Art students visit their teacher’s exhibit at The Gallery
By: Angela Becnel - Staff Writer
CROWLEY- As reported by the Post-Signal in the Tuesday, September 6 edition, a gala was held at The Gallery Saturday September 3, featuring the artworks of Dale Pousson and Charlotte Austin.
Both Charlotte and Dale were on hand to discuss their works and visit with the art lovers, friends and family who attended in the rain from Tropical Storm Lee.
Twenty-three of Charlotte’s oil paintings are currently displayed at The Gallery, and several of her art students drove to Crowley for a viewing Wednesday, September 7.
“We have been taking art lessons from Charlotte Austin every week for six years,” said Alexa John of Crowley. “ Her art classes are truly exclusive because there is a waiting list to get in.”
Alexa, who is a mom, and her husband, Peter are art collectors and they appreciate the opportunity to support local artists such as Mitt De Spain and Harold Letz.
“Another local favorite of ours is Mark Bercier,” continued Alexa. “His portraits are beautiful and are displayed at his gallery in New Orleans on Royal Street.”
The other students who traveled “on a field trip to Crowley” were Cezanne Nails of Maurice, Crystall Young of Lafayette and Garnet LeMaire of Lafayette. This group recently held a show featuring their own artwork at the Lafayette Consolidated Government building and will be having a private show at The Ballroom of Crowley in the fall.
“Charlotte teaches a variety of styles,” said Cezanne, who owns Dockside Recording Studio in Maurice. “I love painting because I start off with nothing, an empty palette, and then I look at the size and shape of the palette to begin the creative process. I now have painted an entire series of Ethiopian tribal people with Charlotte’s guidance.”
Charlotte, a native of Cecilia, has been painting for 12 years. She paints strictly in oils and was trained in the method of the old masters.
“To begin the painting is the hardest part,” shares Crystall Young, owner of Event Staffing and mother of five. “Yet, painting gives me creative freedom. While I paint I think of ‘nothing’ and I find it is relaxing.”
“I love to paint because it gives me freedom of expression, and enables me to be creative,” said Garnet, a first grade teacher for 20 years. “It gives me a chance to explore different areas and I have found a whole different side to myself.”
Garnet also owns a piece she admires by local artist, Robert Baxter.
The group then moved on to tour The Ballroom of Crowley and then over to Frosto Diner for hamburgers with a local flare.
When asked why the students are so fond of their teacher, they replied that Charlotte is very humble. She takes no shortcuts, yet she teaches students to learn to trust their own style. In one example, the students were asked to create a self portrait, which they said was challenging but fun. Apparently, each of the portraits looked different, not only in terms of the subject, but more so in terms of individual style.
“She encourages your own personality to come through your work,” said Alexa.
“Charlotte will help by giving suggestions that I would not have thought of,” said Crystall. “She gives tips and won’t let me leave until it is complete and I am satisfied.”
Charlotte Austin can be reached through the Crowley Art Association at (337) 783-3747.
“I have had students who have never touched a brush before. It is amazing to see how far they have come. Some have even had showings,” boasts Charlotte. “What a compliment to me and to them. I am proud that I have helped them along this journey. They each carry a piece of me with them into their future. Each student is individual in personality and style of painting. It is so fulfilling to see how many characters come out of this one studio.”
Ruth Moncus, Dori Perez and Sandie Knox are also in Charlotte’s class.
“I try to guide them to be individuals,” reflects Charlotte. “I like to honor what they intuitively do best and then help them make it better.”
Each month the Crowley Art Association hosts a gala to showcase works of art from an artist, or artists. The artworks then remain on display at The Gallery for the remainder of the month. Both artists’ work will remain featured through September at The Gallery, which is located at 222 N. Parkerson Ave. in Crowley. It is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached at 337-783-3747.