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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

 

 

 

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Some paintings paint themselves. Some don’t.

Hi all y’all!

I am starting with a painting that is not painting herself. Maybe I am a bad listener. Like maybe I have something in mind and it is not Magnolia and we go round and round.

Sometimes my sweet darlin’ asks me what I have been working on and for weeks I have answered, “Magnolia”. My idea for Sweet Magnolia is simple. I wanted her encompassed by the Magnolia flowers. She needed to have the same coloring as the flowers and leaves.

 

Magnolia, the beginning
Magnolia, the beginning
Working on Magnolia
Working on Magnolia

I love this version of Magnolia, but look at her left eye.

Magnolia's eyes spaced incorrectly
Magnolia’s eyes spaced incorrectly

I fixed the left eye making her eyes too close together.

Magnolia, starting over
Magnolia, starting over

Here is Magnolia today. I wonder if she just wanted big, Southern hair. I made her earrings by photocopying the two magnolia flowers on the left, shrinking them and applying with gel medium. Her crown is made from glossy, green tissue paper.

Magnolia completed
Magnolia completed

I have a frame cut for this painting. It is dark green, made from a screen door. I need to cut a piece of wood to go on the back. This is held up by not having a table to cut on at the moment. The back yard is in limbo.

Is something in retrograde?

My new painting goes with another painting. A duo.

Cabinet door repair
Cabinet door repair

I took the handle off and threw it away. The hinges I soaked in vinegar, salt and dish soap for two days. They came out sparkly clean.

Hummingbird beginning
Hummingbird beginning

She will be looking at the woman on the other cabinet door. They are in a coffee shop at different tables. I was going to put a chicken on the woman’s head. Maggie thought of hummingbird drinking from the flowers on her hat. Go Maggie.

Hummingbird in progress
Hummingbird in progress

So far, this one is painting herself. I love her already. I am doing something cool with her shirt. I am painting textured paper then stitching the collar and sleeve together with my sewing machine.

I went back to the salvage store for more cabinet doors. I waited too long.

I hope you are having a great Friday.

With abundance and joy,

Gator Girl

 

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Garden Fairy

Hi all y’all!

First day of Fall. I love it.

Today is a process and supply day.

I bought some Canva-Paper from Canson. It came in a tablet with 10 sheets, 9 x 12 inches. The paper was going to be just for fun and practice. I had an idea to paint a woman’s face and separately prepare a board, cut out the woman and gel her to the board. The canvas paper is a nice weight and easy to cut. Because of the weight the paper adheres smoothly to a roughly textured board.

I used a spatula and gesso on the board. Then I sanded it so it wouldn’t be quite so textured.

Board behind Garden Fairy
Board behind Garden Fairy

I started painting the woman. My favorite way to paint is to have no idea when I start and just see what happens. It is time-consuming to keep adjusting the image. If I were in a position to solely support myself through my art, I wouldn’t be able to approach this way. I worked most of a week on a painting that I will sell for $150.

Beginning Woman with Flower Hat
Beginning Woman with Flower Hat

I only know she is happy and wearing flowers.

Having Fun with Color
Having Fun with Color

I am starting to see her, but don’t know who she is.

Garden Fairy
Garden Fairy

Between this last photo and the one before it, I changed her ears to fairy ears.

I look at every inch of the painting and see where I am happy. I didn’t like the top left corner, so I put tissue paper in layers on with gel. I like the transparency. You can see glimpses of words and music. Then I painted large leaves on top of the tissue. It makes the fairy look smaller. I think in real life, she is about 11 inches tall. Quite tall for a fairy.

I wish you could see her in person. There is a lot of texture.

texture
texture

You can’t see this close-up too well, but I love when I don’t like an area, then later it is my favorite part.

I picked up the frame at an estate sale. I stained it with the same color I used as the last coat on her face. It is Golden Quinacridone/ Nickel Azo Gold. After I applied the color on the frame, I rubbed some of it off with a damp paper towel.

I feel happy that I finished her on the first day of Fall.

With love and gratitude,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

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Joan of Arc

Hi all y’all!

How is your summer going? We just got back from New York City. It was fabulous. We did the tourist things and were constantly amazed. This was the longest my sweet darlin’ and I have been away alone and not visiting friends or relatives ever. Prior to this trip, we have only been away for 2 nights.

Before we left, I spent an entire day with Joan of Arc.

Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc side view
Joan of Arc side view

The flames and the clouds are on the side of the canvas, too. It is a museum wrap and is 2 inches wide. I wanted to try it, because  usually paint on 3/4 inch thick wrapped canvas. I still prefer the thin wrap.

I cut zebra/ glitter paper for the flames and painted on top. Next time, I would just paint flames.

I like the dress. It is linen from my grandmother’s old table-cloth. I put burlap on the shoulders like a shawl, didn’t like the burlap, and pulled it off. I like the texture the burlap made when I removed it.

Joan of Arc, back view
Joan of Arc, back view

I started writing on the back of my paintings. I put the size. I find often I have to look at my spread sheet or re-measure. The size is always a question.

I also write the name, date, a few notes (loyalty, courage, passion) and sign it. I will still sign the front after it is photographed.

I started buying canvas that has this structure on the back. I feel like the canvas won’t loosen up. It is like a wooden frame inside a wooden frame.

Fleur de lis jewelry
Fleur de lis jewelry

I found this piece of flour dis lis jewelry in my mom’s stuff. I wanted to incorporate it into the painting.

Joan with Fleur de Lis
Joan with Fleur de Lis

It physically fits perfectly on the cross of light. I think I like it better without.

My Katy is coming in tonight from California. We are driving to Destin, Florida tomorrow so Katy can see her Godmother and hang out on the beach with Maggie and Raffi. Florida is four hours away from New Orleans and the beaches are beautiful. Five us are squishing in the Prius. Good thing we like each other. Wish us luck with the driving and the sharks.

All of my best summer wishes for you!

Gator Girl
 

 

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Gator on the Go

Hi all y’all,

This gator is headed to New York City.

My sweet darlin’ and I have not been away for our anniversary for a while. We decided to go big. Not Europe big, but definitely USA big.

I don’t know if other New Orleanians feel like this, but it is always hard to leave New Orleans even if the destination is fabulous.

There is so much to miss here.

Somewhere around the middle of July, I will be a full-time artist again. Right now, I am only painting enough to keep a small hold on my sanity.

Crow Questioning the Moon is almost complete. I just need to put the wire on the back and varnish it. This painting is small. 12 x 16 inches.

Crow Questioning the Moon
Crow Questioning the Moon

I am not happy with Joan of Arc yet. I think I know where it is going, so I am sticking with it. I planned to paint Joan in her father’s garden hearing the angel for the first time. Then the flames came to mind, lots of red, and words like courage, loyalty and strength.

The painting looks like heaven and hell with the flames and the cross. I like the linen dress that I made out of my grandmother’s table-cloth. I like her up-turned eyes with the sky reflecting in them.

I need to soften the sky, her nose and her chin. The cross is a combination of a sword and cross. This combination seems like too much detail. If I add more orange to the flames or green to the sky the colors will compliment each other better.

Maybe I wanted to paint her for the wrong reasons. I started painting Joan because I like to paint women and I like to paint New Orleans themes. I am not in love with leading soldiers to war. I am not sure I love Joan. I don’t like to judge, but was she crazy?

Joan of Arc in progress
Joan of Arc in progress

The light pink areas on the Mardi Gras Indian will have sequins. I bought a variety of sequins to sew on the canvas. I have to finish the painting first. I feel like he is almost done, except for brightening the feathers. I painted a combination of 1/3 lime green acrylic paint with 2/3’s varnish on some of the feathers. I just need to do more of something like that.

Mardi Gras Indian, in progress
Mardi Gras Indian, in progress

The Indian painted himself. I felt like I just uncovered him.

Mardi Gras Indian, in progress, close up
Mardi Gras Indian, in progress, close up

… back to painting Joan.

I wish for you a wonderful summer.

I wish for water in the drought.

I wish ease for the people in crisis.

unending love,

Gator Girl 
 
(Click on the words “Gator Girl” for my website.)
 
My Etsy Store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After the festival (a re-hash)

Hi all y’all!

In New Orleans, when we aren’t talking about our next meal, we’re talking about the weather. FYI, my next meal is coming from Juan’s Flying Burrito and the weather has been gorgeous for two weeks straight. 80’s, sunny and dry. My favorite weather is dry in the day and raining all night, but not when I am leaving my art all night in a tent on the bayou.

Duke, my sort of brother-in-law took some fabulous photos of Bayou Boogaloo. I think this will be a photo essay. I will include information for first time festers, which I am not one of. (Thankfully.)

Gator Girl Art had exposure to the public. Lots of people came out. I sold a little over $1,000. My expenses were a little over a thousand dollars. I almost broke even. Yes, I would have liked to make some money. No, I am not giving up.

I signed up for Blues and Barbecue taking place in Lafayette Square in October. Jazz and Heritage will tell me soon if I have been accepted. You will be the first to know.

Walking to New Orleans seemed to be the crowd favorite.

Walking to New Orleans
Walking to New Orleans

My sort of brother-in-law bought it. Thank you, Duke.

In New Orleans, if you are selling in an arts district, there is no city or state tax on original art. The tax I had to pay is only on the $200 I made selling prints… $8. That’s cool, right?

I decided some things for the next festival. I am going to buy nice, white, mesh sides for my tent. They will be easier to transport and look professional. I am going to paint some smaller originals. I like originals better than prints. People who have a small space or limited finances will be able to buy an original. I am only going to take my originals and one size prints.

I made these cool presentation binders. One binder has all of my originals that are still for sale. One binder has all originals already in collections. I filled the binders with 8 x 10 prints. On the facing page is their story. I am going to take along the binders.

This has been an important week for Maggie. She graduated from kindergarten and turned 6!

Maggie's Celebration
Maggie’s Celebration

I am pretty excited to paint again.

With green, scaly gratitude,

Gator Girl

 

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Gator in the Hen House

Hi all y’all,

I wanted to finish Gator in the Hen House before I wrote to you this week. I am taking 4 paintings to Dorka to photograph this morning. This is my photograph of the finished painting. I am going to frame it with some wood I have saved under the house.

Gator in the Hen House ready for photographer

This is pretty large, 24 x 36 inches. My favorite part is the alligator. My second favorite part is the chicken wire.

My goal was to make the gator the center of attention with a smug and cavalier attitude. The chickens are a riot of color and feathers. They each have their own personality.

I raised the chicken wire with molding paste, then lightly brushed some Golden Green Gold and Cobalt Teal back in.

The rooster was painted with Golden’s Permanent Violet Dark, then Carbon Black and more colors. The shiny parts are Silk’s Acrylic Glaze.

This rooster is standing as straight as he can on his tiptoes trying to look invisible.
This rooster is standing as straight as he can on his tiptoes trying to look invisible.

 

This hen's eyes are starting to roll back in her head. She thinks she might faint.
This hen’s eyes are starting to roll back in her head. She thinks she might faint.

I used Golden’s molding paste and Liquitex heavy body acrylic on the white chicken. I said “used” because I painted with a brush, my fingers and a palette knife.

 

Whaat?
Whaat?

I loved this chicken when she was pure green, but I wanted her to be a more realistic color and contrast with the gator.

So I changed her to..

Whaaat?

Mama chicken is yelling, "Get outa here!"
Mama chicken is yelling, “Get outa here!”

 

On Mama Chicken I painted with acrylic paint and Dylusions Postbox Red Ink Spray. I painted with it, not sprayed it. I love how it saturates. I had to seal the hen with varnish and then paint the white bits back in. When you paint with ink it keeps soaking through.

I made the floor of the hen-house dirty, by putting broken toothpicks and beads in black and tan paint, putting them on the floor of the hen-house and pulling the pieces off with tweezers. I knew I would have a hard time making the dirt look random, otherwise.

One of the challenges of this painting was to keep the chickens in the background as supporting actors. They really wanted to take over.

I bought this cart at IKEA. I love it more every day.

Rolling Cart from IKEA.
Rolling Cart from IKEA.

Each day I have to trust again that I am on the right path. For me, right now, it seems like the only one. So I am putting one foot in front of the other and going on.

Loving you unconditionally,

Gator Girl

 

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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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Life in Progress

Hi all y’all!

I have a to do list as long as my arm, but my studio is quiet and here I am.

Just a little update today.

Company is coming to New Orleans in waves. And why not? New Orleans in the Spring is the best.

Raffi is beginning a large painting of his pets. He wants it to go with his 3-year-old painting of his family.

Beginning of pet portrait
Beginning of pet portrait

I gave him some student quality paints for the first layer. Besides the color, the paints themselves look drab. I ordered him some Liquitex paints for the next layers. They aren’t Golden, but they are nice.

My Gator in the Hen House is still in progress. I have spent many hours on this. I will continue to paint it until I am happy with every inch.

Gator in the Hen House, still in progress
Gator in the Hen House, still in progress

This is why I am a little late with my list today.

Nice Hair, the beginning
Nice Hair, the beginning

This is super fun. I have painted the darks. I think her hair will be full of fun stuff. Maybe butterflies, bugs, a bird? I don’t know yet.

She seems to welcome Spring.

Maggie's front tooth

Maggie lost her tooth. Too cute.

Gotta run.

Until next week my loves,

Gator Girl