Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Staying Current or Going Cavegirl

Dear Diary, aka, Imaginary Friend,
Nowadays, it is not enough to know how to email. Artists are expected to be able to download photos, upload photos, edit in Picasa, write and manage a blog, manage their Facebook and My Space sites, and maintain a website. The social networks sometimes feel like a full time job! I feel like any nanosecond, there will be some newer piece of technology that I will be expected to master. Will I ever be sufficiently proficient at technology to keep up? Is it a losing battle? Maybe I should just go scribble images of bison on a cave wall and call it a day.
Nah. But if ever managing my website eats up more time than actually making art does, having a great website will seem like a pyrrhic victory.
If we spend all our time at our computers on our Spacebook, My Face, Your Face, [sic] without actually being out in the world, we will not be creating art or enjoying the company of other people. Not to mention exercising. It can be very isolating to spend a lot of time of the computer. Is that what "social" networking is all about?
Scratching my head, and getting flabby,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How I Learned to Blog at the Art League

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that The Art League, a fabulous non-profit art association in Alexandria, VA, was hosting a free lecture on how to write, post and publish a blog. I attended, in hopes of learning a new skill. Megan Coyle, a young artist, was the very savvy instructor. In two hours, I was back at home, creating my blog! How easy was that, thanks to The Art League. Wow. They have so many good lectures, all free to the public. Tonight, I will attend yet another: a critique of members' art work, courtesy of The Art League and Ted Reed, one of their excellent instructors. All you have to do is call the Art League to register, and bring 3 pieces of art. It is tonight, from 7-9 pm. The Art League has meant so much to me over the last twenty-plus years. I have studied painting with Diane Tesler, Kurt Schwarz, Danni Dawson, Lisa Semerad, and many others. They have taught me to refine both my skills and my eye. Love you, Art League! It is not just me who thinks that the arts are so very important to the fabric of our society. Newsweek put it very well in their recent article on creativity, and how classes in all the arts positively impact students' academic performances. Creativity and innovations are also economic drivers which reach throughout communities. On July 21, the Washington Post had a great article on the creative and cultural push of the Obamas. We artists need that assistance from the government, because school systems seem to think of the arts as the most expendable curricula. The arts need technology and technology needs the arts. We are symbiotic. I would not be writing this blog were it not for the Art League. You would be well-served to spend a little free time at The Art League, taking a class, attending a seminar, checking out the gallery, making an art purchase, buying art supplies. Whatever you do, and however you do it, please support the arts. Cheers, Your virtual friend Patsie

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Denver and Boulder,CO

Dear Diary, aka, Imaginary Friend,
Wow, what a meal we ate tonight at Mizuna, the best restaurant in Denver. Our fave dishes: Carlo had a beet salad with goat cheese tortellini, and I had the famous lobster macaroni and cheese with mascarpone. The more expensive the restaurant, the smaller the portions. But so tasty! Great house bread with 3 different butters. Our wine was from Willamette Valley: a Pinot Noir called Siduri. YUMtastic! But pricey.
To make life even better, I trekked to Broomfield and Boulder, where I had lunch at The Kitchen, very gourmet crab salad. AH, thanks, Barbara, for taking me there! If you travel to Boulder, check out the Pearl Street mall shops, and be sure to go into The Peppercorn. SO many kitchen items, foods and things culinary. The biggest cookbook assortment I have ever seen.
AS for aesthetic delights, the Denver Botanical Garden just slayed me with so many blooming flowers and water features, abloom with so many kinds of water lilies. It was bejeweled with 20 Henry Moore sculptures, which were beautifully integrated into the landscaping. A true visual treat. The sculptures are a temporary exhibit, so run, do not walk.
Our first day in Denver, we drove up into the Rockies, to Georgetown, a charming Victorian town where we snacked at the Happy Cooker. {sic} We east-coasters are accustomed to our tap water tasting of refreshing chlorine. Nope, here it smacks of minerals, that make your iced tea taste like it has artificial flavoring. Alas, there is no getting around the fact that the mountain water, although fresh, tastes like swill.
Small matter. The air is clear and the skies beautifully blue.
What is Colorado famous for? Healthy thin people, who ride bikes, recycle, are deeply invested in preserving the environment, and import homeless from other states, so as to educate them and release them back into society. Shux, Denver, you guys are nice.
Your liquor bill will be reduced if you move here, because you will get twice as drunk on half the liquor, due to the altitude. But you will spend all that surplus money on sunscreen. The sun here is surprisingly direct and strong.
What's hard here is breathing when you have not yet adjusted to the altitude, baking potatoes and cakes and cookies (takes forever), and driving up the mountain roads without getting the shakes. A small price to pay.
More awesomeness: the Denver Museum of Art, housed in boldly striking architecture, with magnificent sculptures luring the viewer in. What a great collection of contemporary paintings and sculpture! Wow. And don't forget to visit Cherry Creek Mall.
I am so glad I visited. Denver, you are a refreshing change from Washington, DC.
Your new buddy,

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Warehouse: a foodie destination on King Street

If you visit Old Town, Alexandria, VA, please give your taste buds a treat, and head to The Warehouse on King Street. Yum. Their she crab soup is a must-have. I have never tasted better, and believe me, I have done my research into this important matter.
I have, because of my due diligence, become a regular. My picture, in caricature form, now graces the stairway, among other foodie luminaries, such as Katie Couric. Apparently, she knows her crab soup, too.
Bon Apetit,
Your Imaginary Friend,
PS The Warehouse is conveniently located on King Street, 2 blocks West of The Art League in The Torpedo Factory, a visual taste treat. The Art League Gallery is on the first floor, and a staple of great art at affordable prices. The building is the number one tourist destination in Alexandria, and situated right on the Potomac River.

Nocturne on the River

A Show of Hands, on Mount Vernon Avenue

Dear Diary, aka, Imaginary Friends,
Well, I just wanted you to know that A Show of Hands is a fabulous art gallery, located in the trendy Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria, VA. Seeing as how you can never have too much fabulosity, if you have never been there, you simply must go.
What could be more perfect than an art gallery situated across the street from the very best ice cream parlor in the greater Washington, DC Metro area? I kid you not. Even President Obama has visited The Dairy Godmother on Mt. Vernon Avenue. I highly recommend the chocolate custard. All their flavors are made in house. Don't forget the Sprecher's Root Beer. I give it a thumbs up.
But getting back to art, my friend Laura Bell and I have art showing at A Show of Hands through tomorrow. It brings me great sorrow that the show is coming down. I had on exhibit about 22 oil paintings. A few of them will remain, which means I will be shopping there and peeking at my paintings on a regular basis.
What kinds of subjects have I been showing there? I thought you might ask. Well, mostly oil paintings that are landscapes. There are paintings of Sedona, AZ; Lyon , France; Avignon, France; the Virginia side of the Potomac River and Venice, Italy. Also, there are oils of irises and waterlillies, red roses and gerbera daisies. You can never have too much beauty in your life. Who doesn't love flowers and gorgeous scenery?
Hitler, that's who!

My Very First Blog

Dear Diary, aka, Imaginary Friends,
I think I should be smelling the scent of a new box of crayolas right about now: such is the raw newness and my lack of education in all things technical. Me, a blog? Hard to believe that I could master the technology. Thanks, Google, for making this so easy, relatively speaking.
I am writing a blog because two of my friends told me that I really need to!
I am going to post about the three things that most interest me, outside of family.
First, making art! Cannot live without it.
Second, good food. Hey, I am from New Orleans, where the conversations all revolve around one's last meal, and one's next meal.
Third, travel. I cannot travel to enough interesting places in the forty or so years left on this planet, because the budget would implode. But I travel as much as I can, so as to eat the FOOD and see the ART. And photograph the sights so that I can remember the trip and have something to paint. SO, you see, it really is all the same thing.
Stay tuned: Carlo and I are heading to Denver, Colorado for the very first time with new fascinating restuarants and museums to explore. I promise to report back, as well as to post some of my work.
Your imaginary friend,