Sunday, July 27, 2014

Goodbye Graham

When it comes to doing things the proper way, sometimes doing things the wrong way is the way to make things happen.
Yours truly at the Graham Gallery door in Hastings, Ne.
Most, if not all, of the art gurus will tell you that the proper way to approach a gallery for representation is to do some homework on the gallery, create a classy portfolio of the work which would represent you well, and make an appointment for an interview.

Of course, that’s not the way I did it, and from that began a lovely relationship with Angela Graham and Graham Gallery in Hastings Nebraska.
C2007 Cathedral Road, one of my early sales at Graham Gallery
My intention was to drop by quickly, introduce myself, and if I didn’t keel over from pure terror, suggest that my work was available for her gallery walls if she had just a little space to spare. 

Angela asked if I had anything with me she could look at. Since I was on my way home from taking down an exhibit in a nearby town, I had a trunk full of art. Feeling like the Fuller Brush Man, I unloaded nearly all of it into her showroom. A few moments later she agreed to take six or seven pieces and that was that. I recently found a contract she’d given me, neither of us had bothered to sign it.  I’m sure I giggled all the way home.

Much has changed since I stood on shaky legs, fingers crossed behind my back pretending to know what I was doing and hoping Angela would not see the truth. My resume now includes many solo and small group exhibits, commissions and addition to some fine collections, a few awards and a couple of recent profiles in Nebraska Life as well as L-Magazine.

c2014 Blue River Reclamation, a recent oil

This weekend Graham Gallery closed its doors and turned off the lights for the last time. Looking back I am immensely grateful for a kind and gentle introduction to the world of gallery sales.  As I continue to develop my skills and deepen my commitment to my practice I will hold the people and memories of that place in a special spot in my heart.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Burkholder Project July Exhibit

Taking my laptop to the computer spa the day of a big art exhibit opening reception was not well thought out.

My plan was faulty from the beginning. Coming from a small town, it isn't unusual to combine purposes; drive into The Big City and squeeze everything you can out of the day; pick up some groceries, shop for curtains, try on shoes, stop at the lumber yard, get a hair cut, drop off the computer for a quick check and head for your very own opening reception at the art gallery.  It was the quick computer check part that got me. Turns out there's no such thing.

Another glitch in my plan arose at the public library. Turns out I can look at porn right next to the 2nd grader who is playing a shoot'em-up computer game, and I can download just about anything a human being can think up, but I, upstanding citizen and all around delightful person, cannot upload images to my public blog. Harumpf.

So here I am, a little late but still determined to share a really lovely evening at The Burkholder Project

Without further ado, images from the evening -

 Ceramic artist Sharon Ohmberger and I shared exhibit space in the main hall. Despite our different ways of looking at the world, our artwork combined to make a very beautiful display.

A quiet moment before the doors opened for the evening, and then...

The halls of The Burkholder Project filled with friends, family and art lovers.

It was a wonderful evening. I'm honored to share exhibit space with Sharon. She's a pro. 

You've got just 10 more days to enjoy our exhibit, as well as the collections of  Karen Krull Robart in the Skylight Gallery, Tom Quest and Susan Hart in the Outback Gallery, and dozens of wonderfully talented artists in studios throughout the building.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Are We Having Fun Yet?

During a recent conversation I was asked a question that I wasn't quite sure how to answer.  "Are you still having fun", she asked, "or has your art become just a job now?"

c2014 Patricia Scarborough  Labor and Plenty  22x28 oil

Does anyone ever ask their grocer, dentist or plumber if they are having fun at work?  
"How’s the accounting business? Still fun? Or has it become just another column of numbers?"

For some reason it seems that the result of all creative activity is supposed to be “fun!” As in, the final product should bring delight and happiness and enhance the furniture. Or sit on a shelf and attract attention. Or be cute and induce smiles and satisfaction, like a home-made rocking horse or patio planter.

If it doesn’t engender a smile; if the final product is thoughtful, or a challenge, or discordant somehow, or maybe there’s a little whining that goes along with it, a problem has arisen, now…well, now it’s just a job.

(As if having a job creating things is unfortunate.)

Here’s what I wish I had said:

“Fun is what I have when I’m hanging out with friends and family. As far as my studio work, I am challenged and frustrated and delighted and I can hardly wait to get to work every morning. I am successful just often enough to think I can work out to a satisfying conclusion the problems I’ve set for myself. I am frustrated with my inadequacies and stunned at my (occasional) brilliance. There are elements of my day that I find less than thrilling, like picking titles and prices and keeping records. I'm sure all jobs have that same problem. Yet when I squeeze tubes of paint into piles on my palette, or set out my pastel boxes, my heart quickens and I feel a satisfaction deep in my bones that tells me I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
So, yeah, I'm having fun and I've got a job. And I'm having fun at my job. Thanks for asking.
See the results of my efforts, and the efforts of fellow artists Sharon Ohmberger, Karen Krull Robart, Tom Quest, Susan Hart and many others at The Burkholder Project in Lincoln, Ne. beginning July 2nd through July 31st.  Come say hellow at our opening reception, Friday July 11 from 7 - 9 pm.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dear Emily, And the Answer Is -

Dear Emily, your comment on my last post got me to thinking about how to answer to your question.

What have I learned? How do I work smarter? And how to translate that into something for you?

©2014 Patricia Scarborough 18x24 Oil 
Still talking my way through it...
My thoughts go back to a conversation I had with an Experienced Artist. I held up my end of the conversation by complaining about a painting; I lost the center of interest, the color is too intense, I don’t know what to do, ad nauseum. My goal, if I must be honest, was to pry some of his experience from him, and for his end of the conversation to contain magic formulas to fix my painting’s woes.

That’s the way it works, right? The student sits passively by while the instructor, well, instructs. Or rather, makes the decisions, does the thinking, shares the recipe for success. I hoped for - expected - an easy 3-step program; do this, this and this and presto! Your painting is lovely! Congratulations, and here is your purple ribbon!

My Experienced Artist friend didn’t do that. After I listed all my woes - quite clearly I might add, so he’d know exactly how to fix them - his response was this: “Okay, well, now you know how to fix it”.

Or, as David Bayles and Ted Orland wrote in "Art and Fear":
“What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece.”

In other words, everything you need to know is right there before you. 

This problem is yours to wrestle with. 

So, my sweet Emily, I can’t give you the magic recipe that will lead to purple ribbons and adoration of the masses. I can tell you that it’s up to you to gauge your satisfaction with a project; to think, really think, about that last thing you did. That’s where the answers lie…lay…are.

If it helps, I’ll admit that I talked out loud. I stood before a painting that had lost its way (okay, okay, I lost my way) and listed out loud the points of frustration - not to berate myself, but to validate the fact that I could identify what was wrong – and could then identify how to fix it. I’m pretty smart once I put my mind to it.

I lost the center of interest.  Find it again. Reestablish the focal point. Pick the spot.

The color is too intense.  Grab a color wheel. Learn how to mix more subtle colors. Think more carefully about where to put them.

I don’t know what to do! Yes you do. Yes   you   do. What excited you at first? Do that.

You know in your heart what to do Emily. Do that.
(Smooches back atcha babe.)