Reach out and touch the world

I’ve been reading quite a lot about ‘legacy’ recently. You know the stuff – what legacy are you going to leave the world? Sometimes it’s hard to read, especially if you think you aren’t leaving much behind, and we all probably think that way, me included.

So it’s been with great delight that I’ve watched the International Society of Scratchboard Artists take shape. In a way I can claim a small part of this as a legacy item.

About a year or so ago, I was hearing a lot of scratchboard artists complain that there was never any category for us to enter our art into in exhibitions and competitions around the world. We were always lumped in with something else like ‘works on paper’ or ‘paintings’ or ‘drawing’, and even occasionally told that scratchboard would be better off being entered into a craft show. Now I’m not having a go at crafts here but scratchboard needed to take its rightful place as a fine art medium.

I spent a short time thinking about this problem and about one hour writing a basic manifesto of why we should create a society. That was it. I had no idea how to start from that point, other than asking people for help.

Well, what happened next? Stacks of scratchboard artists agreed with me and a group of seven from around the world put their hands up to help me do the donkey work. This involved some very clever artists writing by-laws, a policy manual, setting up a website, working out levels and fee structures, getting the whole thing incorporated and pursuing non profit status, organizing bank accounts and writing newsletters.

What has happened as a result? Well, we have a whole host of members now. This is not a Facebook group which you can join, or someone joins you without even asking you (grrr), this is serious! This involves someone applying, paying money and being juried into the society. We also have an exhibition venue and date for 2012 which is very exciting. It will be at the Arthouse Gallery in Glen Ellen, California. The show opening will be July 7, 2012. This is in the heart of wine country in California and I will be making the trip from Australia for this with my family.

So how did all this happen? The people who really made all this happen were Lorna Hannett our president, Cathy Sheeter our exhibition director, Ken Mcfarlane the man who made the lawyers bend over backwards for us, Sue Rhodes our webmaster, Sandra Willard our secretary, and Diana Lee who pulled off the coup of locating our inaugural exhibition and who has promised to show me around her home state (I never forget a promise hint hint). Also Natalie Langkopf edited the first issue of our member newsletter and it was an absolute ripper! All of these good people have volunteered hours and hours of time, effort and passion, along with being fine artists themselves.

So, if you have a chance, come along to the exhibition. If I’m flying in from Australia, anyone can get there from anywhere. Better still, apply to be a member and then have a go at exhibiting in the show.

Either way, think about your own legacy. Every little, or big, thing you do is part of your legacy. Who do you touch?

This article below was published in the November edition of Fine Art and Decorative Painting magazine. One of our master scratchboard artists Judith Edwards-White wrote the article and it contains one of her images, one of our president’s (Lorna) and one of Diana’s, and also includes two of mine (though technically ten, since “The Birdy Bunch” is a montage of nine individual scratchboards).