Friday, August 19, 2011

See Ya Latah, Alligator!

In the swamp exhibit at the New Orleans Zoo
After while, crocodile!

My hope for this week: That I am never so sluggish that lichen grow on my snout. 

Also, that I do not own nor acquire a full fledged snout.

Your Imaginary Swamp Creature,

Lotus Drive

Lotus Drive, Acrylic on canvas, approx. 14 x 18"
Dear Imaginary Friends,

Here is one of my older paintings, done from a photo of a street in San Francisco. The street is actually not named Lotus Drive, but the title is supposed to suggest a hippie, dippie city. Which San Francisco still is.

I executed this in the style of Edward Hopper. Can you feel the isolation and loneliness in the hard-edged shadows? Note the Siamese cat on the doorstep on the right; even the cat is lonely and expectant. The fire hydrant is isolated, too.

 The cool color scheme seems to tamp down the warmth of the day.  San Francisco is usually chilly, from being perched up high on the hills near the ocean winds and fog. The sunlight is grayed, and hazy, overcast with mild ennui.

Not only does an artist paint a subject, but she also paints a mood.

Your Imaginary Moody Friend,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do I Have 4,000 Imaginary Friends?

Dear Imaginary Friends,

Guess what! I have had 4,000 hits on my blog!~ TOO bad I don't make money off this blog by selling ads. I might have earned $4.00 by now, I believe.
Whee ha!
Patsie and her paintings

I feel like I am hugging the world when I write this blog. People in Russia, Indonesia, all over Europe, Turkey, India, you name it, they are reading my blog.

Sometimes, we all need an non-judgy imaginary friend.
I once knew a little boy who had an imaginary friend who had rainbow hair, looked like a clown, and lived in North Carolina. His name was Jokey, and Jokey hung out with Jesus. I am not making this up!
Sounds more like Carrot Top to me.

Your Imaginary Friend,

The Help: A Review

Dear Imaginary Friend,

Having read the book a few years ago, today I ventured out with some good friends to see the film version of The Help. I was impressed by the faithfulness of the translation from book to screen, and entranced by the period costumes, hair styles, and the omnipresent girdles from the early sixties. Sometimes when you travel back in time, history is really ugly. And Jackson, Mississippi, is portrayed here as a place that I would not care to visit.
The obsession with appearances and fitting in, the repudiation of the rights of black people, and women in general, during the late fifties and early sixties is enough to make me squirm. Or scream.
Many people look fondly back through a hazy mirror at the fifties as a time when women stayed at home with their children, divorce was rare, and the family unit stayed intact. But if you happened to be black, and were forced to use sub standard schools, separate parts of buses, bathrooms, and hospitals, maybe you would not remember it so fondly.
I grew up in New Orleans, and remember the segregation.I remember the separate water fountains, and everything else. It was very difficult to speak out against these practices, because conformity was highly valued, and anyone different or individual was to be mistrusted.
I am grateful for the diminishing of racism, sexism and classism in the twenty-first century, but America, we still have a long way to go.
Go see the movie. Then talk about it with your friend. See if it doesn't bring up some long-buried uncomfortable memories...

Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Have Just About Had All I Can Take!!!

Garcon, quick! A milk bottle, on the double. Or I shall continue to give you the stare of death. Good Day, Sir. I said, Good Day!

The Tentative Shopper

Is this toy supposed to be a car or a grocery store buggy? Beats me! Parker looks a little unsure about this, too.

What Great Feet I Have!

And Look: There's Two of Them!

Cutie Patootie

Parker inspects the toys at his babysitter's home.

Another Shot from Kenilworth Gardens


Rob Liberace Paints from the Model

Dear Imaginary Art Students,

Here, Rob Liberace is seen teaching at the Art League, painting a full portrait, directly from life, as the model poses. This whole oil painting has been done using only a few pigment colors.
Amazing, huh?

Your Imaginary Friend,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hey, You!

"Mrs. William Wegman," Oil, for sale, c. Patricia Uchello
Now here's a dog with class! She likes Martinis, dirty.

Your Artist Friend,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Having Another Moment

Parker and Me, Having a Moment
Dear Imaginary Friends,

Here we are celebrating Carlo and Danny's birthdays this past Saturday. Parker and I take a moment to cuddle up with each other. 
He likes jewelry, especially breaking it! There has never been a necklace or earring he could resist, preferably on someone else, of course.
He is cute stuff. And he is more to me than you can imagine.

Your Imaginary Grandmother,

We All Scream for Ice Cream

Dear Imaginary Friend,
Who screams for ice cream? WE ALL scream for ice cream. So goes the saying.
To make your dreams come true, the Art League has plans to feed your soul and stomach both, with an ice cream bowl fundraiser sponsored by the ceramics department. For the paltry sum of $15, you will get a nice big serving of your choice of flavors donated by ACKC, the ice cream king of Del Ray. You will take home a magnificent ceramic hand made bowl, just right for your ice cream  needs. What could be better? And you get to pick the bowl out.
Need a Christmas Gift? Check! 
Need more crockery cuz your roommate just threw everything on the floor when her boyfriend dropped her? Check!
Just cannot get enough ice cream? Check!
Dates: Saturday and Sunday, September 10-11, during the Arts Festival on King Street. We will be located near Market Square on the corner of King Street and North Fairfax Street.

Yours in the pursuit of both art and dessert,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Birthday Boys!

Danny and Carlo, Two Fabulous Family Members
Dear Imaginary Friends,

Raise a glass, and say your happy birthdays to two dudes and an ice cream cake!

Your Imaginary Friend,

What Do Families Look Like? They Look Like Love

What Do Families Look Like? They Look Like Love.

Families and love are universal.
The bond between mother and daughter is very close, and can stretch around the world, when it needs to. It crosses oceans and travels continents, and lives within our hearts always.

I hope that you family looks like love, too.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Great Falls, Week Two

Great Falls

What I did this Monday: I painted the little turbulent waves filled with foam, tossing on the rocks. I worked on the rocks, refining their shapes. I added color to the very monochromatic color scheme. But is it done?
I don't know. Are paintings ever finished?

Your Imaginary Artist Friend,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bring Your Own Bottle

Dining at Aroma in Shirlington
A new trend in restaurants these days is Bring Your Own Bottle.
Is this what that means??
Your Confused Writer,

Parker Visits Green Springs with a Sense of Urgency

Parker registers utter apathy
Green Springs on Sunday in Alexandria, VA
Dear Imaginary Friends,

If you know me, or read this blog, then you know that I love gardens. Since this is the time of year when  lotuses and water lilies bloom, one must make haste, for fear the bloom cycle will end any moment. Unfortunately, Green Springs Garden's display is petering out. 

The world of flowers is such a tenuous one. Most flowers bloom so briefly, and we wait on tenterhooks for this grand show of color. Take the one or two weeks of bloom time for tulips, for instance. My heart raced in April when my big crop of pink tulips sprouted buds. Next thing I know, the resident squirrel union had eaten off all the flower heads before they could even open, leaving them like Ichabod Crane, twisting with embarrassment in the spring sunshine.

Parker was dragged in the miserable heat to visit the flowers, and he obviously was not appreciative. He is no doubt thinking, my grandparents dragged me out here for this???

He is not quite conversant with the urgency of horticultural pursuits, apparently...nor the evil squirrel union. I swear the squirrels have put out an all points bulletin  whenever there is something tasty in my yard to eat. I can wrap my swelling figs with chicken wire with painstaking care; it won't help. The squirrels telegraph the bird union, who come calling with their teeny beaks. Mission accomplished: My figs are all deflowered.

Your Imaginary Friend,

Cool Trick

Isn't it amazing what cameras can do these days? Panoramic photos can capture so many people in one shot!
The number of inventions and new technologies never ceases to amaze me.

In awe,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What I Started Last Monday

Great Falls, 12 x 12", Oil, 2011
Dear Imaginary Friends,

This is what I started painting last Monday. Would you like to paint it for me?
I plan to finish it tomorrow. It has very neutral colors, and I wish that I could throw in some brights to liven it up. But roiling water is usually shades of gray. There are no blue sky reflections, because the water is moving and muddy.
Great Falls would be terribly hard to paint without using a photo, because it is in perpetual motion. Plus I would have to wear one of those Gordon's Fisherman type yellow raincoats with flaps over my ears and look like a dork. That is just not my style, people.
Wish me luck tomorrow finishing it. I will let you know! 
PS Can you tell that I am strictly painting water scenes this summer?

Your Imaginary Friend,
Waterlogged Patsie

How I Paint

Dear Imaginary Portrait Subjects,

Here is how I paint: I take photos of my subject which are flattering and characteristic. Then I choose the best one, with nice lighting that reveals cheekbones, but does not cast shadows around the eyes nor mouth.

Then I buy or stretch a canvas with the same proportions as my intended composition. Let's say the composition is 8 x 10". In that case, I would want to have my canvas in a proportionate size, such as 16 x 20" or 24 x 30".

I change the colors as needed, heighten the contrast as needed, and usually eliminate all the unnecessary elements in the background of the original photo. 

If possible, I place the focal point of the composition over one of the golden sections. The golden section is a "sweet spot", an imaginary compositional grid, in which the canvas is divided into nine equal squares. The points of intersection indicate the optimal area for focal points.

Eh, voila! Many months later, I get the desired effect. This portrait bears strong likeness to Deni, and my work is done.

Your Imaginary Portrait Artist Friend,

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wild White Hibiscus

At Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Dear Imaginary Friends,

Here is another closeup of a beauty, a white wild hibiscus. I love the ruby throat!
It is my great luck that my classy friend just gave me one of these plants from her yard, so next year, I will have a lovely profusion of big white flowers.

Your Imaginary Gardener,

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Orange Cannas
Dear Imaginary Friend,
These vibrant cannas at located at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens which are still in full bloom, replete with what seems to be acres of water lilies and lotuses. The lotuses are four feet tall. You owe it to yourself to visit this weekend. Go already. It's free, so what are you waiting for? I recommend Sunday morning, before it gets hot. The lighting is nicely dramatic when the sun is still low in the sky. Many photographers have discovered this magical park, tucked away in a somewhat iffy neighborhood.
Your Imaginary Garden Aficionado,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Looky Here! Fig Harvest

The back yard crop
Dear Imaginary Friends,

Honey Chile, you have not seen a fig crop like the one I have since I don't know when.
We have big figs, small figs, shriveled figs, juicy figs. Figs hanging low, hanging high, pecked by birds. 

I am starting to sound like Bubba Gump.

Oh well. We have figs. With seven trees, and three varieties, we suddenly become popular every August and September.
I have said too much! And no, I am not giving out my address!

Your Imaginary Fig Farmer,

Who Dat Birthday Boy??

Happy Campers in Lewes, Delaware
Dat Carlo!! Happy Birthday Party!

Carlo's Wife,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oscar wants you to take him home tonight!!

Three Friends, 8 x 10", Oil, $300
Oscar the Ostrich, approx. 16 x 12", Oil, $475

Dear Imaginary Friends,

Here we have a very lonely ostrich who sorely needs a good home. Won't you please visit him on his wall at A Show of Hands? While you are at it, visit the pears, too. Although the pears have made friends, they would also like to go home with you and hang out.

Your Imaginary Art Zookeeper,

On Display Currently at A Show of Hands

Amethyst Waterlily, Oil, 8 x 10", $300
Cache Pot with Pansies, approx. 16 x 12", Oil, $500

Now on Display!

Daffodil Study, approx. 16 x 20", Oil, $550
Dear Imaginary Friends,
I have seven, yes, count them!paintings on display currently at the lovely gallery/shop A Show of Hands, on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Alexandria. What are they, you ask? Here goes!
Cherry Pie, 8 x 10", Oil, $350
Lewes, Delaware, 10 x 8", Oil, $300

That gives you a taste. Next blog, the four other paintings.
Don't you think the cherry pie is also a cheery pie? :)

Your Imaginary Artist Friend,