9 pastel

©2011 Patricia Scarborough  Platte River Recharge  9x12 oil
"Land Marks", and "Wings Over the Platte" open with a reception and chocolate bar for Stuhr members this Thursday, February 16th from 6 - 8 pm.    Another reception open to the public will be held on the last day of the show, Sunday April 1st from 2-4:00 pm.

Please come say hello!

The good folks at Stuhr are also working with Nebraska Nature Center to host other crane watching activities and art-related events. I've got the details listed in the side bar.  Special thanks to Nebraska Arts Council for helping to fund these activities. 

Stuhr hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, 12:00 to 5:00 pm on Sunday.

Grab a jacket, your binoculars and camera, and come on out to central Nebraska and witness one of nature's great events, then take a break and stop by Stuhr Museum to see how artists respond. 

See you on the river!

(Next week I'll be posting late. It's going to be a fun-filled, bizzy bizzy weekend, but I really really want to post photos of the chocolate bar and opening reception. Look for my post on Tuesday!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Same Thing Only Different

Back when I was in 3rd grade we were initiated into the world of maps and geography. It was year to study the Fifty Nifty Yoo-nited States.  On a map pulled down like a heavy window shade our teacher would reveal our country to us in rainbow of hues; Nebraska was green, South Dakota was pretty pink,Iowa daffodil yellow.

As a  child who relied on adults for most of my information about the world, you can imagine my surprise to find out, as a 4th grader crossing the Mighty Missouri into Iowa on vacation, that the Missouri River was not bright blue nor very mighty, and Iowa was not, in fact, a pretty shade of yellow.

I felt a little of that even last week as Handsome Husband and I jetted across the central United States on our way to a conference in Phoenix, Az. As we flew thousands of feet above the earth I looked vainly for those large black dots indicating cities, the dotted and dashed lines showing boundaries, and yes, the subtle but sure colors that would differentiate Nebraska, Colorado, and Arizona. It’s a concept that gets filed with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Hairy Scratch, which is to say that some of us agree not to talk about it in the presence of others, but we know inside it’s real.

While HH was busy at his conference I walked the downtown Phoenix area and marveled at how beautiful that part of the city was. Together  we enjoyed browsing through  Scottsdale galleries filled with stunning landscapes, abstracts and sculptures.  We were both delighted at the color and vibrant brushwork of a collection of Russian Impressionist paintings, and equally intrigued in how current artists view our modern world.

Of course, we managed to do a bit of tourist-y sightseeing as well...

In the land of summer all year long the contrast between metropolitan living and my hometown was vast. Our hotel probably employed more people than populate our entire community.
Yet there were some amazing similarities...

Both Arizona and Nebraska have lovely trees...

. . . both Phoenix and Geneva have government buildings...

 ... both places have nice paths and roadways ...

... we've got rivers ... so do they...

... and artists the world over find ways to share their artistic endeavors ...

It was good to get away, and equally good to come home.  Since returning I've been putting the finishing touches on a few paintings before packing them up for my upcoming exhibit. 

I'll be the featured artist at Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Ne. during the museum's annual Wings Over the Platte Juried Art Exhibit.  My exhibit is titled Land Marks, a reference to both the method of creating a landscape as well as the natural features unique to the Platte River Valley.  

All of this coincides with the highly anticipated return of the sandhill cranes on their migratory path this spring. This event brings people from all over the world to witness the incredible spectacle of hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes funneling themselves through this vital area of the Platte River. 

Wings Over the Platte and my exhibit, Land Marks, open Thursday February 16th and will be available until Sunday, April 1st.

Your call to action?  Head out to the Grand Island Ne. area, watch cranes , hear their amazing warbling and enjoy their dance. Then scoot over to Stuhr Museum and see how artists from across the country, interpret the Platte River Valley in a variety of media.

Arizona can't match that.