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.
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.
I will be working hard for about the next 4 to 6 months. I wasn’t going to share this until I believed it myself. The people buying art for the new wing of the Children’s Hospital commissioned 30 paintings. They are giving me 10 months to finish them, but I think I will be done in 6. We’ll see.
The paintings are all 18 x 24 gallery wrapped canvas. I am painting happy paintings that tell a story and that I think the children will like. They gave me few restrictions. No flying birds, no angels, no blood or menacing teeth. I made a few of my own restrictions. I am doing only acrylic paint and not adding paper or glitter so they will be easy to clean. I am giving them an extra coat of varnish.
The first 10 are complete. I think the last 10 will be the hardest, if I run out of ideas. I painted a version of a few paintings that I have already done because the people commissioning the paintings liked them and I liked them.
Let me know what yourfavorite is so far and also if you have painting suggestions. Excuse the photography. Some of the colors are a little off. I don’t have professional photos yet.
It is kind of fun to paint prolifically and not wonder when and where the paintings are going. I made a bulk order of 30 canvases and bought a bunch of paint, brushes and varnish.
Accepting New Members 2 (She is not really that yellow.)
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”.
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.
I am feeling a little over-whelmed with what is going on in the world. I would probably be unaware of some of the underreported news if it weren’t for my Facebook friends. Like the pipeline protest in North Dakota, the pipeline spill in Georgia and Alabama, or photos of children killed in Syria. There are so many things happening at once that it’s hard to chose one thing to focus on… child sex trafficking, global warming, Hurricane Matthew, the election…
Here is an angel of peace in my attempt to bring love into the world. (After I see the painting online, I will probably add some shading here and there, a silver lining on the clouds, more green on the olive branch, but it is pretty done.)
I collaged the background in random paper to give myself time to think. I like the texture.
I wanted flowers somewhere in the painting, so I added them in the paper I used for her wings.
My favorite part is the transparent rainbow. I also like the abstract olive tree.
This is half way through. I was thinking of a woman looking up, but the angel adds more power. I woman might feel overwhelmed like me.
This is the sketching out. I had a shotgun house and a woman in mind for the painting. I needed more sky and less house. Sometimes the words under the paint are as important as the painting.
I hope your psyche is feeling balanced. I hope you will chose to do something good for our ailing world however small. It’s the only one we have.
I wanted to wait until this painting was finished before I wrote to y’all. I didn’t want to miss another week of blogging.
I saw a photo on Facebook of my friend who works in a Laundromat on Sundays. I loved her Rosie the Riveter bad ass look. She was also wearing the same shirt that I own from Target.
I am going to go in backwards order here. This is my almost finished painting.
Half way through, I think her eyes are too large. The counter came to the bottom of the washing machines, so it looked like a floor. I like the blue behind the chandelier, but the wall seemed too fragmented and I thought wallpaper behind the chandelier would be cool.
I tried gold leaf on the chandelier. first I used the gold leaf that you press on and rub. It has a paper back. I think you must need hard surface for that. The canvas has too much give. Next, I bought ten tiny sheets of gold leaf advertised for use in Buddhist worship. I like the look.
I watched You Tube videos about making a faux granite counter top. It is basically dabbing wet on wet paint with a sea sponge. I made small sponges from a kitchen sponge and cut some larger holes to resemble a sea sponge. It was funny to make a tiny granite counter.
I love the painting except for the counter and the chandelier. They are just not quite right yet.
Thank you for walking through the last 2 weeks with me.
I have been painting some heavy topics lately. My last 3 paintings were about slavery and prostitution. I think artists have a responsibility for social change. This is Banksy 2011 protesting the foreclosure debacle.
This is me protesting slavery.
I decided it was time for a light hearted alligator.
While I was painting him again today, I was thinking how I forgot why I paint. I paint for people to be happy; to cheer up a room. Maybe I paint happy alligators and heart wrenching topics. Do you think there are some light hearted topics dealing with social change? Maybe an alligator on a picket line?
My Etsy sales are slow this month. I had use money to promote my art. The voice in my head was critical of me for painting slowly. In response to the voice: Etsy sometimes has a slow month. I have to pay for things even when the money is just going in one direction (out). Slow is OK.
You can’t see in this photo that his teeth are white with iridescent pearl for the top layer. There is a little yellow ochre near his gum line because he has some gingivitis. It’s not to a critical stage. If you have seen previous photos of the gator in progress, the big change I did today was some shading and a few coats on the green parts of his body to tie him together.
There is a surprising thing about me. I am pretty terrified of alligators. I was reading about them online to appease my fear, but it just fueled it. There was a woman moving to Florida and asked if people in Florida got tricked into buying a house near the water and then were unable to sell it because of the alligators. Because who would live near alligators. I thought she was pretty funny, but my crazy self bought some of it. If you have any alligator advice before I go camping, PLEASE let me know.
I am a little long winded today. I hope everything is going well in your part of the world.
Gator Girl Art moved into Zèle NOLA yesterday! It is on Magazine Street, the block between Community Coffee and Starbucks.
Zèle is the first of its kind in the New Orleans area. It’s not a co-op or a flea market. Zèle is a Multivendor Art Market. NOLA has several outdoor art markets offered monthly, but we do not have any permanent indoor markets where our local artists can display and have their extraordinary work sold for them.
This is exactly what Zèle offers, a place for and by NOLA’s own!