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.