Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kamikaze Museum Visiting, Part Three, and a Game of Musical Cars

Dear Imaginary Friends,

What is more physically bracing than trying to get a parking spot in Washington, DC, during cherry blossom time? It turns out, nothing!! Good heavens, I pulled up to a spot where parking is officially allowed, starting at 10 am. It was 9:57 am, and the policeman and policewoman were shooing me away, while holding ticket books to write me a ticket! It was like a crazed game of musical chairs. If you happened to be adjacent to a free parking spot when the clock hit ten, you were magic! Unfortunately for the culturally inclined, going to museums here is a total headache: Joan and I were out of luck. When the music stopped, we were on 12th Street, far away from the coveted spots. School children were swarming the sidewalks and streets and the chilly  drizzle did not keep any cherry blossom gawkers at home.

At last we finally found a meter. The meters have gone digital, like the rest of the world, and did not accept quarters.  A meter that hates coins? This is pure blasphemy, and shakes me to my core, after years of feeding the hungry maws of meters in every city I have visited, from Miami Beach to New York. What a travesty. The newfangled meters require plastic credit cards. Soon, they will require one to wave a smart phone over them, instead. What is the world coming to?

In the Museum of American History today, Dorothy's ruby slippers!

On to the more interesting purpose of our visit: the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History.
Right now, Natural History has exotic orchids on display -- every kind of orchid, and in such abundance. After ogling the orchids, Joan (my partner in crime) and I trekked on upstairs to see the Hope Diamond, Marie Antoinette's ginormous diamond earrings, and the emerald of the grand poobah, etc., etc.
For some reason, the DC museums are very fond of closing the most popular exhibits for two years at a stretch, and it had been so long since I had visited these two museums, that I felt that I should clamber over all the pint size school children, and through the sullen teens with sharp elbows and miserably large backpacks, which fill the rooms.
We raced -- against the time of the meter's inevitable demise -- through the rain to see American History next. What do they have there? I am so glad that you asked!!! They have the Star Spangled Banner, which is full of holes. They have Julia Child's Kitchen from the sixties. They have Grover and the Archie Bunker chair, and the Fonzie's leather jacket, and then the First ladies' dresses, which are rather splendiferous. Mary Todd Lincoln, you little minx! You must have had a waistline of 18 inches, tops.
There were black and white Richard Avedon photos of the young Kennedy children being cuddled by their parents. Best of all? Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz. Sparkly, tacky, yet beautiful!
Next, a race back to the car and a drive through the cherry blossoms, choked with tourists. Rain, shmain. Nothing keeps the tourists away from the spectacular blooms.
I was so pooped out from the morning that I missed my turn to head south and went north.  So I accidentally on purpose drove up to the Italian Store off Spout Run, where I was naturally inclined to order a Milano sub, a slice of their famous pizza and a chocolate cannoli. I figure that was where my car wanted to go! Why else would Joan and I have missed our turn, right?
Then finally, Joan and I clicked our heels together, headed back south, and repeated three times: There is No Place Like Home!
Your Imaginary Friend,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When You Are a Cute Stuffing...It's Hard to Sit Up

Newest Achievement: Parker Sitting Up for 5 seconds at a time, before falling over
It's not easy sitting up! This purple chair is a new fangled contraption to help babies sit up. In the old days, we sat up the hard way, on our butts. And when we fell forward, we may have lost a tooth or two, but it built character!
Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

100 and Never Better

Dear Imaginary Friends,
I think I should throw a party, because this is my 100th blog entry!! Please all shout in unison, "Woo Hoo!!!" OK, now I feel I can hear you.
That was refreshing.
Apple, 4 x 6", Oil  

I can now go celebrate and eat a healthy apple like the one above, instead of the chocolate I crave. Otherwise, this blog will be about how I have to get larger clothes .

Your Imaginary Centenarian,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's New?

Dear Imaginary Friend,
Did I just hear you ask, what is new with me? Glad you asked! I painted a new landscape this week of Lake Okeechobee, based on a photo that I took while traveling to Jupiter Beach area last month.
It is a very large lake, and what surprised me were the marshy edges, which had resident alligator and unusually colorful birds. It was quite magical, visiting there at sunset.
Lake Okeechobee, Oil, 14 x 18"
Your Imaginary Friend,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Parker Loves His Happy Apple, Just Like His Mama

Some toys make every generation happy
Dear Readers,
If you do not own a Happy Apple, run to the store and buy one! Then you will be rolling around on the floor like Parker, laughing your head off.
Your Imaginary Friend,

The NIH Postcard

This painting, Sit Still, is featured on my new postcard for the NIH show. It will also, most likely, be shown in the Elan Magazine article.

Bonjour, Petite Amis!

Dear Petite Imaginary Friends,

What have we here? Is this an invitation to NIH (The National Institute of Health)? Why, I do believe so. In addition to being leaders of the scientific research world, they are also a happening place to exhibit art. About 18 years ago, I first showed a painting of mine there, in a curated show. That was before digital photography came into my world, so I do not have a pic handy of it. The painting sold. Good memories! So when I encountered the lovely Lillian Fitzgerald at an event, I asked her about her current openings for a  one woman show. And, voila! You are looking at it.
This exhibit coincides with my Artist Feature in elan magazine, which is published in Northern Virginia. That article consists of a lengthy interview with Donna Cedar-Southworth, a features editor at elan.  She made it so much fun. There will be many photos of my artwork, all oils on canvas. In addition, there will be a photo of yours truly. Danny Lyon was the expert and talented photographer who made the photos happen in high resolution. I would be sunk without his help.
SO, you and I are both relieved that I will not be giving a paper on the mitosis of banana slugs' liver cells, or whatev the newest thing is.
NIH does very important work on many medical fronts including researching cures for cancer, for Multiple Sclerosis, and for Alzheimer's Disease, among many others. They rock!
Your Imaginary Friend,

For Sale: Conch Shell, 8 x 10", Oil $300

Conch, oil, 8 x 10"

One of my shell series paintings. Can anybody hear the sound of the ocean?
Once upon a time, there was a sea critter living inside. What must it be like to float around in the Gulf of Mexico, bouncing among the coral and the seaweed? I suddenly hear steel drum music!
Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japanese Apricot Tree

Japanese Apricot Tree         

Dear Imaginary Fellow Gardeners,

"I think that I shall never see
A thing as beautiful as a tree..."
                       -Joyce Kilmer

What could be prettier?

Your Imaginary Friend,

Girly Stuff: What's Not to Like?

The Pink Purse, Oil, 16 x 16"            

Dear Imaginary Friends,
If you are a lady friend, then you can probably appreciate this. Don't you just love girl stuff?? Don't you love buying new purses, shoes and clothes every spring in the brightest pastels that your eyeballs can bear? I just love being a girl, and gazing at lipstick colors, lined up expectantly, as if saying, Choose Me! in every drug store and department store.
When I was little, Easter meant two good things: No more deprivations due to Lent, and getting a new dress.
And yes, there was chocolate, and Jesus saving me, too. All in all, Easter is a most excellent holiday!
Your Imaginary Friend,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mountain Sunset, Oil, 9 x 12"

I wandered lonely as a cloud....
                                    William Wordsworth

Dear Imaginary Reader,
I am not a poet, but I do see poetry everywhere I turn. Visual poetry, that is. Today, while digging in my garden, I saw flowers and green shoots, that were like the very elixir of life.
Everywhere I see inspiration; nature is magic.
The colors of the sky make me swoon with delight. Tonight, there is a phenomenon called the Supermoon. I guess that will bring forth some super werewolves, but at any rate, it is 10% larger and brighter than usual. It is closer to the Earth than it has been in about 900 years. It is big and yellow, like a happy face from the seventies.
I saw the most beautiful thing this week at garden club. A friend brought in, for the horticulture competition, a branch from her Japanese apricot tree. This is an ornamental tree, and you cannot eat these particlular apricots.
She waits all year for it to bloom, and then poof, it's over. Today I drove over to her house just to photograph it in all its magnificence. The flowers are single, open cups of pink. The flowers are so prototypically Oriental in their beauty, so delicate.
Perfection is fleeting in the world of gardening. Art gives me more shelf life, as it were. If I can capture a beautiful image, it will last for at least 100 years, if it is oil painted on canvas.
The Japanese apricot tree blooms for only one week of each year. But I have to say, I like Nature's work better than mine, even though it is here today and gone tomorrow. If my paintings are essays, then the blooming trees are poems.
Your Imaginary Friend,

Sit Still, and Wait for that Phone to Ring!

Sit Still, Oil, 50 x 20"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Greetings from Patty O'Furniture

Dear Beloved Fellow Irishmen,

Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, or wish they were. In my case, I really am: Irish from both sides.
I would like to salute all Irish characteristics, including, but not limited to:

1. Drinking to excess.
2. Having a bulbous nose that is reddish.(think Tip O'Neill)
3. Thick hair.
4. A love of spinning long tales of yore.
5. A certain closeness to one's family that defies the usual standards of American aloofness. (Think Kennedys)
6. Excessive love for the songs Danny Boy and When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.
7. Pugnaciousness. (Think Notre Dame calling itself  the Fighting Irish)
8. Weird fondness for the color green. (duh!)
9. Seriously into potatoes.(Think Spuds MacKenzie)
10. A sense of blarney. (Think me!)
Who fits into all of the above? Alec Baldwin!!!! Not Charlie Sheen. We don't claim him. Never did.

Patio Furniture, aka, your imaginary friend

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan and New Orleans

Dear Imaginary Friends,
I shudder with memories of Hurricane Katrina, while watching footage of the devastation left by the tsunami and earthquake this week in Japan.
There are so many parallels.
My father-in-law was missing for 3 days from his nursing home in the aftermath of Katrina. We were worried sick.
People rendered homeless, without safe food and water, separated from loved ones are familiar images from 2005. We are a highly industrialized nation, but where was the US government, in aiding its citizens? Things were handled so badly.
Even though it looks like Japan has done everything right, look at all the casualties. Despite their sophisticated warning system, they only had about 15 seconds to react before the waves and shuddering ensued. How much can anyone do in 15 seconds?
And now they face radiation sickness. I don't think their surgical masks are going to help in this instance.
One thing to remember is that nature is so much stronger than our relatively little bodies. And that water always wins.
This serves as a handy wake up call to all of us, to examine our lives and to infuse them with meaning. Make your life count for something. And live it large.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Check out my refurbished website!

Dear Friends,

Please click on my new, improved, low calorie website. It tastes great, and won't make you fat!

Your Imaginary Friend,
"Peaches and Grapes"
       Oil, 14 x 11

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How I spent last week

Lewes, Delaware

I have been spending my Tuesdays this month painting landscapes, just because I say so.
Here is my recent effort: a water, sky and  land land view of Lewes, Delaware, at the end of the road.
Clouds and water can be so hard, but I think that this piece turned out well.
Your friendly local painter,

Friday, March 11, 2011

More Cute Stuffings, Back By Popular Demand

Parker and his grandmommy are having a moment                                                                       

This cow has cute hoofies!

Poor Japan

Dear Imaginary Friends,
Considering the recent tragedy today in Northeastern Japan, I am surprised at a) how brutal Mother Nature can be when she is in a foul mood and b) that I was not vacationing there when it happened, considering the volcano in Iceland and the Egyptian rebellion. This time, I missed it, and am ever so grateful.
May God bless the victims, and if you are a surfer dude, show some sense and stay in your apartment. Please.
Things sure can change on a dime.
SO, be careful out there, and remember to eat your vegetables!
Your Imaginary Mother,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Party Onion

Party Onion, Oil, 5 x 7"
What is more festive, my imaginary friends, than an onion on a party napkin? Nothing!!!  That's what I thought!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Waiting For the Parade

Waiting for the Parade

Happy Mardi Gras, Y'all!

Dear Imaginary Cajuns,

Hey, today was the official day to partay hearty! Especially if you were "down in New Orleans, where the blues were born, it takes a cool cat, to blow a horn! Mardi Gras Mambo, Mambo, Mambo...."
I sure wish I had spent the day in New Orleans sipping on a frosty mint julep, bedecked with beads, rather than sitting around laboring over my landscapes and washing paint brushes. But what can you do? Tuesday is painting day in Washington. For me, anyway.
It was also entry day at The Art League in Alexandria, on the main floor of the Torpedo Factory, and guess who had their Mardi Gras themed painting accepted into the show?
Moi, of course, cher! The painting is based on an old photo taken when I was just a tiny tadpole, wearing a Pirette costume (French clown). My sister Susan is shown sitting on a ladder, waiting for the parade to pass by and throw us something, mister.

Beads, doubloons, we don't care~! When I was a little girl, I just loved the parades, the costumes, the colors, the craziness. The marching band played heavy beats that resounded in your tiny chest. You had to sit on your daddy's shoulders in order to see, or on a specially constructed ladder, like the one Susan is on. Too bad I was not good at catching, because up there, there is no leaning over to catch those beads.
Flambeaux carriers predated the lit floats. Before electricity was widely used, young black gentlemen would dance down the streets carrying the lit torches, at no slight danger to their safety. I think the torches were ignited rags with kerosene. Back then,  necklaces were made with glass beads. When they were thrown to you, you had best catch them. Bend over to pick up a doubloon, and your hand would most likely be stepped on by someone who wanted it more.
Living dangerously, New Orleans style! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Your Imaginary Friend,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Carlo and Parker Discuss the Convergence of Lion Bib and Cow Costume

Dear Imaginary Friend,
Thanks for being a faithful reader! To wit, your reward is getting to see two good-looking gentlemen.
Your Imaginary Bloggy Friend,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Babysitting Cute Stuffings Last Night

Guess Who Came to Visit Last Night?

Dear Imaginary Friend,

Who is 
1.Very Cute 
2. Loves to be held 
3. Wears cow costumes bought by his coocoo for cocopuffs grandmother?
(Well, it is not the Queen of England, that's for sure!)
Parker, that's who! He is almost 6 months old, and he tries to sit up, with varying success. Hence the boo boos on his face.
He is chewing on everything, like a puppy, because his teeth are trying to cut through.
His eyes are turning hazel, and his hair is both brown and blond depending on where you look.
Don't you think that some of us are just made to wear cow outfits??

Your Imaginary Friend,

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mrs. William Wegman

Mrs. William Wegman, 20 x 16", Oil, by Patricia Uchello

Dear Imaginary Friend,
Here we have the true love of William Wegman's life: an elegant, anthropomorphic Weimaraner. Yes, silly, I know she is a dog! That is the whole point. Wegman is the famous photographer who loved no subject more than Weimaraners, with their lovely gray close-cropped coats, and green eyes.
This is a painting, sprung from my imagination, of a dog who has eyes only for Mr. Wegman.
OK, that is just weird! My art has gone to the dogs.
Your Imaginary Friend,

Enticing or Molesting: Both SO Wrong

Dear Imaginary Reader,
If you are into molesting alligators, you are in serious trouble, every which way, and I strongly recommend that you avoid the Loxahatchee River near Jupiter, FL, as it is strictly forbidden down there.
And what are you thinking???????
Honestly, get some psychotherapy.
Patsie, Concerned Citizen

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lake Okeechobee

The marshy edges of Lake Okeechobee in South Florida are pictured above. We saw a gator and some beautiful birds in the marsh grasses. We were looking southward from the town of Okeechobee; the lake has a 30 foot levee surrounding it. The lake is the headwater of the Everglades, which is technically a river, as opposed to a swamp. It was a hike from Jupiter, but worth it for the sunset views.
Your Imaginary Friend,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Art Attack: SO Much to See, Part 2

Dear Imaginary Friend,

Are you a fan of the master artists? I certainly am, and I just love trekking to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in our home town.
Today, my friend Joan and I did a blitzkrieg museum visit.
In the East Wing Building alone, we saw an extensive exhibit of Canaletto and his Rivals, and then Gauguin, and then Small French Paintings.
Then we walked the length, back and forth, of the West Wing, seeing the Impressionist Chester Dale Collection.
My hoofies are killing me!
Such beauties! (The paintings, not my feet.)
I was especially interested in the Canaletto show, because last year, I painted the Grand Canal of Venice, which believe me, was a total bear of a painting, especially because my canvas was about 40" wide by 30" tall. 
The amount of detail that went into Canaletto's masterpieces is mind-blowing. His work makes me feel like a lazy slug. I would love to know several things: Did he have many apprentices helping him? What would be the equivalent price of his canal scenes in today's dollars, US? How long did these masterpieces take to complete? Did he become wealthy from his art? Where can I get some uber-talented apprentices who work for free? (requirement: they must be better painters than I am...)
If you know the answer to any of the above questions, please respond in the comments section. I would love to know!
Visiting art museums is a two pronged emotional event. On the one hand, it inspires me to reach higher and be my absolute best.
On the other hand, it makes me feel like a loser who cannot hold a candle-etto to Canaletto.
I am hoping that he had some egregious faults, like really crummy hair, plenty of acne, or bad posture, at the very least. If I am lucky, he had scads of teenagers with attitude, a gambling problem, and tight shoes.
Now that I have vented, I feel better, although my hoofies still hurt. Must be my tight shoes.
Your Imaginary Artist Friend,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jupiter Lighthouse: Your Tax Dollars at Work!

This lighthouse serves as a beacon, pointing out the way for Tiger Woods' yacht.  
Dear Imaginary Reader,
I hope that we all sleep better at night, knowing that our tax dollars help the rich and famous find their way home in their yachts.
Celine Dion, happy to help! You, too, Greg Norman!