Saturday, August 15, 2015

The 7th Annual Expressions Portrait Competition and Exhibit Call for Art

Submission Deadline: 09/08/2015
Finalists in the competition will exhibit at ArtSpace Herndon in the Expressions exhibit, October 6 to November 1, 2015.  Competition judge Judith Peck will announce winners of the competition during the Awards Reception on Saturday, October 10, 2015, 7 p.m. $800 to be given out in prizes and honorable mentions at the judge’s discretion. 
The entry deadline is Tuesday September 8, 2015 at 2 p.m. Up to 25 finalists will be selected to exhibit their work at ArtSpace Herndon by Ms. Peck. The entry fee is $25 (non-refundable) for up to 2 entries.
Eligibility: Artists 18 years or older residing in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, and Delaware. Preference will be given to works adhering to the traditional definition of portraiture: “a painting, sculpture, or other artistic artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person.” (taken from Wikipedia, March 2015).

Contact Name: Brenda Page
Contact Email:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Athenaeum Invitational

The Athenaeum Invitational: Prize Awards & Opening Reception Sunday, September 13, 4 – 6 pm

$2500 in Cash Prizes Provided by TTR | Sotheby’s International Realty

Exhibit: Thursday, September 10 – Sunday October 25
Inspired by Cole Porter’s classic, ‘Don’t Fence Me In,’ over thirty local artists created works that were accepted into the first Athenaeum Invitational. Eight artists who have previously exhibited in the Athenaeum Gallery were invited to create a work for the show, one of which will be selected for a $1500 prize. One of the regional artists who responded to the open call component of the competition will be awarded a $1000 prize.

Invited artists and open call submissions were selected by Athenaeum Gallery Director, Twig Murray. Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Jack Rasmussen, will determine the prize winners. The prizes will be announced and Mr. Rasmussen will briefly discuss his judgement at the reception on Sunday, September 13 from 4 to 6.

The eight invited artists are:
Timothy J. Horjus
Jeff Huntington
Laurel Lukaszewski
Max MacKenzie
Ryan McCoy
Beverly Ress
Judy Southerland
Kazaan Viveiros

Artists selected from the open call are:
Nessie Alexander-Barnes
Daniel Brown
Laurence Chandler
Kathleen Cooper
Suzanne Firstenberg
Pat Goslee
Songmi Heart
Courtney Hengerer
Laurel Hausler
Michal Hunter
Lee Jaworek
Kay Layne
Linda Lowery
Carol Lukitch
Anne Marchand
Mike McConnell
Cindy Mehr
Caroline Minchew
Rebecca Moseman
Carol, Reed
Mary Ryder
Lynn Schmidt
Amy Varner

Details of the call for entry can be viewed

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to sign artwork

One of the most curious things that I have puzzled about in the many decades of making art, presenting art, selling art and dealing with both artists and art collectors (as well as art dealers) is how often artists anguish over a signature.

There are gazillions of ways to screw up a work of art with a signature - the most common one is where a work of art is marred by a giant signature in glow-in-the-dark silver color marker or some hideous color like that.

Even a tiny and elegant signature can distract from a work of art if placed in the wrong area of the work. Imagine an elegant abstract, such as a Mondrian, with a signature in the middle of one of the color geometric shapes.

And, the real truth is that if you care at all about art as a commodity, then I will tell you that most collectors, especially the savvy ones, will always ask about the signature, if one is not apparent at first inspection. You can give them all the certificates of authenticity on the planet, but they want that siggie somewhere.
"A Picasso with a signature may be worth twice as much as one without a signature," said Mark Rosen, former head of the print department at Sotheby's, which sells approximately thousands of prints per year with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to over $100,000. "Chagall did a series of prints called 'Daphne and Chloe' and those that are signed are worth 10 times as much as those that are unsigned. Otherwise, they are the same prints."

By now you're itching to yell at me: "Lenster! What is this? Damn if you and damn if you don't?"

Nope - it's just damn if you don't; just do it in the proper place(s).

Some easy to remember DO NOT Rules when signing artwork
  • Never sign with a gigantic signature; a normal signature (or even smaller than normal) will do fine.
  • Never sign anywhere on the surface where it interferes with the composition.
  • Never sign with that glows, shimmers, is metallic or will fade.
  • No need to put the little "c" inside the circle "copyright" sign by your signature. You already own the copyright no matter what!
  • If you sign on the back (verso in Sothebyse), make sure that it doesn't bleed through!
  • Don't sign using inks that will fade in time, or worse, separate, such as "Sharpies" do after a few years, when they acquire a yellow border around the faded black ink.
You want to know where to sign, right?

Cough, cough...

By the way... I'm meandering all about signatures on two dimensional work; you sculptors are all on your own, as long as you don't pull a Michelangelo on the Pieta stunt.

Where to sign two-dimensional work

1. On the back (make sure that it doesn't go through and can be seen from the front); in fact, the more info that you can put on the back to help art historians of the future, the better.

2. On the lower margin of the piece (usually the right margin, but that's up to you).

3. Photographs can either be signed (and numbered in a small edition, cough, cough) on the verso (there's a million "special" photo-signing pens for all you photo geeks; they "write" on photo paper and dry in nanoseconds and don't smear, etc.) Or you can sign them if you leave a white border all around the printed photo. Even signing the mat in the lower margin in pencil was in vogue in the last century and is OK.

If you don't believe me about the power of a signature, then just go online and research the difference in price between a signed Picasso (most of them) and the two dozen or so fully validated, authenticated and documented unsigned Picassos (the ones that he gave to one of his ex-wifes that he hated).

That will learn y'all a lesson about signatures and art, Jethro...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Good news for women artists

Nasher Sculpture Center announces the formation of a new fund for the acquisition of work by women artists: the Kaleta A. Doolin Acquisitions Fund for Women Artists. Established with the generous seed gift from the foundation named for author, artist, and arts patron Kaleta A. Doolin, the fund will provide an initial $750,000 toward the purchasing of work by women artists, helping substantially grow both the Nasher Sculpture Center’s collection of work by women artists and, with a keen focus on living artists, its contemporary art holdings.
Details here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Guerrilla Framing Technique number one

Me: Custom framing is expensive!

You: Everybody knows that!

The average price for custom framing around the DMV is brutal - and sometimes complicated (or made complicated by frustrated designers posing as framers or artists who have seen too many Rococo framing in museums.

Unless you're Frida Kahlo, generally speaking, the job of a frame for a work of visual art is first and foremost to protect the art.


And in the 21st century, and most of the 20th, the simpler the better; the less noticeable the frame, the more that the art is noticed.

If you have plenty of shekels, then a good framer will do a great job.

For the vast majority of artists, a frame should not cost as much as repairing your transmission.

You: Can you get to the guerrilla technique part already?

Most artwork is done on geometric substrates; even if you cut paper or stretch your own canvas, most of the times it is either a square or a rectangle; ovals went out ages ago; in fact they were never really in.

In the USA, these art substrates come in standard sizes that apply not only to the substrates (paper, canvas, board, wood, etc.), but also to mats, frames, and glass.

Thus, if you work on a standard size substrate to start with, you're almost home, because then you can eliminate the middle man to getting your work on a wall: the custom framer.

An 8x10 substrate will fit into an 11x14 pre-cut mat and into an 11x14 pre-cut frame; and 11x14 substrate will fit into a 16x20, a 16x20 into a 20x24 and so on.

Around the DMV, both Ikea and AC Moore's have ridiculously affordable prices for acceptable, minimalist frames. With AC Moore's if you sign up for sales alerts, you'll be bombarded with coupons (the best one is their 25% off for your purchase - including sales items; otherwise you get their 55% off regular price coupon emailed to you every 30 seconds).  Practically every frame at Ikea is a minimalist frame, but be careful because many of them are European size standards, which are different from US; however, Ikea frames generally come with acid-buffered mats, with is a nice "bennie" to have.

By the way, if you need a lot of frames in the same size - let's say two dozen frames, then I suggest that you find the ready made frame that you like and that will accommodate tour work (this usually works for photographers), turn it over and see whoo makes the frame and then contact the manufacturer (if it's in the USA) and see if they will sell you the frames directly. There's usually a minimum order to "qualify" for this option, and thus situations may vary according to your needs.

If you want to do artwork in other than standard sizes, then more power to you, and framing just got a little pricier, but there's also a technique.

First find a ready made frame that is bigger than your odd shaped artwork and visualize the artwork inside the frame. If the proportions are agreeable to you -- let's say you have a rectangular work which can be matted with both sides and top the same and bottom "heavy" - that is perfectly acceptable.

Once you have the frame, go to a framer and have them cut you a mat that has the outside dimensions of your frame and have them cut a window that fits your work. Now you are only paying them to cut a custom mat, rather than paying them to do that as well as creating a custom frame and glass from scratch. It should reduce your costs by about 80%.

Then just bring your matted work home, pop it into the frame and as the Brits say: "Bob's your uncle."

Plenty more techniques later...

Saturday, August 08, 2015

A Celebration of Glass

A Celebration of Glass 

September 4–27 at the Glen Echo Park Popcorn Gallery Artists Reception Friday, September 4, 6:00–9:00 p.m. 

Join the Art Glass Center artists for A Celebration of Glass in the Glen Echo Park
Popcorn Gallery this September. Curated by Mary Wactlar, Sherry Selevan, and Virginia Hughes, the show includes more than 90 works that celebrate the art of glass in sculpture, wall hangings, vessels and jewelry. 

Twenty-two Art Glass Center artists have created pieces that explore the endless possibilities of the medium. The works embrace rich surface textures as well as deeply tonal glass, while the artists’ visions range from graceful organic visions and exciting geometrics to images of nature. 

The Art Glass Center is a school, resource center and gallery for kiln-formed glass serving the Washington metropolitan area for more than 30 years. The Popcorn gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays, noon–6 p.m. 

7300 MacArthur Boulevard
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Friday, August 07, 2015

Studio Available October 2015

Deadline: Sept. 15, 2015

Studio Available October 2015


Studio is 215 sq. feet.
  • Rent is $405 per month, inclusive of all utilities.
  • Artists are required to be in the space during retail hours of Wed. - Sat., 12-6pm and during the monthly Bethesda Art Walk.
  • Artist has 24/7 access to Studio B and their personal studio space.
  • Artist may sell artwork and there is no commission taken on artist sales.

Members of the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District and arts professionals will review the applications and select the Studio B artist. If necessary, an interview may be requested. Applicants will be notified about whether their applications have been selected. Bethesda Urban Partnership will perform credit and criminal background checks and execute leases with the tenants. Once maximum occupancy is reached, applicants will be placed on a waiting list until a studio becomes available.


Complete this application and submit the following:
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Artwork Samples
  • Proof of Income
  • Proof of Identity
  • $30 fee per applicant for credit and criminal background checks

QUESTIONS? Please email

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Request for Proposals

Request for Proposals: IMPACT at GREEN SPRING STATION

Application Deadline: Saturday, August 15, 2015

Are you an artist that enjoys working with unusual materials? Then this opportunity might be for you!
MAP, in partnership with Green Spring Station, is seeking an artist or artist team to create an original temporary indoor installation comprised of items donated by Green Spring Station merchants. Items may include: resistance bands/dumbbells, bras, nighties, pjs, hair products, blow-dryer, dresses, tennis racquets and balls, boxed stationery, journals, guest books, calendars, sample event stationery, children’s books, wooden toys, and candy. The resulting sculpture does not need to incorporate all materials.

The selected artist/artist team will receive a $1,000 stipend to cover the cost of additional materials and labor. Installation is scheduled to take place between October 1 and November 13, 2015.

The full RFP can be downloaded here.
This call is open to all Maryland-based artists and is free to apply.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

High line

Official US Navy photo of me being highlined from USS Thorn to USS John King somewhere in the Med in the early 1980s. My boss, then Commodore Jeremy Boorda (DESRON 22) used to love to highline sailors, and in this instance I was delivering a FitRep to the CO of USS John King (as well as a box of donuts and some Intel reports) - if you zoom in you can see my bearded face and a cheap stogie between my lips... cough, cough...

Monday, August 03, 2015

Enigmas of Cuban Spanish

Anthony T. Rivas starts his entertaining "Enigmas of Cuban Spanish" by noting that "Non-Cuban Spanish speakers have occasional trouble understanding fast Cuban speech. While less educated Cuban speakers can be difficult to understand, as with speakers of other dialects of Spanish, better educated speakers of Cuban Spanish can also exhibit speech sounds typical of "careless" or relaxed speech." 

Ahhh... my own experience, especially around the DMV (where most "native" Spanish speakers are from Central America, and in my neighborhood from Argentina), is more like a perplexed look... this chart (from his research) exemplifies the nuances, even within Cuba, of Cuban Spanish.

Old Oriente ProvinceRest of CubaEnglish Meaning
cutara chancletas slippers
papaya fruta bomba papaya
balance* sillón rocking chair
balde cubo bucket
rallado, rasco-rasco (Matanzas) granizado (Bayamo and Santiago)ice cone
macholechónsuckling pig
pluma, llave** faucet tap
túnico* vestido dress
hallaca tamal tamale
guineo plátano (fruta) banana
fana fanoso good-for-nothing/cheapskate
tienda *** bodega grocery store
* Also used in Camagüey Province
** "Pluma" and "llave" coexist in Camagüey Province.
*** In Havana, "tienda" with no modifier denotes a clothing store.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Another tree falls

Elvira Campello de Quevedo (Tia Cuca)
My gentle and kind aunt, (my father's sister) Tia Cuca, passed away in her sleep in Miami this morning, and yet another tree falls in the silent forest of the bitter exile of the Cuban Diaspora. 

She was born in the countryside, near the city of Guantanamo, in the Oriente province of Eastern Cuba, the fifth daughter (of six) of Galician immigrants to Cuba.

In the 1960s, Cuca and her family escaped Cuba (via Spain) and settled in Brooklyn, in the six apartment brownstone owned by her sister, my aunt Nica.

When I was a kid in Brooklyn, Tia Cuca lived in the apartment above ours in that house, and no matter when I'd pop into her apartment, she'd always sit me down at the table and would start feeding me - and she was one of the best cooks ever! There's no cook on this Universe who ever made a better black bean soup!

My Campello aunts in the 1950s - Tia Cuca is the second from the left in the top row
My Campello aunts in the 1950s - Tia Cuca is the second from the left in the top row.
I never saw her angry, and she had the most contagious laugh on the planet! Don't get me wrong, Tia Cuca was also tough as nails, but her toughness came in a brilliant and pliable form - she would bend, but never break, as the saying goes.

We will miss you, Tia.

Saturday, August 01, 2015


Now in its ninth year, the $50,000 Black Swan Prize has attracted a record 375 entries...
 Are you serious? Only 375 entries and that's a record for this Aussie prize? Details here... 

Why am I yapping about an Aussie prize? Because I am always dumbfounded by the low number of entries to most visual art prizes and opportunities - especially the "free" ones, such as the DC Arts Commission's various grants and buying calls...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Artists' Websites: Anne Cherubim

Anne Cherubim is an abstract contemporary landscape painter. She works predominantly in acrylic. Her art is rooted in real life images and textures, with a modern abstraction, often in a limited colour palette.
Her art is a reflection of contemporary art as portrayed by someone who is a product of a myriad of cultures: a Canadian girl, born of Sri Lankan parents, now residing in the US. 

This unique 'lense' through which she sees the world informs her work, undeniably. ‘Tolerance’ is the word we use to talk about being open to, and welcoming of, one another.  

Anne believes ‘embrace’ is a much better word for talking about cultures, and the ways in which we can coexist. Art and music transcend language - among other barriers- and create commonalities, harmony. They are universals that can be appreciated no matter where you come from, or what language you speak. 

This is the type of experience Cherubim hopes that her art allows for.
Though she has been an artist for many years, her professional pursuit of it began more recently.  
Anne has exhibited her work locally around the DMV and internationally. She currently resides with her husband and children in the USA, and is a Resident Artist at Artists & Makers Studios in Rockville, MD and later this year at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City.

Her work can be seen at:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The touch of darkness

Every once in a while, the possible terrifying touch of evil passes by, leaving behind a wake of fear and also (in this case) relief that it just went by.

A few days ago a man approached our five year-old-son while he was playing in our front yard.

My wife had just gotten home about five minutes before, and she was unpacking grocery bags inside while our son was playing soccer on the front lawn.

A man approached in a dark gray 4-door sedan on the opposite side of the street, closest to where my son was playing. He rolled down his window, called my son over and told him about "a boy who lived down the street and who had a tiger in his house" and asked if my son knew him.

My son's inner alarms went off and he ran inside and told my wife, and when she came out, the car was gone.

We called the police and provided the following description based on what my son could see from the yard into the man's car: age 50s, black straight short hair, white skin, brown eyes, and fat (this is a 5yr old's description!).

My son  also mentioned that the license plate had an American flag on it, and then pointed to one of the Maryland plates with the American flag in our neighborhood as an example.

We shared the information with our neighbors via our listserv, and discovered that just down our street, a couple who has a three year old son, has a giant stuffed animal tiger in the boy's play room; a tiger that could easily been seen by someone walking around their house and looking into their windows. 

Disturbing beyond belief. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 Trawick Prize Finalists

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and the Bethesda Urban Partnership will showcase the work of The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards eight finalists in a group exhibition. The exhibit will be on display September 2 – 26, 2015, at Gallery B, located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E.

2015 Trawick Prize Finalists

Selin Balci, Annapolis, MD
Lynn Cazabon, Baltimore, MD
Catherine Day, McLean, VA
Jason Hughes, Baltimore, MD
Timothy Makepeace, Washington, D.C.
Sebastian Martorana, Baltimore, MD
Jonathan Monaghan, Washington, D.C.
Nara Park, Washington, D.C.

The award winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 2, 2015. The first place winner will be awarded $10,000; second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000. A “young” artist whose birth date is after April 7, 1985 may also be awarded $1,000.

The public opening reception will be held Friday, September 11 from 6-9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. Gallery hours for the duration of the exhibit are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 – 6pm.
The 2015 Trawick Prize jury includes Stefanie Fedor, Executive Director, Arlington Arts Center; John Ruppert, sculptor, Professor and former Chair of the University of Maryland’s Department of Art and Richard Waller, Executive Director of University Museums for the University of Richmond.
The Trawick Prize was established in 2003 by Carol Trawick, a longtime community activist in downtown Bethesda. She is the past Chair of both the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and Bethesda Urban Partnership, and also the Founder of the Bethesda Painting Awards. In 2007, Ms. Trawick founded the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation to assist health and human services and arts non-profits in Montgomery County.

The Trawick Prize is one of the first regional competitions and largest prizes to annually honor visual artists. To date, The Trawick Prize has awarded $175,000 in prize monies and has exhibited the work of more than 100 regional artists. Previous Best in Show recipients include Richard Clever, 2003; David Page, 2004; Jiha Moon, 2005; James Rieck, 2006; Jo Smail, 2007; Maggie Michael, 2008; Rene Trevino, 2009; Sara Pomerance, 2010; Mia Feuer, 2011; Lillian Bayley Hoover, 2012; Gary Kachadourian, 2013 and Neil Feather, 2014. 
For more information, please visit or call 301-215-6660.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Elise Campello nominated for best actress!

Congrats to my Klingon daughter Elise L Tor-Cam, who just got nominated for "Best Actress" in a South Sound (Tacoma, WA area) theatrical performance during the 2014/15 season!
Details here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Naomi Wolf on Vocal Fry

Young women, give up the vocal fry and reclaim your strong female voice...

Read it here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bader Fund

The Franz and Virginia Bader Fund invites grant applications from visual artists who are aged 40 years and over and who live within 150 miles of Washington, DC. Artists working in performance, video, and film are not eligible for Bader Fund grants.

To download an application form, visit the Bader Fund's website.

In 2014, the Bader Fund awarded eight grants totaling $120,000.

Details: 202-288-4608 OR OR

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Your artwork on a billboard

Embracing Our Differences is accepting submissions for its 13th annual outdoor juried art exhibit celebrating diversity and inclusion to be displayed spring 2016 in Sarasota, FL USA.

42 artists will be selected. National and international submissions accepted.

Final selections will be made by a 3-judge panel. $3,000 (US) in awards. There is no submission fee nor limit on the number of entries. Details: 941-404-5710 OR OR