I love this painting. It pretty much painted itself. Maggie and Raffi found a bunch of frames out with the trash near their school. I thought the frame looked like pelican feathers. I washed it, added some glue at the joints, and oiled it.
Katy cut a piece of 1/4 inch plywood for me. I painted on 3 coats of black gesso. For the feathers, I applied the paint fairly thick, starting with darker colors and going lighter. Long strokes for the body and short strokes for the head. I applied 3 coats of varnish to finish.
I am sharing my secret feather tool. They are“Not quite a brush. Not quite a palette knife. Princeton Catalyst Blades and Mini-Blades are crafted from flexible silicone to give artists exciting new tools for expression. Mounted on artist brush handles, they offer a unique blend of tradition and innovation.” (I am not an affiliate, just a fan.)
The Pelican is 16 x 20 inches. I am selling it for $500. If you read my blog, I will let you have it for $400 (plus shipping), because I think you should be rewarded for reading my blog.
I am starting an email list. You might be asking yourself, “What are the benefits of getting an email update?” Emails will be short and to the point, infrequent, you will see my new paintings first and sometimes receive incentives that will not be offered anywhere else. Send me your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am back to painting the book, Hey. So, I’m a Baby.
It is pretty scary being black in America. I only know this through the news and hearing my friends talk. I have never had to have the discussion with my children about what to do if they are stopped by the police. I haven’t had to explain to them that they SHOULD NOT RUN through our neighborhood and to NEVER wear a hoodie.
I am near the top of the entitled group. I would be at the top if I were male. Part of being entitled is not having to think about entitlement. I was never afraid to be stopped by the police. In the handful of times I have been stopped, “I am sorry officer. Did I do something wrong?” was enough to never get out of the car and never get a ticket.
You might wonder why I painted Don’t Shoot. I relate to being a woman who is unsafe. I know what it is like to be afraid. I see black women on the news crying because they are so scared of being pulled over
and I feel sad and angry.
I want racism and misogyny to disappear.
It made me feel better to paint about the problem the same way it made me feel better to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. What can we do besides stand together. Together we are stronger.
The background is red for her anger/ grey for her measured non-response. I gave her a short haircut and urban colors to epitomize her strength. She looks small and powerful. I also opted against long lashes. I didn’t want her to need any of the feminine trappings. She is woman enough as is.
We’ve had a lot of rain here. Even after living in New Orleans for 6 years, I expect the rain to be cold. In California most of the rain happens in the winter. Sometimes, in New Orleans, I make hot chocolate in my air-conditioned house and don’t realize it is 90 degrees outside.
This is “Tropical Storm”.
I like a tropical storm if I can stay inside. A tropical storm can mean a lot of wind and rain. We bring things inside that might blow around the yard.
The unsettling thing about a tropical storm is that it can turn into a hurricane. I live near a lot of people with Hurricane Katrina PTSD, with good reason.
This makes the tension rise.
I painted this during Tropical Storm Cindy. She did not develop further.
Here is some storm information…
In a tropical depression the winds start to circulate. When the winds exceed 38 mph, it turns into a Tropical Storm. The maximum wind speed in a tropical storm is 73 mph. A hurricane has wind rotation with speeds of 74 mph and above.
Hurricanes are rated 1 through 5.
1 is 74-95 mph
2 is 96-110 mph
3 is 111-129 mph
4 is 130-156 mph
5 is greater than 156 mph
Almost all hurricanes happen during hurricane season. Where I live, the season is from June 1 through November 30. Most hurricanes happen in August and September and rarely in November.
I changed the starry sky in the most recent Swamp Girl painting. Looking at the painting close-up, the sky looked ragged. I smoothed it out and added some tiny dots for stars. Painting some stars blue and leaving some stars silver made some stars look farther away.
I am trying my hand at a video. My weakest area in vlogging is setting up the camera (my phone). I have little patience for some things. Sometimes, in the video, I wish I had been more patient.
If you paint, Miskit is super fun. The little jar is $15 and if you use your 50% off one item at Michaels, it is $7.50 at checkout.
I have only used Miskit for watercolor before. When you watercolor, you have to save the white areas. It is not like acrylic paint, where you can just add white later. The reason I used Miskit with this painting, is that the face was small compared to the tool I was using. If I got the aftro paint on her face, it would take long time to get her skin color back the way it was. Also, I wanted to only think about the wig, not think about keeping her face clean. Lastly, it was super fun to use.
Can’t Stop the Feeling is a song we danced to all last season.
Tonight is the opening for Soul, Soul, Soul at the Old No. 77 Hotel. I have always wanted to have art in one of the shows there. 3 of my paintings were chosen this time. My friend, Cheryl Grace‘s work is the focal point. If you have time, come by and see the show. It will be there all through Jazz Fest. The hotel is beautiful and is connected to Compère Lapin.
A rainy Spring day is the perfect day to blog. These are the pages that are going out to local publishers. I would like to share the mock up, but the words are not mine to share. Also, it’s nice to have some anticipation.
I have a wish coming true. I have 3 paintings in the art show, Soul, Soul, Soul at the Old No. 77. The show starts on April 6 at 8 pm. It is a beautiful venue.
Were You There?is a large original painting 30 x 40 inches. I painted New Orleans as a statue, depicting the strength of stone. She is holding lilies in one arm signifying rebirth. In her raised hand she is spilling out golden sparkles of hope. Her wings are lined with broken glass. She has been through hell, and you can see it swirling around her in darkness. The words are from a spiritual that is traditionally sung during the stations of the cross at Easter. I replaced he with she in the song.
In New Orleans,Mardi Gras Indians are revered. It is always a pleasure to see them perform. In tribute to this tradition, I painted an Indian using mostly acrylic paint, then I beaded him by sewing individual beads and sequins on the canvas. It is 16 by 20 inches.
I choose to paint Big Freedia because I was part of the Guinness Book of World Records for Twerking in 2014. The crown is based on Queen Elizabeth’s crown.
Big Freedia was the star of that contest. She is beautiful and her personality is bigger than the sky. This painting is 16 x 20 inches.
I have a lot more to blog, but I don’t want to overwhelm. Stay tuned!
My cousin, Lisa asked me to paint a new Pussyfooter painting. It seems like a reasonable request because the Pussyfooters have new costumes. We look like superheroes with a “P” on the back of our capes. Lisa is on the costume committee. She is a braver woman than I am.
You can see a pretty good picture of the cape in the first photo. Lots of people took their capes off that day because it was so hot. She has her cape tied around her waist. You can see our logo.
The second photo shows our new pieces.
The painting is in the half done ugly-ish stage. I think I will just show parts of the painting this week.
Painting the Pussyfooters this year is different from the last time I painted Pussyfooters. After 5 seasons, I can feel what it is like being in a parade while I am painting. I am tempted to have a zipper busted open or sweat riveting off a body. I choose to try and capture the joy (for now).
This is the only part I am totally happy with so far. It is a bit small. This will be an afro wig and a tinsel wig. The women are close together, but really they should be an arms length apart. I think it will be called “Let’s Dance”.
A fabulous Mardi Gras came and went in the Crescent City. The weather was in the 70’s and breezy. The weather is kind of a big deal, because whether you are in a parade or watching one, you are outdoors for many, many hours. I am always amazed that I can finish a parade. It turns out to be around 17 miles when you count all of the dancing in place when the parade stops. (Some of the women had Fitbits.)
Here are the Pussyfooters during a pause in Femme Fatale. Eli Mergel took the photo. (click on “Eli Mergel” to see lots of wonderful photography.) There are about 120 Pussyfooters in total. About 50 women did this parade.
This is my sweet darlin’ and me on Mardi Gras day. We parked across the river and took the ferry. Excellent idea.
I revised two pages for the Not-Yet-Revealed author. I like both pages better now.
Pop is dressed more maturely. He is also wearing a wedding ring.
Poppee has grey hair and his goatee is narrower and longer. I like Poppee better, too. I made his eyebrows less prominent while I was adjusting his look. I appreciate a man with good grooming.
I think there is a pause here with the book. I am going to schedule photos of the first 5 pages. The author is going to send these beginning pages to publishers. I hear that publishers want to see 3-5 pages. I hope a publisher is going to love the book and grab it up without too many changes. I will let you know as soon as I do.
Today is the first day of Lent. I am just going to try to be an all around better person. Like making a conscious effort to be more Zen and less reactive.
This is me on the front page of the Times-Picayune! (I must be excited because I already used 3 exclamation marks.) ThePussyfooterswere the first women’s dance troupe. We started in 2001. My favorite parts about being a Pussyfooter, aside from becoming famous, are that I dance for women who can’t and we raise money every year for the Metropolitan Center for women and children. This year we raised $38,000.
Page 5 of the book is Poppee.
He is grandpa to the baby.
In the painting are some New Orleans icons. On the shelf behind Poppee are cups from . Coffee with chicory and beignetsare often the first stop in the French Quarter for visitors to our city. It is open 24 hours.
He is stirring a pot of gumbo and holding a gumbo bowl, with a smaller pot for white rice on the other burner. Next to the stove top are an onion, green bell pepper, and celery. These three vegetables are called the Holy Trinity. The trinity is in most New Orleans dishes… jambalya, étouffée, gumbo…
I wanted to capture the love in Poppee’s expression when baby walks into the room. I like the repeating rectangle pattern in the basket and bricks. I was going to paint Poppee’s shirt in a check print, but thought that would be too distracting. (I still want to.) My favorite parts of the painting are the cups and the trinity.
Poppee is the last of the human characters in the book. You have met them all now.
Here is page 4. Tia is Spanish for aunt. Maybe it is her first name, too? Tia is the baby’s aunt. That’s what I know for sure.
I think baby takes after momma in coloring, but I see Tia in her face.
Tia is listening to music in the kitchen. I did want to make sure Tia wasn’t dancing with the mop or ironing. Even though those stereotypes are etched in my brain, I am trying to break free. She just stopped by the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Probably one of the men took care of that other stuff.
I put in my favorite laminate table from the 1950’s. Baby is too short to see the top of the table, so I put the table top design that I wanted to paint on the cup. You can see the same magnolia bead tree from the garden out the window.
The New Orleans things on this page are only the bead tree and music. The window and the paint color are also typical New Orleans.
I try to keep the family to a moderate income. That’s why the table is her grandma’s and her headphones have a cord.
The painting part is straight forward. When the picture needs some very small details, I use a paint pen or intense pencils. Often I go over this with a brush. I liked the tree better when it was bright green, but I thought there needed to be glass in the window. I mixed a half drop of Golden Titanium White into some matte varnish. I painted the window panes 2 or 3 times with this mixture. I think it looks a little wavy like old glass.