It has been 2 months since I have blogged or done much of anything. I have had this monster brace on my right hand for that long. I can take it off for a short time now to do something easy like typing. I still have to wear it for almost everything else. It has been hard not to paint much or very well.
I had a cooking mishap. It was a big iron skillet full of zucchini. I was dumping the zucchini into a bowl with one hand because I felt invincible. I twisted my wrist and hurt the tendon.
I have been able to work on Maggie’s and my book for short stretches of time. It is pretty painful to hold the brush.
We don’t have the whole story yet. That will be our next step. We are thinking that I will paint the swamp girl and the alligator for continuity. Maggie will paint the manatee, turtle, nutria, etc. We are not sure who all will be in the book.
He offered to stretch his tail as high as he could to help her down out of the Cypress tree.
The idea so far is that Swamp Girl will wander into the swamp, become lost, and find a new friend.
I am ready to paint something to hang on the wall and sell. I like the idea of my paintings in people’s houses. It is a little isolating to paint pages in a future book.
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!
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.
I wanted a garden like this. It seems like you need a lot of money in the city to buy a house with a big garden area. I fudged on this because this is a family with an average income.
Here is a photo of momma in progress.
I didn’t mess around too much with the composition this time. The neckline of her shirt was an accident. I wanted to tell myself when I came back to paint that I wanted the neckline smaller, so I used a paint pen to mark the new neckline. It reminded me of a burnout shirt, so I left it.
I am going to put a little more of her hair on her right cheek (left cheek to you) because it looks too big. The danger in that is that it is hard for me to put the brush down. I am usually changing another thing an hour later.
The challenge for me is that it takes me so long to paint. I think the author might get tired of waiting. Each page is a full on painting, so it does take a while. I hope I reconcile with this soon.
2016 has been a hard year for a lot of people. I hope you are doing alright.
This is new for me. My next 16 paintings are planned. I am illustrating a children’s book. Even though I get a lot of leeway from the author, it is still different from painting whatever for however long it takes me. There are definitely pros and cons to this gig.
Somethings are just different. The easiest thing for me to paint is a woman’s face or an animal’s face. I have avoided painting babies. Babies and toddlers have really different proportions from adults. Their features are on the bottom half of their face and their pupils are very large. Their bodies are pretty square. Fingers are squat. I watched other people draw babies on youtube. I downloaded baby proportion charts.
I usually don’t paint a lot in the background, so I also watched many videos on perspective. I watched them over and over as I am a slow learner. Slow and determined.
I feel like my style lends itself to children’s books. I think I will be happy if this leads to career.
This is page one. I am going to paint something on each page to represent New Orleans. Sometimes it will be obvious to everyone and sometimes it will probably only be obvious to locals and people who visit often. I will always point it out to you.
Maggie showed me what a toddler would draw. It is the picture taped to the wall in the background.
I want to tell you how long I painted this page. I am pretty sure it was a month. I repainted parts of it every day. I started completely over after about two weeks. After a while when people called me, they didn’t even have to ask what I was doing. Then one day, when asked if I was painting the baby today, I said, “No, I am painting the mama.” 🙂
Next up… the mama.
With gratitude for anyone who wants to take this literary adventure with me,
This is the first painting I made for myself in probably 7 years. It is going to hang in the cabin at our camp in Mississippi.
Remember? I showed you photos of the camp last week.
I put all of my painting ideas on hold.
I think there might be a big project in my future. I am giving it all of my painting time.
Someone (who will remain nameless for now) asked me if I wanted to illustrate a children’s book that she has written. I am painting the first two pages and if she thinks my art works well with her words, it’s a go.
I will keep y’all in the loop.
Maggie and I are writing and illustrating a book, too. We have 3 pages so far. It is about a girl who lives in a swamp and has an alligator friend. We will finish this later. We like a long-term project. I figure the older she gets, the more help she will be.
Maggie’s Swamp Girl
I think the stories about why people buy my art are what keep me going in such a solitary job. A man messaged me on Etsy. He wanted to buy two prints of Accepting New Members because his daughter’s synchronized swim team is called Synchrogators. Cool.
What ever you are doing for Thanksgiving, I hope it is wonderful.