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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

 

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Where Y’Art

Hi all y’all!

I almost forget what it is like to live somewhere else in the world. For two weeks it has been Mardi Gras here in New Orleans. It is so all-encompassing that I forget what y’all might be doing elsewhere. I checked my email and Facebook solely for Mardi Gras information, costume design ideas and what parades and balls everyone is going to.

My sweet darlin' as a Pussy Handler in Thoth.
My sweet darlin’ as a Pussy Handler in Thoth.
A 610 Stomper and a Pussyfooter.
A 610 Stomper and a Pussyfooter.
Raffi with the 610 Stompers.
Raffi with the 610 Stompers.

At midnight on Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras STOPS. Now, it is Lent.

We are all back to our regular lives. As regular as they get in New Orleans.

You can find me on Where Y’Art.

Where Y’Art is a local artists collective. You can always find me on-line with them and throughout the year out in the community at sponsored events. I am hopeful that this will expose my art to collectors, so I don’t need to promote myself by myself. The two women who started Where Y’Art have inspired energy and great ideas for expansion. I am honored to be included.

My first community adventure is at the Pinchapalooza on April 6th in Bucktown. We are going there as a group of 10 artists. (I’ll keep you posted.)

All my love,

Gator Girl

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Mardi Gras and a Gator

Hi all y’all,

We are in the full swing of Mardi Gras come rain or come shine.

Day 2 Mardi Gras, last weekend
Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Last Saturday, the weather was beautiful, the crowds were there, but in a gentler, roomier way.

It rained all night.

Throw me something, mister!
Throw me something, mister!

Sunday, started out muddy and fun. Then the deluge. Only the hardcore monsters of Mardi Gras stuck it out.

Sunday's parade
Sunday’s parade

Pussyfooters put on a happy face.

I am working on a new painting called Gator in the Hen House. It could symbolize government corruption. I really wanted to paint it because chickens can be so colorful. I wanted a challenge. This painting is pushing me to experiment with proportions, movement and design. I am just going to take my time.

So far, it is only acrylic paint.

Gator in the Hen House in progress
Gator in the Hen House in progress

My plan is to add some ink behind the chicken wire for depth and color. Then, chicken wire made with medium gel gloss using rabbit wire as a stencil. I want to add paint to molding paste and put some of the feathers on with a palette knife. Finally, many more layers of paint.

All of this will occur after Mardi Gras.

I am already liking the Gator’s swashbuckling attitude.

That’s what’s happening in my neighborhood. What’s going on in yours?

Happy Mardi Gras,

In abundant love,

Gator Girl
Gator Girl

 

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Walking to New Orleans

Good morning all y’all!

New to me stuff going on in New Orleans. The schools, government offices and many other businesses are closed for two days because of a storm coming in. The grocery and Red Box were crowded with people yesterday, like before a hurricane. The low tonight will be 27. It is 36 as I write this. The roads will be icy. Some bridges will be closed. For this transplanted me, this preparedness seems over the top. Maybe I will be educated.

The Blush Ball was last Saturday. There is a great video on Facebook of our dance, but I can’t get it to transfer out of Facebook. At least you can see our costumes and our awesomeness.  We raised $30,000 for  the Metropolitan Center of Women and Children.

George Long Photography
George Long Photography

That is me in the very middle in a short pink, curly wig.

Walking to New Orleans, because I have been thinking about alligators and skyline.

Day One
Day One

I have a nice old frame that I acquired at an estate sale. My sweet darlin’ cut a piece of wood to fit in the frame. It measures 15.5 x 28 inches. Usually, when I do a background, I start haphazardly, intention mixed with wild abandon. Most of it gets covered up. This time, I thought it would be cool to paint the land and sky the same colors. I started painting land and sky (with intention and abandon).

I cut out maps, music, and decorative paper for the buildings and paper that looks like French writing for the foliage. I outlined the skyline in black paint and painted a much finer line around the buildings.

Walking to New Orleans
Walking to New Orleans

I am waiting for Golden self-leveling gel to arrive in the mail. It will be shiny and totally protect the paper. I think people will be drawn to touch the buildings, so I want to protect them.

The Chinese New Year begins this Friday. The year of the horse. Symbolically, I plan to dust the house before then. I like to take a small part of another culture’s ritual and make it my own. Especially, if many cultures share the same ritual.

Look at the magnificence.
Look at the magnificence.
“Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventures, and surprising romance. Energy is high and production is rewarded. We’Moon 2014 

 

Sorry FolksLooking at the rain. Shaking my head. I believe we will be open again on Thursday.

Last but not least, our own Fats Domino.

Love you all,

Gator Girl

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Dandelion Prayers

Hi all y’all,

Things are gearing up around New Orleans. The Pussyfooter’s Blush Ball is this Saturday. I am stretching my comfort zone by being very brave. I am dancing in the front row at the ball.  Whew. I am not a dancer by nature.

Everyone is talking about Mardi Gras and the Jazz Fest. It feels like fun is blooming all around.

I had to stretch myself artistically. I was asked to paint a picture of my God daughter. It is way more stressful and sometimes feels more mathematical than artistic. I don’t want to make her nose to big or her ear too small. I thought I was done, but I see the jaw line is not perfect yet.  I am calling the painting Dandelion Prayers. Because I think wishing is a little lame, unless wishing is backed by a lot of hard work.

Dandelion Prayer
Dandelion Prayer

The parts of the painting that I had the most fun with are the parts I made up. I added the green dress to match the meadow and her eyes. Usually, I like a lot of messier lines, but this painting is rather clean. I rubbed Dorland’s Wax Medium all over her face and hair, I sealed the rest of the painting with Golden Satin Varnish. I will post this again when I am completely done.

Effy Wild offers a lot of courses in art journaling. I decided to try her free course, Wildly Inspired. She posts on Wednesdays. I know I will probably get behind in this, but it is there for inspiration and I plan on keeping up. The two major things I tried with Effy’s first video was texturing the coat of Gesso and sealing the whole cover with Golden Self Leveling Clear Gel.

5 x 8 Journal
5 x 8 Journal

 

I think journaling will help me stay open in 2014. I notice on the cover that I am standing very straight and looking a little closed. That is OK, because this is just the beginning. What kind of trip would this be if I was already there? I put the card with the number 5 on the back, because in numerology, 5 invites people into your life. I used to have a “5” (just add up your house numbers) two bedroom house and at one point there were 8 people living there. We rented a port-o-potty for our second bathroom.

Maggie, making her vision board.
Maggie, making her vision board.
Peace and Love. That's my girl.
Peace and Love. That’s my girl.
Maggie's 2014 Vision Board.
Maggie’s 2014 Vision Board.

Maggie calls her board Tam (Tame) for no reason that I can decipher. The initials for her vision board are T.A.P. The initials don’t stand for words.  She envisions for herself: Christmas, her 6 year old birthday and Mardi Gras.

I want to share with you, that being OPEN sounds great, but it is a little hard.

May I ask… what is your word?

In love with the adventure. And sometimes a little terrified.

Gator Girl

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OPEN (my word for 2014)

Hi all y’all,

Muy frio. Besides walking the dog, I am lucky to work inside my house.

I have taken a whole week to get myself into the new year. My word is OPEN. For some reason, it always needs capitalizing.

I used about a third of my board from last year.

1/3 of my 2013 board
1/3 of my 2013 board

I tried out some new techniques and some new products. Trying not to mind that supplies are expensive and this is old cardboard.

My board is different this year. It is mostly all painted, but still has so many rectangles.

Vision Board 2014
Vision Board 2014

On the Cosmic Cowgirl January phone call, I saw that the gift that I am giving to the new year is a bunch of white roses. I plan to buy them throughout the year as a reminder.

Last year’s board was a little 3D, so this board is very lumpy.

I left the board a vague on purpose. I think the year might have different plans for me than I imagine… 3 presents, a fortune, 3 spirals, 16 candles, many people, a blank canvas, and my gift of a white rose. I don’t’ know why or what the numbers mean. Running laterally through the board is my piece of the red thread. I spent the whole week, on and off,  just wondering and painting layers and layers on this board.

Cosmic Cowgirls each hold one section of the red thread. It is too much to be responsible for everything, so we all commit to doing our part. That is the meaning I am going for with the thread… doing my part. The thread also keeps us connected to other people. Imagine if we were all standing in a circle, all around the world, holding that thread, connected.

So far, I am mostly aware of the people on the vision board. If I am to be open, I will have to be open to people. Hmmm.

OPEN

This vision board is not about a to do list. It is about dreams and desires. 

This really cool sign for my house came in the mail for my birthday.

Gator Girl Art Sign

My BFF, Jules, had it made for me. (Thank you)

I was fortunate to spend a whole day with my mini muse, Maggie. She is a funny and entertaining girl. Our day went from looking for pearls in pistachios (only the organic nuts have pearls) to thinking Rhiana wrote “Monster” just for her. These are the lyrics to the bridge…

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You’re trying to save me, stop holding your breath
And you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy

I am so excited to watch MMM grow up.

Looking forward to 2014.

Opening to possibilities.

Gratefully in love,

Gator Girl

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You Stole My Heart

Hi all y’all!

The holidays are here. Soon to say good-bye to 2013.

I have been thinking back on the year. It was a good year for me. I tried to work hard. Be kind. Practice gratitude. My sweet darlin’ aways says that you can only control your own attitude and effort. I tried.

Vision Board 2013
Vision Board 2013

On my vision board from last year I see that NOLA Groundswell is now a non-profit business. That’s it so far. I applied for a few grants, but I think money is a little tight. No grants yet. I do love Maggie’s input…Good Luck, celebrations and love. My word for the year was VISIBLE. I am heading in that direction.

My last painting for 2013 is competed.

You Stole My Heart

I wanted to paint the love between a mother and daughter. I like the words because they can be spoken by either person. I used a few of my favorite icons… the blue bird of happiness, the home, daisies and a sun. I like the fanciful childlike renderings.

I have some Shasta daisies in my front yard that I planted 30 years ago in Sacramento at our first home. Every time we moved I divided a few plants and moved them with us. 5 moves.  I think that is why I put daisies in so many of my paintings.

The sky and the sun are tissue paper, decroative paper and paint. The words are chip board that I painted white.

I hope you like it.

I am off to visit the in-laws in California.

Have you been thinking about your 2013? I would love to hear.

In hopeful anticipation of 2014,

love,

Gator Girl

 

 

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You can use this idea if you want.

Hi all y’all,

I swear, where do the days go. At least the days are beautiful, cool and breezy.

I made business card holders for my Gator Agents. First, I ordered a few slim, aluminum cases on Amazon.com. I paid $7.00 each and should have believed the reviews. These holders are too flimsy. I am still using them for the time being. I can always upgrade later.

Second, I altered a print of King Gator. I used a tool on Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor. (Photoshop Elements is 1/10 the price of Photo Shop.)

Easy peasy, this is how you do it.

In beginner’s mode, click on the picture of a band-aid, then click on “content aware”. The crazy amazing editor grabs the colors from around the brush area and blends it all together. I blurred out the words, “King Gator says Wager it All”. I clicked on “T”, chose a font and added the text, “Gator Agent”.

Then I went to “Image”, “resize picture”, and made it 1.2 x 2.3 inches, with the resolution at 300. This made the photo small enough for the case, but clear.

I  made 8 of these images and printed them on an Avery Printable Fabric Sheet. They are about $2 each. I only needed one sheet.

Avery Printable Fabric Sheets
Avery Printable Fabric Sheets

Print of King Gator before changing it:

King Gator
Wager It All

Print after changing the words:

Gator Agent
Gator Agent

On the business card holders:

Gator Agent Business Card Cases
Gator Agent Business Card Cases

Open case:

Open Case
Open Case

I just ironed the image on the case. It seems to stay on very well.

My new endeavor is NOLA Synchro Splash. Yes, indeed… water ballet. It will be at the Tulane salt water pool. Want to join me? I am very certain that everyone is welcome. My latest attempt at water ballet was in high school PE and there was a lot of gasping for air and sinking.  I’ll keep you posted.

Until next time,

Always in my heart,

Gator Girl

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That’s what friends are for.

Good Morning all y’all,

Hansen’s closed for the season yesterday. The last snoball of 2013 feels like a passage. It is walking through a doorway from Summer to Fall.

Saying good-bye to summer is bitter-sweet.  The light is softer. The air is cooling down.

Things are picking up. Everyone is discussing Halloween costumes. Halloween costumes are either put together at a costume shop, ETSY shops, or are handmade. That is one reason when October 1 rolls around, you have to be on it.

My talented and beautiful friend, Mimi, made her family’s costumes.

Peacock family.
Peacock family.

The list of festivities grows. Now we have to choose, because there are choices.

Pussyfooter practice starts in October with mandatory attendance. We all look toward the Carnival season with anticipation.

You can feel the Saints victories as palatable, like a physical happiness in the air we breathe… breathe in 4, breathe out 0.

Everything seems possible.

Today, I am sharing the completion of Friends.

Friends (completed)
Friends (completed)

The frame is old. I bought it at the estate sale of an artist. Accidentally, the colors of the pelican and the colors of the frame are amazing together. I painted this on a board cut to fit inside this frame. Maybe the color matching was subconscious, but I gasped when I saw the painting in the frame.

There is only about a quarter-inch of the painting covered up by the frame. Unfortunately it covered up the cat tail along the side.

There is plenty of carbon black and bone black in the painting lest we forget the oil spill. The gold near the top is the hope we hold for the future.

I swear this will make you cry. (Just click on the blue sentence.)

In abundance and gratitude,

Holding hope for our future,

Gator Girl

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I drive a Prius and shit.

Hey y’all,

A Prius is super cool. For one reason you don’t have to use a key to drive it. You just need to have the key near by. Like the passenger can have the key in her purse.

So… my husband (from this point forward referred to as “my sweet darlin’,”)  dropped me off in the Whole Foods parking garage while he circled for a parking place.

If you don’t have a key for the Prius near by, you may continue to drive, as long as you don’t turn the engine off. 

My sweet darlin’ is energy conserving, much like the Prius. While waiting for someone to back out, he attempted to put the Prius in park. Instead of “park” he pushed “power”.

On a Saturday, the Whole Foods parking garage is over-flowing with cars.

My sweet darlin’ called me, called me, called me. Silently praying for me to come running out with the key.

Then he came rushing into the store like Super Mouse yelling at me for not picking up my phone.

Prequel to Mighty Mouse.
Prequel to Mighty Mouse.

Maybe you had to be there.

I still laugh a little when I think about it.

I drive a Prius and shit.

I consider this an added perk of driving a Prius.

Enjoying some dark humor on this fine September morning.

Gator Girl