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NEIGHBORS / SHORT TAKES : Pet Project : A portrait of Socks the White House cat will be part of a Reagan library exhibit about the lifestyles of our Presidents.


Michele Weston-Relkin wanted to give President Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, some attention.

"When all the news was happening about the President, I thought Chelsea was being left out," said Weston-Relkin, a Thousand Oaks resident. "I wanted to give her a gift when she got to the White House." So the artist got some acrylic paint and created a portrait of Chelsea's cat, Socks.

That painting was finished about Christmastime, but neither Chelsea nor Socks has yet to see it in person. And it will be a while before it is hanging over the White House hearth.

Beginning Saturday, the artwork will be on public display as part of a Ronald Reagan Presidential Library exhibit called "Our Presidents: From Washington to Clinton." The 300-piece show will take an up-close-and-personal look at the nation's leaders.

Weston-Relkin said her painting--which depicts the First Feline adorned in a red, white and blue tie and sitting in the Oval Office--was designed with tongue partly in cheek.

"There, behind this wonderful hand-carved desk," she said, "is this cat sitting there just like any President would." Socks, of course, isn't sitting there with nothing to do. In front of him is a wish list: A cat box, quality health care, improved economy, kitty litter, that sort of thing.


Cats continued: Weston-Relkin has offered to teach a children's drawing class at the Reagan library. She would call it "Knock Your Socks Off." "I will teach them how to draw what they see," she said. "It will focus on Socks, but basically on any cats."


Most musical organizations are happy to have a cymbal. But one in Ojai is looking for a symbol, too.

The volunteers who run the Ojai Festivals Community Outreach and Education program are calling on children and adults to enter their logo contest. The winner will receive $250, which will probably come in handy for adults, considering that the contest's deadline is April 15.

If you don't know, the organization, which is separate from Ojai Festivals, brings music to the schools through concerts, music vans carrying instruments and other fun activities.

So, you're wondering, what logo would be appropriate for a group known as OFCOE? Well, OFCOE's Katie Shephard has some suggestions.

"Primarily, we're trying to emphasize the concept of outreach," she said. "We're trying to emphasize children and community." In line with that, previous logo ideas have included an outstretched hand holding a musical note and children hanging off a treble clef.

Shephard said the need for a logo has arisen because, many people still don't know that OFCOE exists after its two years of operation. "We put on a concert and people assume the PTA did it, and they didn't. We did it," she said. "We figured if we had a logo, people would see it and recognize us, kind of like the Pillsbury Dough Boy."


Remember last month's California Egg Artistry Show in Westlake Village?

Well, last week, we spoke with Camarillo watercolorist Pamela Solakian, who not only participated in the show but finished second in the egg-painting category.

Solakian's egg watercolors (and watercolors painted on canvas) will be for sale at the Camarillo House Boutique on Friday and Saturday. Proceeds will benefit Los Nogales School.

So which came first, the canvas or the egg?

Solakian said she used to paint Easter eggs as a child. "When I was young, I started out with chicken eggs and I've graduated to goose eggs," she said. She gets her eggs a couple of dozen at a time from a hatchery in Indiana.

And in case you were wondering, Solakian cleans out her eggs. "All the insides are taken out," she said. "I use a syringe." Hey, she used to be a nurse, so what would you expect?

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