Sunday, October 26, 2014


There are days I just never know who will show up on my doorstep.

Bill, one time quarterback for OutWest High School, and Pulitzer prize winning photographer.

This past week I had the great pleasure of sharing a 2 hour conversation with Laura Heald and Bill Frakes of Straw Hat Visuals - a Southern Media Company. (Take a moment to look at their site. It's awesome.)

Laura, rising star in multi media productions.  (PS, Laura, my husband said after seeing you in this photo he'd have made an effort to stop by to say hellow.)

I met them through Amy Sandeen, Executive Director of Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Learning in Hastings, Ne., herself an expert photographer and all around delightful human being.

Amy, in an executive pose.

 Bill and Laura are in Nebraska working on, among several things, a piece called “Makers”, a film which will focus on creative types who do their work outside the framework of The Big City.

What an honor to be thought of in this context. They brought in lights and cameras - action!

Dozens of hours and  thousands of precious brain cells have been worn out honing my artist’s statements over the years. Mountain ranges could be made out of the piles of paper I have used up in the quest for just the right words.  It's my job to explain what, why and how I paint. 
©2014 Patricia Scarborough  Blue River Reclamation  22x28 oil

So wouldn't you have thought that when Bill said in a very sweet, soft voice, “talk about why you paint Nebraska landscapes”, I would have been ready? Wasn't this the moment I'd been waiting for? 

Maybe I was distracted by the fact that he asked me to sit in a chair with wheels - and not wiggle. Or tilt my face so my glasses would not catch the light. Or that I really wanted to impress Amy so she would be glad she chose me for this opportunity, or that Laura was holding something called a Dead Cat just out of sight of the camera. Or that the camera itself was staring back at me, waiting…
©2014 Patricia Scarborough as yet untitled 6x6-inch oil  
Why do I paint Nebraska landscapes? Because I can't see Kansas from here?  I desperately searched the empty spaces of my skull for the well thought out, intelligent discourse I knew was hiding in there, just behind … around the corner … somewhere. Dang.

I should have asked them to go for a walk with me. I have brilliant ideas when I’m walking alone with no one to distract me. In fact just this morning I thought up some pretty amazing things. Some day I'm going to bring a recorder to prove it.

Honestly, I have no idea what eventually came out my mouth. Amy very sweetly said they had gotten a few good sound bites.  A sound bite. Not a meaty mouthful, just a bite; a little bitty nugget that’s easy to swallow before you even know it’s been chewed; a teeny tiny glued together run of words strung like  fake pearls, slightly mismatched - but if you keep the lights down low nobody will notice.
©2014 Patricia Scarborough Meditation 6x6-inch oil
What I would have said if my brain were engaged is, "Well, Bill,  I respond to shapes, intervals and light as they describe the forms in the landscape . I love watching the way the land drifts away to the horizon. To lay globs of paint on a canvas in a way that imitates all that, and tricks the eye into believing that a flat surface carries miles and miles of land and sky is a privilege and a delight. That the communication that happens between my art and the viewer, the  ideas and shared experiences that transcend words is an almost holy event."

So, Bill and Laura, if you’re reading this, give me a call. I would be happy to read this for you over the phone. Maybe you could dub it in. Or come back and we'll go for a walk. 'Cause I'm pretty smart when I'm by myself.


Laura Heald said...

You left out the hour before the interview when we were sitting in your dining room and you had us all rolling with laughter. Thanks for the fun blog!


Patty said...

I have been reliving that day - such fun it was to have you here!!

Michael Campbell said...

For such a gifted painter, you're a brilliant writer. You don't gotta hog all the talent, you know.

Patty said...

Oh Mickey, Mickeymickeymickey. You're a sweetie.I'd say you got your fair share.

Amy Sandeen said...

WE had such a fun time with you, Patty! So fun to visit you in your creative space and to share a tiny bit of your radiant vision. Love this blog post!

Patty said...

Amy, the pleasure was all mine. Thank you so much!