The River Gallery celebrates its 25th Anniversary!

ORAGbrendamcdaniel_adarichie_carolynfox Brenda McDaniel, Ada Richie, Carolyn Fox

ORAG_Brenda Brenda McDaniel demos at a Downtown Art Crawl

The River Gallery Celebrates its Silver Anniversary!

The month of July is The River Gallery’s 25th anniversary. WOW!  That’s a quarter of a century.  The artists/members will feature a memorabilia wall with photos and news stories from the past 25 years . Each artist will show a painting created just for the occasion using “silver” or “25” as the theme of the painting. The “Silver Celebration” exhibit will continue through Thursday, August 6 with a closing celebration during the Downtown Gallery Crawl.

The gallery started in the summer of 1990 with a group of local and regional painters, potters, photographers, woodworkers, and jewelry makers wishing to promote art, art education, and art appreciation to the people of this area. They formed the non-profit co-op named “The Ouachita River Art Guild.” Their first gallery was in the Glenwood Mall in West Monroe, and they later moved to Antique Alley in downtown West Monroe, growing into a much larger store front on Antique Alley at 308 Trenton Street where they are now located.  The River Gallery has now become the oldest art co-op in Louisiana. Each artist takes a turn at working in the gallery, while other details of running a business are spread out among the members. Membership in the gallery is through a juried process.

Workshops that anyone can attend, in various media, by well known artists are sponsored several times a year in different locations. As the co-op approaches its 25th anniversary, it continues to thrive and grow. Located at 308 Trenton St. in West Monroe on historic Antique Alley, it is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM. Phone 318-322-2380. Web site:


Phoebe Allen Mathys, June Featured Artist


From Florence to Rome by Phoebe Allen Mathys.

The Ouachita River Art Gallery will feature Phoebe Allen Mathys, retired Louisiana Tech School of Art and Architecture Professor Emeritus, in June 2015. This show, “Rome with a View,” is a series of paintings taken from Phoebe’s sketch books and memories of her travels to Rome, Italy. Painting primarily in water media, Phoebe’s love of color and playful nature is obvious to anyone viewing her work. She says, “To create means to cause to come into existence. It is hard work. Every time I sit down to paint I try to do something in image or essence I’ve never seen or done before. I hope to know my subject well enough so that my mind, eyes, and hand are working together.”

In addition to the regular gallery hours, the River Gallery will be open until 9pm on Thursday, June 4 for the Downtown Gallery Crawl. There will be refreshments, wine and music.

Phoebe is a native of north Louisiana and earned her B.A. and M.A. in Art Education with additional hours in Fine Arts. She taught 33 years at Louisiana Tech in the School of Art and the School of Architecture in areas of basic two-dimensional design, color theory, and advanced media and presentation techniques. She has exhibited in over a hundred juried and invitational exhibitions as well as many local, regional and national art exhibitions. Phoebe has received many honors for both her teaching skills and her fine art work and has been published in several volumes and articles.

The Ouachita River Art Gallery, voted Best Art Gallery in 2014, is at 308 Trenton Street, West Monroe and is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The gallery is the oldest and largest co-op gallery in the state of Louisiana. Many of the artists accept commissions, so if you see a style of work that you like, don’t be afraid to inquire about having one of the artists create a custom piece. Admission is always free. Call 322-2380 for more information or

Robert G. Ward, featured artist of the month


Roxie’s Playground (acrylic on canvas) by Bob Ward, the River Gallery’s featured artist for May 2015. Reception for the artist: Saturday, May 23rd, 3-5pm.

Robert G. Ward is the May 2015 Featured Artist-of-the-Month at the River Art Gallery. He is in his second year of being affiliated with this gallery. Previously, he worked 42 years at ULM as Professor of Art, specializing in painting and drawing.

His exhibition, Our Own Backyard, consists of a series of acrylic on canvas paintings depicting a three mile radius of landscape found in the Lake D’Arbonne area in Union Parish,where he and his artist wife Linda now make their home.

Ward has stated: “To paint a landscape is one thing, but to live in the landscape that you are painting is certainly another more insightful thing.”

Marlen Waters, April Featured Artist


Marlen Waters is the River Gallery’s Featured Artist for April 2015.

Marlen states “I enjoy color—and lots of it—the energy that the paint has when it is applied to paper or canvas. Using latex, inks, and acrylics I let the paint tell me what the painting is to become. I also do a combination of calligraphic lettering worked into colorful abstract compositions. As a small child, I loved tracing letters from the covers of magazines, changing them, embellishing them and marveling at how their parts fit together. This fascination with letters, shapes, and colors lead into combining my love of color and painting with letters and letter forms. Combining them has given me a chance to touch people who seem to enjoy the inspirational sayings and the play of color and shape. A favorite teacher has always said that art is in the process, not in the product. I believe that in my heart but I like to expand on it. The process is my art—that is what is within me, and the product is what reaches others—to touch their hearts and souls.”

Born and raised in Homer, Louisiana, Marlen Waters graduated from Louisiana Tech University with an M.S. in Medical Technology and an M.B.A. in Marketing.  She continued her education studying art and calligraphy at Louisiana Tech University, University of Pennsylvania, Chicago College of Art, St. Johns University, and with various master calligraphers and artists.

She is a board member of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council, a charter member of the Piney Hills Art Gallery, a roster artist and a member of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, and she was a Louisiana Division of the Arts roster artist.  Marlen is a member of the River Gallery in West Monroe, Lincoln Parish Museum, and Beta Sigma Phi.  Marlen has been on the Louisiana Peach Festival Steering Committee for twelve years and will be chairing the Arts and Crafts Show again this year.  She has been the Coordinator of Volunteers, chaired the Gospel and Family Day and has been in charge of the Peach Festival T-shirts and merchandise.  She has had two of her designs selected for the PeachFestival poster and three of her designs have been selected for the t-shirts. One of her Peach Festival posters is currently being used in the HBO television show “True Blood”.

Her designs have also been chosen for the Louisiana Watermelon Festival posters.  Her art has been accepted into numerous juried shows, and she has had several solo and shared shows in the region. She was the Executive Director of the Dixie Center for the Arts in Ruston from the time it opened in January 2006 through 2011.  Presently, she is a contributing writer and photographer for Bayou Life Magazine.  She is a free-lance calligrapher, graphic designer and artist, and has taught art and calligraphy classes privately and with Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University Continuing Education.  Marlen is married to Roy Waters; they live in Ruston, Louisiana and have three children.  They attend Trinity United Methodist Church. Her artwork can be viewed on her

Brenda McDaniel, March Featured Artist

Stormy Weather Stormy Weather
Brenda McDaniel’s Featured Artist Show is titled “Looking Up” and consists of large oil paintings of skyscapes. The artist says, “When the world crowds in on me, and I grow weary of dealing with everyday problems, I go outside and look up. It puts everything in proportion and refreshes my view of life. Sometimes we are so focused on what is right in front of us we forget the big picture.”

A native of Mer Rouge, LA who traveled over much of the world complements of a military husband, Brenda gained knowledge that is reflected in her wide range of interest and subjects. Besides independent studies, private lessons and attending several universities around the country she considers herself primarily a self-taught artist. Before deciding to paint full time she was a commercial artist employed in the advertising field where she received numerous local and national awards. Brenda has commissions of homes, portraits of people and pets, landscapes and still lifes hanging in private and corporate collections in the U.S.A., Europe, and The United Kingdom.

Brenda helped organize and open the Ouachita River Art Gallery, which is now the oldest, and possibly largest, co-op art gallery in the state. The gallery is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM. A large and varied membership offers paintings in all media, jewelry, photos, wood works and pottery. Purchases of original art are tax free.

Doug Breckenridge, Featured Artist February 2015

DougB1 Afternoon on the East Bank of the Ouachita River

Doug says, “There exists in everyone’s life those brief moments that lift one up out of  life’s daily routines and allow one to exist for time, on a different plane.  It is these very moments that if left undocumented, would drift ever so quickly back into the continuous stream of everyday existence.  For the artist, to capture such a moment and document it through an expression of art is sheer enjoyment.  To portray such a moment with a degree of skill that affords others a glimpse into an otherwise private experience is priceless.” 

…….a Father and Son moment, each posed against a Bierstadt landscape of canyons and waterfalls with the ghostly mist of the river rising just beyond their reach.
…….a fall morning of fly fishing the Firehole with illusions of distant geysers dancing on the horizon, obscured now and then by falling snow and subtle shifts in the wind; and then – the bombastic strike of a rainbow at the end of the line!
…….the last rays of sunlight casting images of afternoon subtleties along the banks of the Ouachita, revealing forms illuminated in brilliant hues of yellows and oranges, pronounced against a grey blue sky.
…….those long ago Sunday afternoon strolls along a California beach, watching people watching sea lions stretched out on the warm sands – dreaming sea lion dreams.

These are the artist’s special moments and through artistic expression, you are invited to share these experiences and step temporally out of the stream of everyday life for only a brief moment.
Doug Breckenridge originally began to paint in the mid-70s; however, marriage, children and a career, required that this activity be put on hold.  It wasn’t until after the many years of ball park nights – clandestinely sipping frozen margaritas from ball park cups – that he was able once again to take up this passion.  His paintings spring not from the aspect of pure design, but from an aspect of displaying those moments that meant so much to him, both visually and emotionally……and if he could again envision those now distant ball parks nights, he would also paint them and dream margarita dreams.

The gallery will also be open until 9pm on Thursday, February 5 for the Art Gallery Crawl. Stop by and meet Doug in person.

The River Gallery is located at 308 Trenton Street in the heart of Antique Alley in West Monroe, LA.  Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00-5:00.  The gallery is in a tax-free art zone, so all original art work is tax-free.  Come visit “the best-kept secret” in town and add some local, original art work to your collection. Phone: 318-323-2380.
Web site:



Carol Smith, January 2015 Featured Artist

Carol_SummerHummers1  Summer Hummers (oil on canvas)

“All Creatures Great and Small” is the theme of January’s featured artist display at The River Gallery.  In 1975 there was a film adaptation of a British book series by James Herriot using that title.  The artist, Carol Culpepper Smith, gives credit to Herriot for the title of her show. She acknowledges, however, that the show has nothing to do with veterinarians as in the film, but everything to do with “critters”.  She says preparation for this show came over many months and was great fun in and of itself.  She took photographs of each of the animals she painted—hiking in the wild, visiting farms and observing animals in any other arena she could find them.  Most of the oil paintings have a story behind them, making the depictions even more interesting. This is a departure from the artist’s usual subject matter of flowers and landscape, thus challenging her skill to represent her “creatures” appropriately.  Smith’s only regret is that she ran out of painting time before she ran out of subjects!  She laughingly suggests, “Maybe there is a sequel to this show!”

The River Gallery is located at 308 Trenton Street in the heart of Antique Alley in West Monroe.  Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00-5:00.  The gallery is in a tax-free art zone, so all original art work is tax-free.  Come visit “the best-kept secret” in town and add some local, original art work to your collection.

December in the River Gallery


Holiday Variety is the theme at The River Gallery during December. This artist-run gallery hosts 25 artists working in all media from paintings to woodturning, pottery, jewelry, glass art, and photography. In addition to the exquisite offerings of fine art, the gallery will be featuring gift items for December. This includes smaller art, handcrafted wine stoppers, jewelry, unique ornaments, and notecards. Sales of the original works are tax exempt under the Louisiana Cultural District, so visitors not only support local artists but also save sales taxes when shopping. 
Ouachita River Art Gallery is the oldest and largest co-op gallery in the state. We are grateful to the local community for the continued support of the arts in our area. We are thankful to our Delta Style readers who voted our gallery “Best Art Gallery” in 2011 and 2014. The gallery is at 308 Trenton Street, West Monroe, Louisiana. It is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is always free. Call 322-2380 for more information or visit

Emily Brodnax, November Featured Artist


“Magnolia” (black & white photography) by Emily Brodnax, November Featured Artist-of-the-Month.

In the current days of digital everything, are there any people out there who remember the joy of watching a black and white photo come up in the tray of a wet darkroom? Well, there is a local pharmacist/photographer/artist who says “I catch myself smiling when it happens.  It is a joy to behold!”

Emily Brodnax, is artist of the month of November at The River Gallery (Ouachita River Art Gallery), on Antique Alley, and her darkroom work is known all over the nation.  Through countless showings and contest wins, her gelatin silver photographs hang from coast to coast.  This particular exhibition has pictures from California to Mississippi, and even Alaska. During shoots in different locals, people will stop to ask about the medium format vintage camera that she carries.  While traveling is a wonderful blessing, some of our local attractions are equally as interesting and picturesque.  For example, a small but lovely waterfall in northeast Louisiana. 

Emily invites you to drop by the gallery through the month of October. Ouachita River Art Gallery is the oldest and largest co-op gallery in the state. We are grateful to the local community for the continued support of the arts in our area. The gallery is at 308 Trenton Street, West Monroe, and is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is always free. Call 322-2380 for more information or

Rusty Patterson – October Featured Artist


Life-long resident of Monroe, Louisiana, Rusty Patterson developed a fascination for wood in the early 1980’s after a brief conversation with his now deceased grandfather. With his grandfather’s words of wisdom and encouragement, the journey began.

This self-taught wood turner travelled throughout the South from the early 1980’s through the early 1990’s participating in various art shows where he won numerous awards, some of which were “Best of Show” as well as monetary awards for his works. Early works of Rusty’s can be seen in museums which include the Fine Arts Museum in Mobile, Alabama and the Snyder Museum in Bastrop, Louisiana.

After a long hiatus that was spent focusing on career and family, Rusty has returned to wood working with a renewed passion, vision and inspiration for the art he loves so much. He focuses on creating one of a kind art, allowing each piece to take shape as it is being turned. Two basic principles govern each of his pieces: shape (small, medium and large) and wood selection (light, medium and dark). His pieces are formed using native hardwoods mixed with exotic woods from all over the world.

While woodworking is his hobby and passion, Rusty hopes to one day make it his full time career. Until then, he will continue to manage a business where he has been for thirty plus years in West Monroe. He resides in Monroe with his wife, Sandra and his youngest son.

Rusty is the featured artist for the Ouachita River Art Gallery during the month of October. Stop by and see his works any time during business hours Tuesday – Saturday 10:am – 5pm, and also during the Downtown Gallery Crawl from 5-9pm on Thursday, October 2. RustyPattersonThe gallery is located at 308 Trenton Street, West Monroe , Louisiana. Phone 318-322-2380.