Debra Heard has lived in West Monroe for 30 years. She was born in Farmington, New Mexico, but she spent most of her school years growing up in Natchez, Mississippi.
Debra attended college at Co-lin Jr college, in Wesson, Mississippi and studied at Delta State in Cleveland, Mississippi.
She married David Heard from Natchez and had two wonderful sons, Davy and Daniel Heard. She later attended the University of Louisiana where she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design degree, and Art Education with a teaching certificate. She has worked as a display manager, graphic designer, and art teacher for grades k-12. Debra still teaches art and works in her art studio. Debra’s medium is pencil and oil painting. She has attended many art workshops from nationally known artists, and has been invited to be in Plein Air competitions in Mississippi, South Louisiana, and Texas. Her artwork has been in many national competitions. She is also a member of “Oil Painters of America”.
Her goal is to bring beauty into everything she paints and draws.
“Girls in Field”
“A Venice Canal”
The Ouachita River Art Gallery (The River Gallery) located on Trenton Street in West Monroe is Louisiana’s oldest artists’ cooperative, featuring original artwork from 20 to 30 artists in media including painting, photography, woodwork, and jewelry. During the April 7th Art Crawl, Rachael Hudnall will be our featured artist. Rachael has a successful history in graphic design and only recently discovered the passion that is painting. As a lover of history, her style tends to reflect a long ago, far away feel. The subject matter is typically of an ordinary event, and viewers may anticipate a connection to their own lives, finding their story within her paintings.
Additionally, the gallery will proudly introduce a captivating exhibit of fine art paintings, drawings, and photography of its five newest members: Billy Albritton (photography); Allison Dollar (pen and ink, pencil and acrylic); Rachael Hudnall (acrylic); Mary May (water color and acrylic); Staci Albritton Mitchell (photography). The artists invite you to view and discuss their work, enjoy refreshments, and listen to the live music of singer song-writer Amanda McDowell in the River Gallery at the Downtown Artcrawl, Thursday, April 7th, 5-9pm.
After the Storm (photography)
Mardi Gras Indian (photography)
Local Monroe attorney and photographer, Charlie Heck, is the featured artist at The River Gallery, 308 Trenton Street, in West Monroe. He will present a gallery talk at the Monroe-West Monroe Downtown Gallery Art Crawl Thursday, February 4th, 2016, 6:30 PM.
Charlie’s first serious exposure to photography came after his graduation from Louisiana Tech, during a tour with the United States Air Force. Through kind and patient instruction of an elderly sergeant who managed the base photo lab, he was gradually introduced to the full gamut of photography. He still remembers the thrill of working in a wet darkroom, watching the negatives or papers develop and the magical appearance of the images.
This early experience bred a continuing involvement with cameras and producing images. With the advent of digital photography and its challenge to the advantages of film, his work progressed to embrace the use of Photoshop and inkjet printers. He now personally uses technology to expose, print, and frame his images using only archival materials and processes.
Charlie’s initial interest was nature photography, and he periodically visited wildlife refuges and preserves. Currently, he is experimenting with high resolution scenic images. His many honors include judging the professional division of the highly popular Black Bayou Lake NWR Photography Competition in 2015 where he helped develop a photographic blind. His work has been nationally and regionally published in books, periodicals, and has been selected for book and wildlife refuge brochure covers.
Charlie’s work has been included in many juried competitions and in several museums including the Louisiana Museum in Baton Rouge, the Masur Museum of Art, Louisiana Tech University, and featured at the Old P. O. Museum in Winnsboro, the Schepis Museum in Columbia, and the Snyder Museum in Bastrop.
Charlie Heck is the featured artist in the January 2016 Bayou Life magazine. You may view this article on line at
Loretta Shadow Owens began painting in 1989. She enjoys working in both water media and oils and has a passion for the process of drawing and painting. This is a spiritual experience for her, where time becomes irrelevant. Her paintings and drawings sometimes cause smiles and even laughter among fellow artists and outsider viewers. Her debut showing of her art works was in May 2001 at the Townsend House during the Spring Artist Studio Tour in Ruston. Her drawing of Christ was published in a teaching book about compositions produced by M. Douglas Walton.
Loretta holds two BS degrees from Louisiana Tech University: Home Economics Education and Animal Science. She also earned a MS from the University of Tennessee. She has studied at University of Hawaii, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and has studied in Europe on an extensive fashion and textiles tour with Stout State University, Menomonie, Wisconsin.
From a young age Loretta was interested in the arts. She excels in commercial stitch art and calligraphic works featuring Bible verses, prayers, poems and sayings. Loretta is known for fabulous flower arrangements. She incorporates native flowers and greenery with unique flair. She worked as an Extension Home Economist from 1971 to 1973 in LaSalle Parish. She contracted the building of their home from 1976 through 1977 and their barn in 1982 and 1983. She was the first to receive the award for Outstanding Young Woman in Ruston, Lincoln Parish. She was vice president of Ruston Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc. and is presently operating Loretta’s Gallery.
Nancy Shutt (left) and Branda McDaniel (right) welcome new River Gallery member Mary May (center). River Gallery members enjoyed a large crowd of visitors during the Downtown Art Crawl Thursday, October 1st (not pictured is new member Rachel Hudnall).
A native of Wisconsin, Mary Ann recently moved to West Monroe, Louisiana. Belonging to a large family of eight brothers and sisters, the competition and love of art started at a very young age. She remembers, even before kindergarten, their father reviewing their art and grading it. They were always competing to see who would get the better grade. That family tradition still continues when family members annually get together for a week vacation to concentrate on producing art in the atmosphere of the north woods of Wisconsin. Her Christmas gifts always included some kind of art, whether it was painting kits, crayons, pastels, colored pencils or oils.
Art has always been Mary Ann’s passion. Marriage, children and career however, required that this activity be put on hold for some time. Now with the move to Louisiana, she is finding opportunity of additional time to work on her art. Mary Ann has attended numerous workshops with national artists, including Karen Kappell, Diane Maxi,Frank Francese, and others. In addition to learning a great deal from them, it was very beneficial to be working with other artists attending the workshops.
In a recent Louisiana competition, NLAC’s Peach Festival Arts Comepetition, Mary Ann won a 2nd place award in the Transparent Watercolor Category. She primarily works in watercolor, pastels, fluid acrylics and watercolor pencils, but hopes to re-acquaint herself with oils and graphites. Mary Ann has had her work displayed at Art Affair in Neenah, Wisconsin. She currently has her worked displayed in the Ouachita River Art Gallery in West Monroe, Louisiana and Coventry Glassworks & Gallery in Appleton, Wisconsin.
The River Gallery, 308 Trenton Street, West Monroe, invites you to come see this special show of Mary Ann’s work during the entire month of September.The gallery, is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As part of the Cottonport Historic Cultural District of West Monroe, purchases of original art from the gallery are tax-free. Admission is free. Check out our workshop table for upcoming art classes.
The River Gallery is open late during the Downtown Gallery Crawls on the first Thursday of every other month (February – December) from 5-9. For more information, call 318-322-2380
Exhibition Theme: “Faith, Religion, and God’s Creations in Nature”
Joyce Beauvais has been a member of the “River Gallery” co-op since 2012. Beauvais’ work will be on display August 7 -31. Her paintings, in both oil and watercolor, feature churches, landscapes, a river baptism, a cross with flowers, and a Saturday night of fun before Sunday Services. The artist’s exhibition follows The River Gallery’s celebration of twenty-five years in operation as Louisiana’s oldest artist co-op.