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 am feeling a little over-whelmed with what is going on in the world. I would probably be unaware of some of the underreported news if it weren’t for my Facebook friends. Like the pipeline protest in North Dakota, the pipeline spill in Georgia and Alabama, or photos of children killed in Syria. There are so many things happening at once that it’s hard to chose one thing to focus on… child sex trafficking, global warming, Hurricane Matthew, the election…
Here is an angel of peace in my attempt to bring love into the world. (After I see the painting online, I will probably add some shading here and there, a silver lining on the clouds, more green on the olive branch, but it is pretty done.)
I collaged the background in random paper to give myself time to think. I like the texture.
I wanted flowers somewhere in the painting, so I added them in the paper I used for her wings.
My favorite part is the transparent rainbow. I also like the abstract olive tree.
This is half way through. I was thinking of a woman looking up, but the angel adds more power. I woman might feel overwhelmed like me.
This is the sketching out. I had a shotgun house and a woman in mind for the painting. I needed more sky and less house. Sometimes the words under the paint are as important as the painting.
I hope your psyche is feeling balanced. I hope you will chose to do something good for our ailing world however small. It’s the only one we have.
I hope this blog finds you in perfect health and enjoying the best life has to offer.
Today, I want to share my process of painting this angel.
I grabbed my favorite portrait size canvas, with all belief that I was going to paint a woman. The only mysteries that I was expecting to have revealed were her message, the color of her skin and hair, and her attitude.
I applied 8 to 10 layers of background. Sometimes, I think this step is too much, but I like the texture and depth it creates. Also, it is fun to experiment with colors and shapes that will most likely be covered by the subject.
I started painting and knew it was male.
Shocked in disbelief. I painted on some short hair. Not right.
I painted a skeleton. No again.
Zombie, walking dead? Not the message I was feeling.
I added wings. The fullness and redness of the lips increased. This is when I saw the androgynous angel appear.
This is the part of the painting where I fall in love. I am just sitting with this feeling for a couple of days.
Love is usually followed. Maybe always followed by the part where I think I have ruined it. Followed by feeling that I have given it my best and seeing the painting as completed. (I fall in love again, but not the love at first sight love.)
One thing I get about painting… Trust your instincts. Let go of control. The harder part is applying that philosophy to life.
Updates to follow.
We have a new family member. Desdemona was giving to us by friends who can’t take her on their move to Hawaii. It turns out that Desi is the perfect dog for us. She is 9 years old, playful, smart and independent.
36 pounds of joy.
We gave her a Mohawk for summer. She looks like a Disney wildebeest.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for supporting my dream.
It is another gorgeous day here in New Orleans. I am having one of my favorite kind of days where I can have time to just ponder, listen and create. I think it is in my goat-nature to plan and execute. I am working on being flexible… loosely woven plans. This is really anti-goat mentality, but worth working on.
For the two or three weeks, I have been painting a picture of Frida Kahlo. She is an inspiration in her fearless portrayal of her pain. She is so obviously someone who wouldn’t have been the person she was without the pain of the polio, the bus accident and Diego. Diego hurt Frida terribly, but he also validated her as an artist. I could write about Frida all day, but there are many books that do a better job. So here is my process.
Before this roughed out painting, I wrote “July 1907 – July 1954 Frida Kahlo” on the canvas, because I wanted to make this a tribute and to feel closer to her. I just happened to have a thin canvas that fit inside the frame.
This picture basically demonstrates that it doesn’t really matter how the painting starts out. Visualizing where the painting wants to go, staying connected, opening your heart, having fun with the paint and the colors is what happens throughout the painting, but really clear here.
This painting is rich with symbols. Starting on the left is a picture reproduced from Frida’s journal. I love it, because she is a skeleton in the picture. Under her journal page are loteria cards of a skeleton and a rose. Below that it says, “mi amor” in my best Frida handwriting from studying her journal. Printed on canvas is a picture of Frida and Diego.
On all 4 corners are tiles that my sister made, just because they look Mexican. Up at the top, you can barely see a photo of Frida in the hospital and a photo of her blue house. On the right side of the painting following her clockwise from the house that she loved are the words, “Painting Saved My Life”. On this side there pictures that you can slightly see of Frida with her monkey and her parrot. Here, there is a blue butterfly symbolizing her freedom.
On the bottom is the word, “FLY”. I don’t believe Frida would want to Rest In Peace. I nailed 3 milagros under the word FLY that I bought at the mission in Carmel, California. One is her leg that caused her so much trouble, starting with polio when she was a small child and ending with amputation shortly before her death, a bird and a heart. Her initials are covered in gold glitter and paint to symbolize the gold that covered her after the bus accident.
Finally, the center of the painting. Hovering above the daisies is an orange and red butterfly symbolizing pain and eventual death that shaped Frida’s life.
I almost hate to be done. Being done with this painting is like being finished with a good book.
To all of you out there, learning and growing from your pain. It’s not in vain. Look to Frida for your strength.
Sometimes a kind gesture seems to go unnoticed, but makes a positive ripple in someone’s life. Today, I celebrate two fabulous women who do kind things every day. They both happen to be my aunts. I think aunts and grandmas are like moms only without the baggage. Unless they raised the child, they are free to just spread love.
My Aunt Ruth is in her 90’s. She is the older sister to my mother. She took the time to send me a card that someone had given her with an alligator on the front.
That simple gesture validated me as an artist.
It was double nice because Ruth is an amazing photographer and artist.
Another Aunt, Grace, lives an hour away. She came to my Gator Girl Launch Party and gave me a lamp that she bought at a garage sale. She thought it would be fun to paint. And it was.
It says, “This lamp offers no promise of enlightenment. It is only a lamp.”
I painted the shade with acrylic Mars Black. I love that black. I strung some glass Mardi Gras Beads on the shade. I love the beads, but maybe not on the shade.
I painted the words on the base, then went around them with a black paint pen to make the letters crisp.
I gave it to my husband for his bed side table. I thought the red would be good Feng Shui.
Grace has 5 adult grandchildren and she still took the time for me.
Update on my art:
I have painted and re-painted.
From experience, I think the paintings that take a while end up being closer to my heart. I am starting to like this one.
The music is “Mardi Gras Mambo”. There are small words about Mardi Gras woven through her hair.
I started painting people from photographs for fun. I like them a little edgy, not like their photos exactly. I bordered this painting with dragonflies, because Maggie is in the dragonfly class this year. And a little crown for my princess.
Raffi looks so different now that he is 2. Such a little baby face here.
This is Katy’s Facebook picture. My husband, David, doesn’t like it because she has sunglasses on. I think she would appreciate being incognito.
All of the people paintings are about 10 x 10 inches.
I was totally long-winded today. Thank you for letting me share.