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Girl Power

Hi all y’all,

While I am impatiently waiting for a delivery of art supplies, I started a fun painting.

Girl Power in chalk
Girl Power in chalk

I used a free-cycle canvas (the background was already on the canvas) and a photo of Maggie in California for inspiration. I made grid lines with chalk to get an idea of proportion.

Girl Power in progress
Girl Power in progress

I Googled “bubbles” to see how other people painted bubbles. I combined a couple of ideas.

Painting bubbles with cups
Painting bubbles with cups

This idea came from a one minute video that I found on You Tube. I went to Home Depot and bought some spray paint. I went to the grocery and bought some paper cups.

Bubbles in progress
Bubbles in progress

OK…

First, I cut the bottom off of the cups.

2. I sprayed a small amount of silver spray paint in the cup, aiming at one edge.

3. I took that same cup and ran the rim through some white acrylic paint. I used this to make a whiter edge.

4. I didn’t like the whiter edge and muted it with LuminArte’ paint. Now looking at the photos, I think the white edge makes it look more 3 D. I am going to add some white back in. I am also going to add some white highlights where the light is hitting. My highlights are too subtle.

5. I looked at photos of bubbles on Google as a reference and added some colors that were already in the painting. I used LuminArte’ because it is so delicate and luminous.

What is working for me:

the topic, Girl Power

the childhood symbols of bubbles, a marble circle, and hopscotch

the brilliant colors.

I want her hair more flow-y, add shoelaces, and darken some of her features, because the background is so dark.

Incase you are wondering what happened to the other cups…

What happened to the other cups.
What happened to the other cups.

Last weekend at Southern Decadence…

Decadence Parade with Paddy
Decadence Parade with Paddy

It is so easy to make friends in New Orleans.

Until later,

with alligator kisses,

Gator Girl

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an Angel

Hi all y’all!

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.

Angel in progress
Angel in progress

 

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.

Desi on the Kayak
Desi on the Kayak

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.

Loving you,

Gator Girl 

 

 

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The One Really, Really Important Rule About Painting

Hi all y’all,

I have been wanting to connect with y’all on-line, but the universe has been conspiring against me. Maybe it is all this retrograde talk or maybe my blog was just not ready to be birthed.

Crows on a wire has been a difficult painting.

#1 I painted a tree without really knowing how to paint a tree, so I painted the tree 20 times before I was happy with it.

#2 The question occurred, “Why are the crows dressing up?”

#3 “Why are they all wearing random costumes?”

I don’t usually paint with massive amounts of detail. I usually know basically where the painting is going. I am trying to just remain open.

I am getting to know these quirky birds.

I have a million women inside of me wanting to be painted. I do not know how the crows took precedent.

July 1st version of Crows on a Wire
July 1st version of Crows on a Wire

I love how the background showed up in the roof.

I now know the crows are dressing for Mardi Gras.

The 2 black capes on a black bird were getting lost. I tried something new with the judge’s robe. I colored the robe with a black oil pastel. Then I melted the pastel with a heat gun. I like the feeling and the denseness. On the vampire’s cape, I streaked silver ink, let it dry and colored in with black oil pastel. I am going to paint with acrylics on top of all that.

Magnificent Maggie, who I am certain is going to be the next Rodrigue, told me something interesting.

She said, “Nena, there is one really, really important rule you need to know about painting.”

I replied, “What is that, Mag Pie?”

“The one really, really important rule is to Never quit painting until you are happy with it.”

Seriously, words to live by.

Unabashedly in love with life,

Gator Girl

P. S. In my next blog you will see the finished Mardi Gras Crows, as well as a, hopefully, happy story about visiting Gaza Gaza.

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Crows on a Wire

Hi all y’all,

The weather is heating up here. It gets really muggy and then the thunder showers start. I love the south unreasonably.

I have some pictures to share today.

Chandelier
Chandelier

I bought this chandelier at an estate sale in the Marigny. The man who died was an old artist. Maggie showed me the chandelier. I told her I was busy and needed to look quickly because there were so many people there buying his treasures. She insisted I come with her and she showed me this chandelier for $25.

I took the bead strings off and soaked them in vinegar for 48 hours, and then in vinegar and dish soap. 60 years of grime floated off. I painted the chandelier with two coats of gold craft paint that I had sitting around. On the underside of the horizontal parts when you look up from underneath, I added brown glitter flakes and gold glitter.

Close up of Chandelier

Close up of Chandelier

I wrapped the candles in washi tape. They came out super nice. You can’t even tell it is washi tape. It cost me $75 to have it installed above my desk. As an added bonus that I didn’t expect, all of those lightbulbs made it much brighter in here.

Maggie and Raffi's dresser for art storage.
Maggie and Raffi’s dresser for art storage.

I bought this dresser at the estate sale, too. It is IKEA and it cost $20. I had some cans of paint from other projects that I wanted to use up. I also wanted the dresser mainly black to go with my mainly black and white studio. The black part is gloss enamel. I love the shine and resilience of enamel.

Maggie's bees
Maggie’s bees

The blue and yellow parts are latex paint. I wanted Maggie’s bees to adhere. She drew the bees with Montana paint pens. The pens are filled with acrylic paint, but are easy to control, like a pen.

Crows on a Wire
Crows on a Wire

I wanted to see what would happen if I painted a wild background with many colors and shapes as the base of my painting.

#2
#2

How much do I cover up of the original painting? I love all the colors, but it is so busy.

#3
#3

The little houses got larger. The crows are dressing up. The tree is turning into a magnolia tree.

Where is this going?

La Femme Fatale at Urban Roots
La Femme Fatale at Urban Roots

This is a picture of one of my paintings at Urban Roots. Counting her Chickens and Bee Love are also there. I love that place.

I worked like crazy this week.

My BFF from California is coming to New Orleans tomorrow. She has never been here before. I am totally excited.

Love to you all,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

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and justice for all

Hi all y’all!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! We have the honor of hosting the game here in New Orleans. It is still pre-game and everyone is happy.

I completed Justice.

Justice
Justice

I don’t know how the idea for a painting comes to me. It must be a muse. I just have a flash of an idea and I need to get it on canvas. I do not know any two women who look like these women. For the life of me, I could not get the dark-haired woman on the right to smile. Maybe she is a bit upset with our government.

I am also upset with our government. I choose to remain hopeful. I believe in the wise words of Theodore Parker, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Now the fun part.

If you and your partner look like these women, send a photo to me,  nancy@gatorgirlart.com and I will send you a print. I really hope to see a photo or 10.

Looking hopefully towards the future.

Gator Girl

PS There are many new Gator Girl Art paintings on Etsy.

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Justice in Progress

Justice on PaperHi all y’all!

Carnival is upon us. 7 days until I sashay down St. Charles with the Pussyfooters. I am so lucky to be a part of this fabulous group of women.

Today, I am sharing a process. I painted this on Bristol paper. It was a little frustrating for me because I usually paint, paint again, paint over… I had to be a little more gentle with the paper. There are aspects that I like, and things I want to change.

I am painting a version of this same idea on a canvas.

Justice in Progress
Justice in Progress

What I wanted originally were hearts. It is a painting about love and our justice system. The new painting is making me happy with so many hearts. You might not see any hearts in the completed painting. It is important that they are there. I especially like the heart that the two women make with their bodies.

I found this quote, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” —Theodore Parker. Mr. Parker was an abolitionist who lived and died in the 19th century. I think he would be honored to be a proponent of marriage equality.

I will somehow put his quote on the painting. Right now, I am imagining it written on the arc of the rainbow.

I just wanted to check in. I don’t like to miss a week.

Next time I post, it will be my vision board for 2013. Miss Maggie is helping me with it. Her words are perfect.

With abundant love,

Gator Girl

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Shotgun Angel

Good Morning all y’all!

I feel like I am finally back after the holidays and the flu. It might seem like a crazy thing to say, but being ill and sleeping 12 hours a day, does give a person time to reflect.

My word for 2013 is VISIBILITY. This word by itself might have thrown me back in bed for a few days. I plan on making my art visible to the public. I am thinking restaurants and a gallery. On the first of January, I was totally freaked out by this word until I realized 2013 is a whole year.  I am currently making myself visible in my fish nets and corset. Pussyfooters is turning out to be a fun way to give back to the community. We make events sparkly and pink.

Orpheus 13th Night
Orpheus 13th Night

I found out at this event that the  Pussyfooter women are totally nice. After this picture Miss Camille and Miss Becky tightened my corset until I looked like Miss Scarlet (in my mind). I was grateful. I had no idea you weren’t suppose to breathe.

I am nearly finished with Shotgun Angel.

The first thing I did was spray the canvas with Ink Spray Dylusions London Blue. If you want to try this, it gives a nice continuity to the painting, but be forewarned, the blue bleeds through as many layers of paint that you put on. At some point you might want to stop the bleed by painting some parts in clear gesso. Otherwise, your yellow house will keep turning green.

Next, I dropped paint on the background, straight from the bottle: white, yellow and purple. Then I sprayed alcohol on the paint drops and walked away.

I put layers of paint, drops of paint, sprayed more alcohol until I liked the background.

I drew the wings on the painting with white chalk. Then I laid the cellophane on top of the chalk outline. I drew the wings on the cellophane with a black sharpie a little bit bigger than what I wanted.

I painted her wings by spraying a mixture of glue, Pearl Ex violet powder, and alcohol on the underside for sparkle. I learned this from Bonnie Rose Bryan on Lifebook 2012. On the front of the wings, I painted featherish stuff with Golden Acrylic Titanium White. As an added bonus, the cellophane glows in the dark. Cellophane adds just the right amount of transparency for wings and lays totally flat.

I cut the wings out mostly inside the black lines. They are adhered with Golden Gel Medium.

When I look at the photo of my painting, I don’t like her dress outlined in white.

I do love how the stoops turned out.

I had to resist adding tiny details like birds and cats.

I am planning to frame this in old wood from an old shotgun house.

If there is anything that I left out, that you would like to know… just ask.

Shotgun Angel
Shotgun Angel

I was listening to Billie Holliday Pandora when I painted this. The angel must have been listening, too.

I have my next painting in mind. It is a political statement.

Thanks for checking out my blog. It makes me feel grounded and happy to connect with you.

With abundant love and gratitude,

Gator Girl

 

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Angel Appearing with Attitude

Hi all y’all!

On a beautiful winter day and the longest night of the year, Happy Winter Solstice.

I am painting my favorite painting. It has all the elements that I love. It is definitely New Orleans and full of magic and attitude.

Shotgun Angel in progress
Shotgun Angel in progress

It is a little know fact that Shotgun houses have their own angel. When she appeared on my canvas, I immediately fell in love. She is going to have cool cellophane wings. The nice people at Rouse’s Market gave me a cellophane sleeve without buying the flowers.

Here is Alligator Bliss in progress.

Alligator Bliss in progress
Alligator Bliss in progress

The glitter paper on his leg shows through the glass, but you can’t tell what it is with the glass on top.

This is my finished Alligator Bliss. I tried building up the background with molding paste. It made the swamp grass look pretty cool. I wanted parts of the painting raised to balance the safety glass I used for scales. That is also why I put tile along the bottom.

Alligator Bliss
Alligator Bliss

Do you notice the  yellow dotted paper on the alligator stomach? It is the same piece of paper I used on the curly hair of women. I am on the look out for another piece of bubble paper, now that I am hooked on its usefulness.

I made this little Christmas decoration for my daughter and her girlfriend. It is their dachshund with antlers and one of their rats. Cami, the dog, looks like a deer in headlights. The rat is quizzical. I painted it on a left-over piece of our dining room table.

Cami and rat
Cami and rat

Wishing you all the blessings of the season. Time for this gator girl to look over the past years events and make plans for 2013. Time sure does fly.

lovingly,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

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Alligator Bliss

Hi all y’all!

We are having the most beautiful fall weather. Seems like it might be perfect for my first Pussyfooters parade next Saturday. I am looking forward to seeing what dancing in front of crowds is like, basically so the nightmares of being exposed in public stop. I feel compelled to do it because it has been a lifelong dream to be in a dance group. (note to parents: just let your kids live their childhood dreams in childhood. The dreams don’t just vanish with a “no”.) With the Pussyfooters, I met the requirements of having or living like I have vagina and being over 30. Yea me! I qualify. The Krewe of Jingle parade is on Canal Street.

Two more awesome reasons to join with the Pussyfooters are the service we do for the community, raising money to support and empower women, and for me to meet other women. Since I work at home now, I feel the need to get out and into the community for mental health.

I have two paintings to share today. I finished the La Virgen de Guadalupe. I just need to varnish her to protect her from dust and uv rays. I am also giving the person who commissioned her a chance to see her before I take her to be packaged and shipped. I painted the virgin how I think she would appear to the person I painted her for. I added the traditional saint card near the bottom of the canvas. 

La Virgen de Guadalupe

I am starting a new painting just for fun on a piece of reclaimed wood. It is just a scrap of wood that I am going to frame in old wood from an old house. It is called Alligator Bliss.

I have some safety glass from a broken car window. It looks like the scales on an alligator’s legs and shoulders. It looks really cool to see the paint through the broken glass. The trouble I am having is the glass is raised up higher than the rest of the gator. My plan is to just continue on with the plan, hoping that it all turns out. Maybe I could put a piece of glass over the whole painting when I frame it. (Insert here any of your good ideas.)

He is not much to see yet. (Why are my alligators always men?)

Alligator Bliss in Progress

I laid some glass on the painting so you can see how cool it looks. Maybe it will be OK just to have the glass parts a little higher. Hmmm.

Looking forward to feedback.

With unending love and gratitude,

Gator Girl

 

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Madonna

Hi all y’all!

It is November. Traditionally a time of extra gratefulness for all of our blessings. I think it is especially important to practice gratitude when life is difficult.

I have a super great assignment. A friend wants me to paint La Virgen De Guadalupe. I am currently painting the Madonna and feeling grateful with every stroke of my paint brush. I like knowing who will receive the Blessed Mother because I can ask for blessings for her family, business, happiness, etc. while I paint.

I don’t want to post in-progress pictures today. Instead I am going to post glimpses. I will post the finished painting in two weeks. I plan to be finished for December 12th.

Madonna sneak preview

A cool thing happened by accident when I was painting. I started out spraying Ranger Ink Spray, Dylusions in London Blue, all over the canvas. I painted with acrylic paints for a few hours, and when I came back the blue was coming to the top. This happened for a few days. I really like the effect. I would just leave the painting with a bluish tinge to her complexion, but I don’t want it  so blue because it is the Madonna.

Madonna sneak preview 2

It  worried me that the blue ink would re-surface indefinitely, so I painted her face and neck with clear gesso as a barrier. I am going to paint some more skin tone colors over the gesso, leaving just a touch of blue.

Last glimpse

This is her neck. You can see how blue, even after 5 coats of Golden Acrylic Paint.

I am happy for the assignment. I am happy for so much to be grateful for.

In gratitude for you,

Gator Girl