Closing the Gallery

Big News:  just shy of making our three year anniversary, I have decided to close the doors at The Green Eyed Gator.  This isn’t a decision I’ve come to lightly but it’s what is best for me at this time and so that’s what I’m going to do.1

When I opened the gallery, I did so with the intention of having a constant showing of my own work within the space.  I thought that I would be able to set up a small studio within the shop and create while also engaging with customers.  The reality is that because the French Quarter is such a vibrant neighborhood with so much foot traffic, that I never get to paint and I miss it.  First and foremost, I consider myself an artist and any artist will tell you that what they love to do is create.  The business aspect of marketing yourself and selling your work is just something that goes along with it.  I don’t know why I thought it would be any easier than it has been, but I have managed to box myself into a situation in which all I do is deal with the business aspect of the art world and it’s been very draining for me.  Anyone who has been in the store recently or knows me personally also knows that I’m currently pregnant; this obviously plays a huge part in my decision as well.  I know that if I currently think I have no time to paint that once my little dude is born I’m REALLY going to be stuck doing retail and only retail and that’s just not something that I want.  Of course there are many other factors that weigh into my decision as well, but I won’t bore you with all of the details!983769_460118970796120_8775121296846380344_n 10455865_437136569761027_8335139914454102991_n 1475919_348517248622960_1224018990_n

That being said, I’m so thankful for this time of my life.  Owning this gallery has been such a learning experience and I’ve met so many amazing people.  In fact, the one thing I’ve come to value the most over the past three years are the connections I’ve made.  I LOVE each and every one of the artists that I carry in the store.  They’re all talented and wonderful people.  I definitely feel like I’m letting them down in closing but thankfully, they’ve all been nothing but supportive and accepting of my decision.  Next there are all of the people who live and work in the quarter.  These are the people that have made my day to day so fabulous.  They stop in with their pets for a bite of pupperoni, they bring me delicious treats, or they simply pop in for a bit of conversation and they’ve all become a part of my daily life that I’m going to miss greatly.  Finally, there are the folks who have started as customers of the shop and have turned into friends.  These people just happened in one day, we found that we clicked, and the rest is history.  Y’all know who you are and I’m so happy you’ve found your way into my life.998073_294822730659079_264973610_nphoto524543_392452770896074_788839941_n

So now for the specifics, The Green Eyed Gator will be open through French Quarter Fest.  I’m hoping to have a little shindig on the evening of Saturday April 11th to say farewell.  I’m going to be 36 weeks pregnant and (I’m sure) exhausted, so we’re going to play that one by ear for now.  We’ll close our doors on Monday the 13th for good.  From April 14th to the 19th, we’ll be in and out so artists can pick up their work and we’ll be selling off some our our fixtures then.  There will be other odds and ends for sale as well and plenty of other killer deals you’ll find out about if you pop in at that time.  I’ll post the hours we’re planning on being in the gallery each day on our Facebook page.  Speaking of our Facebook page, I’m going to keep it around so I can update y’all on the artists that have made this gallery so special.  Where you can find their work, if they have any shows coming up, what art market’s and festivals they’ll be vending at, etc.10593050_460118344129516_4199323240236012997_n 10460741_460118587462825_1314648392848332029_n IMG_9436

Thank you so much everyone for being a part of this wild ride!  It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three years already.  This time has flown by for me and it’s a period of my life that I won’t ever forget.  While it’s okay to be sad that the French Quarter is loosing a funky little gallery space, please don’t feel sad for me at all.  I am SO thrilled to move onto the next chapter of my life, to get to create and do what I love again, and to begin the journey that is going to be motherhood.  I hope to see y’all over the next six weeks while we’re still open and please, please, please keep in touch!562680_137329706408383_65800610_n

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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!

Carnaval de Rêves Opening

The carnival themed group show I’ve been prepping for opened last night and it was a GREAT success.  I’m so pleased!  Sometimes I throw events like this one and the weather is crappy or no one shows up and I wonder why I still do them.  Well last night was the reason why!  We had a stellar turn out, made some sales, and loads of fun.  I think the highlight of the show is Scott Garrett’s float filled with naked leather dolls.  Everyone was freaking out over it, including myself.  I sold one of my paintings, Camellia, and while I’m sad to see her go, she’s going to one of my dear friends so I’ll get to visit her every so often.  Double win!

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageIt’s been so nice to be able to show off my new paintings and I can’t wait to complete some more.  My next major deadline I’m setting for myself is French Quarter Fest.  Better get working, but tonight, WE PARADE!

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!

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!