Sunday, October 12, 2014

Small and Mighty

Tis the season...

and since everything I have written today sounds like bad copy for a strip mall luring frazzled customers into their holiday sales events, let me just say that I'll be participating in two seasonal exhibits again this year.

The Lux Center for the Arts Wrappable event will open their holiday extravaganza on November 1st with dozens of wonderful artists who have created some very cool work at a variety of price ranges.

The Museum of Nebraska Art will open their 25th year of A Kaleidoscope of Art on November 1st & 2nd.

I'll be offering small, very lovely paintings at each venue so that you can prove to your special someones that you are indeed a very classy person.

A sampling to wet your whistle -

©2014 Patricia Scarborough First Star 6x8" oil

©2014 Patricia Scarborough Great Plains 6x8" oil

©2014 Patricia Scarborough Homestead  6x8" oil

©2014 Patricia Scarborough Loup River Valley 6x8" oil

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Your Path to Success

We’ve all seen these television and movie scenes: someone is running for their lives, usually through uncertain terrain filled with humps and dips, trees, and vines that grasp and trap the victim.  Each and every time, the poor person running running running looks back every 10 or fifteen steps to see if the villain is gaining on them. 

2014 Patricia Scarborough 6x8 oil  Success? Yes! A substantial amount was raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation when this little jewel was auctioned off.

Man, if someone were chasing me, my face would be pointing toward the distant horizon, followed by my pumping fists and pounding feet. No way would I risk bouncing off a tree because I was looking around for someone else while charging forward at 35 mph. (Okay, maybe 10 – no, 5 mph. I’m out of shape.)

Lately I have been part of a running discussion about the idea of success. (Hang with me, this will all come together in a minute.) I call it a discussion, although at times it sounds like something else; carping, grousing, questioning our choices, wondering when success will land upon us like fairy dust or white bits in a snow globe.

It’s an issue with artists because success is a very nebulous goal.  What are we talking about here? Is success defined as popularity? Sales? Juried Exhibitions? Accolades? We want it, but how do we know when we’ve got it? And how to keep it once we think we've got it?

Handsome Husband offered a song he’d heard recently as I bounced success ideas off him. “The Climb”, written by Jessi Alexander, is a 2009 sung by Miley Cyrus, back in the day when she wore clothes. Poke this link to read the lyrics .

2014 Patricia Scarborough 6x8 oil  Sand Hills Hike

According to the song, success is about the effort, desire, keeping at whatever it is you’re doing regardless of what others think. Success is doing what your heart needs you to do. It is not running pell-mell in any direction while looking backwards to see if anyone is paying attention.

More definitions from fully clothed grownups: Winston Churchill, a grown up if there ever was one: "Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."

Stephen Covey: "If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, "you will find your definition of success."  

So what, dear ones, have we accomplished here?  HH just this very moment said, “I look back at what I was doing a year ago, and often I wonder what the heck I was doing.  And that’s a good thing. I can see how much I’ve grown and learned.” He deserves his own Wikipedia page.

Friends, in this humble artist’s opinion, success is not about achieving a sale, a deal, gallery representation or award. It’s about negotiating the path set before us. Walking, running, hopping or skipping that path without worrying about who is behind us, beside us or ahead of us. Which means there is no "getting", since being on a path implies movement, a journey or an evolution. 

2014 Patricia Scarborough  Success? Not quite yet, but I'm close.
There is no arrival. Success is keeping our faces forward to see where we’re headed, and then moving in that direction.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Not Just Yet

I'm just a little late posting today because I was doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing - which is working in my studio.

I've often wondered how that little nugget gets put at the bottom of the list when life coaches and business coaches and art coaches give out their recipe for success. Get a website, get a blog, get a FaceBook profile, get a gallery, get a resume, get a residency ... oh, yeah, sure, don't forget to do the creative work.

I've been standing that template on its head lately, spending lots of time learning how to paint, and far less time telling you about it. It seems sensible that a really good painting will far outlast a marketing plan for a really good painting.

What's exciting - at least to me - is that I've some mistakes lately, which have actually turned out to be pretty interesting experiments in paint application. I'm looking forward to more mistakes in the future.

I'm not ready to share with you just yet the fruits of my labor. Despite the hue and cry to share share share, I'm just not gonna do it.  All in good time dear friends, all in good time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hearts to Valentine

Last weekend I enjoyed teaching a wonderful group of students at a workshop in Valentine Nebraska.

I use the word “student” loosely, some of them have ribbons from national awards hanging on their studio walls. More accurately, perhaps, I stood in front of them and demonstrated my painting style and talked through my color choices and methods, while they sat patiently, watched, and asked probing and intelligent questions before going to work at their easels. I was more guide/entertainer/host than teacher.

Workshops are tough. There are visitors to be dealt with and table-mates to befriend. We’re out of the comfort zone of our personal work space and don’t have the usual access to the coffee pot, the fridge, or the proper radio station.  Lunch comes unexpectedly. The day wraps up too quickly – or not soon enough.

My first demo, based on Labor and Plenty, a painting in which I'd already figured out some of the problems I wanted to address.
Each of us has a problem we want addressed, or a question answered, a method explained - or simply left alone to work out problems on our own while keeping half an ear on the conversations around us. 

Often the problems and questions we set forth as students are not answerable to our satisfaction. How-to’s are very personal to each artist. Simply receiving information does not qualify as experience, and it is the experience that gives us the answers we seek. I believe strongly that the teacher can only point the direction, then step out of the way.

And, to be quite honest, we want to have some fun. Not necessarily belly-laughing fun, but a warm camaraderie we’re-in-this-together kind of fun.  Painting in private space is one thing, no one else watches while you wipe off your painting for the 3rd time. The potential of being observed while making mistakes is not for the faint-hearted. It was natural for the group to enjoy watching me stumble around while I attempted a demo using a long forgotten photo of a wooded shoreline with long reflections in still water while they relaxed awhile. Yike.

Second sweat, I'll paint it into submission one of these days.
I’ll show them. I’ll give that demo some concerted effort in the privacy of my studio and show them what several layers of paint and hours of work can do to rein in a wayward painting. Wink wink.

Thank you Valentine area Sand Painters for a really great experience. It was an honor to share work space with you. Huge thanks to my personal host Debby, who treated me like a dear friend - which we now are.