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.