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Life takes over

Hi all y’all!

Here it is September first. I think I am pretty organized, but sometimes I don’t get to my paint brushes.

Sometimes I get to my paint brushes, and I am embellishing giclées, not playing with a new painting.

Sometimes I have a million non-artistic errands.

Sometimes I look up and it is September first.

The painting that I started is Roller Girls. I have some of it blocked out. Here is a glimpse.

Roller Girls, the beginning
Roller Girls, the beginning

I listened to the soundtrack of Whip It, while I was painting. I love that movie. I love Drew Barrymore, too.

Maggie made me a paint brush out of pipe cleaners. It should come in handy. It is adjustable.

Paint Brush

One of my favorite topics about Cuba is the Medical program. Cuba will train American doctors at no cost to the USA or the students. The students are given free room and board with all of their meals prepared for them, their basic medical supplies, and basic toiletries. They are even given a stipend in their last two years when they are most valuable as a resource.

I saw 4 recent US graduates from Cuba’s six-year training program discuss their experiences. One of the recent graduates is from the 9th ward in New Orleans.

Dr. Gigi Simmons
Dr. Gigi Simmons

I will tell you the highlights of the medical program, as I remember them.

The program is taught in Spanish. Most people go to Cuba without any Spanish. The first semester is Spanish immersion. All of the exams are oral, which teaches the potential doctors to think on their feet. When they are stuck on something, they are told to help each other. They spend a full semester without any equipment so they can learn to diagnose with their 5 senses. As for paying Cuba back, they are told to go home and serve.

Medicine as a public service is just the approach that drew many US graduates to ELAM, (Latin American School of Medicine).

“When I learned about Cuba’s health system—free, universal, and with a focus on public and global health—I knew this is where I wanted to study,” Dr. Veronica Flake of Philadelphia told MEDICC, (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba).

“I came to ELAM because I believe health is a human right, and so does Cuba,” said Dr. Tia Naquel Tucker of Sulphur, Louisiana. (medicc.org)

Before I went to Cuba, I would have thought a Cuban medical degree was inferior to a degree in the US. Now I can’t wait until Dr. Gigi Simmons puts her shingle out.

There is no smooth transition here.

We had a tragedy in our family. Although it is sad, I feel it needs to be said. My nephew passed on August 20th. My sweet darlin’ and I flew to California to be with the family. He was 27. It’s a sad story with a sad ending.

Until next time,

Thank you for being there.

Holding you in my loving thoughts,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

 

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Flat Joe

Hi all y’all!

My nephew, Joe, in Pennsylvania had a school project. His teacher used the The original Flat Stanley Project, created in 1995 by Dale Hubert.  The kids replaced “Stanley” with their name. Flat Joe came by mail to New Orleans for a week’s vacation with the responsibility to go back to school with photos, a letter and souvenir’s of his trip.

Flat Joe is a good demonstration of how New Orleans is child friendly. Joe was only limited in his adventures by his time constraint.

Canal Street Streetcar
Canal Street Streetcar
Getting on the red street car
Getting on the red street car
Katy and Flat Joe at NOMA
Katy and Flat Joe at NOMA
Morning Call
Morning Call (Do you see him?)
with his beignet
with his beignet
Ordering a snoball
Ordering a snoball
Paying for his snoball
Paying for his snoball
Bubble Gum Snoball
Bubble Gum Snoball!
FullSizeRender_1_3
Storyland

 

at Storyland
at Storyland
Layfaette Cemetery
Layfaette Cemetery
Paying his respects
Paying his respects
Honey Island Swamp Tour
Honey Island Swamp Tour
uh oh!!
uh oh!! Look behind you!
President Obama with another Flat Stanley
President Obama with  Flat Stanley

I just added President Obama, because I thought it was cool.

Joe and Flat Joe at home.
Joe and Flat Joe at home.

So much to do in New Orleans.

Come back soon, Flat Joe! Next time bring regular Joe with you!

Lovingly,

Gator Girl (Click here to check out my website.)

 

 

 

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Moonlit Walk

Hi all y’all!

Heading into 4th of July weekend. I hope y’all are having a nice summer. I think it is pretty much hot in the United States now, with a few exceptions.

My ginger-haired girl is helping her friend embark on an adventure that leads them out of the swamp. It is the first time for the little gator to see something of the world beyond his home.

Moonlit Walk
Moonlit Walk

On a moonlit night, she hiked up her dress, and together they walked out of the swamp.

The painting is large, 24 x 36 inches, acrylic paint and varnish on canvas.

Best wishes for a fun and safe 4th!

All my love,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

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Swamp Girl

Hi all y’all! My mini muse came through for me. I saw a drawing Maggie did in her notebook. I fell in love. The alligator was subtle. I noticed the girl first. She had no color or background, so I asked Maggie to tell me a story about the girl. She said the girl is in a long green dress. The dress is old and her hair is messy. She lives in a swamp. I asked if there were flowers in the background. She said I could paint flowers, but if I did, make it mostly green with both light and dark greens.

Maggie's Swamp Girl
Maggie’s Swamp Girl

Maggie and I generally copy each other if we like what we see. I painted a more realistic swamp background, but it made me unhappy. So I painted over-sized leaves and flowers. The painting reminds me of a page in a  children’s book.

Swamp Girl
Swamp Girl

I added the eyelashes on the alligator and the freckles on the girl just like Maggie. I made her dress just a little shorter to show her toes. A friend wrote to me and said I seemed so happy on Facebook and in my blog. She was wondering if life here is really that wonderful. Well, yes. And also, I don’t want my blog to be a downer. I do struggle with waking up in the morning. I am slow to start. It takes at least  2 cups of coffee. I still have to take care of me. I have chores and responsibilities. I eat too many carbs. I need a certain amount of happiness to paint. So some days I don’t paint. I have to try not to compare my art to anyone else’s. While I was looking at realistic swamps, I ran across Adrian Deckbar. Adrian is a local artist that paints more beautiful than a photograph. My heart sinks just a little when I compare myself to others. But then I move on. Even with the ever-present road work on nearly every road, New Orleans rocks. The people are nice. My friends are interesting. I hope, if you are not there already, you find your happy place. I suggest writing down what you want, painting it, dancing it, speaking it every chance you get. There is a vehicle to get you there. lovingly,

Gator Girl

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A Learning Curve

Hi all y’all!

Mardi Gras has come and gone (sigh).  I signed up to dance with the Pussyfooters at the House of Blues for Friday. I feel pretty lucky.

GV_NOLA115_StPatricksDay_WG-1000x500
xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday is the St. Patrick’s parade and the St. Joseph’s parade. The parades are very different from each other. The St. Patrick’s parade is in the Irish Channel in the afternoon. Friends who live near the parade route will open their house before and after the parade to offer drinks, snacks, and a bathroom. The floats throw vegetables along with the beads and toys.

The St. Joseph’s parade is in the evening in the French Quarter. My sweet darlin’ is in the Italian American Marching Club. I don’t have a photo to show you, because last time I saw the parade all the Italian men in tuxedos looked the same. I couldn’t find him.

Super Sunday is when the Mardi Gras Indians parade. This is one of those amazing things that is truly New Orleans.

So there you go. A quiet weekend after Mardi Gras.

In my art world… the original Joan of Arc was purchased for the new hospital. I am so excited to have her in a public place.

Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend just bought the original Garden Fairy aka City Park Fairy. 

Fairy
Fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am thinking that They didn’t know they were seeds is a learning painting. Learning how I feel about writing on the painting. I have liked words occasionally… in script along the side of the image, bananagrams, Pairs in Pears, a little piece of ripped paper with handwriting…

I made two more attempts to like the painting and call it done.

Words on Organza
Words on Organza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I printed on organza. The words shifted slightly.

handwriting
handwriting

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided that I do like my handwriting, but I didn’t like the square shape. To be continued…

Raffi had an art show at his pre-school. His teacher is fabulous. When he painted part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, he laid on his back under a table.

I hope all y’all are having a nice end of winter, almost spring.

With and open and loving heart,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

 

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They didn’t know.

Hi all y’all,

Today, I am combining my blog and Mardi Gras celebrations. Don’t you think one of the hardest things is to balance? Like balancing work and play, me-time and family, king cake and exercise. From the minute I wake up it is a puzzle to see what I can fit into my day. Give and take.

My recent painting has been fun and frustration. It started like this…

Indecision
It started like this. 

Indecision. I added colors that I liked. I was leaning towards an alligator among lily pads. Then I added Jesus on the cross that Maggie drew, a peace symbol, a note from my sweet darlin’, advice from mini Mags, a movie stub, a fortune, cute little deer.  My collage items were all based on love.

Starting Over
Starting Over with a plan

My friend, Rene, posted on Facebook, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” I Googled it and found out it was an old saying attributed to nobody in particular. It fit perfectly into my strong women theme.

We were seeds. Completed
We were seeds. Completed

I kept very little from the beginning. The colors are still mostly blue and orange. There is a little bird and most of the fortune. I was going to paint a lot of flowers, but the trees looked so strong.

This is what it looks like on the parade route near our house. Only, it will be more crowded tonight.

Our Mardi Gras Crew
Our Mardi Gras Crew

My daughter, Angie, sets this all up for us every day. This year I decided to cook dinner and bring it down to the parade. Tonight is red beans and rice.

This is me as a Pussyfooter.

Gator Girl Mardi Gras '15
Gator Girl Mardi Gras ’15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mardi Gras y’all!

 

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Songbird

Hi all y’all!

I thought I would welcome the New Year in with a little songbird. I had a plan to paint an alligator swimming among lily pads. I prepped a large canvas for this painting before Christmas.

When I got back into the studio, I felt like playing with art. I painted a few layers of abstract strokes and my favorite symbols. The key to playing with paint like this is to stick with the same temperature of colors in each layer and let the layer dry before the next layer.

I started with yellow, orange and red.

Then blues and greens.

Back to warm colors.

The fun part really begins when I added white.

Then black. I think white and black look great side by side.

I used a BIG canvas to let the New Year know that I am allowed to use materials however I want.

Song Bird, the beginning
Song Bird, the beginning

 

I wanted a woman. So I painted  a face shape with white gesso over the part of the painting that I liked least.

The rest was going to be hair, but the hair was just too big. I liked the rainbow colors in what is now the tail feathers of the bird as well as the breast area.

It was hard to paint out areas I still liked. I was happy to paint over areas that looked like big blotches.

I kind of want to keep her blue, but I might give her flesh tones. Leaning towards a natural skin tone.

I smoothed over the gesso with a plastic hotel key card.

Song Bird, Work In Progress
Song Bird, Work In Progress

The Blush Ball is this Friday. If you want to come, contact me. The tickets are $40 and $60 dollars. We are raising money for  women with children who need to get to a safe place and start over.

You can also buy raffle tickets.

If you can’t attend, I will deliver your winnings.

All for a good cause.

Pussyfooters Blush Ball 2014
Pussyfooters Blush Ball 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing you the best.

Gator Girl

 

 

 

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Distraction

Hi all y’all!

Welcome to super busy December.

Jingle Parade 2014
Jingle Parade 2014, photo by Karen Ocker

The Jingle Parade is super fun. You can tell by how many Pussyfooter’s wanted to do it. Mr. Bingle is the snowman in the middle.

Mr. Bingle is famous in New Orleans. 

Among many distractions, I finished “Distraction”, my first duo painting. The women are in a coffee shop at different tables. One woman is distracted by the humming-bird hovering over the flowers in the second woman’s hair.

 

Hummingbird Distracted

I just entered them in a mixed media competition.

Incite3-600px

I used a ton of mixed media… acrylic paint, Silks Acrylic Paint, foil, paper, lace, thread, gesso, matte gel, Gilders Paste, charcoal pencil, varnish on reclaimed cabinet doors. The competition is to tell a story with your painting. Click on the logo if you want to enter.

Distracted lace

Here are close-ups of my favorite parts. I had this lace collar since I was maybe 12. It has been in my sewing basket for more than 40 years. I trimmed it and inserted it into her sweater using matte gel.

 

Distracted stitching

I painted embossed paper. Then I top-stitched it on my sewing machine. Sewing on paper is one of my all time favorite activities.

It is also a great way to mount children’s art on construction paper to make a quick frame.

 

 

Distracted HummingbirdThe hummingbird has pieces of gold and blue foil applied with matte gel. I painted over the foil about 50% to push the foil back and make it seem more part of the bird. I painted several coats of Acrylic Silks over the humming-bird.

 

 

 

 

Now, the picture of the day. I think this would be a great cover for a coffee table book.

Pussyfooter eating cereal the morning after. Clearly not ready for the party to be over
Pussyfooter the next morning eating cereal. Clearly not ready for the party to be over.

My goal in Spark this month is to paint. The other two things I am balancing December with are getting out and enjoying New Orleans and celebrating a bit of Christmas in our house every day. Balance is sometimes difficult and Spark helps.

Spreading Christmas Joy,

Gator Girl

 

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Power Tools

Hi all y’all!

It has been a while. I think I had a virus. I hope you are doing well. I am much better.

October is the beginning of the time of year when we have to start choosing activities. Things begin to over-lap… This weekend we are choosing the Louisiana Seafood Festival in City Park. 

I embellished another Expecting Grace. This one I am donating to an auction to raise money for St. Andrew’s Village in Abita Springs, Louisiana.

Embellished Grace
Embellished Grace

It is much easier to make something to sell or give away. When someone has pre-ordered, I always worry if they will like it. This one has nice depth and texture. I felt bold with the colors. So far, I am not tired of Grace. I love to spend a couple of days with her.

I am taking a little jump-start class with Cosmic Cowgirls,  called Spark. We make a plan for the month. It is something we want to accomplish that takes 10 or 15 minutes a day. They offer it every month, but I haven’t signed up for about a year. My goal in October is to live my art. With a side note of using power tools. I have a habit of waiting until I can ask my sweet darlin’ to hang pictures, drill holes, cut wood…  I am perusing my house, moving paintings, and using power tools to build and improve things. It has been a physical 8 days.

I made this frame from wood I bought at the salvage place.

Framed Turtle
Framed Turtle

Those mitered corners are hard. I think I did a good job.

I am re-visiting Magnolia. I hope I will be happy with her soon.

Working on Magnolia
Working on Magnolia

She looks much more alive. I am going to bring her hair forward over her ears a little and add magnolia earrings. I cropped and resized the two magnolia flowers on the left and printed them on paper to make her earrings.

More power tool use…

Cabinet doors prior to sanding.
Cabinet doors before sanding.

I wish I took a photo of the doors when I brought them home. They looked like they had sat in dirt of years. I washed them outside with dish soap and a sponge. Then I put them in the bathtub for a day soaking in Charlie Soap and washing them over and over.

I sanded them with my Craftsman Mouse Sander. The sandpaper is peel and stick. The sander has a little nose that gets into corners. I am going to paint on the panels. I plan on them hanging together. Maybe a woman and her flowers or a woman looking at another woman. I don’t know yet.

Wishing you abundance and joy,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

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Garden Fairy

Hi all y’all!

First day of Fall. I love it.

Today is a process and supply day.

I bought some Canva-Paper from Canson. It came in a tablet with 10 sheets, 9 x 12 inches. The paper was going to be just for fun and practice. I had an idea to paint a woman’s face and separately prepare a board, cut out the woman and gel her to the board. The canvas paper is a nice weight and easy to cut. Because of the weight the paper adheres smoothly to a roughly textured board.

I used a spatula and gesso on the board. Then I sanded it so it wouldn’t be quite so textured.

Board behind Garden Fairy
Board behind Garden Fairy

I started painting the woman. My favorite way to paint is to have no idea when I start and just see what happens. It is time-consuming to keep adjusting the image. If I were in a position to solely support myself through my art, I wouldn’t be able to approach this way. I worked most of a week on a painting that I will sell for $150.

Beginning Woman with Flower Hat
Beginning Woman with Flower Hat

I only know she is happy and wearing flowers.

Having Fun with Color
Having Fun with Color

I am starting to see her, but don’t know who she is.

Garden Fairy
Garden Fairy

Between this last photo and the one before it, I changed her ears to fairy ears.

I look at every inch of the painting and see where I am happy. I didn’t like the top left corner, so I put tissue paper in layers on with gel. I like the transparency. You can see glimpses of words and music. Then I painted large leaves on top of the tissue. It makes the fairy look smaller. I think in real life, she is about 11 inches tall. Quite tall for a fairy.

I wish you could see her in person. There is a lot of texture.

texture
texture

You can’t see this close-up too well, but I love when I don’t like an area, then later it is my favorite part.

I picked up the frame at an estate sale. I stained it with the same color I used as the last coat on her face. It is Golden Quinacridone/ Nickel Azo Gold. After I applied the color on the frame, I rubbed some of it off with a damp paper towel.

I feel happy that I finished her on the first day of Fall.

With love and gratitude,

Gator Girl