I just can't even. The other day, a delightful woman came in the gallery and saw a print of my painting "Ugly Friends" (original now in a private collection). She said she HAD to send it to her mom, as it looked just like the family's two dogs. We told her we could print the image on a Cocoally pillow and she was thrilled. Today, I got this picture in my email, along with a note: "My mom just received her 'Ugly Friends' pillow in the mail and got our dogs to pose with it. She loved it so much, she laughed and cried." Aaaaa!!!!
Giraffes have attacked my bedroom, in a good way! I've been working on a series of large-giraffe paintings, some of which are commissions and some of which will be placed in the gallery to find their forever homes. There's one in particular I'm really excited about, as it will be adopted soon by a wonderful little baby who also happens to be one of Cocoa's good friends. While I don't support zoos, I have always associated giraffes with New Orleans, since the five giraffes at the zoo here can be seen peeking over the fence if you stand on the river side of Audubon Park.
I've been painting furiously, as there are a couple events on the horizon that mean travel and most likely time in front of a sketchbook as opposed to my usual large canvases. First is a trip to the D.C. VegFest!!!! I'll be in the Nation's Capital next week for the festival on Saturday, September 20, at Yards Park from 11-6pm. Anyone close by should come out! I'll have Wish Dogs (and plenty of Wish Friends) and of course vegan-themed tanks, tees, and prints from my clothing line Cocoally. My sisters Evie and Tory will be with me, and we're looking forward to not only networking at the fest but also enjoying the vegan businesses around DC — a new Native Foods at 1150 Connecticut Ave (opens Sept 30th, Evie's bday!) and Sticky Fingers Bakery (one of my all-time favorites).
After that, it's down to Costa Rica!! I'll be visiting the Sloth Sanctuary, taking pictures, and gathering artistic inspiration from the local flora & fauna. In line with my vegan ethics and passion for environmental caretaking, I'm excited to be staying in a local eco-lodge with Gondwana Ecotours ! I've recruited my sister Juliette to come along, which means we'll spend October getting sweaty in the jungle on yoga mats, playing with sloths, eating vegan food, staying up late sketching and watching sunsets, and possibly designing a full-sleeve tattoo based on my art work (to be sported by Juliette). The last one makes me uneasy since it's so permanent. Maybe I can convince her to settle for a custom-designed Cocoally long-sleeve shirt instead.
Here's to sisters, sloths, sunsets, shirts, sustainability, etc!
See the original at NOLA's brand-new all-vegan restaurant SEED. !
Yesterday (Friday) was easily one of the most fun, rewarding, and wonderful experiences I've had as an artist. I discovered something I love just as much as animals and painting, and that is talking with students about animals and painting! I had the honor and pleasure of being a presenter at the Arden Cahill Academy's annual Whale Fest. Arden Cahill Academy is a 12-acre campus providing an incredible caliber of education and enrichment to students ages 2 months (yes, they have an infant center!) to eighth grade. Whale Fest is a day during which the students engage with professionals, do crafts, dance to live music, and generally have a big festival.
My day started with a presentation to third grade, in which I discussed how I create paintings in the Notebook Series, why I paint animals (because I think they're worth honoring), and how I integrate travel and a vegan lifestyle into my business and passion for art. When a student raised her hand and asked if I like to use oil or acrylic paints, I knew I had met my match! These students were insightful, fun, and engaged. From the first to the last, the presentations to different grades were interactive and participatory, as I found I enjoyed hearing from the students and tailoring each presentation to their questions and interests. Over the course of Whale Fest, I made friends with teachers and educators and was consistently amazed by the students. They are each so unique, smart, and vibrant!
Below is a pic taken during my talk. I was happy to see the kids loved the koala, and the alligator was a BIG crowd pleaser given its ties to Louisiana culture.
The day was a jam-packed whirlwind of good vibes. The students were happy as they spent the day getting their faces painted, rock climbing, dancing, and hearing from authors and artists. Below was my schedule for the day:
8:30 - 9am - 3rd grade (44 students)
9 - 9:30 - 7th grade (35 students)
9:30 - 10am - pre-3 year olds (50 students)
10 - 10:30 - kindergarten (20 students)
10:30 - 11:30 - break/lunch
11:30 - 12pm - 5th grade (40 students)
12 - 12:30pm - 1st grade (46 students)
12:30 - 1pm - break/lunch
1 - 1:30pm - 4th grade (46 students)
1:30 - 2pm - 6th grade (52 students)
2 - 2:30pm - 8th grade (29 students)
Crazy, right?! But so fun. Each age group had its memorable moment. The pre-3 year olds were particularly funny. They loved yelling out the names of different animals as I held up prints, and at the end of the presentation they all wanted a hug! Who could ask for anything better?!
One of the sweetest moments of the day came at the end, which was nice because I was a bit sad to see it was over! Cahill Academy owner Kelly Cahill—a fan of my work and the woman who recruited me for the event—gave me a brass whale keepsake to remember the day by. I currently have it on my bedside table, and am in love with it! It's already gorgeous and something I would love; add to that the sentimental value and it is an extra special souvenir. I'll take a moment here to thank Kelly for including me in the Academy's wonderful event. A special thanks also to Whale Fest coordinator Beth Mastio! And also, as always, to my mom, for EVERYTHING! In particular, she made sure everything went smoothly so the students could have the best time possible. Mom was there the whole day, and we both had a great time. We were grateful to be there and honored to celebrate the special day with the students.
If you've been to Cocoally (our second shop in the New Orleans French Quarter) chances are you've had the pleasure of meeting our wonderful employee, Scott Sweren. Scott comes to us from just outside Baltimore, Maryland, and has become an integral part of the Cocoally image and experience. His enthusiasm and joie-de-vivre are contagious! Mix his attitude with his expertise, and he's a customer-oriented guru who can't be beat.
Next time you're in the Quarter, stop by Cocoally (630 St Anne Street) and help us welcome Scott to the team. You're guaranteed to leave with a new friend. Cocoally is open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Scott can be reached at Scott@Cocoally.com and via cell at (443) 797-2492.
Gallery Burguieres lands #1 spot on GoAbroad's "Top Ten Places for an Authentic Experience in the Crescent City"!
Halloween is over and that officially means it's time for candy canes, gingerbread, and hot chocolate!! We still have Thanksgiving to look forward to, but signs of December holidays and cheer are everywhere. I just finished a HUGE mural for a special project in San Francisco with United Airlines! (See mural above.) Can't wait to deliver it to SF and to take part in the wonderful United Airlines Fantasy Flight. My sister Tory is coming as well. We're thrilled to join the amazing kids, crew, elves, and others who make the Fantasy Flight such an amazing event!! It's taking place Dec. 6th, and we'll be sure to update with pics!