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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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You Stole My Heart

Hi all y’all!

The holidays are here. Soon to say good-bye to 2013.

I have been thinking back on the year. It was a good year for me. I tried to work hard. Be kind. Practice gratitude. My sweet darlin’ aways says that you can only control your own attitude and effort. I tried.

Vision Board 2013
Vision Board 2013

On my vision board from last year I see that NOLA Groundswell is now a non-profit business. That’s it so far. I applied for a few grants, but I think money is a little tight. No grants yet. I do love Maggie’s input…Good Luck, celebrations and love. My word for the year was VISIBLE. I am heading in that direction.

My last painting for 2013 is competed.

You Stole My Heart

I wanted to paint the love between a mother and daughter. I like the words because they can be spoken by either person. I used a few of my favorite icons… the blue bird of happiness, the home, daisies and a sun. I like the fanciful childlike renderings.

I have some Shasta daisies in my front yard that I planted 30 years ago in Sacramento at our first home. Every time we moved I divided a few plants and moved them with us. 5 moves.  I think that is why I put daisies in so many of my paintings.

The sky and the sun are tissue paper, decroative paper and paint. The words are chip board that I painted white.

I hope you like it.

I am off to visit the in-laws in California.

Have you been thinking about your 2013? I would love to hear.

In hopeful anticipation of 2014,

love,

Gator Girl

 

 

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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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Trusting and Wondering

Good morning all y’all,

I am here today to tell you about an interesting, boring, and somewhat disturbing week. The blogs I follow often have an upbeat and authentic vibe to them. This authenticity is what I offer.

I have been looking forward to this week of absolute aloneness so I can paint, paint and paint. It is always a surprise to me when I am planning on being alone and I am still here. You know, the problem…

I will backtrack.

I woke up Monday morning, got out my sewing machine and started making little girl and doll clothes. In the past, when I was going to sew anything, my family ran for the hills. I have so many issues with sewing that connect with my mother… in an unpleasant way. It usually ends in some kind of break down.

Day 2 of my “aloneness”… Tuesday. Woke up and started sewing. Just sitting with it. Literally all day. Wondering why.

End of day 2
End of day 2

Cute hedgehog jumper. Monkey dress for Curl, Maggie’s baby doll. Bat ray skirt waiting for lace trim. I sewed because I was drawn to it.

Trusting my desire.

I wondered why.

Wednesday, I painted. I painted and watched Netflix on my computer. That was addiction. I know better than to have distractions while I paint.

Thursday, I decided to do what I know. I downloaded George Winston’s, Gulf Coast Blues and Impressions, lit a candle and connected with my painting.

The gulf coast is eroding  and  needs protection. If gulf coast restoration interests you, I like this interview with Tab Benoit.

I am ready to paint, with inspiring music, intentions set. Still wondering… “What’s up with sewing?”

Friends, day 2
Friends, day 2

Starting to like the turtle’s face.

turtle
turtle

This is why I am alone this week.

My babies are in California.
My babies are in California.

Half way through Thursday now. On the right track.

Or was it always the right track?

Trusting,

Gator Girl

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I call this style “Mine”.

Good morning all y’all!

Glitter and Glam is complete. I think will paint a sequel that expresses the Pussyfooter party energy.

Glitter and Glam
Glitter and Glam

What I like about her the most is the use of real jewelry. Her necklace and earring were added after she was painted. The pearls are painted on and the jewel is from an earring. I sewed sequins on her dress. I ordered them from a majorette website, so they wouldn’t be the thin, flimsy kind. I definitely will sew on canvas again. What inspired me to paint this was this beautiful color, Old Holland Iridescent Carmin. I used this color throughout, adding white, orange, black, brown or whatever to change it up.

I framed “I am enough”. She is suspended with eye hooks and copper wire just inside the frame. My sister made the clay embellishments along the top.

I am enough. (In frame)
I am enough. (In frame)

My new painting is on wood. I put three coats of Gesso on the wood, two white coats and one black. If you skimp on the Gesso, it makes it harder to paint. Wood without Gesso, or not enough Gesso, grabs the paint and makes it difficult to spread and mix with other colors.

This painting is called, “That’s what friends are for.” I had the song running through my head while I was painting. Something like, “In good times and oil spills, I’ll be on your side forever more…”

If anyone can make the words flow with oil spill better, I would love to hear from you.

That's what friends are for. 4 or so hours in.
That’s what friends are for. 4 or so hours in.

FYI, there are  thirty species of turtles, tortoises and terrapins in Louisiana. See, not just bugs.

Although we do have stinging caterpillars that drop out of trees making August even more enjoyable. They are deceivingly cute.

Stinging Caterpillar
Stinging Caterpillar

Maggie made this cool picture.

The River
The River

On the left is Paw Paw’s house. On the right is my more beautiful house (my words). In between is a river and Paw Paw in a kayak coming to see me. The window at the top left of my house is open, so I can watch him coming. I totally love this painting/ idea. Frida Kahlo lived in a similar style. Diego and Frida had separate houses with a walkway across. I am thinking that this would be an idea women would favor and men not so much. Maybe we should take a poll.

Wishing you all a happy day.

love,

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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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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In the garden.

Good Morning all y’all!

Happy June! Today is a picture sharing day.

In the garden.
In the garden.

In the garden is finished. I might frame this, but I also like the purple edge. The girl has her hands full. She is balancing her friend on her head. Girls are creative and strong that way. She doesn’t mind getting her hair a little messed up.

Cathy and Dennis
Cathy and Dennis

Cathy and Dennis sent me this picture from their home in California. It makes me so happy to see them with the painting. (The nasty voice in my head is fearful of buyer’s remorse.) They said that Heidi from Parcels and Post wrapped it so well, it could have traveled around the world.

Cathy wrote…

I call the painting WAITING FOR MOSES.
I love what you said about it in your blog when you were painting her. As I remember you were trying to show her in an unhappy place as a slave who had a hard life picking cotton on a plantation, but with the hope of a brighter future for the baby she is holding. The darker side of the painting clearly says this to me and all the brightness is on the right side as the hoped for future. It fit so perfectly for me as I had read and talked with my 3rd graders over the years of Harriet Tubman that many slaves knew and called Moses for secrecy. They called her Moses because she made numerous trips south to lead her people north to freedom. Plantation owners placed a bounty for her dead or alive.

Thank you, Cathy for liking and buying Moses.

Maggie O'Keefe
Maggie O’Keefe

Maggie’s teacher at the JCC taught the kids so much about art and artists this year.

Apparently, 4 year olds are little sponges.

And the JCC teachers are awesome.

 

Maggie Chagall
Maggie Chagall

 

Maggie said, “I was dreaming that the unicorn and me were looking for a lost toy.

The unicorn was dreaming about going to the grocery.”

Now, what’s new with me… and then I will let you go.

warm colors
warm colors

Acrylic paint dropped on canvas with a lot of water.

warm colors with salt
warm colors with salt

Added Kosher salt. Let dry completely. Brushed off salt into the sink.

 

warm colors with cool blues

warm colors with cool blue

 

Painted intuitively, whimsically, with abandon. I used brushes, my fingers, more water and a little bit of ink.

I don’t know the end version of this painting. I am hoping a crow turns up… a whimsical crow… with a friend.

I have been busy painting a dresser and a chandelier. I will show you next week. They are both going in my studio, so I am just having fun with them.

Wishing you all a fabulous summer,

filled with good luck, happy celebrations, and love.

Gator Girl

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Candle or Mirror?

Hi all y’all!

I am inspired today by a poem I found on-line. I decided to name my most recent painting after one of the lines. The poem is, “Be Strong. Be Confident. Be You.”~ Copyright: Tia Sparkles Singh, 2011. You can read it here. The line I borrowed is, “Stronger than you know.”

She was originally called, Born Hip".
She was originally called, “Born Hip”.
Maybe a third of the way finished here. It is a large canvas. 24 x 36
She is, maybe, a third of the way finished here. It is a large canvas. 24 x 36
Strength
Stronger Than You Know

I don’t think I used any cool painting techniques that I haven’t written about before. This is the first time I painted a border on the canvas. I knew what I was painting when my hands touched the canvas, but not before. She wanted to wear all red, and not have any red elsewhere on the painting.

The background was red inside the border in the beginning, then I added white with a roller, then the teal with a brush.

I used Caran D’Ache water-soluble crayons for fun and for the crayony look. To make the crayons permanent, I used Golden spray varnish when I was completely done.

“Strength” was the only title I could hear.

The next painting is, “In The Garden”.

In The Garden
In The Garden

I am showing part of the easel so you can tell she is in progress. I was going to paint her with an “Oh my!” mouth, but Maggie said she is just giving her friend a ride on her head because her hands are full. I liked that better. I love chickens.

 

Raffi is beginning his 3 year old painting.
Raffi is beginning his 3-year-old painting.

His favorite color is blue. His next favorite is orange. His third favorite color is blue and orange.

Gator Agent, JanMy newest Gator Agent. This photo makes me laugh, because when she was teaching kindergarten, she dressed like this one day (without the mustache) and her students didn’t recognize her. I am thinking she is still incognito.

The King Gator  original has sold. I think he sold to his soul mate.

King Gator Says Wager it All!
King Gator Says, “Wager it All!”

There are two ways of spreading light. To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton.

With loving abundance and sparkly light (reflected or not),

Gator Girl