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Hi all y’all,

I have declared that I would never visit another plantation.

The plantations I have been to in the past are so sad and have a kind of heavy, clingy feeling to them.

I had to eat my words. I had a fabulous trip to the Whitney Plantation last week. When you come to New Orleans I recommend this tour. It is an honest portrayal of slavery on this plantation. I think it is the truth that makes the air feel breathable there.

This is what happened. This is what it was like for the people in slavery. Somehow, unexplainably,  the Whitney Plantation shows the history on the plantation in a way that is bearable and beautiful. The spirits of the people are there and also their names and their personal histories.

Our tour guide grew up 10 miles from the plantation. Because of her last name, it is very likely that her relatives were slaves there. She was entertaining, well spoken, and I could feel how important this history was to her.

Sugar Pots
Sugar Pots
slave quarters
slave quarters

mother and child statue

One of many statues of the different children enslaved on Whitney Plantation
One of many statues of the different children enslaved on Whitney Plantation

I put my Storyville series on hold for a week or so. I decided to paint a young woman who was a slave in Louisiana. I don’t have any information other than her photo. I wish I knew her name. While I was painting her in blacks, browns, buff and white, looking like the early 1900’s, I was smashed with the feeling of present day slavery. Like a ton of bricks.

I started asking everyone who came around too many questions. I couldn’t calm my brain. Did I just want to paint a girl in slavery from the 1900’s because I knew she was free now?

I stayed up late painting. Very late for me, past midnight. I added colors. I thought I added colors in her hair to show depth. I added colors to her dress because I knew I was going to cover her dress with material. The original plan was to glue sack cloth on her dress outline.

The next morning, I saw a slave from the last century in colors. So it is both. Old and continuing slavery.

We can’t deny it.

We shouldn’t deny it if we want the air breathable.

girl slave close-up

NOT FOR SALE is the name of the painting. The painting is for sale. :)
NOT FOR SALE is the name of the painting. The painting is for sale. 

Very truly yours,

Gator Girl



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Art is 99% Heart

Good morning all y’all!

Rain is dripping off the tin roof outside my window. I love that. I heard recently that if you say out loud something you love about someone, something, or some situation thoughout the day, your life will change dramatically for the better. It makes sense to me. Which brings to mind that I love all y’all reading my blog. It warms my heart.

I wish I could share my completed process of my painting, but I think I am 60% done.

Beginning Intention

The words say: making amends for the brutality of the human race, sending love, praying for a brighter future for all people. She is painted on a thin canvas nailed to the top half of a door with square nails repurposed from old shutters.

The woman is young, holding her baby in front of the house she lives in. Her baby is wrapped like a cocoon. She is either working for no or little money. Her hope is for her baby’s future. This woman is of African decent living in America. The painting is for all people in this situation in all the world.

60ish Percent Complete

The woman and the story that the painting is telling unfolded for me. I feel like if I went back in time, and ran into this woman, I would know her. The painting is a little unusual, because it is divided completely in half, with the young mother standing on the line. I painted the woman and waited for what was going to be in her arms. The baby showed up in a cocoon wrap.

I didn’t know what was going to be in the upper right corner and Miss Maggie said that sunflowers need sun. I painted the hot, African, or maybe Louisiana sun. The dots represent souls. Maybe they are supporting her journey, maybe they are waiting to be born, maybe both.

Mags wasn’t happy with the darkness of the cotton field and repeatedly suggested pink flowers and butterflies to lighten it up. I stopped and explained that not to long ago, as crazy as it may seem, the people with darker skin, right here in America had to work for free for the people with lighter skin. My painting is telling that story. She said, “Oh, just like the Pharaoh!” then she broke into a song… let my people go… no, no, no. She got it.

Next week, I will post the completed piece.

One of the interesting things that happened while painting…the words making amends could not be covered with 10 coats of all colors of paint. Maybe this is the name of the painting?

For the exciting update on our park project, please visit

We have a Facebook page called, Friends of Samuel Square Park. Please “like” it.

Keep doing what you love,

and remember to pour your heart into it.

With unreasonable love,

Gator Girl