Q&Art with Russell Pirkle

This week's interviewee is Maggie Jones Boudreaux, one of the seven artists in Interior Monologues: Dreads and Desires up this month at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado. A Ruston native, tech graduate, teacher of gifted and talented art, and of course, a member of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Mrs. Boudreaux has the misfortune to be the first person I have ever interviewed. Luckily, her intelligence, incite, and abounding passion for art made for an engaging and enlightening interview. Can you tell me a little about the life experiences that have made you the artist you are today?

After graduating high school and attending Tech for a few years I made the decision to leave Ruston. I spent the better part of ten years traveling and living out west. The Rocky Mountains of Montana and Colorado changed my life and soul. My work is strongly influenced by my time and experiences out west. In fact, I feel as though most of my abstract paintings come from either the peace and serenity I felt there or the constant struggle I have in my heart about not being there. Yet sometimes it's about the wholeness I feel from being here with my family, and I paint with the feeling of comfort and joy about my decision to be here in Ruston. Yet sometimes it's about the wholeness I feel from being here with my family, and I paint with the feeling of comfort and joy about my decision to be here in Ruston, where I was born and raised. I grew up in a household and community of people in which the arts were highly encouraged and a way of life. I was influenced then and still am now by these people. I am forever grateful for the knowledge and joy they gave me!

Who are your influences?

My biggest influences: Joy Tait (my grandmother and stained glass artist), Patricia Tait Jones (mother, as a child she was a jewelry designer and stain glass artist, now a landscape painter), Catherine McVea (family friend who always took time to encourage my creativity and now one of my most trusted critics), Ruth Johnson and the A.E. Philips and Lab School (who always helped make the visual arts a priority in my life). Charlie Meeds, Ed Pinkston and Peter Jones' knowledge, guidance and wisdom they imparted on me while earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts at Tech was immeasurable and still influences my work today. My greatest influences today come from the Women's Art Group as well as my son Ben Boudreaux who is three. I cannot help but be inspired by his uninhibited mark making. And of course, one of my truest friends, fellow artist Shelly Nealy Edgerton who is always there to critique and talk about my work.

Tell me a little about your work and your artistic philosophy.

As an artist it is my goal to question and explore myself and the world that surrounds me. My work is inspired by the natural and simplistic beauty we see every day. My intentions are to evoke emotions from my viewers through my use of images, colors and shapes. I create because I need to in order to achieve fulfillment. Through out life, I have found painting and drawing to be the most natural way for me to communicate with myself and the outside world.

I develop an emotional and physical connection with all of my works. The creation process, for me as an artist, becomes a dialog between myself and the canvas. These dialogs take a variety of forms and each becomes a unique story. There is a strong relationship between myself and all of my work.

I use a variety of techniques and mediums. I thrive on experimentation and asking myself "what if...?" My recent work is a series of oil paintings using glazes, sandpaper and glue. Although, I find experimentation very exciting, I also feel the need to return to the basics and use traditional mediums such as pencil and charcoal to simplify my thoughts.