Billie Bourgeois

“In September 2015 I became a widow. I had spent 46 years of marriage and parenting with an incredibly wonderful man, Shelton Joseph Bourgeois. While we raised our three daughters, his friendship and support of me as an artist was beyond remarkable. When our twins were only two and our youngest only six months old, he sent me off one night a week for a class at Louisiana Art and Artists Guild. This changed my life. In the midst of caring for my children with all that entails I lived and breathed my ART. Especially drawing and painting. When my girls went to school I did too, receiving an MFA from Louisiana State University in 1983.  By this time a parallel passion was taking grip of me.

Teaching Art. Although I was a certified classroom teacher since 1966 and had spent many a year with many students from 3rd to 8th grade, I was thrilled to take on a part time job teaching Art at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. I loved it! I fell in love with the students who actually fed my creative spirit for 10 years. But in 1996 after almost 30 years in the classroom (painting the whole time when time and space permitted) I decided to launch out to extend my own education. I became certified in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, developed by Betty Edwards. On the heels of that, I became acquainted with Mississippi Art Colony.

Since 1998 I have been attending the Colony’s bi-annual workshop where I have studied with many artists from around the country as well as associating myself with all the great professional artists in this group. It was also in ’98 when I realized I needed a larger studio. My husband was the one who pushed me on that, suggesting we build a separate building in our back yard just for me to paint and teach. Now after 18 years I wonder how many gallons of paint, yards of canvas, reams of paper and wonderful students have passed through my sweet studio doors!”