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Me as Tour Guide

Hi all y’all!

74 degrees and everything is starting to bloom. Don’t hate. It will be unbearably hot before you know it.

With Spring comes house guests. It is fun to see our city through the eyes of someone here for the first time.

When someone has been here before, I like to act as a bed and breakfast. But for the first time visitor there is so much to see, I think a tour is in order.

We have friends here from California this week. After 6 days of being a tour guide, I felt they had seen enough of New Orleans for a first visit. I was not willing to release them before this. (It is such a great city, I think you really have to live here full-time to experience it.) Today, Mary and Ulco are taking a self-guided walking tour of the Garden District.

We started the week with a car tour… breakfast at Camilla Grill, Audubon Park, the French Quarter, Frenchman St., the Marigny, the Bywater, and City Park. The next day, we rode the Streetcar to the French Quarter and had beignets at Cafe du Monde followed by  lunch at the Gumbo Shop. Mary and Ulco were kind enough to go to the finale of Entrepreneur Week to support Where Y’Art. (Where Y’Art won the popular vote, but not the judges vote for $50,000.)

We went to Hogs for a Cause at City Park on Saturday. It had rained all night and it was a muddy mess. *House guests don’t really like wading around in the mud. To be honest, we didn’t like it either.

We stopped by Chickie Wah Wah to see Paul Sanchez. He invited several guest artists on stage during the show. It was super fun. I have to go see Antoine Diel again.

Antoine Diel with Paul Sanchez
Antoine Diel with Paul Sanchez

We were super lucky to see the Mardi Gras Indians on Sunday. After that, my sweet darlin’ drove them through the 9th Ward and Chalmette.

Mardi Gras Indian
Mardi Gras Indian

The top 3 things we did this week were:  1) the French Quarter. 2) the New Orleans School of Cooking. This is a great over-view of history as it relates to food.

3) Honey Island Swamp Tour. I like this tour for a first visit because it is close to the city and well run.

The restaurants are too many to mention.

Art? No art. I better get busy.

With scaly, reptilian love,

Gator Girl

 

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Baby, I got this.

Hi All y’all,

Writing to you from the deep south in the deep summer, and loving it. My mother-in-law grew up here without air conditioning. I’m not sure I would be loving that.

The angel put on a white button up shirt. The painting is called, “Baby, I got this.” So please don’t worry about your problems. They are being handled on an angelic plane.

The angel is standing in the midst of many easily handled problems.

Baby, I got this.
Baby, I got this.

Note: In the south, “baby” is a term of endearment, containing no disrespect.

I started a painting of a Pussyfooter to give to the Blush Ball this year. Last year they raised 22,000 for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children.

Blush Ball check
Blush Ball check

The painting is about half done.

A wig that I saw at Fifi Mahony’s in the French Quarter was my inspiration.

I am thinking about sewing sequins on her dress.

She is going to have lots of sparkle,

but first I need to love her and she is not quite there.

Pussyfooter in Progress
Pussyfooter in Progress

I am sure she is going to say something meaningful. We Pussyfooters are not just glam and sparkle. 🙂

I was the guest speaker on the Cosmic Cowgirl phone call last night. The Cowgirls asked me to tell my story, how I went from teaching children in California to New Orleans artist. It made me remember how dreams materialize. Seriously, it is pretty magical how things work out.

Maybe I will share my story with all y’all next week.

Wishing you happily ever after,

Gator Girl

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Sanding My Painting

Hi all y’all,

I am a little in the “is Mardi Gras over already?” and “really, 2 months until Jazz Fest?” slump. It is like when you  are a child and you are first able to realize that on December 25th, Christmas is 364 days away.

It also feels like a time of introspection and I am not as excited to put myself out in the world right now. It would be perfect if someone wanted to stop by my house and buy art.

I am just going to sit tight and wait until the ebb of life turns to flow.

Today, I am sharing the steps of my most recent painting. I was going to blog when it was completely done, but the feathers are taking a while.

First
First

Step one: adding a little color. Spraying it with water and blending. I love this part where I set my intentions for the art.

gel medium
gel medium

Next, I textured it with gel medium and scraped it with a credit card. I wanted to make some raised squares like an Indian blanket.

Warrior Heart
Warrior Heart

I liked this part of the background, so I saved it for his heart area. It looks like dreaming and passion.

War Paint
War Paint

I used my fingers and thick white paint to make the war paint.

sanding
sanding

I made feathers with gel medium and painted them many, many times… still unhappy with how they looked. My genius sister suggested I sand the feathers to blend them into the background and make them feathery thin.

Dream
Dream

I wrote the title with my finger and thick white paint.

Eye Brow
Eye Brow

I added a close-up of his eyebrow because I love it.

Dream Little Chief
Dream Little Chief

This is a boy dreaming of being a Mardi Gras Indian Chief one day.

My husband, David, is marching on Saint Joseph’s Day in the French Quarter with the Italian American Marching Club. Since I will be in the Quarter on St. Joseph’s Day, I will have another chance to see a Big Chief.

One more thing… I am really hoping two women look like the couple that I painted entitled “Justice” (even a bit). If so, please send me a photo at nancy@gatorgirlart.com. I will send you a super nice print.

lovingly yours,

Gator Girl

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2013 Vision Board

Hi all y’all.

I am sharing my vision for 2013.

It looks different from last year.

I don’t think I want as many things to change.

The only thing that I put on my board last year that didn’t materialize is NOLA Groundswell. We had some interest. We almost received a grant, but nothing concrete yet. I sent a letter off to the Internal Revenue Service yesterday asking for approval of our non-profit status. It has been over a year since our request, including a $400 fee for the government to consider our request.

Magnificent Maggie helped me. It is the same cardboard. New duct tape. New bristol paper.

The pink and orange glitter are the Pussyfooter colors.

2013 Vision Board
2013 Vision Board
My word for the year.
My word for the year.

Physically visible in my fishnets and feathers on St. Charles. Gator Girl Art visible in a gallery in the French Quarter. I will keep you posted on whatever else decides to be visible.

The year of the snake.
The year of the snake.

I swear, this snake just turned up exactly like this when I used a brayer with green paint over dried white paint and glitter. I added the eyes and nostrils. I wish you could see the scales.

In one of my We’Moon calendars, I cut out a piece about snake medicine.

 Snake medicine is with us.

We can pretend our skin is not shedding,

we can attempt to remain underground, curled up and quaking,

we can refuse to digest our life and suffer indigestion.

Or we can embrace the magic of our transmutation–

Chew on our life, swallow and savor it,

Slither out of our skin and leap out of ruts with passion,

Swirl into new experiences and dance,

Then feel the sun on our skin and dream.

                                                                  –Gloria Rohlfs 2011

GGA in a gallery.
GGA in a gallery.

OK. I said it. Words are powerful.

Affirmations
Affirmations
My favorite.
My favorite.

Maggie wrote “izmot”. She might have meant “tomzi” I asked her what it meant and she said, “Good Luck, happy celebrations, and love.” I couldn’t have said it any better. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

Happy New Year to y’all.

With abundant love, an open heart, and shedding skin,

Gator Girl

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Gator Girl Art is on Etsy!

Good Morning all y’all,

If you would like an original Gator Girl painting, but need to wait a while for the opportunity, there are prints available on Etsy. My prints start at $30 and there is a special going on for the month of April. Go ahead and check it out. You can also send me your email address through my email account at nancy@gatorgirlart.com and I will send you an email when I have a new painting, OR you can also see all my paintings in progress by following my blog.

And thank you, thank you for reading my blog!

I have completed 3 paintings.

Dreaming of Camembert

The original of Monsieur Gator was painted on commission and is not available.

The collector asked for a French Gator. Painted in French around the outside edge of the canvas are the words “Strolling at Sunset, Dreaming of z Camembert”.

 

I listened to Chante France on the Internet. M. Gator loved the music. It seemed to put him in the mood for a portrait. What an attitude he has!

 

La Femme Fatal is mixed media, 12 x 36 inches painted on wood. She is standing on the street in the French Quarter after the parades have passed. She still has “it” after all these years. She sells for $800.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mardi Gras Muse or as MMMM calls her, Princess Masketier is mixed media on reclaimed wood, with a reclaimed wooden frame. The original is $800. The frame is part of the painting, so a small portion of the frame was also photographed.*

Princess Masketeir
Mardi Gras Muse

There are words about Mardi Gras running through her hair, and a 3 dimensional king cake baby. She is wearing a raven mask for my sister who owns Raven Wisdom Studio in Chico, California.  (She is a clay artist.) The music is from the song “Mardi Gras Mambo”.

Mardi Gras Muse started out clearly in my mind’s eye, but took over a month to complete.

Now that these 3 paintings are complete, I will be starting a new painting from scratch. The options are swirling around me as I type.

Please stay tuned,

All my love from an ever-opening heart,

Gator Girl

*The photography is by the amazing Dorka Photography in New Orleans.

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Mardi Gras

Hi y’all,

Things have been super fun and exhausting here with our first Mardi Gras. I think on Sunday there were 7 or 8 parades. It was like hanging out in a tent village. The best part for me was the parade goers. Everyone was so friendly. There are special throws that you try to catch at certain parades. Maggie got a shoe at the Muses all decorated with glitter, David got a Zulu coconut, and Will Farrell gave Maggie and David a cow bell. Pretty awesome and free fun. Y’all will just have to come see for your self.

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras Parade
Mardi Gras
Angie, NOPD and lots of ladders for the kids

This was walking distance from our house.

What I am sharing this week is the progression of 2 paintings that I am working on. You will have to use your imagination about what they are going to look like when I am finished or check in next week when I am done. The skeleton is finally coming along. I am going to call her La Femme Fatale. I went through a lot of names. I think it was because I started painting what I had in mind, but forgot to check in with her. A couple of names that she had for a while were Lasting Beauty and  Haunting Beauty. Maggie wanted to name her “A field of Unicorns”. Apparently, the unicorns were invisible. I like La Femme Fatale because New Orleans has such a French influence and She is hanging out in the French Quarter around Mardi Gras. She is pretty fatale being beyond the flesh and blood stage of her life.

skeleton in progress
first skeleton picture

I decided that I didn’t like such small details, so I went larger.

Skeleton
2nd, Larger Picture

In the second picture, I am starting to like her here, but she has a long way to go.

Skeleton
La Femme Fatale Almost Finished

Fetching, I’d say, in a fatal way. Those are little crawfish fireflies in the street light, a small alligator playing a tambourine on her shoulder. She  is now wearing a little hat with a veil that is so popular with the parade crowd. She had on a real Mardi Gras bead necklace, but I removed it for now. I may add it back in using an old glass bead throw that you can still catch once in a while. I put a net veil on the hat, but liked the permanence of a painted veil. I put little glitter fleur dis lis on her dress. This painting has been a labor. Some times things don’t come easily.

She is starting to look satisfied. I would say she’s almost finished.

 

 

I just want to introduce the painting I am having a lot of fun with. She is Mardi Gras Muse. If you want inspiration, paint a muse. They so love the attention.

Mardi Gras Muse
Preparing the wood

I picked 3 colors: mars black, magenta and white. I painted these words on in gold: Mardi Gras feel the happy love. I added a big heart on the right and 2 little hearts on the left.

Mardi Gras Muse Blocked Out
Mardi Gras Muse Blocked Out

 

 

 

I am just going to have fun with her. Lots of symbols, pictures and words in her hair.  She will have plenty of bling on her mask and glitter on her tiara. I see her so clearly already.

 

I hope you check in next week to see the progress. Life in New Orleans is a dream come true.

What we found out during Mardi Gras is that it is not a sprint, it is a marathon, so pace yourself. There is a bit of life wisdom in that.

With grateful and abundant love,

Gator Girl