The Fort Myers Beach Public Library Artist of The Month for August & September is Paulette Boudreau. “I have been a Southwest Floridian since my family moved to Sanibel when I was ten years old, remaining until I graduated high school,” she recalled. “I moved to Sarasota to attend the Ringling College of Art & Design, majoring and graduating in Graphic Design. I returned here for a few years as Art Director of Lee Living that is unfortunately no longer around. When I was close to turning 30, I left the area, as most people should do at some point in their lives, relocating to California where I spent roughly 20 years in Graphics Design in the Newport Beach region, before that part of my life ended, so I returned to Fort Myers about five years ago.”
Paulette however did not go back to Graphic Design. “I concluded my move back was the perfect opportunity to pursue my own artwork so I did that and art became a kind of therapy, as art is in a way therapy, and it morphed from there! Next thing you knew, my artwork went on-line and that is an awesome resource to get your art out into the world for everyone to see, so I decided to do it fulltime. I have an appreciation of the business end of art, from my corporate world years of Graphic Design, but it is one thing to collect a paycheck from someone else and quite another to do it yourself. I am still learning the business end of selling my own art and how to produce art that sells.”
The Synergy of Water
Paulette specializes in watercolor and her paintings are always optimistic. “Watercolor so appeals to me and makes me happy because I always lived on or near the water my entire life, from here to Sarasota to Newport Beach and back. I love the synergy you get from being close to water. After all, what are we as people but bodies of water! Painting in watercolor is just the opposite of painting in acrylics, so I am still learning how to, in a sense, control the uncontrollable, and to me that makes watercolor a happy medium! The hard part about understanding how to work with watercolor is that inherently you want to control it, but you must learn to just let it go, and that is the therapy of watercolor – to just let things go, to do its own thing, and thankfully that allows me to produce some good stuff that I like, so I keep doing more!”
Her artworks are very bright. “I use watercolors in a more saturated format than most watercolor artists. I am definitely a studio artist and not a plein air proponent. My specialties are tropical landscapes because I live in a tropical environment full of neat things to draw, like manatees and sea turtles. This past year was the first where I seriously participated in art shows and received a really good response to my subject matters, so I feel now that I am good-to-go and will stick with that as my priority theme, as it seems to make other people as happy as I am. My artwork lets me say what I want to say, in the format I want to say it! Occasionally, I imprint words into my art, like ‘Give Love,’ as I get that from my Graphic Design background, as I love fonts and words. This allows me to try new and different things, as I incorporate those using rubber stamps.”
“God Is In Everything”
The Library learned about Paulette through three outlets. “They saw me at the Fort Myers Beach Art Association’s Outside Show last January, as well as through my presence on-line and Facebook. I also illustrated a Children’s Book entitled “God Is In Everything” that my best friend wrote, that they want me to read at a future Library Kids Program. Being the Artist of the month is a huge honor for me, as up to now I have only done art shows where you set up your tent to sell your artwork, so this is a wonderful opportunity for me. To be honest, I am really scared but it is a good scared! Because library visitation slows down in the summer, my show will remain on display for August and September.”
Paulette’s Library exhibit features between 40 to 50 pieces, and much is brand-new! “Many of my original ones are pretty small – like 4 by 12 inches up to 16 by 20 – so those will not work in the 3rd Floor Exhibit Area. That led me to create new ones, like flamingos and big manatees with fish. Another aspect that makes my work unique is I mount my watercolors in candlewood frames. Before doing this, setting up my watercolor shows was a bit of a disaster, if I were not careful in how I handled them, as I suffered a lot of breakage, as well as learning that ‘humidity + watercolor = disaster,’ so the candlewood frames solved those issues, and the people who purchase them do not have to worry about frames – when you buy one, you are ready to go!”
Paulette’s artwork is available online at Artistic Souls Gallery or at boudreau-art.com
“Artistic Souls Gallery is a group of ten artists who sponsor online shows twice-a-month, with the next one August 18 & 19, with prices starting at $75. I joined 18 months ago and it has been a great experience for me, not only in selling my art but learning from the other professional artists, as my Graphic Design background did not prepare me for the website world and social media.”
Happy, Not Sappy
“Art is so much a part of me,” she said, “and it has made me Paulette and brought me into my own, with self-esteem and a huge positive change in my life. I no longer doubt the decisions I make, so art means I can be myself. That is why you will not see anything dark in my artwork, with everything bright and happy. I am not a sappy person but a happy one, and those who buy my art seem happy, too, and that is awesome!”
The Library has already hosted a “Meet the Artist” session on August 2, but may schedule another one in the second month of her display. “We are discussing something else for the month of September,” she related, “perhaps a closing function near the end of the display, so look for the Library’s Events Calendar for information. I will have a book with the display, for a description of each piece, and the Library will place several of my smaller works in a First Floor display case.”
To view Paulette’s exhibit, visit the FMB Library’s 3rd Floor Gallery through Saturday, September 28. The Library is at 2755 Estero Boulevard, with hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and closed Sundays and holidays, including Labor Day on Monday, September 2. For information, see www.fmb.lib.fl.us or call 239-765-8162.
By Gary Mooney
- “Be Love, Give Love” by Paulette Boudreau.
- “Night Fun” by Paulette Boudreau.
- Flamingo watercolor by Paulette Boudreau.