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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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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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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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Flat Joe

Hi all y’all!

My nephew, Joe, in Pennsylvania had a school project. His teacher used the The original Flat Stanley Project, created in 1995 by Dale Hubert.  The kids replaced “Stanley” with their name. Flat Joe came by mail to New Orleans for a week’s vacation with the responsibility to go back to school with photos, a letter and souvenir’s of his trip.

Flat Joe is a good demonstration of how New Orleans is child friendly. Joe was only limited in his adventures by his time constraint.

Canal Street Streetcar
Canal Street Streetcar
Getting on the red street car
Getting on the red street car
Katy and Flat Joe at NOMA
Katy and Flat Joe at NOMA
Morning Call
Morning Call (Do you see him?)
with his beignet
with his beignet
Ordering a snoball
Ordering a snoball
Paying for his snoball
Paying for his snoball
Bubble Gum Snoball
Bubble Gum Snoball!
FullSizeRender_1_3
Storyland

 

at Storyland
at Storyland
Layfaette Cemetery
Layfaette Cemetery
Paying his respects
Paying his respects
Honey Island Swamp Tour
Honey Island Swamp Tour
uh oh!!
uh oh!! Look behind you!
President Obama with another Flat Stanley
President Obama with  Flat Stanley

I just added President Obama, because I thought it was cool.

Joe and Flat Joe at home.
Joe and Flat Joe at home.

So much to do in New Orleans.

Come back soon, Flat Joe! Next time bring regular Joe with you!

Lovingly,

Gator Girl (Click here to check out my website.)

 

 

 

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Moonlit Walk

Hi all y’all!

Heading into 4th of July weekend. I hope y’all are having a nice summer. I think it is pretty much hot in the United States now, with a few exceptions.

My ginger-haired girl is helping her friend embark on an adventure that leads them out of the swamp. It is the first time for the little gator to see something of the world beyond his home.

Moonlit Walk
Moonlit Walk

On a moonlit night, she hiked up her dress, and together they walked out of the swamp.

The painting is large, 24 x 36 inches, acrylic paint and varnish on canvas.

Best wishes for a fun and safe 4th!

All my love,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

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Alligators have dreams, too.

Hi all y’all,

I hope you are enjoying the first days of summer. I know it isn’t really summer, but the kids are getting out of school around here and we are starting to get the air heating up followed by the afternoon thunder storms.

Some people have mentioned that I am painting more or faster now. The paintings are just smaller. They are smaller for the same reason I sell prints of my art. If someone likes my work, I want them to be able to afford something. These next two paintings go together (or not). They are 11 x 14 on canvas (smallish). I will sell them for $120 each or both for $225. I like a larger painting because it tells a bigger story. It took a little adjustment in my thoughts to go smaller.

Ballerina Gator
Ballerina Gator

I painted the canvas dark reddish-pink. Then I scraped gesso over the walls with a plastic motel key. Lastly, I “aged” the walls with some Titan Buff paint. I wanted the walls to look like old plaster.

The alligator has always had a dream of performing in a ballet. It looks like it was a huge success.

When I was growing up, I had two small paintings in my bedroom of young ballerinas. I am sure this influenced me.

This is the girl who made the gator’s dreams come true. Sometimes it is nice to share the stage.

Ballerina
Ballerina

May has been very busy. My youngest daughter moved back to New Orleans. My niece from California  visited for a week. My oldest daughter graduated from Tulane Law. Maggie turned 7. Now Maggie and Raffi are both between school and summer camp. My sweet darlin’ is basically absent from home because it is the end of his school year.

If you are visiting New Orleans, I think you should make time to go on one of the tours that Christine Miller of Two Chicks Walking Tours offers. My favorite is Drop Dead Sexy. It meets at the visitor center… Marie Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis #1… and hits a bit of Storyville. She will also designs any tour that suits your fancy.  Christine is both entertaining and knowledgeable.

Christine
Christine

Until next time,

Gator Girl
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Swamp Girl

Hi all y’all! My mini muse came through for me. I saw a drawing Maggie did in her notebook. I fell in love. The alligator was subtle. I noticed the girl first. She had no color or background, so I asked Maggie to tell me a story about the girl. She said the girl is in a long green dress. The dress is old and her hair is messy. She lives in a swamp. I asked if there were flowers in the background. She said I could paint flowers, but if I did, make it mostly green with both light and dark greens.

Maggie's Swamp Girl
Maggie’s Swamp Girl

Maggie and I generally copy each other if we like what we see. I painted a more realistic swamp background, but it made me unhappy. So I painted over-sized leaves and flowers. The painting reminds me of a page in a  children’s book.

Swamp Girl
Swamp Girl

I added the eyelashes on the alligator and the freckles on the girl just like Maggie. I made her dress just a little shorter to show her toes. A friend wrote to me and said I seemed so happy on Facebook and in my blog. She was wondering if life here is really that wonderful. Well, yes. And also, I don’t want my blog to be a downer. I do struggle with waking up in the morning. I am slow to start. It takes at least  2 cups of coffee. I still have to take care of me. I have chores and responsibilities. I eat too many carbs. I need a certain amount of happiness to paint. So some days I don’t paint. I have to try not to compare my art to anyone else’s. While I was looking at realistic swamps, I ran across Adrian Deckbar. Adrian is a local artist that paints more beautiful than a photograph. My heart sinks just a little when I compare myself to others. But then I move on. Even with the ever-present road work on nearly every road, New Orleans rocks. The people are nice. My friends are interesting. I hope, if you are not there already, you find your happy place. I suggest writing down what you want, painting it, dancing it, speaking it every chance you get. There is a vehicle to get you there. lovingly,

Gator Girl

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A Learning Curve

Hi all y’all!

Mardi Gras has come and gone (sigh).  I signed up to dance with the Pussyfooters at the House of Blues for Friday. I feel pretty lucky.

GV_NOLA115_StPatricksDay_WG-1000x500
xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday is the St. Patrick’s parade and the St. Joseph’s parade. The parades are very different from each other. The St. Patrick’s parade is in the Irish Channel in the afternoon. Friends who live near the parade route will open their house before and after the parade to offer drinks, snacks, and a bathroom. The floats throw vegetables along with the beads and toys.

The St. Joseph’s parade is in the evening in the French Quarter. My sweet darlin’ is in the Italian American Marching Club. I don’t have a photo to show you, because last time I saw the parade all the Italian men in tuxedos looked the same. I couldn’t find him.

Super Sunday is when the Mardi Gras Indians parade. This is one of those amazing things that is truly New Orleans.

So there you go. A quiet weekend after Mardi Gras.

In my art world… the original Joan of Arc was purchased for the new hospital. I am so excited to have her in a public place.

Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend just bought the original Garden Fairy aka City Park Fairy. 

Fairy
Fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am thinking that They didn’t know they were seeds is a learning painting. Learning how I feel about writing on the painting. I have liked words occasionally… in script along the side of the image, bananagrams, Pairs in Pears, a little piece of ripped paper with handwriting…

I made two more attempts to like the painting and call it done.

Words on Organza
Words on Organza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I printed on organza. The words shifted slightly.

handwriting
handwriting

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided that I do like my handwriting, but I didn’t like the square shape. To be continued…

Raffi had an art show at his pre-school. His teacher is fabulous. When he painted part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, he laid on his back under a table.

I hope all y’all are having a nice end of winter, almost spring.

With and open and loving heart,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

 

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They didn’t know.

Hi all y’all,

Today, I am combining my blog and Mardi Gras celebrations. Don’t you think one of the hardest things is to balance? Like balancing work and play, me-time and family, king cake and exercise. From the minute I wake up it is a puzzle to see what I can fit into my day. Give and take.

My recent painting has been fun and frustration. It started like this…

Indecision
It started like this. 

Indecision. I added colors that I liked. I was leaning towards an alligator among lily pads. Then I added Jesus on the cross that Maggie drew, a peace symbol, a note from my sweet darlin’, advice from mini Mags, a movie stub, a fortune, cute little deer.  My collage items were all based on love.

Starting Over
Starting Over with a plan

My friend, Rene, posted on Facebook, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” I Googled it and found out it was an old saying attributed to nobody in particular. It fit perfectly into my strong women theme.

We were seeds. Completed
We were seeds. Completed

I kept very little from the beginning. The colors are still mostly blue and orange. There is a little bird and most of the fortune. I was going to paint a lot of flowers, but the trees looked so strong.

This is what it looks like on the parade route near our house. Only, it will be more crowded tonight.

Our Mardi Gras Crew
Our Mardi Gras Crew

My daughter, Angie, sets this all up for us every day. This year I decided to cook dinner and bring it down to the parade. Tonight is red beans and rice.

This is me as a Pussyfooter.

Gator Girl Mardi Gras '15
Gator Girl Mardi Gras ’15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mardi Gras y’all!

 

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Songbird

Hi all y’all!

I thought I would welcome the New Year in with a little songbird. I had a plan to paint an alligator swimming among lily pads. I prepped a large canvas for this painting before Christmas.

When I got back into the studio, I felt like playing with art. I painted a few layers of abstract strokes and my favorite symbols. The key to playing with paint like this is to stick with the same temperature of colors in each layer and let the layer dry before the next layer.

I started with yellow, orange and red.

Then blues and greens.

Back to warm colors.

The fun part really begins when I added white.

Then black. I think white and black look great side by side.

I used a BIG canvas to let the New Year know that I am allowed to use materials however I want.

Song Bird, the beginning
Song Bird, the beginning

 

I wanted a woman. So I painted  a face shape with white gesso over the part of the painting that I liked least.

The rest was going to be hair, but the hair was just too big. I liked the rainbow colors in what is now the tail feathers of the bird as well as the breast area.

It was hard to paint out areas I still liked. I was happy to paint over areas that looked like big blotches.

I kind of want to keep her blue, but I might give her flesh tones. Leaning towards a natural skin tone.

I smoothed over the gesso with a plastic hotel key card.

Song Bird, Work In Progress
Song Bird, Work In Progress

The Blush Ball is this Friday. If you want to come, contact me. The tickets are $40 and $60 dollars. We are raising money for  women with children who need to get to a safe place and start over.

You can also buy raffle tickets.

If you can’t attend, I will deliver your winnings.

All for a good cause.

Pussyfooters Blush Ball 2014
Pussyfooters Blush Ball 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing you the best.

Gator Girl