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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!

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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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See Prince in Florida!

Hi all y’all,

I have “met” the nicest people. They live in Florida and have purchased 3 paintings. That is not why they are nice. (Well a little bit why.) We have 33 messages between us. I have high hopes for this relationship. They are coming to New Orleans in February 2017.

Seriously, I work alone all day and words of encouragement are priceless.

This is exactly how I met Rene and Amy. It started with a Rene buying Feathered Friends and turned into life-long friends. You can read about Rene and Amy. I highly recommend it. It is one of the coolest things that has happened in my life.

This is Melissa and Phillip’s wall in their house.

Melissa and Phillip's Wall
Melissa and Phillip’s Wall

The following is how I made the frames. If you aren’t into making frames, feel free to skip this.

I framed the  two Prince paintings in red oak plywood. The part you see in the front is nice looking red oak. The sides looked like plywood. I gessoed the sides to mimic the sides of a canvas. Then I painted them black with the same acrylic paint that I used on the paintings.

I bought some purple stain, but the oak was too hard for the stain to sink in like I wanted. I went back to my comfort zone and thinned out some permanent violet dark Golden acrylic paint with Liquitex varnish. I think the color is wonderful. That same violet is in some of the darker areas of the paintings. Lastly, I sealed the frames two times in varnish. Next time, I won’t even shop. I will just use my paints.

The bad news is… even with my new blade, I made a couple of errors in the cutting. It takes some practice to cut enough, but not too much. If you don’t look too closely, you won’t notice.

Melissa and Phillip are happy and that is what I wanted.

And I want all y’all to be happy, too. Let’s have a happy summer.

With loving wishes,

Gator Girl

 

 

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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 

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The Kiss

Hi all y’all!

I have painted The Kiss for more than a month. I chose the elements and found some reference photos in Annie Hamman’s Class. Spots, the alligator at the Audubon Zoo had just passed on and I wanted to honor his life. I didn’t rework the painting during the month, I just worked on it.

Here’s how…

Sketch of The Kiss
Sketch of The Kiss

It started with black gesso. It has a rich, dark, mat finish. Then I added three or so coats of black acrylic ink. If you use acrylic ink (vs. India ink) it won’t bleed through into your paint. The ink made it even darker and shinier.

A little color
A little color

I doesn’t matter too much what color you start with usually, but I wanted to limit the colors this time. Spots was a white alligator and I wanted to accentuate this throughout the painting.

The Kiss, midway
The Kiss, midway

I mostly paint women and alligators. Landscapes not so much. I started with what I know and like best. I think because I have spent a lot of time with my daughter’s dog, Kenobi, his personality came out in the alligator’s love for the girl.

Kenobi
Kenobi

I textured her shirt with a scrap piece of lace collar. I laid the collar down and stippled hard molding paste, mixed with green paint through the lace. I mixed paint with the molding paste so I could see where the pattern was going. I liked the green shirt, but I wanted white.

Lace Collar
Lace Collar

The month-long journey included enlarging the alligators front foot, changing the angle of the girls foot, shortening the logs… and lets not even talk about the sky.

The Kiss
The Kiss

I plan on framing it in some reclaimed green wood that I have saved.

The original Shotgun Angel has moved to Florida. It is so exciting! (The link is for prints.)

Shotgun Angel
Shotgun Angel

If you have wondered what it is like to work at home… It is mostly lovely. The usual things you hear apply. I am in the shirt I slept in, I am close to coffee and more coffee, I am doing what I love. The hard part is the pull from the house. There are always things that need doing here… laundry, dinner, bills… I like doing all of that, too, so it is hard to ignore.

Right now, I am going to go out on the porch and paint the trim. The trim is not pulling me.

Lovingly,

Gator Girl

 

 

 

 

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Artist I adore… Annie Hamman

Hi all y’all!

I am taking an on-line class from Annie Hamman. She was Kazakhstan born and has lived the past 16 years in South Africa. Here is a link to her website, Annie’s Website

Annie
Annie

 

I don’t know when I have enjoyed an art class so much. I am picking up a few ideas to help me progress in my painting. For example, I use reference photos when I don’t know what something I want to paint looks like. Annie gathers all the references before she starts painting. OK that’s all. I don’t want to give her class away.

This is the beginning of the painting I am doing with the class.

The Kiss
The Kiss

The shiny part is black acrylic ink, the mat part is black gesso. I like the idea of starting out all black.

The alligator is Spots, the leucistic gator that just passed away at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Spots was rescued from the wild as a baby. White alligators cannot survive unprotected from the sun and predators. He lived at the Zoo for 28 years.

I am painting him outside at night. That way he will be free from the zoo, but not baking in the sun.

That’s it for now.

In love and gratitude,

Gator Girl (click here for my website:)

 

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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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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