Tonight 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!