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Alligator and Introspection

Hi all y’all!

I have been painting some heavy topics lately. My last 3 paintings were about slavery and prostitution. I think artists have a responsibility for social change. This is Banksy 2011 protesting the foreclosure debacle.

Bansky 2011

This is me protesting slavery.

NOT FOR SALE staged for website

I decided it was time for a light hearted alligator.

While I was painting him again today, I was thinking how I forgot why I paint. I paint for people to be happy; to cheer up a room. Maybe I paint happy alligators and heart wrenching topics. Do you think there are some light hearted topics dealing with social change? Maybe an alligator on a picket line?

My Etsy sales are slow this month. I had use money to promote my art. The voice in my head was critical of me for painting slowly. In response to the voice: Etsy sometimes has a slow month. I have to pay for things even when the money is just going in one direction (out). Slow is OK.

Happy Alligator

You can’t see in this photo that his teeth are white with iridescent pearl for the top layer. There is a little yellow ochre near his gum line because he has some gingivitis. It’s not to a critical stage. If you have seen previous photos of the gator in progress, the big change I did today was some shading and a few coats on the green parts of his body to tie him together.

There is a surprising thing about me. I am pretty terrified of alligators. I was reading about them online to appease my fear, but it just fueled it. There was a woman moving to Florida and asked if people in Florida got tricked into buying a house near the water and then were unable to sell it because of the alligators. Because who would live near alligators. I thought she was pretty funny, but my crazy self bought some of it. If you have any alligator advice before I go camping, PLEASE let me know.

I am a little long winded today. I hope everything is going well in your part of the world.

Lovingly,

Gator Girl

 

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Zèle NOLA Move In!

Hi all y’all!

Gator Girl Art moved into Zèle NOLA yesterday! It is on Magazine Street, the block between Community Coffee and Starbucks.

20160817_175258

Magazine Street, the block between Community Coffee and Starbucks.

Zèle is the first of its kind in the New Orleans area. It’s not a co-op or a flea market. Zèle is a Multivendor Art Market. NOLA has several outdoor art markets offered monthly, but we do not have any permanent indoor markets where our local artists can display and have their extraordinary work sold for them.
This is exactly what Zèle offers, a place for and by NOLA’s own!
My 8 foot wall!

My 8 by 8 foot wall!

20160817_174300

Let me know if you stop by. 🙂

Gratefully yours,

Gator Girl

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This Weekend on Royal Street

Hi all y’all!

This weekend Lulu White and  NOT FOR SALE will be at the gallery at 1901 Royal Street for Dirty Linen Night. I will be there, too!

Lulu orig. for website Lulu Staged NOT FOR SALE staged for website NOT FOR SALE, orig for website

 

 

My friend, Christine from Two Chicks Walking Tours is the best tour guide. You can listen to her being interviewed about the Garden District.

Christine

Tales of the New Orleans Garden District

That’s all folks!

Gator Girl

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Dirty Linen Night

Hi all y’all!

Lulu White has been selected to be in the gallery at 1901 Royal Street for Dirty Linen Night.

Dirty Linen Night is a “… less fashion-conscious alternative to the city’s biggest art party, White Linen Night, which takes place a week earlier in the warehouse arts district.” (NOLA.com)

I am super excited to be in the gallery on Dirty Linen Night. Last year, 10,000 people attended.

Fairer_Sex_II_Invite

I have an idea to paint this prostitute of Storyville leaning against the window frame, inside a reclaimed window frame. I am using a window screen, because the wood is lighter.

This is the beginning.

Stoyville Woman in Progress

This is two steps backwards. I painted areas of black, gold and yellow ochre on the background. I wanted depth and a little intrigue, but not distraction. I added puddles of rubbing alcohol to disperse the paint and lend mystery.

I used this technique on Shotgun Angel for the starry sky. Because this painting is on birch plywood, it ran onto the woman, especially her face. When I wiped the alcohol off of her face, it pulled all of the paint off, down to the original black gesso. (Sorry, no photo)Storyville Alcohol DamageI am repairing and repainting. The repair is a layer of white gesso. Then light sanding to make it smooth.

Wood is a more difficult substrate to paint on. The paint sits on top of the wood, so I can’t be wild with the strokes.

Speaking of Dirty Linen, there is this…

Walt Handelsman's Dukkke

Walt Handelsman‘s cartoon.

People often tell me that I sound so happy. This will balance that a little. David Duke is running for Senate from Louisiana. Lord help us.

Here in New Orleans, it is the last days of summer. Teachers in the parish where my daughter and sweet darlin’ teach go back to work on Wednesday.

Hate to see summer end.

Already reminiscent,

Gator Girl

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Lulu White, Storyville Madame

Hi all y’all!

I had an idea to paint mug shots of Storyville prostitutes. I painted Lulu White and enjoyed painting her. She was arrested many times for all manner of things to do with her brothel. She was the madame of Mahogany Hall.

Operating an Immoral house

Let me backtrack with the assumption you might not be up on New Orleans history. I am not patient with a lot of details, but I will give it a try.

Storyville was a part of New Orleans, lakeside of Basin Street, between 1897 and 1917 where it was legal to be a prostitute and run a brothel. Prostitution was so legal they had a Blue Book advertising what the different girls offered. Mahogany Hall was an upscale brothel, boasting of Octoroon (1/8th black) prostitutes.

Mahogany Hall is the first building on the right.
Mahogany Hall was the first building on the right.

Lulu seemed like a outgoing, self-made, woman. She was born of two slaves in Alabama, but re-invented herself. She told people she was born in the Caribbean.

Even though I love portraits and I love to paint women, mugshots are a little bit sad. A child born into slavery is also sad.  I am going to paint a prostitute or two from Storyville, because the women are beautiful, but I don’t think my heart can manage more than that. On the other hand, I don’t want these women to be forgotten.

Lulu White

This is Lulu White in 1920. It is a mugshot from one of her many arrests. I painted her with acrylic paint and charcoal pencil on 11 x 14 inch canvas. Her shawl was made with Liquitex Gloss Gel and a stencil. I put the gel on with a pallet knife through the holes in the stencil, lifting off the stencil carefully. Then, I let it dry over night. I painted the shawl with blue, orange and gold. (You can always message me for specific colors or more information in general.)

Lulu’s necklace is made to resemble clear glass beads, popular in the 1920’s.

I think she looks sad and annoyed.

Mahogany Hall Stomp for you, Miss Lulu.

Until next time,

Adoringly,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

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Prince and My Latest Paintings

Hi all y’all,

I am pretty excited. I had a custom order for a portrait painting of Prince. I was finishing Big Freedia when I received the request. I am still a little hesitant painting real people. I want the subject  to like their painting and see themselves in it. Maybe this is just unreasonable. Musicians keep coming up in different ways, so I am going with it.

After I see how big their eyes, nose, ears and mouth are, what shape, how spaced from each other, etc . . . I can just paint what I want.

Anyway, I painted two versions of Prince. I told her to pick one if she was happy with it. She wants both! This is the same person who bought Shotgun Angel.  I am so happy that she likes them.

Prince 2Prince

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told her that I would frame them. I think the framing is going really well, but I am on hold waiting for the photographer. I need the paintings here to finish the frames. Framing is a process for me. It seems that every time something is challenging, I can use that information later. I upgraded my miter saw blade from 40 to 84. The numbers are the size and closeness of the teeth. Because this is new wood, I want the edges to fit smoothly together.

If it sounds like I know what I am talking about, that’s good. 🙂

I planned on only talking about Prince, but I noticed that Paw Paw Gator (aka Grandpa Gator) has never been on-line. I decided to put my last batch of paintings in this blog. This is almost a year of painting, maybe 10 months. They are different sizes and different prices. I have prints for everything. I keep 11 x 14 in stock. Shop Etsy or Where Y’Art.

Until next time all y’all,

And good night sweet Prince. May you live on in your music,

Gator Girl

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Queen of Bounce

Hi all y’all!

We just had Jazz Fest in New Orleans. It is a pretty amazing experience with incredible music, delicious food and quality art. Most people talk about Music or Music and Food. I am there #1 for the art. I go one day each weekend, when it isn’t as crowded (not Saturday or Sunday) to see the art. The food vendors are there both weekends, but the artists change. When I need to rest, I stop in and listen to some music. I am pretty sure I am in the minority on this.

Jazz Fest the second weekend was pretty wet.

I am just about finished with the Queen of Bounce aka Big Freedia (pronounced Free-da) I ordered 2 jewels for her crown, amethyst and amber. I am nervous painting a living artist because I really want Big Freedia to relate to and like my painting. I will probably never know.

I choose Big Freedia because I was part of the Guinness Book of World Records for Twerking in 2014.

I woke up one morning and told my family that I had a dream that I needed to help Big Freedia win the twerking world record. My daughter said, I could still participate because it hadn’t happened yet. It was scheduled for later that day or the next day. Surprising everyone, including myself, I went. I am not sure if they counted my sweet darlin’ and me in the final number because you had to be continuously twerking correctly. :/ Fortunately there is no video of that.

Big Freedia was the star of that contest. She is beautiful and her personality is bigger than the sky.

Big Freedia, the Queen of Bounce
                                                   Big Freedia, the Queen of Bounce

To read Freedia’s background in a snapshot… I found a lot of information on Wikipedia.

Right now, I am painting two paintings of Prince. He had so many looks in all the years he performed, I didn’t want to narrow it down to one. Prince is a commission painting. The same people who bought Shotgun Angel asked me to paint Prince. I am going to show them both of the paintings and they can choose one if they like it. I don’t take money for commissions until after they see the finished painting. Maybe they had a different idea. I don’t want them stuck with something they don’t love. 

I’m back to the easel. See ya later alligator,

With a heart full of love,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet Gator Girl

Hi all y’all!

You probably know me, unless you just started following my blog. Either way, I put together a video of my porch, studio and me. I am using the video in my Etsy Shop. I love feeling like I have a “Shop” and not just a house. I am sometimes in a gallery with Where Y’Art and lately my paintings are hanging out (get it?) at Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer, a law firm in the Central Business District. Those paintings in the law offices have a better view than I do. By far. They are on the 36th floor and have a view of the bend in the river and the bridge to the west bank.

Many of my paintings are at my house. You are welcome to come by.

Spring has sprung in New Orleans. Jazz Fest is around the corner.

Feeling the love,

Gator Girl

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Billie Holiday didn’t have a sister.

Hi all y’all!

Billie Holiday didn’t have a sister, but if she had one, it would have made her life easier in my opinion. She had a tough time. If being born a black woman in America in 1915 wasn’t hard enough. Her parents were 13 and 15 years old. She worked as a prostitute before she was 14 and died at 44.

I found this out when I was looking to see what Billie Holiday’s sister looked like. No sister.

However, Shotgun Angel does have a sister.

I am painting Shotgun Angel’s Sister for someone who wanted the already in a private collection, Shotgun Angel.

I emailed the owners of Shotgun Angel and asked if they would mind if I painted sequel painting. They were very nice and said congratulations on the commission and please name it something else and change it up a little. I felt free to go ahead and am totally enjoying the sister idea.

Shotgun Angel's Sister
Shotgun Angel’s Sister

My commission guarantee is… if you like it when I’m done, you can buy it at our agreed on price. (I hope they like it.) I painted this for 7 days straight. “Honey, can you make dinner?” I wanted to get it into the group of paintings that were photographed yesterday.

Shotgun Angel's Sister frame wood
Shotgun Angel’s Sister frame wood

From now on I am going to pre-soak the wood for all frames. This wood seemed especially dirty, so I put it in the bathtub with Charlie’s Soap and Oxyclean for about 20 minutes before I scrubbed it. The wood came out looking beautiful.

I bought old skeleton keys on Etsy. I need to take a handle off of something else and add it to this frame.

She is almost complete.

Rabbit being blocked out.
Rabbit being blocked out.

This Easter bunny has a message for all  y’all. Stay tuned and you will know what his important message is. He is standing to the side, so I can add the words.

We are between seasons now. Mardi Gras is over. And HANSEN’S SNO BLIZ OPENS TUESDAY! I don’t know anyone who is more excited about this than my sweet darlin’. “Pleeease, I know. Hansen’s opens Tuesday”.

My best regards to every one of you.

With light and love,

Gator Girl

This is young gator girl, before life rung her out and she ultimately reinvented herself.

 

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Inktense

Hi all y’all!

I hope you had a nice holiday. I know the experience differs between people and year to year. This year was a good year for our family.

In New Orleans, we are rushing into an early Mardi Gras. The Pussyfooter Blush Ball is a week from today and the parades start in January. I am at a loss to explain what Mardi Gras means to New Orleanians. I think it is something like God, family, Mardi Gras.

It was probably October when I started my Rollergirls painting. Faces are one of my favorite topics, so I thought I would paint a crowd behind the skaters. I hit a wall when I felt like it was never-ending. There are 15 people in the crowd, besides the main characters. I don’t know how people paint so small.

So I stopped.

I painted The Kiss. My favorite painting.

The Kiss
The Kiss

 

 

 

 

Then, I was struck by the sadness of the Holidays for the people who are alone, or broke, or sick. So I painted a holiday painting. I wanted the painting to be generically holiday and express mixed emotions. You will see it again next year on an e-card.

Holiday Card
Holiday Card
Close-up of Card
Close-up of Card

Here it is January, and I am back to Rollergirls.

I put different shades of skin-colors on my palate, aka paper plate, and worked all day on all the faces. I had to keep moving between faces so the paint on the canvas would dry, but my palate would not. Here I was, spritzing my palate with water and going face to face. And face to face.

I started using my charcoal pencils. I have white and black. I thought it would be great to have pencils that worked like charcoal with a fine point, but with lots of colors. I wanted to work on one face until I was happy with it. I started searching on-line.

Ta Da! I already owned the solution. Derwent Intense Pencils.

Derwent Inktense Pencils

These pencils were suggested to me at one time, but I had never used them.

The pencils when dry are like bright, slightly creamy colored pencils. When you brush with water they work like ink and are permanent. When dry you can erase the pencil. I layered the colors before I added water and they mix themselves. I added white to lighten, or lifted the color off with a clean, wet brush.

With these pencils I can finish one face or at least work on one face until I want to move on. I am not tied to a palate of drying paint.

 

I am about half done with Rollergirls. I am not a fan of sharing unfinished work, but here it is.

Rollergirls in progress

I hope 2016 is a happy and healthy year for all y’all.

Thank you for reading my blog!

All my love,

Gator Girl