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.)
The heat index is well over 100 degrees today. I’m trying to stay hydrated and indoors. I finished my blue crab painting today. David took the photo at our Mother’s Day crab boil. I added the plate and table cloth. This one has already been dinner.
This painting was only suppose to be practice for my encaustic crab. It turns out that I like it quite a bit. I put some embellishments on the plate with molding paste. I thought it would give the painting some texture and interest. I think I could have used just paint.
It is kind of fun to add molding paste. While it is wet, you can just scrape it off with a credit card or pallet knife. After it dries, it is hard as nails.
I like this version of the painting, too. I almost left it blocked out. I am happy I added the plate shadows and the table cloth. I stenciled the table cloth on with just paint.
This is the final painting.
I hope this summer finds you well. Try to stay cool. It’s OK to rest and take some time for yourself however you can manage that.
My newest painting is about alligators in love at Jazz Fest. I painted a similar painting a couple of years ago. The first Jazz Fest painting was inspired by a photo of my granddaughter, Maggie, and her cousin Lenny. They were dancing at Jazz Fest as part of a family reunion.
While the original painting was hanging in my living room, I fell in love with the composition. So when my daughter wanted that painting for her house, I decided to paint the same scene with alligators.
The grass has the shape of the whole world. The skywriting is really a thing at Jazz Fest… not so much the wildflowers.
The whole painting seems happy to me.
This one is a little different… taller grass, no purple flowers, more imaginative. I based the girl on Gator Ballerina just in case I want to include this painting in a traveling alligator book one day.
They are both large paintings, 30 x 40 inches. I will be making prints after the paintings are photographed.
Jazz Fest is a great adventure. If you haven’t been, I hope you can one day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love this painting. It pretty much painted itself. Maggie and Raffi found a bunch of frames out with the trash near their school. I thought the frame looked like pelican feathers. I washed it, added some glue at the joints, and oiled it.
Katy cut a piece of 1/4 inch plywood for me. I painted on 3 coats of black gesso. For the feathers, I applied the paint fairly thick, starting with darker colors and going lighter. Long strokes for the body and short strokes for the head. I applied 3 coats of varnish to finish.
I am sharing my secret feather tool. They are“Not quite a brush. Not quite a palette knife. Princeton Catalyst Blades and Mini-Blades are crafted from flexible silicone to give artists exciting new tools for expression. Mounted on artist brush handles, they offer a unique blend of tradition and innovation.” (I am not an affiliate, just a fan.)
The Pelican is 16 x 20 inches. I am selling it for $500. If you read my blog, I will let you have it for $400 (plus shipping), because I think you should be rewarded for reading my blog.
I am starting an email list. You might be asking yourself, “What are the benefits of getting an email update?” Emails will be short and to the point, infrequent, you will see my new paintings first and sometimes receive incentives that will not be offered anywhere else. Send me your email address at email@example.com.
I am back to painting the book, Hey. So, I’m a Baby.
It is pretty scary being black in America. I only know this through the news and hearing my friends talk. I have never had to have the discussion with my children about what to do if they are stopped by the police. I haven’t had to explain to them that they SHOULD NOT RUN through our neighborhood and to NEVER wear a hoodie.
I am near the top of the entitled group. I would be at the top if I were male. Part of being entitled is not having to think about entitlement. I was never afraid to be stopped by the police. In the handful of times I have been stopped, “I am sorry officer. Did I do something wrong?” was enough to never get out of the car and never get a ticket.
You might wonder why I painted Don’t Shoot. I relate to being a woman who is unsafe. I know what it is like to be afraid. I see black women on the news crying because they are so scared of being pulled over
and I feel sad and angry.
I want racism and misogyny to disappear.
It made me feel better to paint about the problem the same way it made me feel better to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. What can we do besides stand together. Together we are stronger.
The background is red for her anger/ grey for her measured non-response. I gave her a short haircut and urban colors to epitomize her strength. She looks small and powerful. I also opted against long lashes. I didn’t want her to need any of the feminine trappings. She is woman enough as is.