Painting with a Purpose
Maria Boudreaux is an Angel to Many
by Sharon Furrate Bailey
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. -Proverbs 31:25
Q: When did you discover you were an artist?
A: I don’t think I ever “discovered” that I was an artist. As a young child, I noticed colors, shapes and textures. I remember noticing all the different greens that made up the grass when I was playing in my back yard. However, I did not realize that seeing the details in the grass that day would lead me to where I am today—a full-time artist. In fact, the only art class I ever had was as a freshman at Saint Joseph’s Academy. My love for drawing and painting has been with me my entire life. Through the years, people would ask me if I could draw or paint something for them and I would. It was a challenge for me. These challenges helped me paint anything, on anything, and in various styles, techniques and mediums.
Q: What would you say is your artist statement … why you create?
A: Art of any kind should make you think, feel and fall in love. I create art to express what I love, what influences me, and what makes me smile. Many of my paintings are influenced by the Gulf Coast way of life which is abundant in colors, nature, sounds, spirituality, and the attitude of the area which is about being outside and soaking in its beauty.
Q: Do you feel painting is a spiritual gift?
A: Absolutely! You paint your life with the colors God gave you. I discovered this idea during a period of personal struggles and trials and found it was hard to create and deal with everything going on. But then I heard God speak to my spirit … He encouraged me to express what I feel and think through art. Art influences others and my artistic journey has opened up so many friendships and lines of encouragement. My clients say that my art makes them happy and that makes me happy. I pray that the Spirit God (Holy Spirit) who influences my work shines through my paintings and in turn encourages and enlightens the owners to paint their lives with whatever colors God gives them.
Q: You have been a live painter for many organizations — what are some of the causes that are near to your heart and some of the events that you shared your talent as a live painter?
A: I am grateful to work personally with Dreams Come True and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). My main event with JDRF is their “Derby After Dark.” I have painted at this event for four years. I do a number of events for Dreams Come True in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. I have worked with DCT for at least 10 years. Our biggest event is “Wine Tasting at Ruffino’s on the River.” This year’s event is September 21, and yes, I plan to be there.
Children are my soft spot. Working with these organizations and others always helps me realize the blessings in my own life. The money raised helps many young people and my art hopefully brings joy to the owners. Jesus also embraces children. Luke 18:16 is a scripture that shows his love towards children.
But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” So if I can help children with the gift God gave me, then by all means, I will continue and be of service for these organizations. If my gift can help others, then I feel that “tug” to help and so I paint.
Q: Tell us about the team building and classes you offer at your business.
A: My company, Fleur de ME Designs, offers customized team building packages for business owners, department heads and more. We have worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield, BASF, Cox Communications, Eatel, Our Lady of the Lake, Lewis Physical Therapy and many others.
We offer on-site or off-site classes. We have open paint classes, several kinds of parties and special events, as well as classes for kids of all ages and art camps. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. I also do commissioned art, murals, unique creative projects and live painting events.
Q: Do you have a favorite book of the bible or scripture?
A: Proverbs 31 is my favorite proverb in the Bible. It reminds me to be the best woman, wife, mother and person God wants me to be. It speaks of a strong creative woman. It touches upon how a woman can be creative in love, her home, in parenting, and other endeavors. Hopefully I can portray these characteristics along with my faith in God daily.
Q: Share anything you would like our readers to know about your personal life and journey as a creative person.
A: As stated before, I am a self-taught artist. I have always drawn and painted. I started as a calligrapher. When my daughter Shelby was born, I painted a mural in her room. When people would see it, many asked me to paint one for them. This evolved into a faux finishing/decorative painting business. I realized that what I could paint on walls, I could paint on canvases, so I started Fleur de ME Designs in 2004. For a while, I did residential projects, sold my art and calligraphy both wholesale and retail, developed Creative Kids Art Camps, and volunteered frequently at my church and school.
Things had to change in 2009 due to my daughter’s lengthy illness. I had to give some things up to care for her, so I stopped painting in homes and selling both wholesale and retail. I thought of ways to keep my schedule flexible which would allow me to care for Shelby and spend time with Trent, my husband, so I began offering wine and sip classes and continued summer art camps. With prayers and much support, Shelby is much better. My work can be seen locally at The Foyer, Babin Dental, and by appointment at my studio at 11666 Cedar Park, Suite C. Also, my art can be viewed on mariaboudreaux-artist.com and on Facebook-Maria Prochaska Boudreaux. Take time to paint the colors of your life. It has helped me and it could help you.
Sharon Furrate Bailey grew up in Alexandria, La., and moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1990. She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Sharon has been in the field of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996. She is a gifted artist and has been a columnist since 2005. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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