Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ain't Got No

I was visiting recently with Dr. T, a fine young physicist, about the challenges of his work.  

2014 Blue River Reclamation  22x28 oil  Am I satisfied?
According to him, it goes like this:

They think about what they want to know. Experiments and measurements are set up.  And then they decide if they figured stuff out.  

That’s it, in a nutshell.

So, I asked, "When you get your answer…then what? You’re done? Check it off the list and start a new quest?"

With a deep sigh and no small amount of patience, he said:

"We’re never done. Asking a question always leads to more questions. We wonder about A. Which leads to A.1. Which leads to A.1a, or A.2, or whatever combination of trails happen to wander off from the original problem."

"More questions arise from the answers we get," he said.  "There’s always another something that needs asking. And answering."

With a sigh he wrapped it up by saying, “We learn to be satisfied with not being satisfied.”

And for just a moment, the vast abyss in my understanding of gravity, E=MC2 and time travel was bridged. I understood physics. Okay, maybe not exactly physics, but I got the part about not being satisfied.

Last year’s paintings were lovely. They’ve been signed, framed and hung so satisfied I was with them. Yet, as I view them today, I see things…questions I should have asked, ideas that needed wondering about.  Even last month’s accomplishments, so exciting and purposeful, don’t quite meet the mark today. I’m familiar with a successful artist whose wife no longer allows him to hang his own work in their home. Evidently she’s tired of having him dash away from a dinner party, grab a painting off the wall and disappear with it into his studio, leaving her with guests and the dishes. It’s a satisfaction problem.

In creative endeavors (as well as physics, evidently) to be satisfied is to stop looking. Satisfaction suggests fulfillment, a job well done – or done, anyway. It suggests no need to keep at it, no need to change, or to keep wondering what if.

If we're doing it right, there should always be something else.  As frustrating as it can be, it is energizing to allow that itchy little question that asks, what if … what if?

What if I try this?
What if this color …
What if that shape …
Is it enough? Too much?
How about …?

To keep learning and growing, that is how it should be. That’s how discoveries are made and societies are changed. Without a "what if" we wouldn't have light bulbs, telephones, Cubism, Jazz, circus elephants, Impressionism, platform shoes, bungee jumping, or any number of  discoveries that have changed the way we see the world. (I didn't say every query into "what-if" had to be successful.) It’s not always pretty or fun or Nobel Prize winning, but it is what drives us to keep at it, to keep learning, to keep dipping that brush in one more time. 


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Winter Passage

After spending far too long wrestling with my web site, suffice it to say I'm in no mood to be clever or charming about the marketing aspect of being an artist.

So here's the skinny, in plain English:

I've had really high quality reproductions made of another painting I especially love.

2015 Patricia Scarborough Winter Passage 30x30 oil

Winter Passage is an original 30x30 oil painting and is now available as a 26x26 giclee reproduction on canvas, or an 18x18 repro on 100% cotton rag paper.

It's everything you want from a reproduction: no extra junk to degrade over time, the best ink, paper and canvas, and a timeless sense of beauty that comes from knowing the sun will rise and set again and again for the next millenium.

If only my web site were that sweet.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Extending Thanks


Let’s just get to it today, shall we?

I’m grateful. Really really grateful. And it’s not even Christmas.

I’m extending myself in a few new directions in my art life which will require some extra effort and focus. Reliance on the expertise of others is paramount - and a little risky.

©2015 Patricia Scarborough  30x30 oil Rumble

This goes for those I’ll be doing business with and those whose experience I’d like to tap into.  Are they correct? Out for their own benefit?  Are they honest? Will they share?

Man, lately it’s all been good. The answers aren’t always what I want, but my queries have been answered with honesty and forthrightness. No monkeying around.

I’m here to say thank you to artists who share their expertise and observations in positive ways. You are a breath of fresh air.

To gallery owners who offer the same, who pay their artists on time and manage their businesses well.

To patrons who invest carefully and often. And to those who ask sincere questions about the process of creating artwork. And to those who are waiting for just the right piece.

Thank you to small businesses who patiently share their ideas and opinions. And charge an honest fee. And provide what they say they’ll provide when they promise to provide it. Or are honest when they can't.

I’m grateful to those who offer honest critiques of the work I produce. It’s not always fun to hear, but, like broccoli, it’s good for me.


And yes, I’m grateful to Handsome Husband who listens to me worry and fret, challenge and boast. 

It's important to recognize this kind of relationship, especially when most of what I read or hear in the media is so very scary and negative. So here's my little drop of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy season -

Thank you!




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Extending West

My last post described my approach to New Year's Resolutions. Or rather, my refusal to make them.


I've gone for a different approach the past few years which has proven to be growth-inspiring and deeply moving in some quiet, personal ways.

I pick a word that resonates deeply in my heart, and use it to gently prod myself into new ways of living. I've chosen the word 'extend' to take me into the coming 12 months.


Already I'm seeing a broadening of my experiences. Don't read too much into this; I'm not stretching my way into hang gliding or joining the circus. There will be no checking off of bucket lists or mountains climbed.

In the first eight weeks of the year my experiences have extended to dipping my toes in the cold Pacific ocean, watching whales make their way south, and enjoying fog obscure most everything around me.


As I sit here curled up in my comfy chair staring out the window at piles of snow left from the last storm, my memory extends back to this lovely get-away and a grateful smile spreads across my face.