I’ve decided that I paint my best when I chose exactly what I want to paint and paint exactly how I want. This is Black Girl Magic.
I found a board in the garage and a frame that I got at an estate sale of a local artist who passed a few years ago. The frame had some damage to a paper coating, that I knew paint wouldn’t cover. I ordered some party napkins that were black with gold dots. I separated the layers, cut them in strips and adhered to the frame with Liquitex Gloss Medium.
I love painting on a board, because it is recycling. It is very different than canvas. It has little absorbency. Board is not as forgiving.
I am including 6 stages of the painting. First, I painted 2 layers of black gesso and 2 layers of black acrylic ink. I drew her face with chalk. I tried out some transparent brown paint. At this step, I sprayed the painting with Grumbacher Matte Varnish to hold the chalk in place.
Next, I painted layers of transparent red and transparent yellow. I didn’t mix the paint. I used transparent blue for the shadows. (I am loving transparent paint.) I highlighted with titanium white on a dry brush.
Then, more layers of red, yellow and blue. Trying out some hair and a large bead necklace. I can see her personality now.
Feeling confident. Her and I.
I thought I was finished, but decided I didn’t like the stylized highlights that worked on Booker.
Finished, probably. I might darken her eyelashes a little. I never know how far to go with lashes.
I just finished, sealed and varnished a new painting. I got my idea from a photo on line of Ruthie the Duck Girl. She is a New Orleans icon. When she was a child, her mother put her hair in ringlets to look like Shirley Temple. She sent her out on roller skates with her pet duck and charged for photos. Ruthie continued to walk/roll around the Quarter all of her life often in a wedding dress. She sold postcards and posed for photos. She was born in 1934 and passed away in 2008. I love this story and that people in New Orleans supported her and her eccentric behavior.
So, I was looking at photos of Ruthie and wanted to paint her. I thought to myself or maybe out loud, “I wish I liked to paint ducks.”.
Shopping reminds me of going to a parade or to a girls lunch on a warm, humidish Saturday. They are both fixed up and wearing their pink nail polish. Best friends excited to be out during a pandemic lull.
The painting is 24 x 30 inches, acrylic paint, charcoal and varnish.
My favorite thing about this painting is the plaster wall. I think I nailed it. My next favorite thing is their relationship.
Remember me? It’s been a year since I painted anything to share. I think it was a combination of painting too many commissions and the world wide pandemic. Painting started to feel less creative and more like work. The never leaving my house part of the pandemic was not stimulating.
I feel like painting again and also feel like sharing.
Jazz Fest is going on in New Orleans right now. It is especially wonderful because it has been 2 years. Everyone is so happy to be out eating great food, seeing excellent art and watching amazing musicians. It’s hot. Sometimes very hot. If you pace yourself, rest and hydrate, it is all enjoyable.
When in doubt, I paint an alligator. This one is a happy baby. I love his baby teeth. I am not sure why the girl is a little startled. Maybe she is surprised by her new pet.
I am close to finishing another painting. I will share it as soon as next week. It’s called, Shopping for Pretty Things in the French Quarter.
All the best. Pray for Ukraine, Roe Vs. Wade, our world any way that you do.
I will be working hard for about the next 4 to 6 months. I wasn’t going to share this until I believed it myself. The people buying art for the new wing of the Children’s Hospital commissioned 30 paintings. They are giving me 10 months to finish them, but I think I will be done in 6. We’ll see.
The paintings are all 18 x 24 gallery wrapped canvas. I am painting happy paintings that tell a story and that I think the children will like. They gave me few restrictions. No flying birds, no angels, no blood or menacing teeth. I made a few of my own restrictions. I am doing only acrylic paint and not adding paper or glitter so they will be easy to clean. I am giving them an extra coat of varnish.
The first 10 are complete. I think the last 10 will be the hardest, if I run out of ideas. I painted a version of a few paintings that I have already done because the people commissioning the paintings liked them and I liked them.
Let me know what yourfavorite is so far and also if you have painting suggestions. Excuse the photography. Some of the colors are a little off. I don’t have professional photos yet.
It is kind of fun to paint prolifically and not wonder when and where the paintings are going. I made a bulk order of 30 canvases and bought a bunch of paint, brushes and varnish.
Accepting New Members 2 (She is not really that yellow.)
I was recently inspired by the words of Reda Rackley. I don’t know Reda in person. We are Facebook friends. She is also and artist. She wrote, “She took off her halo and wore it as a necklace.”
I have permission to use Reda’s words in my art.
I might have painted her too quickly because I felt I had to get her down on canvas. She reminds me of the recently elected women to Congress. I was also thinking of the powerful women’s march this year. That was before it was cancelled in New Orleans.
I like her urban-ness, her basic black, her deadpan stare. Her halo looks like glittery barbed wire.
She is not listed for sale anywhere. I will send her to you for $200 + shipping if you would like to have her around to inspire you in these tenuous times.
She is 16 x 20 inches, acrylic, glitter, varnish on canvas. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is my most recent painting. Yemaya, Goddess of the Ocean and the New Year. Click on the link and read all about her.
The Pussyfooters were invited to a Second Line and ceremony for Yemaya about 2 months ago (Fresh Johnson narrates the Second Line video and is a Pussyfooter). This was the first I had heard of Yemaya. We raised money by selling raffle tickets. It was the kind of raffle where you split the pot. Part of the money went for our police escort. You need to have a permit and police to close the streets for the Second Line. Part of the money went for the brass band. Part of the money went for women in Orleans Parish Prison who cannot post bail. Sometimes a woman is sent to the prison because of a traffic ticket that she cannot pay. She doesn’t have any money for bail, her kids are put in foster care, she loses her job, and she waits. Part of the money goes to the lucky winner whose name is drawn. In this case the lucky winner put her winnings in with the bail money. We raised $800.
We had a Second Line to the river where the leader said a beautiful prayer to Yemaya and made offerings of fruit. Eli Mergel took photos.
I wanted to paint Yemaya immediately. I love to paint women. I also like a goddess. I am donating the original painting to the raffle table at Blush Ball. Blush Ball is where the Pussyfooters raise the most money. Anyone can go to the Blush Ball. It costs $40 or $60 a ticket. With the $60 ticket you get in an hour early and drink for free for that hour. It is really fun. The Pussyfooters perform. There is a band and a DJ. And a raffle table where you will find an original Yemaya.
FYI, the Pussyfooters raise money all year for women and children. We usually raise between $20,000 and $30,000 in the year.
That took a lot of words to share my painting. I hope you like her.
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’s very cold here. Cold for us. Because most of the houses are raised 3 or so feet when it freezes our pipes freeze and sometimes break. We keep a trickle of water running in our faucets and hoses. Sometimes the pipes still break.
This is my first large painting in the series New Orleans Musicians. I think I will paint six. The musicians will be close up and I am planning on putting their instrument somewhere in the painting. There might be a corresponding cool cat painting. We’ll see.
James Booker was one cool guy. You can watch a movie called Bayou Maharaja on Netflix. I think the movie has all the footage ever filmed of James Booker. I am not very musical, but even I can tell his piano playing is amazing.
I am historically terrible at following through on a series. I have three 30×40 inch canvases gessoed in black to encourage me.
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 email@example.com.
I am back to painting the book, Hey. So, I’m a Baby.