Monday, June 28, 2021

Burundanga explained

Here's the whole logic to this song:

Songo hit Borondongo because Borondongo had hit Bernabe... And Borondongo did that because Bernabe had hit Muchilanga... why? 

Because Muchilanga had used Burundanga (the toxic drug) to make Bernabe's feet swell up!!! 

Cough... cough...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Paint It! Ellicott City Award Winners Announced

Landscape painters from around the Mid-Atlantic region gathered in Historic Ellicott City June 10-13, dodging raindrops and cicadas while competing for cash prizes during Paint It! Ellicott City 2021, the Howard County Arts Council’s annual plein air paint-out. 

A virtual reception on June 18 featured a sneak peek at the Paint It! Ellicott City 2021 exhibition, featuring 27 juried artists; a look at the Open Paint exhibit, featuring 41 community artists; and the presentation of more than $9,000 in awards to the artists.   

Juror Lynn Mehta presented the $1,000 Gino Awards, named in honor of Ellicott City artist Gino Manelli (1915-2010), to Rajendra KC for Little Market Café and Michael Kotarba for Water Like Wine. 

Juror awards also went to:  

  • 2nd Place, $900 – Erin Pryor Gill, Rainy Day at Frederick Rd. 
  • 3rd Place, $800 – Marita Hines, Flowers for Sale 
  • 4th Place, $700 – Nishita Jain, Trolley Trail Walk 
  • 5th Place, $600 – Christine Rapa, A Sunday Kind of Love 
  • Honorable Mentions, $150 each – Tom Ritchie, Rainy Day Lunch Bunch; J. Stacy Rogers, Down Main Street; Bruno Baran, Through a Rainy Windshield: Babe Ruth’s Church; and Kathleen Kotarba, Built to Last. 

The Arts Council’s 40th Anniversary Award, $400, went to Jane Knighton for Peaceful Pond.  

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway Award of $500 for Best Depiction of the Patapsco River was presented to Kathleen Gray Farthing for Rush

Howard County Blossoms of Hope’s Award for Best Depiction of Nature, $500, went to Nishita Jain for Trolley Trail Walk

AARP Maryland’s Juried Artist Award, $500, went to Amanda Milliner for Meet Me at the Café. 

Awards were also presented to the Open Paint Artists:  
  • AARP Maryland Open Paint Award, $500 – Moonjoo Lee, Where Reflection Lies 
  • HCAC Director’s Choice 40th Anniversary Open Paint Award - Ronaldo Dorado, Running Wild  
  • HCAC Director’s Choice Honorable Mentions, $50 each – Barbara Kern-Bush, Ellicott City Fire House and Collin Cessna, Chalks on Main Street  
  • Young Artist Award, $25 - Henry Kigin, Mr. Blue House 
  • Carole Zink Open Paint Award, $100 – Andrea Naft, Reunion in Ellicott City 

Paint It! awards were made possible through the generous support of these sponsors: The Manelli Family, AARP of Maryland, Blossoms of Hope, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, and the Family of Carole Zink. 


Paint It! Ellicott City 2021, the exhibit featuring the juried artists’ work, remains on display at the Howard County Arts Council through August 7.  The Open Paint exhibit will be on display at the Howard County Welcome Center through July 24. Both exhibits are also available to view online via the Current Exhibits section at 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Torpedo Factory artists new presence on Facebook

Check out their new footprint on Facebook!

Click here.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Isla Judia

This is "Isla Judia", circa 1981, watercolor on 180 weight paper, done while I was a student at the University of Washington School of Art.

It honors Cubans of Jewish ancestry. While legend has it that the first Jews arrived with the early Spanish settlers, and Jews have always migrated to Cuba in the past, the bulk of the Jewish migration to Cuba was in the early 20th century, as they escaped persecution of Jews from the Ottoman empire in the early 1920s, and later from Europeans before and during the Second World War, with immigrants arriving mostly from Germany and Poland. By 1959 there were 15,000 Jews in Havana alone, and there were five active synagogues in the city.

After the brutal Communist takeover, nearly all Cuban Jews escaped, and now estimates show only about 1500 Jewish Cubans left on the island.

"Isla Judia (Jewish Island)" 1981 Watercolor on paper by F. Lennox Campello
"Isla Judia (Jewish Island)"
1981 Watercolor on paper by F. Lennox Campello

This is the preparatory sketch for the final work as I did 3-4 prep watercolors before doing a large painting.

"Isla Judia (Jewish Island)" 1981 Ink and Watercolor on paper by F. Lennox Campello

Friday, June 18, 2021

Call for Artists - Essex Gateway Sculpture Artwork

Any and all Maryland artists are invited to submit work for the new Essex Gateway Sculpture, a public outdoor display featured at the entrance to the new Essex Gateway Park. This sculpture will be viewed by over 30,000 people who drive through Essex daily, and it will be the centerpiece to the new public space. The chosen work will be displayed in the four panels of the sculpture. All works submitted will be exhibited in a curated show and press event at the Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River.

DESCRIPTION: The work will be four panels set as a four-sided column. The panels will consist of translucent UV resistant LEXAN and will be backlit in the evenings and at night. Applicants must keep in mind the properties of the final installation and be mindful of the light elements. The themes of the work can reflect Maryland as a whole, Maryland water life, Maryland watershed and Chesapeake Bay revival, and a focus on past and future of Essex, [attractions, industry, water culture]. For further information on Essex, please contact the Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River email: or visit (Guided tour times may vary due to COVID-19). You also may want to visit the Essex Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.

DEADLINE: August 9th, 2021

SIZE: The final product will be 20-25’ by 5’ vertical. Each concept must be formatted to fit these dimensions once scaled.

APPLICATIONS: Mail applications to: Essex Gateway Sculpture, c/o Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce, 405 Williams Court, Suite 108, Middle River, MD 21220. Though we would prefer physical copies to be sent in, we can accept digital works ( All formats will be accepted. Included in the application and sent work should be an artist bio and artist statement alongside the applicant's name and address.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Only artists native to or based in Maryland may apply; however, there are no other limiting factors, all skill levels and backgrounds are welcome. Subject matter and representation or reflection of Essex is paramount, but the five main considerations are creativity, thematic appropriateness, use of color and space, readability, and clarity of design. Selection will be performed by a juried panel sourced from across Maryland.

HONORARIUM: $1,200 will be awarded across winning selections, and all participants will be honored in a curated show installed at the Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River.

Contact Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce for further information –, 443-317-8763.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

My picks for Paint It! Ellicott City 2021

 As June arrives, I’m beginning to think that perhaps the Covidian monster has been tamed, art fairs are desperately seeking galleries to apply to show, the DMV’s outdoor art festivals are returning, and brushes, pens and pencils continued to be applied to paper or canvas. Notice that I did not mention cicadas or Brood X or none of that 17-year nonsense that feeds other papers’ pages these day.

Restaurants, museums, bars, and libraries are allegedly open, except in Montgomery County, where Kommissar Marc Elrich curiously has kept his iron boot on the throat of the county’s attempts to come back to life… and most libraries remain closed

Plein Air painting has always been a refreshing genre of art production, and our area boasts some of the best plein air painting events, perhaps none better than the one held in Easton, but one a bit closer to the DMV and just as good is and a lot closer is the one in Ellicot City.

In that annual event, artists from around the region gather in Ellicott City – this year the weekend of June 10-13 -- for Paint It! Ellicott City 2021.

This year, the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) and Visit Howard County have partnered to host this paint-out weekend culminating in an exhibit of 30 juried artists at the Howard County Center for the Arts.

The guest juror for Paint It! Ellicott City 2021 is award-winning landscape artist Lynn Mehta, who selected the following artists for the juried exhibit: Lissa Abrams, Bruno Baran, Pamela Betts, Julia Bowden, Cathy Cole, Shawn Costello, Ann Crostic, David Drown, Vlad Duchev, Kathleen Gray Farthing, Kathleen Ryan Gardiner, Erin Gill, Marita Hines, Nishita Jain, Rajendra KC, Jane Knighton, Kathleen Kotarba, Michael Kotarba, Laura Martinez-Bianco, Michael McSorley, Amanda Milliner, Christine Rapa, Tom Ritchie, J. Stacy Rogers, Duane Sabiston, Maggii Sarfaty, Stacey Sass, Lida Stifel, Nancy Thomas, and Nancy Van Meter.

The event begins with a virtual Welcome Reception & Event Kick-Off via Zoom on Wednesday, June 9 at 4pm. Then, all day on June 10-13, artists will set up their easels throughout Ellicott City’s historic district to capture the picturesque charm of the beloved mill town. Members of the public are invited to watch the artists at work from a safe distance while strolling Main Street. Artists and art students from the community can also be part of the fun by participating in the Open Paint-Out, which takes place concurrently. Artwork created during the Open Paint-Out will be featured in a temporary exhibit at the Visit Howard County Welcome Center on Main Street.

A virtual reception on Friday, June 18 from 6-7pm will include an award ceremony for the exhibit of juried artists’ work. More than $7,000 in awards will be presented, including the coveted Gino Awards, two $1,000 cash prizes named in honor of artist Gino Manelli and presented by the Manelli Famil

Other awards include a $500 award sponsored by Patapsco Heritage Greenway, a $500 award by Blossoms of Hope, and a $150 Open Paint award sponsored by the Family of Carole Zink.

Registration is required for those wishing to be included in the Open Paint-Out exhibit. Registration is available at the Arts Council and online at before and during the event.

Awright… you didn’t think that was all… did you? Here what I’m gonna do now: even though this event hasn’t happened as my talented hand type this column, I’m gonna take the extraordinary risk of looking at some of these artists’ online footprint and pick out a few faves.

Kathleen Kotarba’s online presence shows me an artist who really understands the powerful effect which light can deliver at the hands of a talented artist. Her paintings are infused with the ever fluid colors of light at different times of the day, as it touches grass, wood, flowers, trees, people.

Laura Martinez-Bianco is also formidably armed with those same skills as well as a very advanced ability to capture the nuances of light on water and the living nature of water itself. This talented artist also knows her composition, and is one of my favorites to win the top prize at Ellicot City.

Duane Sabiston also stood apart. I like the manner in which his brush takes chances with bold statements in seriously contrasted painting areas within the canvas.

J. Stacy Rogers is another artist who will win an award; enviable technical skill, an eye for the unusual in the landscape and a limitless ability to interpret what most of us “see” when we look at color.

Who else did I like online? Rajendra KC can paint weather variations in the atmosphere with astonishing loose detail! Do not be fooled… only a master can do that.

Nancy Van Meter will also win a prize, maybe the top prize; she’s a professional with almost supernatural talent.

I admire the way in which Maggii Sarfaty goes on trying different things and ways and manners to deliver her art! That is a courageous (and enviable) sign of artistic courage that most artists lack. Sarfaty will not fall into the trap of getting comfortable with any success – she will then knock on another artistic barrier and knock it down. Of all the artists in this event, her work is the one that I am looking the most to discover.

Sunday, June 13, 2021



Saturday, June 05, 2021

This is what being a Cuban is like (Cuban Transformation Machine)

This is a piece that I did in art school in 1981: I cut out the shape of Cuba from a blue acrylic wash paper, then affixed it to a mirror and put bars (pins and needles) so than when anyone sees their reflection on the work, it is seen as behind bars. It is a prototype (I did 4-5 of them) for a larger piece that I have in storage somewhere. 4x4 inches. 

It is titled: "This is what being a Cuban is like (Cuban Transformation Machine)."

This is what being a Cuban is like (Cuban Transformation Machine) - 1981 mixed media by Florencio Lennox Campello
This is what being a Cuban is like (Cuban Transformation Machine)
1981 mixed media by Florencio Lennox Campello

This is what being a Cuban is like (Cuban Transformation Machine) - 1981 mixed media by Florencio Lennox Campello
This is what being a Cuban is like (Cuban Transformation Machine)
1981 mixed media by Florencio Lennox Campello

Friday, June 04, 2021

Remembering a powerful woman

Five years ago my courageous mother died... this is my eulogy from that day:
When my father died last year, I began his eulogy by noting that another oak had fallen.

This morning, around 1:25AM, Ana Olivia Cruzata Marrero de Campello, his wife of over 60 years, and my beloved mother, passed on on the day of her 97th birthday.

If my father was an oak, then my mother was an equally strong, but also very pliable, and elegant tree.  When hurricanes attack the main lands of the world, the strong tall trees often fall, but the pliable ones, like plantain trees, always give with the wind, and survive the storms, and thrive in the drenching rains.

My mother was like a an aged plantain tree, not only immensely strong and pliable, but also giving and nurturing.

Like many Cuban women of her generation and her social-economic background, she had never worked for a living in Cuba, and yet within a few days of our arrival in New York in the 1960s, she was working long hours in a sewing factory, putting her formidable seamstress skills, honed in the social sewing and embroidery gathering of young Cuban girls, to use in the "piece work" process of the New York sewing factories.

As soon as we saved the money, one of the first things that my mother bought was an electric sewing machine - a novelty to her, as she had always used one of the those ancient Singer machines with a foot pedal.

I remember as a child in Brooklyn, that women used to bring her fabric and a page from a magazine with a woman wearing a dress. Without the benefit of a sewing pattern, my mother would whip up a copy of the dress that was more often than not probably better made than the original. As the word of her skills spread, so did her customers and soon she was making more money working at home than at the factory - but she kept both jobs.

I once noted to her that I admired the courage that it must have taken  her to leave her family and immigrate to the United States. "We didn't come here as immigrants," she corrected me. "We came as political refugees, and I initially thought that we'd be back in Cuba within a few years at the most."

When the brutal Castro dictatorship refused to loosen its stranglehold on her birth place, she became an immigrant, and from there on an American citizen from her white-streaked hair down to her heel bone (that's a Cuban saying). Like my father, she loved her adopted country with a ferocity, that I sometimes feel that only people who have been bloodied by Communism can feel for a new, free homeland.

As as I've noted before, Cubans are archaic immigrants... we love this great nation because we recognize its singular and unique greatness; perhaps it is because our forebears had the same chance at greatness and blew it.

I remember as a teenager, once I started going out to parties and things at night on my own (around age 16 or so), that my mother would wait up for me, sitting by the third floor window of our Brooklyn apartment, where she could survey the whole neighborhood and see as far as the elevated LL subway station a few blocks away, to watch me descend the station stairs and trace my way home.

My mother was always fit and, as once described by my father, "flaca como un fusil" (as slim as a rifle). She was strong and fast. She was also quiet, but never silenced, and when needed, could and would command attention.

My mother was always well dressed and superbly coiffed. When we'd go to parties and events, women would always ask her where she'd gotten that dress! The answer was always the same: she'd made it!

At least once a week, to my father's dismay, and in spite of his demands that my mother stop it, she'd get her hair done at the nearby peluqueria (hair dresser).

My dad knew, and respected his limits with my mother. 

I remember one time that my father and I were returning from shopping at the supermarket, dragging one of those wheeled folding carts that could carry four full paper grocery bags. It had been snowing, so the Brooklyn streets were wet and muddy.

When we got to our apartment my father opened the door. He then stood there.

"Go in!" I demanded.

"We'll have to wait," he said gloomily, "Your mother mopped the floor and it's still wet." This giant, tough, street-brawling Galician then looked at me sheepishly, "I'd rather walk through a mine field than step on your mother's wet floor."

I learned a lesson there.

She used to delight in telling stories how, as a child, she would often win the horse races that kids staged around the small country towns where she was raised in Oriente province, where her father was a Mayoral.

"I almost always won," she'd say, and then would add: "Even though I was a skinny girl."

Once, in her seventies, back in the days where you could actually accompany people to the departing gates at airports, we were escorting my oldest daughter Vanessa, who had come to visit, and we were running late. As we got to the airport, we ran to the gate, and to everyone's surprise, Abuela got there first. I still remember how delighted my daughter was that her grandmother could still run like a gazelle.

When I joined the Navy at age 17, my first duty station was USS SARATOGA, which at the time was stationed in Mayport in Florida, and thus my parents decided to migrate south to Florida and moved to Miami... just to be close to me.

They spent the next 40 years in the same apartment while I was stationed all over the world.

The mostly Cuban-American families that lived over the years in that apartment loved my mother, and would always tell me stories about my mother, ever the nurturer, bringing them food when she knew that they were going over tough times, or riding the buses with them, just to show them the routes.

This week, when I arrived in Miami, already somewhat knowing that this was approaching the end, I saw her with tubes coming out of her mouth and her eyes closed. When I spoke to her she opened her eyes, and in spite of the visuals that my eyes were seeing she somehow still managed to look strong. 

I showed her photos and movies of her grand children, and talked to her for a long time.

I thanked her for having the courage to leave her motherland and afford me the opportunity to grow as an American.

When she was being extubated, a young woman came into the room with a guitar and played and sang the haunting free prose of Guajira Guantanamera (The peasant girl from Guantanamo); a most fitting song, since my mother was from Guantanamo, and she came from strong Cuban peasant stock.

"Guajira pero fina (A peasant, but a very refined woman)", noted a neighbor and loving caretaker. 

The song, which can start with just about any prose, started with the Jose Marti poem:
 Yo quiero, cuando me muerasin patria, pero sin amo, tener en mi tumba un ramo de flores y una bandera
I want to, when I die, without my motherland, but without a master, to have on my tomb a bunch of flowers and a flag.
She died without a master, a strong and pliable woman who not only gave me the gift of life, but also the gift of freedom.

And as my mother died in her sleep in the early hours of the morning, in the capital city of the bitter Cuban Diaspora, all that I could gather to say to her was mostly the same that I said to my father when he passed last year: "Thank you for your courage... from me, and from my children... and soon from their children. You opened a whole new world for them."

I love you Mami... Un Abrazo Fuerte! Thank you for your gifts to me and my children, and happy birthday in Heaven!