Exhibit evokes memories of Scarborough

The last of the Paul Scarborough Collection is now on display at The Chadds Ford Gallery. "Scarborough Days - Another Visit To Scarborough Fair," opened this weekend and features original works of the popular artist who died in February 2014.

Despite a 90-minute power outage in the village, spirits were bright with memories of the man who would hide a little cardinal in most of his paintings. That bird, he said in one interview, was his representation of himself.

Visitors to the Chadds Ford Gallery chat and mingle during the opening night of "Scarborough Days - Another Visit To Scarborough Fair."

Visitors to the Chadds Ford Gallery chat and mingle during the opening night of "Scarborough Days - Another Visit To Scarborough Fair."

Ed and Kathy Wandersee, former Chadds Ford residents, were next-door neighbors of Scarborough’s for 15 years. For Kathy Wandersee, the exhibit was nostalgic.

“He drew our daughters, the house, everything. We were so close, we were subjects a lot of times. Every time he drew something of our family or house, we had to buy it,” she said.

According to Ed Wandersee, sometimes the payments were in the form of vegetables from the family garden.

“We met Paul. He had moved in recently. After a while we got to swapping paintings for vegetables. I’d come home from work and see Paul in the garden picking tomatoes and cucumbers. He’d carry them off, then comeback with some picture of one of the kids,” he said.

Ed Wandersee also told a story about a pet Amazon parrot the artist once had. Scarborough didn’t want the bird in a cage, so he let it out. Sure enough, it flew outside.

“It went up into the trees behind the barn and sat there for two or three days. Finally, the bird got hungry and came back down onto his shoulder and went back inside. But he was out there cussin’ at that bird because it wouldn’t come down,” Wandersee said. “You don’t ask a parrot tot do what you want it to do. It does what it wants to do.”

Also reminiscing about Scarborough was former Pennsbury Township Supervisor Karen Wood. Wood rented him his artist’s studio on Brinton’s Bridge Road. As an architect, Wood said she was impressed with Scarborough’s growth as an artist and how he moved to more formless structure in his paintings and excluded buildings.

“There’s no structure; it’s just nature. More traditionally, he had a structure in his work. There could be a forest, but there would also be a house or a bridge. That was more typical [in his earlier work],” she said.

Wood, too, received a lot of Scarborough’s work of over the years, she said.

Paul Scarborough's "Fall on the Brandywine" is one of the works on display at The Chadds Ford Gallery.

Paul Scarborough's "Fall on the Brandywine" is one of the works on display at The Chadds Ford Gallery.

“He was very generous. I have several [paintings] of my barn. He loved to paint that. And every Christmas he would give me a small painting. He would spend hours looking at irises that were growing out of my springhouse. He loved looking at nature. He related to it,” Wood said.

In addition to painting, Scarborough loved fishing and Wood told the story of a time he was fishing at the canal in Lewes, Del. She said a boat pulled up and the owner asked Scarborough to hold a line. He did, but the boat pulled away, dragging Scarborough into the water.

In his struggle to get up and back onto land, she said, his pants fell down, underwear included. There was a café on the opposite bank and, “He wound up mooning everyone.”

Robert Horan is a stained-glass artist in Pennsbury. He recalled soaking up inspiration from conversations he had with Scarborough.

“Paul’s approach to his artwork was beneficial to me,” Horan said. “It was his insight. He had a lot more experience than I did. I always looked at him as sort of a mentor.”

That approach, Horan said, included openness and freedom, and that Scarborough “was always evolving and improving.”

Gallery Director Barbara Moore, a long-time close companion to Scarborough, said she’s glad to have the exhibit because there are no more original Scarborough works.

“This is the last of the collection that we have. It’s a beautiful show and I hope people will come to look at it,” she said.

"Scarborough Days - Another Visit To Scarborough Fair" runs through Oct. 2.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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