Sunday, July 17, 2016


From here on out my blogs will be posted to a page on my website.

I'll keep this blog open for a good long while, there's some good stuff written here and I'd hate to lose it. Peruse the past, or hop on over and keep track of me at

On Becoming an Artist

People in creative endeavors are often asked if they've always been artistic.

Years ago my 7th grade class was assigned the task of creating a painting, with the addition of a story or poem to round out the project. The details escape me; I was a determined out-the-window-starer and it was not unusual for me to miss the fine points.

Prang Oval 8’s appeared and I went to work. My only memory of the written half of the assignment was that the movement of pigment on paper inspired me to write something about “…watercolor skies…” I’m sure it was earnest and sappy. And then I promptly forgot about the whole thing, windows nearby grabbing my attention with interesting shapes and shadows.

Weeks later our teacher smiled and moved slowly to my desk, a packet in her hand. Not used to being singled out, my thoughts were something like “Why you lookin’ at me like that?” Excuses began to form quickly in the back of my panicked brain.

“Congratulations,” She said smoothly. “We’re proud of you!”

There in the packet was my painting, the poem, and a purple ribbon.  Seeing the painting now, I have the feeling the poem carried the day.

Watercolor Skies 11x14 watercolor

On that day I became an artist. Eleventy-hundred years later I’m still painting. I’m still staring out windows, too. My poetry has slipped by the wayside, having peaked in 7th grade. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Making Hay

The heat has abated – slightly. Humidity is high, rubbing the edges off the shapes and sounds that come with early morning.

2016 Patricia Scarborough  First Cut  6x9 pastel

The bales are fresh, maybe just a day or two old, still light on their feet and round, not yet weighed down with heat and their own tonnage.

The sun seems to be unwilling to make the effort to lift itself higher so the shadows have stayed long and cool.

This is the first cut. Another will be made in the fall. This field will give me sustenance for many paintings I think.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

It's Just the Idea

Like so very many things, I love the idea of activities more than the actual doing of them.  Plein air painting, for instance.

A year or so ago I took an outdoor painting class. We students anticipated receiving the holy grail of plein air painting; the magic that transforms simple rolling hills into slashes of paint strokes in brilliant hues balanced against the subtleties of color found only while standing in high grass early in the day. Our instructor made it all sound so worthy. So very artistic.

Getting comfy, in a nest of chiggers.
 We met early, 7 am, ready to paint. No sun came creeping over the horizon to light the hills and lift autumn shadows from their moorings. In place of the anticipated fiery ball of orange and pink, heavy grey clouds full of drizzle wrapped themselves around us. And then the wind picked up. And because we all paid for the privilege, and by golly we were plein air artists, we began painting.

On a high hill, the calm before the storm.
The game of “IF” began. If the sun were to break through, said our instructor, it would look like this. And if the sky were blue, it would be this color. And if there were cattle on yonder hill, they would stand like so.

And if there were a coffee pot nearby it would smell and taste like heaven. And if we'd had any sense we'd have retired indoors and painted from sketches or memory. As it is all I accomplished that morning was to lose 2 good brushes when I got tangled in wet grass on  my way to a higher, dryer spot.

And yet the allure of out door painting is strong. Just a few days ago I was so taken by the lovely colors and textures in my garden I gathered my gear and hauled it all into the yard. In the few moments it took me to set up the temperature had risen 15 degrees and a swarm of no-see-ums had claimed my space. Handsome Husband came home for lunch and wondered aloud about my sanity.

Ain’t it grand to paint outdoors? 

I’m not always very smart, but I’m also not stoopid.  If I am to stand on a hill under heavy skies in a stiff wind pretending the sky is blue, then I can certainly stand in my studio pretending the air from a fan is a breeze wafting over me. My spotlights are a fine replacement for the sun's warmth. The average temp in my studio is 75 degrees. I can see my garden from the window.

I like the idea of that.