Big Chief David Montana is on his way to Paris this morning. He is there to talk about a new documentary that is being filmed in France called Black Indians. (The link takes you to the film’s introduction.)
He is taking 20 prints of Flamingo Madness with him. I am so excited to have the prints traveling to France!
Derrick Hemphill of the Daily Commune has made all of this possible. If you go to his website, then “print services” you can buy a print. He does his own printing on beautiful paper. If you want to have him print something, I do recommend him. Derrick is the only one printing Flamingo Madness.
The Big Chief is also taking a sample piece of the flamingo suit to Paris for collectors. It is the same design as his original flamingo suit. I bought one to frame.
Here is a photo of the Big Chief in his pink flamingo suit. My friend Laura took the photo. She has a blog you might be interested in called L.A. to N.O.L.A. – Carnival, Concerts, Cuisine, Culture.
That is my big news for the day. Thanks for tuning in.
It’s a beautiful day here in New Orleans. Just a quick post to share the companion piece to James Booker. Cool Cat.
Cool Cat is 16 x 20 inches. I used the same color pallet as for James Booker, but went heavier on the reds and yellows.
James Booker is much larger at 30 x 40 inches.
Tonight is the opening for Art of Flavor at the Old No. 77. It is beautiful there. The Old No. 77 is a restaurant, bar, hotel and gallery. Where Y’Art and the Old No. 77 do a top-notch job putting it all together. Nina Compton, Chef at Compère Lapinand Abigail Gullo, bartender at Compère Lapin are curating. I’m excited.
Flamingo Madness and Counting Her Chickens were chosen to be in the show.
It has been pretty fabulous at Gator Girl Art lately. I will tell you this one tale…
I was at my agent, Derrick Hemphill’s house. (Cool, huh?) He was having an open house to introduce his huge, new printer. While I was there, I asked Derrick if he could get permission for me to paint a Mardi Gras Indian. He knows a lot of people and he grew up in the Treme.
Right away, he asked his mother to go down stairs and get Big Chief David Montana. This threw me right out of my comfort zone. I never thought of painting a Big Chief. He came upstairs and he agreed to let me to paint him. I also, got to see his house, the suit he is working on, and lots of photos.
This is all so cool. Google him. He’s famous.
I chose to paint him in a pink suit. He let me borrow a reference photo.
So, I haven’t yet continued with my New Orleans Musician series. I still have several large canvases gessoed in black and ready to go.
I started on a 30 x 40 inch canvas. I painted the border in Golden Alizarin Crimson. Then I painted the entire canvas, including the border in Old Holland Iridescent Carmine. It is a vivid crimson… a beautiful pink.
Here is the finished painting (as far as I know).
It is a little tilted on purpose. I was worried about all of the little feathers, but they turned out really fun to paint. I used a fan brush and loaded it with three colors of pink. I used The Chief as the light source. I am a little proud of that idea.
I love this painting. It pretty much painted itself. Maggie and Raffi found a bunch of frames out with the trash near their school. I thought the frame looked like pelican feathers. I washed it, added some glue at the joints, and oiled it.
Katy cut a piece of 1/4 inch plywood for me. I painted on 3 coats of black gesso. For the feathers, I applied the paint fairly thick, starting with darker colors and going lighter. Long strokes for the body and short strokes for the head. I applied 3 coats of varnish to finish.
I am sharing my secret feather tool. They are“Not quite a brush. Not quite a palette knife. Princeton Catalyst Blades and Mini-Blades are crafted from flexible silicone to give artists exciting new tools for expression. Mounted on artist brush handles, they offer a unique blend of tradition and innovation.” (I am not an affiliate, just a fan.)
The Pelican is 16 x 20 inches. I am selling it for $500. If you read my blog, I will let you have it for $400 (plus shipping), because I think you should be rewarded for reading my blog.
I am starting an email list. You might be asking yourself, “What are the benefits of getting an email update?” Emails will be short and to the point, infrequent, you will see my new paintings first and sometimes receive incentives that will not be offered anywhere else. Send me your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am back to painting the book, Hey. So, I’m a Baby.
It is pretty scary being black in America. I only know this through the news and hearing my friends talk. I have never had to have the discussion with my children about what to do if they are stopped by the police. I haven’t had to explain to them that they SHOULD NOT RUN through our neighborhood and to NEVER wear a hoodie.
I am near the top of the entitled group. I would be at the top if I were male. Part of being entitled is not having to think about entitlement. I was never afraid to be stopped by the police. In the handful of times I have been stopped, “I am sorry officer. Did I do something wrong?” was enough to never get out of the car and never get a ticket.
You might wonder why I painted Don’t Shoot. I relate to being a woman who is unsafe. I know what it is like to be afraid. I see black women on the news crying because they are so scared of being pulled over
and I feel sad and angry.
I want racism and misogyny to disappear.
It made me feel better to paint about the problem the same way it made me feel better to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. What can we do besides stand together. Together we are stronger.
The background is red for her anger/ grey for her measured non-response. I gave her a short haircut and urban colors to epitomize her strength. She looks small and powerful. I also opted against long lashes. I didn’t want her to need any of the feminine trappings. She is woman enough as is.
We’ve had a lot of rain here. Even after living in New Orleans for 6 years, I expect the rain to be cold. In California most of the rain happens in the winter. Sometimes, in New Orleans, I make hot chocolate in my air-conditioned house and don’t realize it is 90 degrees outside.
This is “Tropical Storm”.
I like a tropical storm if I can stay inside. A tropical storm can mean a lot of wind and rain. We bring things inside that might blow around the yard.
The unsettling thing about a tropical storm is that it can turn into a hurricane. I live near a lot of people with Hurricane Katrina PTSD, with good reason.
This makes the tension rise.
I painted this during Tropical Storm Cindy. She did not develop further.
Here is some storm information…
In a tropical depression the winds start to circulate. When the winds exceed 38 mph, it turns into a Tropical Storm. The maximum wind speed in a tropical storm is 73 mph. A hurricane has wind rotation with speeds of 74 mph and above.
Hurricanes are rated 1 through 5.
1 is 74-95 mph
2 is 96-110 mph
3 is 111-129 mph
4 is 130-156 mph
5 is greater than 156 mph
Almost all hurricanes happen during hurricane season. Where I live, the season is from June 1 through November 30. Most hurricanes happen in August and September and rarely in November.
I changed the starry sky in the most recent Swamp Girl painting. Looking at the painting close-up, the sky looked ragged. I smoothed it out and added some tiny dots for stars. Painting some stars blue and leaving some stars silver made some stars look farther away.
It has been 2 months since I have blogged or done much of anything. I have had this monster brace on my right hand for that long. I can take it off for a short time now to do something easy like typing. I still have to wear it for almost everything else. It has been hard not to paint much or very well.
I had a cooking mishap. It was a big iron skillet full of zucchini. I was dumping the zucchini into a bowl with one hand because I felt invincible. I twisted my wrist and hurt the tendon.
I have been able to work on Maggie’s and my book for short stretches of time. It is pretty painful to hold the brush.
We don’t have the whole story yet. That will be our next step. We are thinking that I will paint the swamp girl and the alligator for continuity. Maggie will paint the manatee, turtle, nutria, etc. We are not sure who all will be in the book.
He offered to stretch his tail as high as he could to help her down out of the Cypress tree.
The idea so far is that Swamp Girl will wander into the swamp, become lost, and find a new friend.
I am ready to paint something to hang on the wall and sell. I like the idea of my paintings in people’s houses. It is a little isolating to paint pages in a future book.
A rainy Spring day is the perfect day to blog. These are the pages that are going out to local publishers. I would like to share the mock up, but the words are not mine to share. Also, it’s nice to have some anticipation.
I have a wish coming true. I have 3 paintings in the art show, Soul, Soul, Soul at the Old No. 77. The show starts on April 6 at 8 pm. It is a beautiful venue.
Were You There?is a large original painting 30 x 40 inches. I painted New Orleans as a statue, depicting the strength of stone. She is holding lilies in one arm signifying rebirth. In her raised hand she is spilling out golden sparkles of hope. Her wings are lined with broken glass. She has been through hell, and you can see it swirling around her in darkness. The words are from a spiritual that is traditionally sung during the stations of the cross at Easter. I replaced he with she in the song.
In New Orleans,Mardi Gras Indians are revered. It is always a pleasure to see them perform. In tribute to this tradition, I painted an Indian using mostly acrylic paint, then I beaded him by sewing individual beads and sequins on the canvas. It is 16 by 20 inches.
I choose to paint Big Freedia because I was part of the Guinness Book of World Records for Twerking in 2014. The crown is based on Queen Elizabeth’s crown.
Big Freedia was the star of that contest. She is beautiful and her personality is bigger than the sky. This painting is 16 x 20 inches.
I have a lot more to blog, but I don’t want to overwhelm. Stay tuned!
My cousin, Lisa asked me to paint a new Pussyfooter painting. It seems like a reasonable request because the Pussyfooters have new costumes. We look like superheroes with a “P” on the back of our capes. Lisa is on the costume committee. She is a braver woman than I am.
You can see a pretty good picture of the cape in the first photo. Lots of people took their capes off that day because it was so hot. She has her cape tied around her waist. You can see our logo.
The second photo shows our new pieces.
The painting is in the half done ugly-ish stage. I think I will just show parts of the painting this week.
Painting the Pussyfooters this year is different from the last time I painted Pussyfooters. After 5 seasons, I can feel what it is like being in a parade while I am painting. I am tempted to have a zipper busted open or sweat riveting off a body. I choose to try and capture the joy (for now).
This is the only part I am totally happy with so far. It is a bit small. This will be an afro wig and a tinsel wig. The women are close together, but really they should be an arms length apart. I think it will be called “Let’s Dance”.
A fabulous Mardi Gras came and went in the Crescent City. The weather was in the 70’s and breezy. The weather is kind of a big deal, because whether you are in a parade or watching one, you are outdoors for many, many hours. I am always amazed that I can finish a parade. It turns out to be around 17 miles when you count all of the dancing in place when the parade stops. (Some of the women had Fitbits.)
Here are the Pussyfooters during a pause in Femme Fatale. Eli Mergel took the photo. (click on “Eli Mergel” to see lots of wonderful photography.) There are about 120 Pussyfooters in total. About 50 women did this parade.
This is my sweet darlin’ and me on Mardi Gras day. We parked across the river and took the ferry. Excellent idea.
I revised two pages for the Not-Yet-Revealed author. I like both pages better now.
Pop is dressed more maturely. He is also wearing a wedding ring.
Poppee has grey hair and his goatee is narrower and longer. I like Poppee better, too. I made his eyebrows less prominent while I was adjusting his look. I appreciate a man with good grooming.
I think there is a pause here with the book. I am going to schedule photos of the first 5 pages. The author is going to send these beginning pages to publishers. I hear that publishers want to see 3-5 pages. I hope a publisher is going to love the book and grab it up without too many changes. I will let you know as soon as I do.
Today is the first day of Lent. I am just going to try to be an all around better person. Like making a conscious effort to be more Zen and less reactive.