I am an Acadian Louisiana artist. My interests are in the Louisiana wildlife, culture, and people of the State. My favorite mediums are sculpture, and fine art printmaking (etching, woodcuts, lithography, etc.) drawing, and painting.
I was born in Louisiana, living in many different areas of the state. As a naturalist, the wildlife of Louisiana has been one of my interests in subject matter for my art. Although, born in Monroe, my family roots are in the south Louisiana French Acadian culture that has had much influence on my life.
Sculpture, especially wood, is usually a subtractive process in that you cut everything away that doesn't belong. It is always nice to know what you're looking for in the chunk of wood, but the wood sometimes tells me in what direction to go. It's almost as if the wood talks to me. In most cases the result is better than what I had in mind in the beginning. My sculpture not only represents what I am creating but it also shows the soul of the wood in the natural beauty of the grain and color. I also do Bronze Sculpture using the “Lost Wax” method. This is an additive method of sculpture and a lot more involved – make original, make mother mold, make reproductions with wax, burn out wax, cast with molten bronze, break mold, chase the piece, and patina.
Printmaking is my most compelling medium. Even when working on a one-color print I must remember and work towards a picture that will be a mirror image of what I'm looking at. It's like having a surprise waiting for me. It becomes interesting when working on a multicolor print. I visualize in full color what I want and work on each color block or plate with the other colors to be added. In each color printed I must know what the color will be when it is printed over the other colors. Depending on how I work the transparencies, there are numerous color combinations I can create. To me, the process is more intriguing than mixing each color on a pallet and applying to a canvas. In some cases, I do some hand coloring of prints.
I'm not an artist that does art in one sitting. I create a project over time. I think of something I would like to do and then proceed to go in that direction. I try to make my art tell a story of a captured moment, incorporating some aesthetic movement.
As early as I can remember, I have been creating; drawing, and making wooden toys. I got interested in drawing after visiting the French Quarter in New Orleans with my Grandmother. We walked to the Quarter from her home on Frenchman Street. I liked going to the galleries and the Delgado Museum in City Park. I also liked to watch the pastel artists in Jackson Square do portraits and scenes of New Orleans.
My Dad was in the Pacific during World War II and when he returned home he had to find work wherever he could, so we moved around a lot. My sister and I spent our summers with our Grandparents in Monroe and New Orleans. I loved to play in the woods in Monroe, but I also loved New Orleans for its history, antiques and art. My Grandmother bought me a small set of pastels, with which I proceeded to make a mess of everything I tried to draw. I observed the deftness and swiftness of the New Orleans artists putting down their colors and slightly blending with their fingers, and I started doing a little better.
We moved around so much that my sister and I went to 13 different schools, both Catholic and Public. None had an art program. The teachers called my parents to discuss my drawing in class, for which I was punished. I once drew the teacher. I don't think she liked it. By the time I was in high school, I was the class artist for newsletters, etc. I even drew illustrations for my Dad, who was the County Agent for Evangeline Parish. I drew the life cycle of the Sweet Potato Weevil, and other such projects.
The day after I graduated from high school, I was at Pleasant Hall on the LSU campus to proctor for the Bankers Convention. I didn't know what I wanted to study at LSU, but I liked zoology, so I took all the courses for a BS in Zoology. While taking the required science courses, I got a job in the Natural History Museum under Boyd Professor, Dr. George Lowery. I was hired as an artist, and was to reproduce and paint reptiles and amphibians. I had done some taxidermy in high school, so I also helped Ambrose Daigre build the Arizona Desert scene, reproducing cacti and painting lizards and snakes. I started taking some art courses as electives.
I really liked those courses and got to know some great teachers: Paul Dufour (glass artist), Armin Schealor (sculptor), Russell Guirl (painter), Bob Wiggs (Sculptor), Jim Burke (print maker), Ed Pramuk (painter), Fred Packard (photographer), Don Thornton (multi-media), John Goodman (ceramist), and Caroline Durieux (printmaker). I took the last class in printmaking that Caroline taught at LSU. I enjoyed printmaking so much, that it became an obsession. She became part of my family, and I cherish the time I spent with her. She taught lots of different printmaking techniques, but her specialty was lithography not Intaglio (etching and engraving). This wasn't taught at LSU until Jim Burke came from Iowa. I never took a class from him, since I was graduating, but I helped him install the first roller press, which was the largest roller I had ever seen. (I understand that it is now considered to be a small press.) I remember Jim saying that we needed to put up a clothesline and hang ten dollar bills on it, because it had to be inspected by the feds to make sure it wasn't being used for counterfeiting.
When I graduated, I was a printmaker without a press. They were way too expensive for me, and I could no longer use the equipment at LSU.
Now, Don Thornton and I started talking about starting a gallery where we could show our art. There was no gallery in Baton Rouge for young artists to show their work, and once you left LSU, you could no longer show your work there. We started talking to our artist friends and teachers, and eventually started the Unit 8 Gallery, which eventually became the Baton Rouge Gallery. I was the first manager, but eventually had to find work that paid. I went to work as a graphic designer for WBRZ, Franklin Press, the State Highway Department, and the LSU Office of Publications.
After 6 years working for LSU I stopped doing the Graphic arts jobs. I wanted to do art for myself, not what somebody else wanted me to do. If I sold something, it was fine, but from then on, I produced only what I wanted.
I also started doing trim carpentry, specializing in fine-tuning and installing doors. I have made a living doing this for 42 years, while doing the types of art that I wanted to do.
I am now concentrating more on my art work.