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.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Extending into the New Year

By now many of you have already checked off your entire list of New Year’s Resolutions. Others of you have already forgotten what you promised, and still others are still trying to knock out resolutions from decade ago. How's that last 10 pounds coming?

If you’ve been keeping track of me, you know that I’m not a resolution kinda gal.  There’s nothing about January that inspires me to change, unless it is to move south.

Rather than promise to become a thinner, smarter, taller or just plain better version of myself, I prefer to pick a single word that can be used as a guide during the coming 12 months for deeper, more honest living.  

In past years I've used words like allow, up, moxie (yeah, that was a bad choice. I allowed myself to give up that one). Engage was so engaging it lasted two years. 

The word extend came to me quietly a few weeks ago while sitting in my thinking chair. It's a cozy place I curl up to corral important thoughts and start my day. Other more dramatic words had made the initial list; seek, courage, power, fearlessness … words that require a red cape to complete the ensemble.

I'm too old for spandex and the last time I wore a cape it got caught - well, never mind that.

E x t e n d
A word for the year must be heartfelt and true, created for your own personality. It should encourage growth while supporting all that has come before. Extend seems to fit that bill.

To extend is to draw out, stretch, prolong. To make more comprehensive. It works figuratively as well as in the literal sense.  I can extend my painting sessions, or extend a helping hand. Perhaps a breaking point can be extended just a few more inches. I envision a bridge spanning a vast chasm. I think the reaches of my comfort zone will get a workout.

and then extend a little bit more
It's a year long process, so where this word will lead me exactly I don't know. That's one of the benefits of the process. So, I extend to you an invitation to come along with me. What word will guide you this year? 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Winter Passage

This time of year holds so much promise. 

The earth revolves to meet the sun each morning just a little bit earlier, and holds on just a little bit longer before it cedes to darkness.

The smallest branches high in bare trees accept color now from light freed of the frozen pull of winter.

Migratory birds begin to feel an ancient desire for flight, with promises to linger over fertile farmland here in mid-country. They have passed through here far longer than we have laid claim to boundaries and titles.

As I take refuge from brittle cold outside I feel these things.  We artists paint what we know, and I know that winter is a necessary pause from the wild growth of summer. It is a pause before the raucous call of the sandhill crane, kestrel and sharp-eyed hawk as they find refuge and food in the shallows of the Platte River. 

Winter is also a necessary pause, for me at least, from the habits and rituals of the past season.

I've noticed this feeling in the past; the slow movement at this time of year toward some sort of change.

This fallow season is when I too seem to pass through a sort of grace period, a recognition of old habits and an awakening to something that's been there all along but hidden, much like last years' summer vegetation now covered in snow. 

This painting is a celebration of the cool side of the color wheel; chill blues and violets, and cooler versions of the opposing orange and yellow. A relief from the intense greens and blues of summer painting.  As with the solstice, it's a turning point of sorts, an exploration of new ways of laying down paint and scraping it back, balancing marks from intuition and forethought. Like early sun on a winter landscape I feel a warming, a freshening of my course.