Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another Word For The Year

It’s nearly time to sweep the year 2013 out the door and welcome 2014 with open arms.

2013 Patricia Scarborough San Gabriel Trail Head   The last painting of 2013.
If you’ve stuck with me for the past 4 ½ years, you may recall that I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Using the first day of the new year, when everything seems bright and shiny, seems to bring on a bad case of over-reaching. I’ll lose 20 pounds! I’ll start that orphanage! I'll find a cure for stoopid!

Resolutions feel so…resolute. There is is dogged determination, obstinacy and self-assuredness. There is fortitude, grit and pluck and motivation, all of which sound like exhortations plastered on the walls of a fitness center.  Which, by the way, is where many resolutions go to die.

I’m a believer in Christine Kane’s Word Of The Year plan. In 2006 she wrote about choosing a single word that you could hold in your heart and use as a guide throughout the year. She called it a Resolution Revolution.

In a nutshell, by choosing a single word as a guide for the next 365 days, you give yourself room to grow rather than a pass/fail box to check off.

Several years ago I chose ‘engage’ as my word of the year. Consider the difference between this word and a resolution:

Resolution - I will spend 6 hours in my studio.

Engage - I will engage in my studio space.

4 hours,27minutes...
Can you feel it? One has me watching the clock, the other is immersion in a space designed for creativity.

I didn’t achieve engagement; there was no little plastic trophy or floppy rosette to set on a shelf.

Best Engagement Achiever?
 The act of engagement came quietly and gently and settled in like a a comfy old sweater. Or like a collection of finished paintings hung beautifully in a gallery.

In the end, engagement in my studio, classes, conversations and painting brought forth nearly 50 paintings in one year. Imagine if I had simply resolved to finish 50 paintings in one year? There's a failure waiting to happen.

27 more to go...can't do it...Mommmmy...
On to 2014. This year I have chosen the word ‘allow’ to guide me. I’ve got some thoughts of how this will unfold, but since this is an organic, heart-felt exercise I’ll try not to start out with preconceived notions. I'll allow it to unfold. See how easy it is?

How about you? Are you going to check off a box? Or are you going to fill your entire year with a fresh kind of motivation?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Holiday Card

Over the years Handsome Husband and I have received piles of Christmas cards jam packed with tales of great deeds, grand vacations, and amazing accomplishments by children and their adults.  Sometimes we even knew who these people were.

It’s the same again this year. Our table is piled with holiday cards which spew glitter as soon as they’re released from their envelopes. Tucked inside each folded card with the pre-printed personal message and pre-printed personal signature is The Letter, the missive that explains in minute detail just how exciting it was to be them this past year.
Well folks, it was pretty darned exciting as well here at Scarborough Studios. While I have not yet discovered the cure for putting my elbow in wet paint, nor have I managed to figure out how to hang a painting in the right spot the first time, I have had my share of success. For example:

I’ve worn out more than a few brushes.

I have used up 2 very large tubes of white, nearly an entire tube of Prussian Blue, and found an old tube of Indian Yellow that I’d forgotten entirely about. At least I think its Indian Yellow. The label seems to have gone somewhere.
I made some great painting buddies.

Handsome Husband and I managed to wedge over 30 paintings into my vehicle without using a shoehorn.

Handsome Husband and I managed to remove those paintings from my vehicle without a shoehorn.
Best of all (cue the glitter shower) ,I have been honored to meet people who start out as collectors and become dear friends.

Happy Holidays to you, too dear reader.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Great Expectations

Spring Adaptation: Commencement
Spring Adaptation: Transition

Spring Adaptation: Equilibrium
 But that's not what this blog post is about.
I've had wonderful opportunities over the last few years to show my work in a variety of venues. After examining my expectations for the last series of exhibits, my take is this:
Some days the right buyer – or two or ten – come along, some days they’re off playing miniature golf.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to exhibit quality fine art and to put our best selves forward, the right buyer doesn’t show up.

Quiet Evening 6x8 oil  Still Available at Lux Center for the Arts

Sometimes, even though our presentation is haphazard and our socks are mismatched, they do.

Quiet Morning 6x8 oil  Sold!
The results of the last several years of exhibiting have taught me that my expectations have nothing to do with hope or crossed fingers or anybody else’s vibe.  The expectation is on each of us to do the best work we can. To behave as professionally as we can.

It's not about  reading how-to books or waiting to get started just as soon as the kids are grown up or the dishes are done.

 It's about showing up in my creative spaces ready to go and to do the hard grind so that when the time comes, when the right venue calls or the right patron shows up, I'm ready.

It's about believing in my mission. I trust that my work is the best I can do. That trust extends to the belief that someone else, somewhere will make that connection and agree with me. And if I'm ready, that elusive concept of success will happen.
"Specimen" 7x5 oil Waiting for you at Graham Gallery

What do you expect?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanks Again

I am still in a turkey-stuffing-mashed potato stupor, so to save us both some agony, I've decided to re-run a Thanksgiving post from several years ago. Interesting that is as relevant today as it was then. Another case of The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same.
Patricia Scarborough 8x10 oil  Early Morning in October 2013

From 2009...

It seems as though the Pilgrims did not, after all, invent Thanksgiving.

Nor did they have pumpin pie, mashed potatoes, or cranberry sauce.

A truely American 'melting pot' of holidays, our current Thanksgiving is a collection of myths and traditions handed down and mingled with other myths and traditions.

It's original purpose? To take time to honor the humble beginnings of our country and to give sincere and humble thanks for what people had after all was said and done. Needless to say, the table was barely cleared and the dishes put away before the holiday was "improved" upon by well meaning politicians and business owners.

It's been a crazy year for so many people. Crazy good, and crazy bad. Slowing down to honor a holiday dedicated to thanks is probably the best kind of holiday to have. It was 200 years ago, and it's a good idea today as well.

Maybe the Pilgrims didn't mash potatoes, and so what if they probably had fish instead of turkey? However we celebrate, whether by gorging on turkey and football games, or by lighting a candle in a darkened corner, we give thanks.

My grateful list is long, and includes you, dear reader.

What does your list include?