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Dirty Linen Night

Hi all y’all!

Lulu White has been selected to be in the gallery at 1901 Royal Street for Dirty Linen Night.

Dirty Linen Night is a “… less fashion-conscious alternative to the city’s biggest art party, White Linen Night, which takes place a week earlier in the warehouse arts district.” (NOLA.com)

I am super excited to be in the gallery on Dirty Linen Night. Last year, 10,000 people attended.

Fairer_Sex_II_Invite

I have an idea to paint this prostitute of Storyville leaning against the window frame, inside a reclaimed window frame. I am using a window screen, because the wood is lighter.

This is the beginning.

Stoyville Woman in Progress

This is two steps backwards. I painted areas of black, gold and yellow ochre on the background. I wanted depth and a little intrigue, but not distraction. I added puddles of rubbing alcohol to disperse the paint and lend mystery.

I used this technique on Shotgun Angel for the starry sky. Because this painting is on birch plywood, it ran onto the woman, especially her face. When I wiped the alcohol off of her face, it pulled all of the paint off, down to the original black gesso. (Sorry, no photo)Storyville Alcohol DamageI am repairing and repainting. The repair is a layer of white gesso. Then light sanding to make it smooth.

Wood is a more difficult substrate to paint on. The paint sits on top of the wood, so I can’t be wild with the strokes.

Speaking of Dirty Linen, there is this…

Walt Handelsman's Dukkke

Walt Handelsman‘s cartoon.

People often tell me that I sound so happy. This will balance that a little. David Duke is running for Senate from Louisiana. Lord help us.

Here in New Orleans, it is the last days of summer. Teachers in the parish where my daughter and sweet darlin’ teach go back to work on Wednesday.

Hate to see summer end.

Already reminiscent,

Gator Girl

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Zèle NOLA

Hi all y’all!

I am going to be in another location (as in adding another location) August 15th.

Zèle NOLA is a local vendor art market. There are presently 40 artists.. 

stencil.default

My youngest daughter and her girlfriend told me it would be a perfect place for me to market my smaller items. Art that people won’t mind carrying around, putting in their carry-on… the art acquired at festivals.

I went down to Zèle NOLA to check it out. I liked the woman who owns it and her staff. I know some of the other artists. Mostly, it is a place I would shop. There is a variety of art… bow ties, glass, candles, cards, jewelry, paintings…

The address is 2841 Magazine Street. It is uptown of Washington Avenue.

I couldn’t be more exited. I have that feeling where it feels right.

I am renting an 8 x 8 foot slat wall.

I will post some photos when I am set up as a reminder to stop by.

fervently and zelously yours,

Gator Girl

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NOT FOR SALE

Hi all y’all,

I have declared that I would never visit another plantation.

The plantations I have been to in the past are so sad and have a kind of heavy, clingy feeling to them.

I had to eat my words. I had a fabulous trip to the Whitney Plantation last week. When you come to New Orleans I recommend this tour. It is an honest portrayal of slavery on this plantation. I think it is the truth that makes the air feel breathable there.

This is what happened. This is what it was like for the people in slavery. Somehow, unexplainably,  the Whitney Plantation shows the history on the plantation in a way that is bearable and beautiful. The spirits of the people are there and also their names and their personal histories.

Our tour guide grew up 10 miles from the plantation. Because of her last name, it is very likely that her relatives were slaves there. She was entertaining, well spoken, and I could feel how important this history was to her.

Sugar Pots
Sugar Pots
slave quarters
slave quarters

mother and child statue

One of many statues of the different children enslaved on Whitney Plantation
One of many statues of the different children enslaved on Whitney Plantation

I put my Storyville series on hold for a week or so. I decided to paint a young woman who was a slave in Louisiana. I don’t have any information other than her photo. I wish I knew her name. While I was painting her in blacks, browns, buff and white, looking like the early 1900’s, I was smashed with the feeling of present day slavery. Like a ton of bricks.

I started asking everyone who came around too many questions. I couldn’t calm my brain. Did I just want to paint a girl in slavery from the 1900’s because I knew she was free now?

I stayed up late painting. Very late for me, past midnight. I added colors. I thought I added colors in her hair to show depth. I added colors to her dress because I knew I was going to cover her dress with material. The original plan was to glue sack cloth on her dress outline.

The next morning, I saw a slave from the last century in colors. So it is both. Old and continuing slavery.

We can’t deny it.

We shouldn’t deny it if we want the air breathable.

girl slave close-up

NOT FOR SALE is the name of the painting. The painting is for sale. :)
NOT FOR SALE is the name of the painting. The painting is for sale. 

Very truly yours,

Gator Girl

 

 

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Lulu White, Storyville Madame

Hi all y’all!

I had an idea to paint mug shots of Storyville prostitutes. I painted Lulu White and enjoyed painting her. She was arrested many times for all manner of things to do with her brothel. She was the madame of Mahogany Hall.

Operating an Immoral house

Let me backtrack with the assumption you might not be up on New Orleans history. I am not patient with a lot of details, but I will give it a try.

Storyville was a part of New Orleans, lakeside of Basin Street, between 1897 and 1917 where it was legal to be a prostitute and run a brothel. Prostitution was so legal they had a Blue Book advertising what the different girls offered. Mahogany Hall was an upscale brothel, boasting of Octoroon (1/8th black) prostitutes.

Mahogany Hall is the first building on the right.
Mahogany Hall was the first building on the right.

Lulu seemed like a outgoing, self-made, woman. She was born of two slaves in Alabama, but re-invented herself. She told people she was born in the Caribbean.

Even though I love portraits and I love to paint women, mugshots are a little bit sad. A child born into slavery is also sad.  I am going to paint a prostitute or two from Storyville, because the women are beautiful, but I don’t think my heart can manage more than that. On the other hand, I don’t want these women to be forgotten.

Lulu White

This is Lulu White in 1920. It is a mugshot from one of her many arrests. I painted her with acrylic paint and charcoal pencil on 11 x 14 inch canvas. Her shawl was made with Liquitex Gloss Gel and a stencil. I put the gel on with a pallet knife through the holes in the stencil, lifting off the stencil carefully. Then, I let it dry over night. I painted the shawl with blue, orange and gold. (You can always message me for specific colors or more information in general.)

Lulu’s necklace is made to resemble clear glass beads, popular in the 1920’s.

I think she looks sad and annoyed.

Mahogany Hall Stomp for you, Miss Lulu.

Until next time,

Adoringly,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

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See Prince in Florida!

Hi all y’all,

I have “met” the nicest people. They live in Florida and have purchased 3 paintings. That is not why they are nice. (Well a little bit why.) We have 33 messages between us. I have high hopes for this relationship. They are coming to New Orleans in February 2017.

Seriously, I work alone all day and words of encouragement are priceless.

This is exactly how I met Rene and Amy. It started with a Rene buying Feathered Friends and turned into life-long friends. You can read about Rene and Amy. I highly recommend it. It is one of the coolest things that has happened in my life.

This is Melissa and Phillip’s wall in their house.

Melissa and Phillip's Wall
Melissa and Phillip’s Wall

The following is how I made the frames. If you aren’t into making frames, feel free to skip this.

I framed the  two Prince paintings in red oak plywood. The part you see in the front is nice looking red oak. The sides looked like plywood. I gessoed the sides to mimic the sides of a canvas. Then I painted them black with the same acrylic paint that I used on the paintings.

I bought some purple stain, but the oak was too hard for the stain to sink in like I wanted. I went back to my comfort zone and thinned out some permanent violet dark Golden acrylic paint with Liquitex varnish. I think the color is wonderful. That same violet is in some of the darker areas of the paintings. Lastly, I sealed the frames two times in varnish. Next time, I won’t even shop. I will just use my paints.

The bad news is… even with my new blade, I made a couple of errors in the cutting. It takes some practice to cut enough, but not too much. If you don’t look too closely, you won’t notice.

Melissa and Phillip are happy and that is what I wanted.

And I want all y’all to be happy, too. Let’s have a happy summer.

With loving wishes,

Gator Girl

 

 

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Prince and My Latest Paintings

Hi all y’all,

I am pretty excited. I had a custom order for a portrait painting of Prince. I was finishing Big Freedia when I received the request. I am still a little hesitant painting real people. I want the subject  to like their painting and see themselves in it. Maybe this is just unreasonable. Musicians keep coming up in different ways, so I am going with it.

After I see how big their eyes, nose, ears and mouth are, what shape, how spaced from each other, etc . . . I can just paint what I want.

Anyway, I painted two versions of Prince. I told her to pick one if she was happy with it. She wants both! This is the same person who bought Shotgun Angel.  I am so happy that she likes them.

Prince 2Prince

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told her that I would frame them. I think the framing is going really well, but I am on hold waiting for the photographer. I need the paintings here to finish the frames. Framing is a process for me. It seems that every time something is challenging, I can use that information later. I upgraded my miter saw blade from 40 to 84. The numbers are the size and closeness of the teeth. Because this is new wood, I want the edges to fit smoothly together.

If it sounds like I know what I am talking about, that’s good. 🙂

I planned on only talking about Prince, but I noticed that Paw Paw Gator (aka Grandpa Gator) has never been on-line. I decided to put my last batch of paintings in this blog. This is almost a year of painting, maybe 10 months. They are different sizes and different prices. I have prints for everything. I keep 11 x 14 in stock. Shop Etsy or Where Y’Art.

Until next time all y’all,

And good night sweet Prince. May you live on in your music,

Gator Girl

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Queen of Bounce

Hi all y’all!

We just had Jazz Fest in New Orleans. It is a pretty amazing experience with incredible music, delicious food and quality art. Most people talk about Music or Music and Food. I am there #1 for the art. I go one day each weekend, when it isn’t as crowded (not Saturday or Sunday) to see the art. The food vendors are there both weekends, but the artists change. When I need to rest, I stop in and listen to some music. I am pretty sure I am in the minority on this.

Jazz Fest the second weekend was pretty wet.

I am just about finished with the Queen of Bounce aka Big Freedia (pronounced Free-da) I ordered 2 jewels for her crown, amethyst and amber. I am nervous painting a living artist because I really want Big Freedia to relate to and like my painting. I will probably never know.

I choose Big Freedia because I was part of the Guinness Book of World Records for Twerking in 2014.

I woke up one morning and told my family that I had a dream that I needed to help Big Freedia win the twerking world record. My daughter said, I could still participate because it hadn’t happened yet. It was scheduled for later that day or the next day. Surprising everyone, including myself, I went. I am not sure if they counted my sweet darlin’ and me in the final number because you had to be continuously twerking correctly. :/ Fortunately there is no video of that.

Big Freedia was the star of that contest. She is beautiful and her personality is bigger than the sky.

Big Freedia, the Queen of Bounce
                                                   Big Freedia, the Queen of Bounce

To read Freedia’s background in a snapshot… I found a lot of information on Wikipedia.

Right now, I am painting two paintings of Prince. He had so many looks in all the years he performed, I didn’t want to narrow it down to one. Prince is a commission painting. The same people who bought Shotgun Angel asked me to paint Prince. I am going to show them both of the paintings and they can choose one if they like it. I don’t take money for commissions until after they see the finished painting. Maybe they had a different idea. I don’t want them stuck with something they don’t love. 

I’m back to the easel. See ya later alligator,

With a heart full of love,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Gator Girl

Hi all y’all!

You probably know me, unless you just started following my blog. Either way, I put together a video of my porch, studio and me. I am using the video in my Etsy Shop. I love feeling like I have a “Shop” and not just a house. I am sometimes in a gallery with Where Y’Art and lately my paintings are hanging out (get it?) at Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer, a law firm in the Central Business District. Those paintings in the law offices have a better view than I do. By far. They are on the 36th floor and have a view of the bend in the river and the bridge to the west bank.

Many of my paintings are at my house. You are welcome to come by.

Spring has sprung in New Orleans. Jazz Fest is around the corner.

Feeling the love,

Gator Girl

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Living in New Orleans

Hi all y’all!

Often, I wonder why everyone doesn’t live in New Orleans. New Orleans is the only place I have lived where I have to choose between (often free) things to do. If you live here, you have to turn down parties, festivals, second lines… because you can’t be in two or three places at once.

I am not ordinarily a party girl, sometimes I choose to stay home all weekend and paint. Those times, it is nice that my sweet darlin’ has something to do.

Last weekend several tribes of Mardi Gras Indians were putting on their suits at Bayou St. John in preparation for parading. I am not a big fan of crowds, but I am a big fan of the Mardi Gras Indians. What? No crowds! Mardi Gras Indians are the coolest thing in the city. I thought there wold be huge crowds.

I made a video of the photos David and I took to show y’all.

Until later, alligator!

Gator Girl

 

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If your rabbit doesn’t smoke…

Hi all y’all!

Spring is upon us and I am here with a public service announcement.

If your rabbit doesn’t smoke, it will have a life expectancy of 9 years (or more). If you are thinking about buying a cute little bunny for Easter, there are some things you need to consider.

They are complex psychologically.

A rabbit is prey. You need to be careful where you pet him or her. If you grab him from his back legs, it will frighten the rabbit. This is not a good first pet for a small child.

They live an average of 9 years. They live longer if they 1. Don’t smoke 2. live indoors 3. see their vet annually and when ill.

So far this is sounding like a commitment you would make to a dog or cat. Pretty big decision.

They like company. 2 rabbits are happier than one.

They like to chew. You will need to put the electrical cords out of reach and baby-proof the receptacles.

If-your-rabbit-doesn't-smoke

This is my rabbit, who does smoke. Unfortunately, his life expectancy is 7.8 years. I have tried to reason with him, but like I said… complex.

He is a fan of Van Gogh and decorated his house to immolate the famous painting. Hanging in the frame is a pair of rabbits in love. They do like a partner.

He is suspicious. I think this might have something to do with his possible exploitation at Easter, as well as his unfortunate position in the food chain.

If you still want to have a rabbit live with you, look at a shelter or rescue. Spay or neuter.

many_rabbits

A rabbit can have babies starting at 6 months old. She can become pregnant within minutes of giving birth. She can have a litter every 28-30 days. Breeding statistics by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Wow. Food for thought.

Gator Girl watching out for you and your Easter shopping decisions.