I hope this blog finds you well.
We have been fixing up my daughter and her fiancée’s back yard because people are coming into town for their wedding in a couple of weeks. They asked me to make a new table top for an old iron table. I love to paint furniture. And I extra love using resin. It makes everything so shiny and hard. My beer garden table that I resined two years ago still looks good in impossible Louisiana weather. The only downside of resin is the weight. It gets especially heavy if you try to encapsulate something, even glitter, that requires more than one pour.
They let me paint anything I wanted. That is my best kind of commission. I painted two birds that look like Katy and Gen. I put crowns on both of the women so they could both be queens. I took the photo before I poured the resin, because resin has too much reflection. The finished table is much shinier.
Someone is reading the poem, The Queen, by Pablo Neruda at the wedding. It is a beautiful poem. That is why the birds are queens.
I hope they like it.
My unending love,
Hi all y’all!
I was recently inspired by the words of Reda Rackley. I don’t know Reda in person. We are Facebook friends. She is also and artist. She wrote, “She took off her halo and wore it as a necklace.”
I have permission to use Reda’s words in my art.
I might have painted her too quickly because I felt I had to get her down on canvas. She reminds me of the recently elected women to Congress. I was also thinking of the powerful women’s march this year. That was before it was cancelled in New Orleans.
I like her urban-ness, her basic black, her deadpan stare. Her halo looks like glittery barbed wire.
She is not listed for sale anywhere. I will send her to you for $200 + shipping if you would like to have her around to inspire you in these tenuous times.
She is 16 x 20 inches, acrylic, glitter, varnish on canvas. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember history like your life depends on it.
In strength and numbers,
Hi all y’all!
This is my most recent painting. Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year. Click on the link and read all about her.
The Pussyfooters were invited to a Second Line and ceremony for Yemaya about 2 months ago (Fresh Johnson narrates the Second Line video and is a Pussyfooter). This was the first I had heard of Yemaya. We raised money by selling raffle tickets. It was the kind of raffle where you split the pot. Part of the money went for our police escort. You need to have a permit and police to close the streets for the Second Line. Part of the money went for the brass band. Part of the money went for women in Orleans Parish Prison who cannot post bail. Sometimes a woman is sent to the prison because of a traffic ticket that she cannot pay. She doesn’t have any money for bail, her kids are put in foster care, she loses her job, and she waits. Part of the money goes to the lucky winner whose name is drawn. In this case the lucky winner put her winnings in with the bail money. We raised $800.
We had a Second Line to the river where the leader said a beautiful prayer to Yemaya and made offerings of fruit. Eli Mergel took photos.
I wanted to paint Yemaya immediately. I love to paint women. I also like a goddess. I am donating the original painting to the raffle table at Blush Ball. Blush Ball is where the Pussyfooters raise the most money. Anyone can go to the Blush Ball. It costs $40 or $60 a ticket. With the $60 ticket you get in an hour early and drink for free for that hour. It is really fun. The Pussyfooters perform. There is a band and a DJ. And a raffle table where you will find an original Yemaya.
FYI, the Pussyfooters raise money all year for women and children. We usually raise between $20,000 and $30,000 in the year.
That took a lot of words to share my painting. I hope you like her.
Sincerely trying my best,
Hi all y’all!
Big Chief David Montana is on his way to Paris this morning. He is there to talk about a new documentary that is being filmed in France called Black Indians. (The link takes you to the film’s introduction.)
He is taking 20 prints of Flamingo Madness with him. I am so excited to have the prints traveling to France!
Derrick Hemphill of the Daily Commune has made all of this possible. If you go to his website, then “print services” you can buy a print. He does his own printing on beautiful paper. If you want to have him print something, I do recommend him. Derrick is the only one printing Flamingo Madness.
The Big Chief is also taking a sample piece of the flamingo suit to Paris for collectors. It is the same design as his original flamingo suit. I bought one to frame.
Here is a photo of the Big Chief in his pink flamingo suit. My friend Laura took the photo. She has a blog you might be interested in called L.A. to N.O.L.A. – Carnival, Concerts, Cuisine, Culture.
That is my big news for the day. Thanks for tuning in.
All of my love,
Hi all y’all!
I hope you are having a good summer. I heard that someone, somewhere is enjoying a soft cool breeze. That would sure be nice.
I am trying out painting with oil paints. I have been painting with acrylic paints for about 15 years. My limited experience with oil painting has been very different from acrylic painting.
I tried painting a beagle in oil paint. I saw a cute photo on Instagram that my daughter’s friend posted. He said his dog was “throwing shade at the dog park”. I loved the phrase. So this is Remington in oil.
I had an idea to paint another beagle in acrylic paint to compare my experience. My sister-in-law has a beagle that she loves. I asked her to send me two or three photos. So this is Buddy in acrylic paint.
It was challenging to paint with oil. The good news is that it stays wet a long time. The bad news is it stays wet for a long time. I just walked into the studio in my street clothes and got paint on my shirt.
With oil there are a few days between coats. I tried adding Gamblin Cold Wax Medium to give the paint more thickness. I liked how the brush strokes were more apparent… like dog hair. I tried adding Gamblin Galkyd Lite to make the paint dry faster. It also thins the paint. I used Galkyd mixed with the paint when I painted Remy’s eyes. It is harder for me to achieve detail with oil.
Because the oil paints stay wet, I put my hand on the painting and did a lot of smearing. I waited until the paint dried and fixed the smears (many times).
What I really love is the brightness and richness of the oil paint.
I feel comfortable with acrylic paints. They suit my impatience. I have experience with the mediums I can use with acrylic paint to achieve what I want. I used Golden Extra Heavy Molding paste to make raised letters on the dog blanket. It took about the same time to complete each painting. They look very different. Buddy has many layers of different colors. Remmy is striking. He reminds me of a super hero.
My analysis is… I will use the paint that will achieve the affects I desire. I am not giving up on oil paint too soon.
If you have any thoughts on oil vs acrylic paint. I would love to hear them.
Practice makes perfect (or not).
Hi all y’all!
There was an open house at the Bell Artspace Campus last week. It is really an amazing place. All kinds of artists live there… painters, writers, photographers, Indians… Each floor has a beautiful gallery. This is the main building.
Affordable housing for artists is important. Housing costs are more and more expensive in New Orleans. Many of the people who make New Orleans what it is have a hard time living here.
They really did a nice job with the open house. It was all free, including delicious food from the food trucks. I had to leave early, but I saw a performance by the Washitaw Nation and
Big Chief David Montana.
A print of my painting of the Big Chief is hanging in one of the Artspace galleries. The prints are for sale now. 8 x 10 inch limited edition prints are $35 on nice paper.
16 x 20 limited edition prints on canvas are $200. The original painting is 30 x 40 inches and is still available for 1500. Big Chief David Montana will sign the original painting if you want.
This is pretty cool.
Check out the Puppet Painter. The more I look into Sierra’s work the more amazed I am.
This is a small representation of a fabulous place. If you hear of something going on there, say yes!
All my scaly love,
Hi all y’all!
It’s a beautiful day here in New Orleans. Just a quick post to share the companion piece to James Booker. Cool Cat.
Cool Cat is 16 x 20 inches. I used the same color pallet as for James Booker, but went heavier on the reds and yellows.
James Booker is much larger at 30 x 40 inches.
Tonight is the opening for Art of Flavor at the Old No. 77. It is beautiful there. The Old No. 77 is a restaurant, bar, hotel and gallery. Where Y’Art and the Old No. 77 do a top-notch job putting it all together. Nina Compton, Chef at Compère Lapin and Abigail Gullo, bartender at Compère Lapin are curating. I’m excited.
Flamingo Madness and Counting Her Chickens were chosen to be in the show.
Counting Her Chickens as They Hatch
Loving all y’all,
Hi all y’all!
It has been pretty fabulous at Gator Girl Art lately. I will tell you this one tale…
I was at my agent, Derrick Hemphill’s house. (Cool, huh?) He was having an open house to introduce his huge, new printer. While I was there, I asked Derrick if he could get permission for me to paint a Mardi Gras Indian. He knows a lot of people and he grew up in the Treme.
Right away, he asked his mother to go down stairs and get Big Chief David Montana. This threw me right out of my comfort zone. I never thought of painting a Big Chief. He came upstairs and he agreed to let me to paint him. I also, got to see his house, the suit he is working on, and lots of photos.
This is all so cool. Google him. He’s famous.
I chose to paint him in a pink suit. He let me borrow a reference photo.
So, I haven’t yet continued with my New Orleans Musician series. I still have several large canvases gessoed in black and ready to go.
I started on a 30 x 40 inch canvas. I painted the border in Golden Alizarin Crimson. Then I painted the entire canvas, including the border in Old Holland Iridescent Carmine. It is a vivid crimson… a beautiful pink.
Here is the finished painting (as far as I know).
It is a little tilted on purpose. I was worried about all of the little feathers, but they turned out really fun to paint. I used a fan brush and loaded it with three colors of pink. I used The Chief as the light source. I am a little proud of that idea.
Here it is. I did my best. I feel lucky.
With all my heart,
Happy New Year to all y’all!
This is the first year that we stayed in New Orleans for Christmas. We tried to do some fun activities that happen only during the holiday. Mostly we ate out.
This is what I think I know… The bon fires go on for 3 miles. They need a permit and have a maximum height of 15 feet. They all start at 7 pm on Christmas Eve, wind permitting. This is a tradition going back a 100 years or more. The reasons vary, and my favorite version is that the bon fires light the way for Santa Claus.
Saint James Parish is about 30 minutes west of New Orleans. It took well over an hour to get to the river on Christmas Eve. We went to Paulina to see the beginning of the bon fires, then we drove through Lutcher and Gramercy.
It’s dark, so you can only see the structures in front of you.
The arrow is pointing down river. All of the lights on the levee are bon fires.
This is a close up.
Now you can listen to it. Most structures are full of fire crackers, and people shoot off BIG fireworks. I took these photos with my phone…
but there are better photos at nola.com.
And here is a youtube link to the fancy turtle bon fire.
Now you are on your own. Google away.
Love and all of my best wishes.
Hi all y’all!
It’s very cold here. Cold for us. Because most of the houses are raised 3 or so feet when it freezes our pipes freeze and sometimes break. We keep a trickle of water running in our faucets and hoses. Sometimes the pipes still break.
This is my first large painting in the series New Orleans Musicians. I think I will paint six. The musicians will be close up and I am planning on putting their instrument somewhere in the painting. There might be a corresponding cool cat painting. We’ll see.
James Booker was one cool guy. You can watch a movie called Bayou Maharaja on Netflix. I think the movie has all the footage ever filmed of James Booker. I am not very musical, but even I can tell his piano playing is amazing.
I am historically terrible at following through on a series. I have three 30×40 inch canvases gessoed in black to encourage me.
Try to stay warm.
Best wishes for the New Year.