Sunday, December 20, 2015

Moving In Part Two

My last post was full of energy and accomplishment. Boy, oh boy, it felt good to pack up all those pixels from one website and move to a shiny new home.

Just as I was beginning to focus on the itty-bitty but very important details, just as I was really building up a head of steam and feeling like I actually knew what I was doing…

Blink. Blink…blinkety blink-blink blink blinkety blinkblinkblinkblinkblinkoooooooooo…

Black screen. Huh?

No amount of resuscitation on my part made one iota of difference. My computer was flat-lining.

Chest clenching   a g o n y

The Patricia Scarborough Arts website was up, it was viewable and clear and lovely to behold, but there was a ton of behind the scenes tech-type stuff to do that I was just beginning to get a handle on. And what if someone actually contacted me about it? Could they? Would they? How would I know?? All of that came to a screeching halt. Some of the screeching was coming from me.
Is anyone there? How would I know?

Not to be deterred, I headed to the public library. After waiting in line for one of a dozen computers, I found myself wedged in between two youngsters intent on saving the world from video game monsters and other extra-terrestrials. Having raised two fine sons I’ve heard about every kind of noise a human boy can make. Even at that, this was a little disconcerting, especially at a library. (As an aside, I have actually been shushed before in this very same library while whispering to a friend as we compared books. That we had read. Quietly, to ourselves.)

After one particularly startling snort I packed it in. This ol' gal needs space and a calm environment to talk her way through Search Engine Optimization and other foreign languages. Space monsters will have to get shot somewhere else.

This week I’ll take a deep cleansing breath, decipher my pile of notes and try to find that technological groove that carried me through the first seven-eighths of this monumental change.  If that doesn’t work, I can always go to the library and hire an 8-year old.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

New Site Opening Ceremony

Drum roll please…ready? Pull back the curtain…and…ta da!

Let me introduce you to
P Scarborough Fine Arts Website

A website is essential these days for artists. I’ve had one for a good long while, having been prodded into creating one after taking an Alyson Stanfield Art Business class. Sometimes I even enjoyed maneuvering through the steps of uploading, re-sizing and categorizing the “behind the scenes” elements of website construction.

You know that favorite sweatshirt or pair of shoes that we love and just won't give up? They’re comfortable. Dependable. Steady. We convince ourselves that little hole is actually useful as a heat vent, or maybe a place to reach in and scratch an itch, perhaps a scar that marks the memory of an heroic moment.

Or maybe it’s just an old, worn out raggedy clothing item that is no longer the awesome fashion statement it was back in the day.
Awesome comfy sweatshirt or awesome absorbent paint rag?
 So it was with my former web platform.

Rather than spend time doing what I really love, which is moving pigment around, I gathered up my wits and my patience and started filling boxes of pixels for the move to a fresh new look.

Come on in and look around the brand spanking new P. Scarborough Fine Arts Website

There is still progress to be made, I know that. I've compiled a notebook of new passwords and a pile of definitions and directions that, between you and me, I'll probably ignore in favor of poking buttons until something interesting happens. So far I haven't deleted anything permanently. 

Everything I ever wanted to know, and more.
Its time for a break from computer-land. My trusty easel is calling for some attention and I'm more than willing to heed the call. Perhaps when I'm out of awesome paint rags I'll set up shop again in the world wide webs and remodel something else.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kaleidoscope 2015

Another great Kaleidoscope of Art event has been safely tucked in for the year. The Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, Ne. celebrates artists and art patrons by hosting 30 artists for their annual holiday fundraiser.

 MONA was in its infancy when I was growing up in Kearney. It has developed into a first class museum celebrating artists who have ties to Nebraska through heritage or subject matter. This year nearly 700 visitors passed through the front doors to see what area artists have been working on for this special weekend.
My display 
Rick Brown of the Kearney Hub newspaper and I enjoyed a fun and wide-ranging conversation while visitors browsed through the halls of the museum making their purchases.  My answer to a toss-off question he asked surprised us both.

Had this been a successful event, and why?

Evidently others had responded in the usual way; art work had sold, money had changed hands, or at the very least hopeful contacts had been made for future reference.
©2015 Patricia Scarborough Autumn Garden  6x8 oil  Sold
Those are, of course, excellent markers of success. Mine was slightly different. The words that popped out of my mouth were, "Yes it has been successful, because I want to come back next year."

Yes. Yes I do.

These events are a challenge, at least for me. There's the unique preparation for an event of this kind, as well as overnight arrangements, hauling in and setting up, taking down and hauling out. I'm pooped before the doors open for business. Plus I'm a little (or a lot) introverted, and engaging in 2 days of conversations can leave me feeling a little drained.  Often times I leave these affairs thinking, "...never again...".

Yet the answer to Rick's question was, "I'll be back. Why? I made some new friends, caught up with others, and actually had a really terrific time. MONA is a great place to share art and conversation. Plus they provide really good cookies. Oh, and yes, there were sales. That too."
©2015 Patricia Scarborough  Morning!  6x8 oil   Sold
I'll tuck the Kaleidoscope of Arts event in the scrapbook for another year, and mark it on my calendar for the first weekend in November, 2016. You should too.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mapping it Out

 When I was a child my family would load up the old station wagon, the one minus seat belts and airbags, pack it full of children and suitcases and head out of town to visit relatives. In preparation my mother would show me the plan; carefully unfolding a map of the United States, she used her finger to follow a line as it wandered and wiggled around and through little towns, big cities and the gaps in between until we bumped into the little dot which was our destination.

I can still feel my confusion when we crossed the great Missouri River as planned and found that Iowa was not at all what I expected. On our map, the guide my family used to plot our trip and keep us from getting lost in the jungle or falling off the edge of the world, the map that was printed by a respectable publishing company and was, by all accounts, the best representation of our country’s roads that could be found, Iowa was pink. Nebraska was green, of course. South Dakota was yellow. Iowa was pink.

Only when we got there, it wasn't.  I’m still living that one down.

Regardless of their flaws, I still love maps. I love the idea of starting out at Point A, and through a series of decisions that have been thoughtfully considered, the relative assurance of landing at Point B.  I’m no stranger to detours and side roads. Highways in Nebraska are under construction all the time. Even so, there is still a general understanding that if I am lost, all I have to do is drive south on a paved road. Eventually I’ll end up in Kansas. And from there I’ll know, sort of, where I am in the world.

I love moving through my day that way too. In general, I know what the plan is.

The art world could use a map maker, even it they get some of the wrong color. 

Like my family’s vacation map, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It would be nice to know in general terms where you might end up if you don’t know where you’re going exactly. Iowa can still be pink.

Finding a consistent route to success in this art business on your own is next to impossible. I’ve interviewed gallery owners, successful artists in all media, patrons and museum curators in an effort to find, not necessarily the indisputable only way but simply a way. Or even a few possible ways (excluding of course those routes which most certainly will take you into No Man's Land). It would be helpful to know of a route that is at least within a hundred mile radius of your destination, and will be the same tomorrow as it was today. 

Want guidelines for finding a gallery? A way to make a sell reproductions of your work? A surefire road to success? For every website, artist, how-to book and monthly newsletter there are a ridiculously wide variety of side-roads, subways and super highways to take with no assurance they're going to the same place you are. 

In other words, there is no certain map for you to use. 

Here's why:

Maybe it’s not uncharted territory, but your path is your own. You’ve got to be Sir Stanley to your own Dr. Livingstone, I presume.

My advice, dear reader.  Grab a paper map. Put your finger down on a spot. This is you, right now, in this place.  Notice all the various routes spider-webbing out from this spot? These are visual representations of possibility.

 Some of them will be interesting. 

Some will not. 

A few will take a little longer than others. You may find out that your destination, like Iowa, is not what you expected. At any time you can turn off the route you’ve chosen and try another squiggly line.

That, my friends, is your road map to success in this business.

And don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Small Wonders

One just never knows, does one?

As you recall, The Cather Foundation in Red Cloud, Nebraska invited me to exhibit my work in their beautiful gallery space from September 1 through October 30, 2015. Last night we enjoyed a really lovely reception, which was a series of unexpected delights.

The foundation building itself is lovely; updated, yet with the flavor of the past and the influences on Cather's life carefully preserved.

Despite the distance between towns in this part of the world there is a sincere appreciation for the fine arts. Take that, Big City.

During the evening a smooth, on-the-ball collector quietly purchased Windswept, a lovely pastel of mine that expresses the chill beauty of open space in rural Nebraska after a brutally cold snow storm. Gentleman Collector has a discerning eye, so I was doubly pleased. As I related this purchase to Handsome Husband, a friend listening in whispered with great regret, "No kidding? But I wanted that one." His disappointment was both gratifying and charming.

©Patricia Scarborough  Windswept  8x12 pastel
In an equally surprising and gratifying turn, Handsome Husband, whose taste runs more to rubber dinosaur and shoot'em up movies, purchased "Willa Cather Collected Stories" for his personal library.  HH credits his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Griffin, for planting the seed. He recounted her dedication and love for Cather's work all these years later which was of course lost on a 4th grade boy. In the shadow of Cather's presence, as an adult he was intrigued. May wonders never cease.

We left Red Cloud last night with a sense of deep appreciation for so much; for the work of Willa Cather herself; for those who work to preserve her legacy; for those who appreciate the artistic efforts of others; and for a certain 4th grade teacher who planted a small seed so many years ago.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tree Work

The sky is bigger by half above the yard where touchdown passes were caught and little boy dreams of football stardom were made.

The mosaic of brilliant blue and green divided by twigs and lithe branches is gone, undone in a roaring 60 minutes of flying sawdust. Forty seasons of baby birds and squirrels scrabbling up and down have come to a close.

Undone by years of twisting winds this tired maple was held together by the filament of bird nests and a foot-long bolt drilled through its trunk to mend a terrible wound from 20 years ago which never really healed.

Part of the rhythm of my life is to check the tree for a weather report or just to see what shapes and colors it will share.

Today is clear, with no chance of shade. 

Handsome Husband, always the optimist, ventures that this change will bring opportunity, and he is right, of course. Games of catch were outgrown anyway and there will be one less tree-full of leaves to rake this fall.  Next year we'll start over with sun-loving flowers and saplings that hold the promise of shade and decades of reaching for the sky.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Art Relieves Stress

Feeling rushed? Panicked even?

Is anxiety getting the best of you? Are the walls pushing in, your lunch hour squeezed into a few minutes, break time feeling more like a breaking point?

September Ramble  ©Patricia Scarborough  12x12 oil
Jared Green gets it. He’s a writer and editor for a really interesting landscape architecture blog titled The Dirt. A few years ago he wrote several articles on stress as it relates to our inside living spaces. Go ahead and browse if you'd like. I'll wait.

The Washington Post gets in on the act as well. From Wapo june 29, 2015, in a nutshell:
“…University of Melbourne’s Kate Lee and a group of colleagues found that interrupting a tedious, attention-demanding task with a 40-second “microbreak” — in which one simply looks at a computerized image of a green roof — improved focus as well as subsequent performance…”
And from an article in the Wall Street Journal by ShirleyWang on the benefits of going green:
“... the researchers had participants take a break for 10 minutes in a quiet room to look at pictures of a nature scene or city street. Again, they found that cognitive performance improved after the nature break, even though it was only on paper.”

San Gabriel Trailhead  ©Patricia Scarorough  9x12 oil

Enough of science, let’s cut to the chase, shall we? 

Green is good. Grass is great. Trees are terrific. Flowers are fantastic. Skies are scintillating. Depth is delicious. Horizons are hor-…uh…hir-…uh..calming.

Anyway, the gist of it all is that looking at nature, at green living things, is good for us.

I understand that not everyone can leave their desk for a walk on a dirt path in a field of clover. Sometimes finding the time to gaze across a hay field and listen to the cattle munching is impossible. Or maybe you live in one of those places where cement has covered what used to be green and fertile. 
Under a Green Canopy  ©Patricia Scarborough 30x40 oil  
The answer is surprisingly easy. Get yourself some art. Plunk it on your desk between the pencil cup and stapler so you can see it easily. Better yet, really invest in your well-being and acquire a larger piece. Hang it on the wall, right over the chair where your boss plants herself. You can pretend to pay attention while gazing at something really important – like an image of the great big beautiful world around you. And feel your stress melt away.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

American Plains Art Awards

Great Plains Museum, Lincoln, Ne.
 I’m changing my address. Please send further correspondence to Scarborough Studios, Cloud Nine. It’s a pretty classy neighborhood.

It was terrific enough to be accepted in to the American Plains Artists Annual Juried Exhibition, held through October 24th at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, Ne. The American Plains Artists have been around for over 30 years, educating the public about the beauty of plains life through traditional and representational art works. Their annual exhibit is held in such lofty spaces as Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, and the Museum of the Southwest.

To attend the opening reception and see a ribbon next to my painting, "Labor & Plenty" left me a little stunned. I think my exact reaction was something clever, like “Neato!”

Thank you SourceTek for supporting my award!
Handsome Husband and I took a turn around the room to view the other artwork that had been juried into the collection.  W O W.  Seeing artwork via the APA website does not convey the richness and brilliance of color, or the quality of brush strokes, or the muscular feel of bronze. This exhibit is really beautiful.

Especially wonderful was seeing a First Place ribbon next to a beautiful oil painting of the Middle Loup River at Halsey Forest by my dear friend Layne Mills.  

Yay Layne!!
Recognizing that mine was among 30 awards given out by Jurist Tom Tierney, co-publisher of Art of the West Magazine in such a strong field of artists is heartwarming and humbling.
Mr. Tierney gave a lovely introductory talk about what it means to view a body of art and select good/better/best.  His remarks were respectful and supportive of our efforts as artists to interpret our vision of a geographical area and way of life past and present. Thank you sir.

Tom Tierney, co-publisher of Art of the West Magazine and jurist for this exhibit
So I’m doing a happy dance across the living room of my Cloud Nine address. No doubt the movers will be here soon enough to return me to my place among mortals, but until then, I’m loving the view.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stepping Out

Thanks much to all you fans and patrons, friends and acquaintances who took a pause from their 4th of July festivities and toured The Burkholder Project last Friday evening for our opening reception. Sharon Ohmberger and I shared the Main Gallery. Other artists featured were Tom Quest, Susan Hart, Mary Masur and Chris Taylor.

Photo op for Sharon and I
After perusing the halls of The Burkholder and enjoying the variety of creative endeavors on display, a dear friend asked me this question: How do you get all this ready? 

It’s fairly simple, really. Get yourself some good shoes.

I mentioned in a FB post that I put on 3500 steps while hanging my paintings.  That equates to about 1-1/2 miles. That’s a lotta walking when one considers that the room the paintings hang in is maybe 20 x 50 (ish).  How can that be?

Speaking for myself, it starts with loading the vehicle, and of course, unloading the vehicle. I had incredible luck parking right in front of the door of The Burkholder Project. (That hasn’t always been the case. One year I was about a block away. That was a 3-mile day for sure.) 

Moving the artwork to its perfect home takes a few more steps. As luck would have it, Anne Burkholder herself was available for consulting on placement, thereby saving a mile or two of shuffling paintings from one spot to another.

I have learned from past experience that bringing my own equipment can save at least a mile of walking. Hammer, nails, tape, scissors, pens – all the accoutrements of hanging a show are bagged and put in safe place. Which is always at least 15 feet away from where it really needs to be. Add a dozen steps every time an item is needed from the bag. Add another 40 steps to go look for the thing that you took out from the bag and laid down someplace else.

Even the actual hanging of a painting requires steppage.  Mark the spot on the wall where the nail will go. Drop the nail. Step back, locate said nail and try again. Drape the hanging wire over the nail, step back and eyeball.  Undrape hanging wire, pull nail, drop again…re-hammer one inch to the right…repeat 3 times per painting.  Add 250 steps.  A certain number of dance steps get counted if the thumb gets whacked while re-hammering.

Sharon putting up a ceramic wall piece. Measure twice, hammer once.
There are steps to the bathroom, steps out to the parking meter, and steps over to Indigo Bridge for a delicious sandwich. It’s all part of the deal.

Count steps for yourself. Check out the fine artwork at TheBurkholder Project, 719 P St in Lincoln. Sharon Ohmberger and I share the beautiful main gallery space the month of July. In the Outback Gallery Tom Quest and Susan Hart show off some thoughtful, beautiful pieces. Mary Masur offers her gorgeously rendered charcoal work in the Special Exhibition Gallery downstairs, and upstairs? Yowza. Chris Taylor shares art quilts that will amaze.  

And then?   Kick off your shoes.Enough is enough.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Your Reception Primer

As you know, you (yes, you!) are invited to the opening reception for Transitions, an exhibit of paintings by yours truly, and ceramic pieces by Sharon T. Ohmberger. The date of the reception is Friday July 3rd, from 5:30 to 8:00pm, the exhibit is available to the public the entire month of July at The Burkholder Project.

It’s been interesting and informative to hear people respond to their invitations.
A close acquaintance of Handsome Husband revealed that he was not likely to attend. This strapping enforcer of the law said with obvious worry, “I dunno what to do at these things!” This from a man whose hands are considered lethal weapons.

To this question Handsome Husband and I offer a primer of sorts.  Forthwith is a step-by-step how-to for the uninitiated exhibit-goer:

What to wear:

Keep in mind that this particular opening reception is being held in Nebraska in July. The Burkholder Project is located in the Haymarket area near downtown Lincoln, where the only shade comes from 3-story brick buildings. The temperature is likely to be in the lower 400’s. Dress comfortably. Flip-flops and t-shirt are fine, tie is optional.

Conversation starters:

Hellow is a good way to start. Other topics include the temperature, parking, or ‘Them Huskers’ (if you’re a Nebraskan, you know what that means). Open-ended remarks are excellent ways to begin, such as, “Tell me about this”, or “Is this a place near (name any city you can think of)”. “This one is lovely; this is my favorite; this one reminds me of (name your favorite uncle or vacation place)” are excellent ways to begin a conversation.

Conversation enders:

“My great grandma used to paint like this, or, I don’t get it” are not helpful.  “Gee, I can’t even draw a stick figure!” has been heard before. At least a million times before. If you feel one of those remarks piling up behind your lips, shove a cookie in your mouth.

Speaking of cookies :


You will most likely be invited to have a nibble of something and a glass of cheap wine. This is an art reception. Pinkies out.

 Mostly though, dear reader, stroll through the various rooms and hallways that house the art. The Burkholder Project is a 3-level gallery filled with excellent artists and creations. Consider what you see, how it was made, why, and with what.  Remember, the artist would love to visit with you about what they’ve made, so asking a question is fine. Should their explanation take longer than you’re comfortable with, feel free to fake a phone call and stride quickly away. Feel free to ad lib here.

Keep an open mind, you may actually find something that would make you happy every time you see it in your home. If you’re not sure,  consider coming back in a few days when the crowd has thinned and visit with a knowledgeable salesperson. They will answer any questions or concerns you  may have. By then a discriminating collector may have already claimed your favorite art piece though so be prepared to live with crushing disappointment.

There you have it. Practice makes perfect, so let's start you on a regimen of opening receptions beginning with Transitions at The Burkholder Project on Friday July 3rd. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015


I’ve been noticing lately how easy it is to get caught up in brain chatter. I’m talking about unfinished conversations held years ago - or never held at all; lists to make and add to; and she said what? Why I oughta...kind of stuff.

Today on my walk my goal was to be present, to hush the chattery brain and allow information from my eyes to actually reach grey matter. What would change?

2015 Patricia Scarborough   Transition    oil  36x48
Here's what I'd been missing:

Dog paws the size of dinner plates meandering through mud.

A purple sack fluttering in the breeze, caught on barbed wire like a captured bird.

A momma bird (presumably) perched in a brand new nest.

Cemetery markers shoulder to shoulder, each a little tilted to the left. 

Puddles the color of the sky.

Corn plants taller than they were yesterday.

Birds on telephone wires in the key of G.

The first patch of sky for the day.

Worm trails in fresh dirt.

Blossoms of indeterminate origin wafting on a cool breeze.

Frogs singing in new ponds created by last night’s storm.

The weaving back and forth of tree branches planted in a row and allowed to grow untouched for 20 years.

I listened to the rhythm my feet on crunchy gravel.

I felt myself breath.

Remembered how very grateful I am to be married to my Handsome Husband, and to have lived with 2 Fine Sons for all those years.

Happy Mother’s Day to you. May your day be filled with the scent of fresh lilacs, laughter, and delight in the world around you.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pulling Myself Together

HH and The Fellas at The Getty Museum, waiting for me to un-discombobulate myself.
Handsome Husband, The Fellas and I were recently at The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, home to some exquisite paintings by Degas, Cezanne, and Monet. 

I give up.
Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light by Claude Monet. Download courtesy Getty Museum.  
It seems to be impossible to share with you what it’s like to stand before a painting that communicates beyond words, beyond the seasons and across borders. What is it about the movement of a line, or a swirl of paint that causes a space to grow in my chest that fills with a deep ache of wonder?

My feet leave the floor and my senses go on hiatus.

Actually, that kind of reaction would be totally acceptable to me. No one but me needs to know that the world has tilted ever so slightly. It’s the tears that begin to leak and drip off my chin that cause museum guards and art patrons to eye me suspiciously. No one wants to stand near another person who appears to be on the edge of discombobulation.

Upon seeing "The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light", “Wheat Stacks, Snow Effect, Morning”, and “Sunrise, Marine”  all in a row, my innards began to vibrate. The Van Gogh…then the Cezanne…a Degas, and another Degas…back to Sunrise, the painting which started the ruckus we now call Impressionism

Sunset, Marine, by Claude Monet. Download courtesy Getty Museum
History. Change. The beginning. Dedication. Determination. Failure. Risk. Energy. Passion. Professional peril. Misfortune, lucky breaks. Uncertainty. Vulnerability.   

Being within inches of all of those natures, framed and presented so prettily, creates a vibration of feeling that rattles me to my core. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ain't Got No

I was visiting recently with Dr. T, a fine young physicist, about the challenges of his work.  

2014 Blue River Reclamation  22x28 oil  Am I satisfied?
According to him, it goes like this:

They think about what they want to know. Experiments and measurements are set up.  And then they decide if they figured stuff out.  

That’s it, in a nutshell.

So, I asked, "When you get your answer…then what? You’re done? Check it off the list and start a new quest?"

With a deep sigh and no small amount of patience, he said:

"We’re never done. Asking a question always leads to more questions. We wonder about A. Which leads to A.1. Which leads to A.1a, or A.2, or whatever combination of trails happen to wander off from the original problem."

"More questions arise from the answers we get," he said.  "There’s always another something that needs asking. And answering."

With a sigh he wrapped it up by saying, “We learn to be satisfied with not being satisfied.”

And for just a moment, the vast abyss in my understanding of gravity, E=MC2 and time travel was bridged. I understood physics. Okay, maybe not exactly physics, but I got the part about not being satisfied.

Last year’s paintings were lovely. They’ve been signed, framed and hung so satisfied I was with them. Yet, as I view them today, I see things…questions I should have asked, ideas that needed wondering about.  Even last month’s accomplishments, so exciting and purposeful, don’t quite meet the mark today. I’m familiar with a successful artist whose wife no longer allows him to hang his own work in their home. Evidently she’s tired of having him dash away from a dinner party, grab a painting off the wall and disappear with it into his studio, leaving her with guests and the dishes. It’s a satisfaction problem.

In creative endeavors (as well as physics, evidently) to be satisfied is to stop looking. Satisfaction suggests fulfillment, a job well done – or done, anyway. It suggests no need to keep at it, no need to change, or to keep wondering what if.

If we're doing it right, there should always be something else.  As frustrating as it can be, it is energizing to allow that itchy little question that asks, what if … what if?

What if I try this?
What if this color …
What if that shape …
Is it enough? Too much?
How about …?

To keep learning and growing, that is how it should be. That’s how discoveries are made and societies are changed. Without a "what if" we wouldn't have light bulbs, telephones, Cubism, Jazz, circus elephants, Impressionism, platform shoes, bungee jumping, or any number of  discoveries that have changed the way we see the world. (I didn't say every query into "what-if" had to be successful.) It’s not always pretty or fun or Nobel Prize winning, but it is what drives us to keep at it, to keep learning, to keep dipping that brush in one more time. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Winter Passage

After spending far too long wrestling with my web site, suffice it to say I'm in no mood to be clever or charming about the marketing aspect of being an artist.

So here's the skinny, in plain English:

I've had really high quality reproductions made of another painting I especially love.

2015 Patricia Scarborough Winter Passage 30x30 oil

Winter Passage is an original 30x30 oil painting and is now available as a 26x26 giclee reproduction on canvas, or an 18x18 repro on 100% cotton rag paper.

It's everything you want from a reproduction: no extra junk to degrade over time, the best ink, paper and canvas, and a timeless sense of beauty that comes from knowing the sun will rise and set again and again for the next millenium.

If only my web site were that sweet.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Extending Thanks

Let’s just get to it today, shall we?

I’m grateful. Really really grateful. And it’s not even Christmas.

I’m extending myself in a few new directions in my art life which will require some extra effort and focus. Reliance on the expertise of others is paramount - and a little risky.

©2015 Patricia Scarborough  30x30 oil Rumble

This goes for those I’ll be doing business with and those whose experience I’d like to tap into.  Are they correct? Out for their own benefit?  Are they honest? Will they share?

Man, lately it’s all been good. The answers aren’t always what I want, but my queries have been answered with honesty and forthrightness. No monkeying around.

I’m here to say thank you to artists who share their expertise and observations in positive ways. You are a breath of fresh air.

To gallery owners who offer the same, who pay their artists on time and manage their businesses well.

To patrons who invest carefully and often. And to those who ask sincere questions about the process of creating artwork. And to those who are waiting for just the right piece.

Thank you to small businesses who patiently share their ideas and opinions. And charge an honest fee. And provide what they say they’ll provide when they promise to provide it. Or are honest when they can't.

I’m grateful to those who offer honest critiques of the work I produce. It’s not always fun to hear, but, like broccoli, it’s good for me.

And yes, I’m grateful to Handsome Husband who listens to me worry and fret, challenge and boast. 

It's important to recognize this kind of relationship, especially when most of what I read or hear in the media is so very scary and negative. So here's my little drop of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy season -

Thank you!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Extending West

My last post described my approach to New Year's Resolutions. Or rather, my refusal to make them.

I've gone for a different approach the past few years which has proven to be growth-inspiring and deeply moving in some quiet, personal ways.

I pick a word that resonates deeply in my heart, and use it to gently prod myself into new ways of living. I've chosen the word 'extend' to take me into the coming 12 months.

Already I'm seeing a broadening of my experiences. Don't read too much into this; I'm not stretching my way into hang gliding or joining the circus. There will be no checking off of bucket lists or mountains climbed.

In the first eight weeks of the year my experiences have extended to dipping my toes in the cold Pacific ocean, watching whales make their way south, and enjoying fog obscure most everything around me.

As I sit here curled up in my comfy chair staring out the window at piles of snow left from the last storm, my memory extends back to this lovely get-away and a grateful smile spreads across my face.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Extending into the New Year

By now many of you have already checked off your entire list of New Year’s Resolutions. Others of you have already forgotten what you promised, and still others are still trying to knock out resolutions from decade ago. How's that last 10 pounds coming?

If you’ve been keeping track of me, you know that I’m not a resolution kinda gal.  There’s nothing about January that inspires me to change, unless it is to move south.

Rather than promise to become a thinner, smarter, taller or just plain better version of myself, I prefer to pick a single word that can be used as a guide during the coming 12 months for deeper, more honest living.  

In past years I've used words like allow, up, moxie (yeah, that was a bad choice. I allowed myself to give up that one). Engage was so engaging it lasted two years. 

The word extend came to me quietly a few weeks ago while sitting in my thinking chair. It's a cozy place I curl up to corral important thoughts and start my day. Other more dramatic words had made the initial list; seek, courage, power, fearlessness … words that require a red cape to complete the ensemble.

I'm too old for spandex and the last time I wore a cape it got caught - well, never mind that.

E x t e n d
A word for the year must be heartfelt and true, created for your own personality. It should encourage growth while supporting all that has come before. Extend seems to fit that bill.

To extend is to draw out, stretch, prolong. To make more comprehensive. It works figuratively as well as in the literal sense.  I can extend my painting sessions, or extend a helping hand. Perhaps a breaking point can be extended just a few more inches. I envision a bridge spanning a vast chasm. I think the reaches of my comfort zone will get a workout.

and then extend a little bit more
It's a year long process, so where this word will lead me exactly I don't know. That's one of the benefits of the process. So, I extend to you an invitation to come along with me. What word will guide you this year? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Winter Passage

This time of year holds so much promise. 

The earth revolves to meet the sun each morning just a little bit earlier, and holds on just a little bit longer before it cedes to darkness.

The smallest branches high in bare trees accept color now from light freed of the frozen pull of winter.

Migratory birds begin to feel an ancient desire for flight, with promises to linger over fertile farmland here in mid-country. They have passed through here far longer than we have laid claim to boundaries and titles.

As I take refuge from brittle cold outside I feel these things.  We artists paint what we know, and I know that winter is a necessary pause from the wild growth of summer. It is a pause before the raucous call of the sandhill crane, kestrel and sharp-eyed hawk as they find refuge and food in the shallows of the Platte River. 

Winter is also a necessary pause, for me at least, from the habits and rituals of the past season.

I've noticed this feeling in the past; the slow movement at this time of year toward some sort of change.

This fallow season is when I too seem to pass through a sort of grace period, a recognition of old habits and an awakening to something that's been there all along but hidden, much like last years' summer vegetation now covered in snow. 

This painting is a celebration of the cool side of the color wheel; chill blues and violets, and cooler versions of the opposing orange and yellow. A relief from the intense greens and blues of summer painting.  As with the solstice, it's a turning point of sorts, an exploration of new ways of laying down paint and scraping it back, balancing marks from intuition and forethought. Like early sun on a winter landscape I feel a warming, a freshening of my course.