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Tropical Storm

Hi all y’all!

We’ve had a lot of rain here. Even after living in New Orleans for 6 years, I expect the rain to be cold. In California most of the rain happens in the winter. Sometimes, in New Orleans,  I make hot chocolate in my air-conditioned house and don’t realize it is 90 degrees outside.

This is “Tropical Storm”.

I like a tropical storm if I can stay inside. A tropical storm can mean a lot of wind and rain. We bring things inside that might blow around the yard.

The unsettling thing about a tropical storm is that it can turn into a hurricane. I live near a lot of people with Hurricane Katrina PTSD, with good reason.

This makes the tension rise.

I painted this during Tropical Storm Cindy. She did not develop further.

Here is some storm information…

In a tropical depression the winds start to circulate. When the winds exceed 38 mph, it turns into a Tropical Storm. The maximum wind speed in a tropical storm is 73 mph. A hurricane has wind rotation with speeds of 74 mph and above.

Hurricanes are rated 1 through 5.

1 is 74-95 mph

2 is 96-110 mph

3 is 111-129 mph

4 is 130-156 mph

5 is greater than 156 mph

Almost all hurricanes happen during hurricane season. Where I live, the season is from June 1 through November 30. Most hurricanes happen in August and September and rarely in November.

I changed the starry sky in the most recent Swamp Girl painting. Looking at the painting close-up, the sky looked ragged. I smoothed it out and added some tiny dots for stars. Painting some stars blue and leaving some stars silver made some stars look farther away.

So far, so good.

Looking forward to a sunny tomorrow,

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,


Gator Girl




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Here Come the Girls

Hi all y’all!

Here is some music to listen to as you read my blog this morning. I love this song.

Here Come the Girls is one of the songs we march to during Carnival. Sometimes, my sweet darlin’ acts as a Pussy Handler and sweeps the beads off of the street, straddles horse poop, and holds the crowds back. He says the parade watchers see us coming and start shouting, “The Pussyfooters are coming!”. This is a rather fantastic explanation. Even hard for me to believe. The entirety of this explanation is the motivation for my painting. And I just wanted to say, “Pussy Handler”.

Here Come the Girls
Here Come the Girls

The Blush Ball is put on by the Pussyfooters. We are raising $30,000 this year for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. I am donating the original painting to the raffle.

Blush Ball Flyer
Blush Ball Flyer

I always donate when asked. I usually donate prints and giclee’s. For tax purposes, you can only write off the painting supplies that you used. Time and talent are not considered. Crazy. For the Ball, I am making an exception.

Writing the blog this morning is clearing something up for me. In the beginning of October, I decided I wanted to take my art to a festival or two. This idea and the following actions threw me into a head spin. I am starting to recover. I made jewelry with images of my paintings. I ordered extra prints, many extra prints, and some giclee’s. My inventory was starting to overwhelm me. I started to lose faith. I went into a mind cave.

Danielle Laporte whispered to me through my Kindle, “You’ve never been where you are going. You’ll figure it out. You’re the only one who can.”

Crawling out, I see the light. I am back on my path.

Here are the finished flags for my booth. My supportive sister sewed them together.

Gator Girl Art Banner
Gator Girl Art Banner

Putting one foot in front of the other.

Thanks for being here.

With unrelenting 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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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
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





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Shotgun Angel framed!

Hi all y’all,

Thanks to my daughter, Katy, Shotgun Angel is framed  in the wood that I want for her. I cut one side too short and we replaced it with another piece of screen door. I thought I had wrecked the frame, but no.

I am still looking for 2 skeleton keys to hang from the door handle.

Shotgun Angel framed
Shotgun Angel framed

I think I might lighten the sky a little in the darker parts… sitting with that idea for a while.

In the last 2 weeks, 2 women told me that they wanted to paint, but don’t. I would like to tell anyone that wants to paint:

Show up.

Start anywhere.

Keep painting.

I have taken classes on and off through the years. I got serious about painting when I took a class from Shiloh Sophia of the Cosmic Cowgirls. She empowers women and teaches a spiritual side of painting.

I learned how to draw proportional bodies from Jane Davenport.

If I am having a problem, I sometimes watch a YouTube tutorial.

A drawing class at the local junior college helps teach you how to see objects by their lines and curves. Wherever you see your next place to grow, go there.

For inspiration, I take a class called Lifebook from Tam Laporte. It is only $99 a year and you get weekly on-line tutorials from different artists.

If you want to paint, paint.

It can save your soul.

It can save the world.

With ever-loving gratitude,

Gator Girl

P.S. It is OK to spend money on paint.


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Justice in Progress

Justice on PaperHi all y’all!

Carnival is upon us. 7 days until I sashay down St. Charles with the Pussyfooters. I am so lucky to be a part of this fabulous group of women.

Today, I am sharing a process. I painted this on Bristol paper. It was a little frustrating for me because I usually paint, paint again, paint over… I had to be a little more gentle with the paper. There are aspects that I like, and things I want to change.

I am painting a version of this same idea on a canvas.

Justice in Progress
Justice in Progress

What I wanted originally were hearts. It is a painting about love and our justice system. The new painting is making me happy with so many hearts. You might not see any hearts in the completed painting. It is important that they are there. I especially like the heart that the two women make with their bodies.

I found this quote, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” —Theodore Parker. Mr. Parker was an abolitionist who lived and died in the 19th century. I think he would be honored to be a proponent of marriage equality.

I will somehow put his quote on the painting. Right now, I am imagining it written on the arc of the rainbow.

I just wanted to check in. I don’t like to miss a week.

Next time I post, it will be my vision board for 2013. Miss Maggie is helping me with it. Her words are perfect.

With abundant love,

Gator Girl

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Shotgun Angel

Good Morning all y’all!

I feel like I am finally back after the holidays and the flu. It might seem like a crazy thing to say, but being ill and sleeping 12 hours a day, does give a person time to reflect.

My word for 2013 is VISIBILITY. This word by itself might have thrown me back in bed for a few days. I plan on making my art visible to the public. I am thinking restaurants and a gallery. On the first of January, I was totally freaked out by this word until I realized 2013 is a whole year.  I am currently making myself visible in my fish nets and corset. Pussyfooters is turning out to be a fun way to give back to the community. We make events sparkly and pink.

Orpheus 13th Night
Orpheus 13th Night

I found out at this event that the  Pussyfooter women are totally nice. After this picture Miss Camille and Miss Becky tightened my corset until I looked like Miss Scarlet (in my mind). I was grateful. I had no idea you weren’t suppose to breathe.

I am nearly finished with Shotgun Angel.

The first thing I did was spray the canvas with Ink Spray Dylusions London Blue. If you want to try this, it gives a nice continuity to the painting, but be forewarned, the blue bleeds through as many layers of paint that you put on. At some point you might want to stop the bleed by painting some parts in clear gesso. Otherwise, your yellow house will keep turning green.

Next, I dropped paint on the background, straight from the bottle: white, yellow and purple. Then I sprayed alcohol on the paint drops and walked away.

I put layers of paint, drops of paint, sprayed more alcohol until I liked the background.

I drew the wings on the painting with white chalk. Then I laid the cellophane on top of the chalk outline. I drew the wings on the cellophane with a black sharpie a little bit bigger than what I wanted.

I painted her wings by spraying a mixture of glue, Pearl Ex violet powder, and alcohol on the underside for sparkle. I learned this from Bonnie Rose Bryan on Lifebook 2012. On the front of the wings, I painted featherish stuff with Golden Acrylic Titanium White. As an added bonus, the cellophane glows in the dark. Cellophane adds just the right amount of transparency for wings and lays totally flat.

I cut the wings out mostly inside the black lines. They are adhered with Golden Gel Medium.

When I look at the photo of my painting, I don’t like her dress outlined in white.

I do love how the stoops turned out.

I had to resist adding tiny details like birds and cats.

I am planning to frame this in old wood from an old shotgun house.

If there is anything that I left out, that you would like to know… just ask.

Shotgun Angel
Shotgun Angel

I was listening to Billie Holliday Pandora when I painted this. The angel must have been listening, too.

I have my next painting in mind. It is a political statement.

Thanks for checking out my blog. It makes me feel grounded and happy to connect with you.

With abundant love and gratitude,

Gator Girl


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Angel Appearing with Attitude

Hi all y’all!

On a beautiful winter day and the longest night of the year, Happy Winter Solstice.

I am painting my favorite painting. It has all the elements that I love. It is definitely New Orleans and full of magic and attitude.

Shotgun Angel in progress
Shotgun Angel in progress

It is a little know fact that Shotgun houses have their own angel. When she appeared on my canvas, I immediately fell in love. She is going to have cool cellophane wings. The nice people at Rouse’s Market gave me a cellophane sleeve without buying the flowers.

Here is Alligator Bliss in progress.

Alligator Bliss in progress
Alligator Bliss in progress

The glitter paper on his leg shows through the glass, but you can’t tell what it is with the glass on top.

This is my finished Alligator Bliss. I tried building up the background with molding paste. It made the swamp grass look pretty cool. I wanted parts of the painting raised to balance the safety glass I used for scales. That is also why I put tile along the bottom.

Alligator Bliss
Alligator Bliss

Do you notice the  yellow dotted paper on the alligator stomach? It is the same piece of paper I used on the curly hair of women. I am on the look out for another piece of bubble paper, now that I am hooked on its usefulness.

I made this little Christmas decoration for my daughter and her girlfriend. It is their dachshund with antlers and one of their rats. Cami, the dog, looks like a deer in headlights. The rat is quizzical. I painted it on a left-over piece of our dining room table.

Cami and rat
Cami and rat

Wishing you all the blessings of the season. Time for this gator girl to look over the past years events and make plans for 2013. Time sure does fly.


Gator Girl




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Alligator Bliss

Hi all y’all!

We are having the most beautiful fall weather. Seems like it might be perfect for my first Pussyfooters parade next Saturday. I am looking forward to seeing what dancing in front of crowds is like, basically so the nightmares of being exposed in public stop. I feel compelled to do it because it has been a lifelong dream to be in a dance group. (note to parents: just let your kids live their childhood dreams in childhood. The dreams don’t just vanish with a “no”.) With the Pussyfooters, I met the requirements of having or living like I have vagina and being over 30. Yea me! I qualify. The Krewe of Jingle parade is on Canal Street.

Two more awesome reasons to join with the Pussyfooters are the service we do for the community, raising money to support and empower women, and for me to meet other women. Since I work at home now, I feel the need to get out and into the community for mental health.

I have two paintings to share today. I finished the La Virgen de Guadalupe. I just need to varnish her to protect her from dust and uv rays. I am also giving the person who commissioned her a chance to see her before I take her to be packaged and shipped. I painted the virgin how I think she would appear to the person I painted her for. I added the traditional saint card near the bottom of the canvas. 

La Virgen de Guadalupe

I am starting a new painting just for fun on a piece of reclaimed wood. It is just a scrap of wood that I am going to frame in old wood from an old house. It is called Alligator Bliss.

I have some safety glass from a broken car window. It looks like the scales on an alligator’s legs and shoulders. It looks really cool to see the paint through the broken glass. The trouble I am having is the glass is raised up higher than the rest of the gator. My plan is to just continue on with the plan, hoping that it all turns out. Maybe I could put a piece of glass over the whole painting when I frame it. (Insert here any of your good ideas.)

He is not much to see yet. (Why are my alligators always men?)

Alligator Bliss in Progress

I laid some glass on the painting so you can see how cool it looks. Maybe it will be OK just to have the glass parts a little higher. Hmmm.

Looking forward to feedback.

With unending love and gratitude,

Gator Girl