CHAIRish the Children – Groovy Gator

Just like last year, I’m donating a chair for the Louisiana Children’s Museum CHAIRish the Children event.  The theme this year is the funky 1970’s!  So fun!  My initial instinct was disco balls and afro wigs but I decided to go a different avenue.  I always like to incorporate a green eyed gator because the donation is coming from the gallery.  So I did a gator head on top of a 70’s inspired floral print.  I ordered some faux gator fabric off of etsy and upholstered seat of the chair with it.  I hammered some brass tacks around the whole base.  I’m really, really happy with it!  It’s one of those pieces I finished and then just wanted to keep for myself.

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So there it is!  I dropped it off yesterday in time for it to be showcased during White Linen Night.  The event is on August 23rd.  It was a blast last year and so I’m looking forward to this year’s party!

Majestic as F*ck

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So you guys remember when I mentioned that eagle bike I was working on?  Yeah, of course you do because EAGLE BIKE!  Well, I finished it and it made its debut this carnival season with the artist krewe of Kolossos.  My friend Katrina runs both Kolossos and The Bearded Oysters which is how I came to be involved in this project.  I put many hours into it and it was so worth it, I mean look at the picture above this paragraph from mardigraparadeschedule.com.  That’s me with four Saints super fans majestically carrying red white and blue ribbon poles behind me.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt or looked cooler.  I may never look that cool again.  Freedom!

ImageI was doing non-stop paper mache while at my shop for three days straight, eight hours a day.  I was dreaming about it at night.  Everyone that came into the gallery loved it and kept asking, “So this is for The Mardi Gras?!”  It is, I would reply and think about how it’s odd that tourists feel the need to turn Mardi Gras into THE Mardi Gras.  Then I would just keep on sopping up glue water with phone book strips.  I took her on a test drive around the quarter to make sure she was road worthy, fixed some problem spots, and brought her to the art lofts where I painted her all up.

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It only took me one day to paint thanks to Katrina having already done a base coat of white for me.  My sister Erin stopped by when she got off work and painted the claws for me.  She also brought me a slice of pizza from Pizza Delicious which was much needed fuel at that point.  Thanks Ern, shout out to you!

ImageImageMuses was the tricycle’s grand debut.  I wanted to be equally as fabulous as the bike so I made a huge feather head piece (because, necessary).  As for my dress, I got it from a costume liquidation sale from a theater last month.  It was a Donald Duck costume made for a chunky child which ended up being an almost perfect fit for me.  I chopped off the arms, added some sequin trim, and called it good to go.

ImageImageHow amazing does it look lit up?!  Amazing!  I can’t take any credit for that, I know nothing about adding lights to art trikes.  I rode it again on Saturday for Tucks and had an amazing time that day as well.  I got a lot of “MERICA!!!!” along the route and successfully started many “USA! USA!” chants too.  I’m hoping more pictures will surface in the next week or two because I was posing like a crazy lady.  The one above this paragraph and below were both taken by one of my fabulous artists from the shop.  Thanks, Loopy Boopy!  And that’s that.  Every year, when Mardi Gras ends, I’m sad that it’s over but excited to try and top my costuming and parading next year!

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New Paintings

ImageTonight is the opening of the carnival themed show I’ve got going on at the shop and holy cow, it looks like a Mardi Gras bomb exploded in the store.  Pictures of that to follow; but first, I’m SO excited to have some of my work in the gallery again.  If you follow along with my blog then you know I inherited a WHOLE bunch of vintage Mardi Gras beads from the previous owners of the house we’re renovating.  Feeling inspired by the sweet note they left me, I wanted to figure out something to do with them.  I had painted some florals for my sister’s business cards and because of that, the idea of plant based pieces popped into my head.  I most like painting people and faces so ethereal women seemed like an obvious choice to compliment the flowers.  I decided to go with indigenous flowers to base each painting off of and that the canvases would have beads sewn into them.  I won’t like when I say I’m not the best at sewing but I found my groove while working on these and I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

So with my theme in mind, I did some sketches.  I always think it’s interesting to peek inside of other people’s sketchbooks and I hope you do too!

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Laurel was one I wanted to do even though it’s more of a leafy plant than a flower.  The house we purchased is on Laurel Street so it felt like a must.  Laurel crowns are, and always have been, very popular in art and architecture so I wanted to incorporate that idea.  I got REALLY carried away with the beading on this one.  They’re all through out her crown and on her robe.  She’s wearing them as well as holding a strand as if she’s waiting to give it away.  I used one of the fabulous old hanging “Made in Czechoslovakia” tags on the hanging strand of beads.ImageImageImageImage

Camellia was actually the first sketch I completed.  I associate Camellias with the south; they’re the state flower of Georgia and hello, Camellia Grill, anyone?!  I decided early on that I wanted to do a teal background with a gold stencil on top.  They have something along those lines in the dressing room of Trashy Diva Lingerie and I’ve always loved it.  Plus they’re my neighbors at the store so it felt like a natural choice.ImageImage

Iris, with its purple flowers, lent herself to becoming the embodiment of Mardi Gras.  After decided to used a stencil for Camellia, I wanted to carry that theme through out and a Fleur de Lis felt like the obvious choice for Ms. Iris.  She ended up getting REALLY purple, which I love in conjunction with her lime green background and her gold accenting.ImageImage

Last but not least, Magnolias are basically the most Southern flower around.  It’s the state flower of Louisiana (and Mississippi) and I just love them.  I really love the way Ms. Magnolia turned out.  She’s wearing one of my most favorite strands of beads.  It’s the black and gold one with the big teal bead in the center.  Speaking of the beading I used all broken strands in the flowers and I ended up sacrificing some intact stands for the women to wear; that’s true of all four paintings.  Iris is wearing one of my other favorite strands; it’s the one in the center that’s purple, green, and gold.ImageImageImage

Finally, I wanted to have a couple smaller paintings of just solo florals with some beading worked in for those who loved the large scale oils but couldn’t afford a big one.  I ended up only finishing two of those in time for tonight’s opening but I plan on doing more.  I’m feeling happy and inspired again and I can’t wait to get back to work after the carnival season is over.  Until then I have a lot of costuming and parading to do!

I’m a Glutton for Stress

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It’s true, I can’t help myself.  I constantly take on way too much.  I know I’m doing it and that I’m going to make myself crazy, but I do it anyway.  I currently have tons of projects in the works.  The way I get myself through times like these is I say, “It’s only six weeks of my life.  Or it’s only a week I won’t be sleeping…”  You know, things like that.  Currently, one of my big projects being the eagle bike.  It’s a mini man powered Mardi Gras float that I’ll be riding during Muses and Tucks.  Holy crap do I have a lot of paper mache to do.  I’m working on it while I’m at the store because all of my time on my days off is spent working on paintings for a group show I’m hosting at the gallery on February 20th.  I’m putting in really long days painting but it will be so worth it when I have some of my own work in the gallery again.  Here are some of the canvases I’m working on in various stages of completion.

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ImageWhen I finish these gals I’ll post in full about the meaning behind each along with a photo.  I may be hella busy but I’m still taking time to have some fun.  Last night was the 610 Stomper Debutante Ball and it was a blast.  It was 80’s themed, Six Ten Candles, hence those glorious getups.Image

Bring on my most favorite time of year!

The Doll Show and The Most Surprised I’ve EVER Been

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I know the opening of the Doll Show was back on December 7th, but with the holidays I’m just now getting around to posting about it!  It feels like that always seems to be happening these days.  I’m happy to report, it went swimmingly!  The hanging day was a long one.  Thank god my friend (and one of the artists I carry at the store year round), Scott, was there to help me do it.  We were working from 10am to 10pm but we got all of the pieces up on the walls and out on their pedestals.  I also have a friend who blogs for Huffington Post and asked if she could feature the show to which I replied, “Uh, DUH!  Yes, yes please.”  That article went up the day of the show and you can check it out here.

The weather that night was crappy as crappy can be; cold, misty rain and because of it there was no one walking around.  That didn’t stop our party and we had a great turn out considering.

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ImageImageImageImageThat first picture is of my finished bottle toppers.  I’m really happy with how they turned out!  I’ll definitely be playing around with polymer clay again.  Thank you to my wonderful friends and family who made the show a success!  It will be running through January so make sure to pop in and see it if you haven’t already.

So now for the surprise!  My FAVORITE piece from the show was “Mr. Fred.”  When the artist brought him in, I instantly fell in love.  I wanted to buy him for myself and when I told Nate he poo pooed the idea and ended up talking me out of it.  He then went behind my back and had my sister Erin pretend like some one from her work had seen it and wanted to buy it for his girlfriend for Christmas.  Erin told me she had shown them the Huffington slide show and that was how he had known he wanted to buy it.  She made up such an elaborate lie, that she told me his girlfriend specialized in “dark fairy tale tattoos” and that she was going to just die when she got it.  Erin gave me the cash for the piece and I packaged Fred up with a thank you not to “Sam” and gave him to Erin to bring to work with her.  So yeah, I totally bought it…hook line and sinker.  In the week or two between when Mr. Fred left the shop to Christmas, I actually told people about how awesome he was and how I had wanted to buy him.  I showed them pictures on my phone.  I regretted not having purchased him for myself.  Well, Nate had been rubbing in how amazing my Christmas present was and how my mind was going to be blown on Christmas morning when I opened it, so when I ripped apart that wrapping paper and saw Mr. Fred there I was so overwhelmed by surprise I actually started crying.  The sneakiest and BEST husband ever, I tell you.  How was your Christmas?  Mine certainly was a merry one!  More on that next time.Image

Doll Show This Weekend

ImageThis weekend, I’m hosting my first actual gallery opening at the shop.  I’ve done many parties with new art on display but this is the first time I am ever actually shutting down the store for a whole day to rearrange, prepare, and hang artworks.  Kook Teflon made this show possible.  She’s a fabulous doll maker whose work I’ve been carrying for the past year and the one who curated the show.  I’ll just be adorning the gallery walls with the dolls and enjoying them all month long.  Every box of art I have opened so far has been amazing.  I am currently very stressed out with the daunting days I have ahead of me and also extremely excited.  I (very last minute) created two pieces that I will paint tomorrow so that they can be a part of the show as well.  They’re bottle toppers for you bar!  Pardon the poor picture quality.  Each has a beer to sit on top of.  The horned on is Krampus (obviously) and the bald guy with big ears is Horace the Bad Elf.  They can move from bottle to bottle with ease making them, in my opinion, the perfect addition to any holiday bar!  Expect pictures of the show to follow!

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Fancy as Hell, Mannequins

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I bought some mannequin heads several months ago.  You see, I was looking for some heads for displays when I happened upon this Esty shop.  I was smitten but I didn’t have an extra $900+ laying around so I decided to give mannequin painting a try and I’m so glad I did.  I started face and body painting in high school and all throughout college, I thought I wanted to move into special effects make up.  I ended up focusing on fine art and this ended up being such a fun way to merge my two loves.

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I found some cheap mannequin heads on ebay and decided to start with three.  These were originally going to be just your fun, run of the mill, displays but then I got really carried away.  I’m talkin’ really carried away.  I used paper clay to mold whatever additions I had decided upon to each head and then gave each one two coats of gesso as a base.  The first one I painted was a day of the dead woman.  I’m very familiar with this subject matter, I’ve painted it many times, and so it seemed like a natural first choice.  The only addition I made to her was her hair.  So as not to add to much weight to her head (didn’t want her being top heavy) there is a wad of tinfoil under her pompadour.

DODSecond I worked on my fishy lady.  She is by far my favorite and the one I worked the hardest on.  I added her hair, her gills, that giant sea urchin on her head (tinfoil ball again), her bustier, the fins by her eyes, and after she was all painted, I ended up filling in her eyes with clay and painting them again because the line of the pre-made lid was killing me.  I tried living with it but it was impossible.  The barnacle crown is made of real shells that Nate brought home from the gulf.  I have her for sale at the store, but truth be told I just want to keep her all to myself.

FishLast but not least, I painted this voodoo queen.  I actually started her before the fish woman but kind of stalled out.  I think American Horror Story combined with Halloween got my juices flowing again and I got the kick I needed to finish her up.  She’s in zombie face and has her snake neck tattoo because Le Grand Zombie Legba is a snake and the highest of the voodoo deities.  I’ve had those chicken bones drying out on my window sill since July.  I’m so happy she’s finally complete!

VoodooSpeaking of American Horror Story, as I’m sure everyone knows by now, they’ve been filming in New Orleans.  It’s been REALLY cool seeing the stars of the series walking around.  In fact, Jessica Lange is staying on the same block as The Green Eyed Gator.  I see Sarah Paulson almost daily and Dennis O’Hare and Lily Rabe often as well.  I saw Evan Peters and Emma Roberts while at Whole Foods tonight.  Can’t wait for a new episode on Wednesday!  Oh and I really can’t wait for Saturday!  Krewe of Boo will be rolling for the first time in three years and the Bearded Oysters will be strutting along for the ride.  I’ve got a couple of oysters to hand out!  Look for me if you’re on the parade route!