Posted in Uncategorized

Black Girl Magic

Hi all y’all!

I’ve decided that I paint my best when I chose exactly what I want to paint and paint exactly how I want. This is Black Girl Magic.

I found a board in the garage and a frame that I got at an estate sale of a local artist who passed a few years ago. The frame had some damage to a paper coating, that I knew paint wouldn’t cover. I ordered some party napkins that were black with gold dots. I separated the layers, cut them in strips and adhered to the frame with Liquitex Gloss Medium.

I love painting on a board, because it is recycling. It is very different than canvas. It has little absorbency. Board is not as forgiving.

I am including 6 stages of the painting. First, I painted 2 layers of black gesso and 2 layers of black acrylic ink. I drew her face with chalk. I tried out some transparent brown paint. At this step, I sprayed the painting with Grumbacher Matte Varnish to hold the chalk in place.

Next, I painted layers of transparent red and transparent yellow. I didn’t mix the paint. I used transparent blue for the shadows. (I am loving transparent paint.) I highlighted with titanium white on a dry brush.

Then, more layers of red, yellow and blue. Trying out some hair and a large bead necklace. I can see her personality now.

Feeling confident. Her and I.

I thought I was finished, but decided I didn’t like the stylized highlights that worked on Booker.

Finished, probably. I might darken her eyelashes a little. I never know how far to go with lashes.

Black Girl Magic

I am pretty happy with her.

I hope you are finding a way to keep cool.

Love, Gator Girl

Posted in alligators

Shopping in the French Quarter for Pretty Things

Hi all y’all!

I just finished, sealed and varnished a new painting. I got my idea from a photo on line of Ruthie the Duck Girl. She is a New Orleans icon. When she was a child, her mother put her hair in ringlets to look like Shirley Temple. She sent her out on roller skates with her pet duck and charged for photos. Ruthie continued to walk/roll around the Quarter all of her life often in a wedding dress. She sold postcards and posed for photos. She was born in 1934 and passed away in 2008. I love this story and that people in New Orleans supported her and her eccentric behavior.

So, I was looking at photos of Ruthie and wanted to paint her. I thought to myself or maybe out loud, “I wish I liked to paint ducks.”.

Shopping reminds me of going to a parade or to a girls lunch on a warm, humidish Saturday. They are both fixed up and wearing their pink nail polish. Best friends excited to be out during a pandemic lull.

The painting is 24 x 30 inches, acrylic paint, charcoal and varnish.

My favorite thing about this painting is the plaster wall. I think I nailed it. My next favorite thing is their relationship.

Wishing you all the best! Stay safe.

Gator Girl

Posted in alligators

A Girl and Her Gator

Good Afternoon all y’all!

Remember me? It’s been a year since I painted anything to share. I think it was a combination of painting too many commissions and the world wide pandemic. Painting started to feel less creative and more like work. The never leaving my house part of the pandemic was not stimulating.

I feel like painting again and also feel like sharing.

Jazz Fest is going on in New Orleans right now. It is especially wonderful because it has been 2 years. Everyone is so happy to be out eating great food, seeing excellent art and watching amazing musicians. It’s hot. Sometimes very hot. If you pace yourself, rest and hydrate, it is all enjoyable.

When in doubt, I paint an alligator. This one is a happy baby. I love his baby teeth. I am not sure why the girl is a little startled. Maybe she is surprised by her new pet.

I am close to finishing another painting. I will share it as soon as next week. It’s called, Shopping for Pretty Things in the French Quarter.

All the best. Pray for Ukraine, Roe Vs. Wade, our world any way that you do.

Love, Gator Girl

Posted in Uncategorized

Vermont

Hi all y’all!

In an attempt to put some carefree fun into painting, I veered from the usual Louisiana art. I think I was inspired by the Bernie memes, LOL. Maybe this is the start of a journey through the states. New Orleans has been and will be my main painting focus.

Or will it?

My scanner is a little bit smaller than my paper. I will adjust for this in the future.

I’m sharing this painting because I tried some new techniques. In the top right I made the cool music notes by spraying ink through a stencil. On the left, I painted with black gesso because it is a solid, creamy black. Then I added white Posca paint pen dots.

The parts I really like are in her face and hair. There are snowflakes in her eyelashes. The blue and red combination in her face makes her look so cold.

I don’t like to bore anyone with too much detail. If you have any questions, let me know. I withhold nothing.

Better days ahead,

Gator Girl

Posted in Uncategorized

Playing with Ink

Hi all y’all!

I have been rekindling my love of painting with a block of Arches watercolor paper. I haven’t painted on paper in many years and have never painted on a block of paper. My goal is to start painting as a practice not as a product. My expectations for myself were out of control.

I love using the block of paper. It wasn’t the most expensive, but it was about $40. You can saturate the paper until it looks like a mess and swells a bit. The next morning it is flat and feels lovely. It feels like smooth cotton. When it is completely dry, you cut off the top piece with a palette knife.

I also have really nice Schmincke watercolors now. Both the paper and the watercolors make a world of difference.

I am using watercolors, ink, paint pens, and acrylic paint. I am loving the ink. The ink bleeds through all of the top layers. That is cool for a while, then I spray matte varnish on the painting to stop the bleed and place highlights.

The Inks are Dylusions Postbox Red and and Vibrant Turquoise. The red puddled in the hair in the shape of butterflies, so I encouraged them. In the end, there were so many layers that I decided to sand the surface. It left some scratch marks that I really like. I smoothed her face with a stiff brush and Golden Titanium White.

It seems she has a lot to think about, but I’m not sure what.

All the best. Stay safe!

Gator Girl

Posted in Uncategorized

Life’s a Compromise

Hi all y’all!

We are in the process of selling our beautiful house to first time home buyers. It feels like they might be trying to be extra careful not to be taken advantage of. Or maybe super cautious compared to us. I am reaching the bottom of my ability to give, so I painted this.

I tried something new that I love for brown skin and I will definitely use this method again. I usually mix equal parts yellow and red, then add blue to make a beautiful brown. Then I add some black or white to lighten and darken it for shadows and highlights. It is a difficult method to bend it just right.

I bought some Golden High Flow Transparent colors in Hansa Yellow Medium, Naphthol Red Light and Phthalo Blue. Also, Transparent Brown Iron Oxide for the darkest shadows and regular Golden Fluid Acrylic in Titanium White for the brightest highlights. I didn’t mix any of the colors. I layered yellow, red, then blue. I added the brown and white to contour as I saw fit. I really like the outcome. I think she glows. I painted 3 coats of the red in her hair and used it again in her lips.

Those are my good pearls hanging from her ears. LOL

After all of the stressful house stuff is done, I might paint the words over in black gesso. It is kind of like chalkboard paint that way. Acrylics are so forgiving.

Take care and stay safe.

love,

Gator Girl

Posted in Uncategorized

2021

Hi all y’all,

Crazy New Year. It has been quite a struggle to find my happy place. This last year, that will not be named, was difficult. Some people had it worse and some better. I think I fell somewhere in the middle. I painted 2 paintings. I didn’t love either one. Painting just felt like work. I talked to other people occasionally and heard some of the same lack of motivation for making their art.

I enrolled in one of my favorite classes, Life Book at Willowing.org. I have just started the first lesson. It is all about fun. Fun is what is what was missing in my art. I started each painting like it should be better than my best. I took myself back to the practice of art with less care about the outcome.

If you go to Tam’s website, there are 4 weeks of free lessons. You will need some supplies, but no previous experience.

Around Thanksgiving I got a Peloton. I 100 percent recommend it. I don’t know if I will ever go back to the gym and I needed some way to move my body at home. Also, it’s like having friends.

I usually scoff at New Year’s resolutions, but I have made some changes. The Peloton, every vitamin (not really) that Costco offers, and painting for fun. This has been a very serious effort to not feel sad.

Politically, there is hope. Soon, I won’t feel like I need to check the news immediately upon waking.

There is still a pandemic. New Orleans is at 10 percent Covid again. This means we are suppose to only gather with those people that we live with.

Immunization is right around the corner.

What a roller coaster.

When I write again, I plan on sharing my art. I’m hopeful. And I am taking the steps to happiness. I hear that happiness is an inside job.

I wish the best for all of you.

Stay safe,

Gator Girl

Posted in Uncategorized

Flowers in a family frame

Hi all y’all!

Here we are 33 days until the presidential election and in a pandemic. Who knew? On the brighter side, the weather is beginning to feel like Fall.

I have had a difficult time painting. I have several theories about this.

  1. I was burned out from the Children’s Hospital paintings.
  2. It is hard to find inspiration in Netflix.
  3. I was thinking I needed extra rest from the stress of Covid, but maybe it was really hot out and I am a bit lazy.

I usually paint people. I love how the face emerges. I like painting skin tones. I feel like faces tell a story.

Our family had a mirror that was about 100 years old. It fell off of the wall and broke. The frame broke, too. I loved the wood and it was very hard for me to paint over the beautiful wood, but I had no choice as I could see it. My daughter Katy cut a piece of 1/4 inch plywood to fit inside. Then it got tricky.

I painted this bouquet of flowers sooo many times. I only have two photos. I never thought I would finish it or blog about it.

You can see the wood frame next to the painting. I attached the broken pieces with wood putty and sanded it the best that I could with my dremel tool. I couldn’t stand this layout. There were too many colors. I thought my flowers should look like real flowers and that isn’t how I paint.

I asked my daughters and their wives what they thought a good background would be. I got so many ideas. A window, mercury glass with the flowers reflecting, stained glass because of the shape of the frame, a bright contrasting color, Katy’s face. I went with solid black just like I began. The table cloth is suppose to look like lace using some of the yellow from the sunflowers.

Finally, I like it.

I see that I need to make the stems darker on the baby’s breath. I painted this for our new house, so maybe our current house will sell now.

This is my original inspiration. I have liked this painting since I was a child. My mom painted this when she was in high school about 1936.

Maybe I can paint again now. Wish me luck.

Sincerely,

Gator Girl

Posted in Uncategorized

A New Table Top

Hi all y’all!

I imagine you have a range of emotions staying home all of the time now. I have been practicing sheltering in place my whole life and even I have hard days. There is so much going on in the news. I still am trying to wrap my head around this virus being global. It makes the world seem so small.

I did something I really enjoy. It is for my daughter and her partner’s house. They asked for an oleander table top for their house a few months ago. I was in the middle of the hospital art at the time.

I am going to tell you how I made it, because it was fun.

The women brought me a round table top from the big construction store. It is about 23 inches across.

I painted it with black gesso. While the gesso was wet, I swirled this tool into the top all around the edge about 6 inches in. I use this same tool for Prince’s afro. (With Prince, I dabbed not swirled.)

Swirling tool

Then I painted green lightly on top, so the black was slightly visible. I painted blueish teal in the center and a little bit on the edge. I thought the blue would go with their porch ceiling of sky blue.

Oleander Table Edge

Next I looked at a photo of Van Gogh’s Oleander painting. I painted the leaves from that photo. I started to paint his pink flowers, but stopped half way through to ask for a photo of their oleander tree. Luckily, I didn’t go too far with the flowers, because their tree has white flowers.

Oleander Table

I liked the flowers, but didn’t love them. I ordered some encaustic wax from a company in New Jersey called R and F that makes it by hand. I only ordered from there because it was sold out everywhere. It turned out to be good, because the block of white wax was huge for $20. I cut a piece off and put it in my empty Hot Cakes tin to heat. I could fill 4 Hot Cakes tins with the block of wax.

I used Art ‘n Glow resin because I didn’t see my usual brand. I got it on Amazon for $25 for two 8 oz bottles. It was the perfect amount for the table top. I bought back up incase it wasn’t enough. Small containers are better if you don’t use resin very often. After you open the resin, you should use it in a few months. I liked this brand. It seemed like it had fewer bubbles… hardly any.

Art 'n Glow

That’s it. It isn’t perfect because it is handmade. I am OK with that. It is still beautiful (just like you).

Love in the time of Corona,

Gator Girl

Posted in Children's Hospital, Uncategorized

Last 10 paintings for the Children’s Hospital

Hi all y’all!

I am so pleased to share with you the last 10 paintings commissioned by the Children’s Hospital. I wish I kept up with my Etsy shop and my blog through this commission endeavor.

Luckily, I received a nice camera for my birthday in December. I watched some videos on YouTube to learn how to use it. I captured photos of most of the paintings that I still had at my house in 2020. Up until now I took all of my paintings to a professional photographer. The turn around was too fast to make an appointment a month or two out. I painted about one painting a month prior to doing this job. I painted 30 paintings in 6 months or 5 a month. I am a slow painter, so I painted pretty much every day until I was tired.

Here they are…

Alligator with hot cocoa

Alligator with Cocoa

Cat and Mouse Original 2

Cat and Mouse

Lawn Party Continued

Lawn Party Continues. Featuring a toddler alligator.

Pig Original High Res

Pig in cape.

Lawn Party Original High ResLawn Party

Shotgun House Original

Shotgun House

Unicorn

Unicorn

giraffeGiraffe

elephant Original

Elephant

Daydreaming

Day Dreaming

I have prints of the Uptown Rabbit and Manatee. I will be ordering more prints, but I am not sure what yet. I am partial to the giraffe. I like the pink color in the elephant painting. It was a mixture of bubblegum pink ink and paint. I also like the yellow striped wall paper.

Happy Friday! I hope you are content sheltering in place.

Adoringly,

Gator Girl