Posted in Uncategorized

Two Shows!

Hi all y’all,

We are starting the festival season here in New Orleans. There are many things to do every weekend from now until after Mardi Gras. This weekend I am lucky enough to have art in 2 locations.

Mr. Mario Padilla has invited my paintingFly” of Frida Kahlo to be in his show.

I am definitely not going to miss this next year.

I dropped Frida off while they were setting up last night. The Healing Center looked amazing. Really great art and music. I hear there will be a parade.

Miss Mandie from Downtown Chic Salon has invited me to share 10 paintings at Fall for Art.

I will be here.

I feel so fortunate and grateful for double invitations.

I finished Dancing in the Moonlight (alternately The Happy Family). I like the family. They look like New Orleans to me. I decided against button eyes and their mouths sewn shut. With the baby in the picture, it was going to look too gruesome. I just wanted them to look recently departed and back for a visit.I probably decided to paint them because of the Fall weather and Day of the Dead being just a couple of weeks away.

Dancing in the Moonlight

They are wearing many of the same colors as the night sky. You can see that the children inherited their mother’s chin. It was fun to see the family resemblances. I secretly have always liked the mother to pass down the genes.

Maggie wants another baby in their family in real life, so she asked me to paint a baby in the picture.

Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite days. I spend time honoring and remembering loved ones that have passed over. I have a box of photos I look through that I have collected and pick a few for the altar. I don’t put everyone up because I would be too crowded, but looking through the pictures is part of the honoring and I think the departed understand.

My mom and I had a shaky relationship. She passed on several years ago.

I recently found a picture of the two of us enjoying time together. I am going to see if I like having the picture up in our house. Sometimes it takes a long time for forgiveness and understanding. At least for me it does. It turns out the altar is healing as well as honoring.

Wishing you healing and a lovely Fall.

With an open heart,

Gator Girl

Posted in Uncategorized

Tribute to Frida Kahlo

Hi all y’all!

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.

Frida Picture #2

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.

Frida Finished

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.

With steadfast love,

Gator Girl

Really Beyond Excited about Raven!

Good Morning!

When I wrote in my profile that I am living, working and thriving in New Orleans, I am.

I have been painting for Raven Wisdom Studio in Chico. That is my sister’s place. I kept putting Raven aside and working on it little by little. When I started looking at each area  of the painting. One of my favorite parts of the painting didn’t please me any more. It looked too dark. Raven’s can be a little dark, themselves, and I didn’t want to portray that. Also, it was lacking whimsy, which I really like.

Today, I could feel the excitement of creating pumping through my veins. I ripped up paper and painted without even a sip of my coffee.

Right now the frame is drying. I don’t love framing, because I am not confident with it yet, or competent. I am too impatient to wait for help so I just push ahead. I am liking this frame.

Clean wood.
Part one of Raven Wisdom

After I cut the old wood, I scrub it with soap and water. I love old, but don’t think dirty is good in a house.

The Frame

This was super fun. I painted the heart, filled it with love, turned it upside-down and sprayed it with water. When I turned it over it looked like flames.

Raven appears, timid at first.

I left the wood this color. It looks like old houses I remember fondly. The frame is going to have a shelf to hold Raven’s favorite trinkets.

I painted Raven with a lot of water and rolled the canvas with a roll of paper towels. I learned this technique from Effy Wild. It left the outline dark, and picked up the paint in the middle. Nice effect.

Raven Wisdom, nearly complete

I painted Raven bigger, to be more of the focal point. Along his back is part of a Rumi quote, “be the soul of that place”.

I tried a new technique. I painted black, sparkly embossing powder mixed with acrylic varnish and melted it with a heat gun. It made a nice, black texture. You can see where I added it on the blackest parts of Raven.

The nest is made with corrugated cardboard that my sister insisted I needed to pack when I moved to New Orleans, lichen from the Lake of the Woods, Oregon (our favorite place), a red thread for the sisterhood, a fortune about friendship, and a flaming heart from Mexico.

There are other things making up the nest, like sheet music and journal paper. I added gold, brown, red and black paint for depth and mystery.

I am so sorry that the words do not stay put when I hit “publish”. I will keep working on this.

Thank you for reading about my process. Painting is pretty solitary business if you don’t count spirits chiming in. I appreciate the togetherness of my on-line family.

Where are your thriving in your life? What makes you lose track of time? Where do you feel your heart expand? I would love to hear.

Lovingly,

Gator Girl