Tony Bennett Dupes Smithsonian With Ugly Painting

Do one thing, not two

Singer Tony Bennett is also an artist and, for the most part, a not-so-bad one at that.  Except perhaps for his latest creation, a watercolor he made of Ellington that was inspired by their long friendship.

Bennett gave the painting to The National Portrait Gallery Wednesday for the 110th anniversary of jazz great Duke Ellington's birth.

In it, D.C.'s celebrated jazz great is surrounded by a sea of pink roses.  Bennett explained that every time Ellington wrote a new song for Bennett to sing, he'd send him a dozen roses, the Washington Examiner reported.

"When the dozen roses would arrive, I'd say, 'Duke wrote another song,'" recalled the award-winning crooner who paints under the name Benedetto.

self-described "museum freak," Bennett said it was Ellington who inspired him to start painting.  "'Do two things; don't do one,'" Bennett recalls Ellington telling him. 

The 82-year-old said that advice "changed my whole life for the better" and whenever he gets tired of singing, painting keeps him in a "creative zone."

But what would Duke say now?

This is the third painting Bennett has donated to the Smithsonian, following a portrait of Ella Fitzgerald and a painting of Central Park.   

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