Rachael Hudnall, Featured Artist, April 2016


“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.


Charlie Heck, Featured Artist February 2016


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

Welcome New River Gallery Members!

NewMembers 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).

NewMembers2 New River Gallery member Brett Moreland stands in front of his paintings during the Downtown Art Crawl.


Mary Ann Nagan, September Featured Artist

maryannnagan_1  maryannnagan_2


Joyce Beauvais, August 2015 Featured Artist

Joyce_Dancing Saturday Night Before Sunday Service

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.



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:  http://www.ouachitariverartgallery.com



Melanie Douthit, June featured artist


Enjoying the Journey, an exhibition of artwork by Melanie Douthit, June 2014 Featured Artist at the River Gallery

Melanie Fitzgerald Douthit, the June Featured Artist at the River Gallery, grew up in Union Parish. She loved drawing as a child and started painting at the age of 19 when she enrolled in an oil painting class taught by Ronnie Barnes. That class was the beginning of her never ending creative journey which has taken paths in watercolor, charcoal, pen and ink, acrylic, and mixed media.

Melanie says of her artistic process “Every painting is an adventure. I have a map of where I want to go, but at some point the painting drives itself, and I’m just there to enjoy the journey”

In 2000, Melanie started selling her work online. In 2002 she was contacted by a national chain restaurant, Mimi’s Café, to commission over 20 of her Mardi Gras Dachshund paintings for their new locations. She still receives commissions from people who see her work in various locations across the US.  Melanie’s current creations include French Quarter scenes, whimsical “wordy birdz”, mixed media collage pieces, and florals.

Melanie started showing her work regularly at the Downtown Art Crawl in 2010, and in 2011 she rejoined the River Gallery where she is the Marketing Director. Melanie was recently elected secretary for the Downtown Art Alliance, helping continue the vision to promote the visual arts in Downtown Monroe and West Monroe. She currently resides in West Monroe with her husband and two artistically gifted children, and she regularly volunteers her creative talents painting murals for the Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts where her daughter is an actress.

Stop by the River Gallery during the June 5th Downtown Art Crawl from 5-9pm to meet Melanie and see her new work. Her show will hang at the gallery through the end of June.

The River Gallery, is located 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. 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 visit www.ouachitariverartgallery.com and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook for sneak peeks of new art.



Welcome new members!

A big welcome to new members Johnnie Enloe and Robert Ward!

JohnnieEnloe1  copper necklace

Johnnie is a metalsmith and a painter. Her work can be seen on her website: http://www.johnnieenloe.com

BobPainting1  acrylic on canvas

Robert, “Bob”, is an acrylic painter. His work can be seen on his blog: http://www.robertwardart.blogspot.com

Linda Thomas (Snider-Ward)


Dawn Horse (watermedia on paper)

Linda Kay Thomas (Snider-Ward) is the featured artist for April 2014 at the River Gallery.

Linda’s exhibit Enter Equus consists of a new series of paintings created in watercolor, acrylic, and mixed watermedia. As the title indicates, the exhibition is a collection of works with the equine as subject matter.

Linda states “This new series of paintings is about the spirit of the horse, not the actual physical appearance of the horse. I want my art to reach out to viewer and help the viewer feel the beauty of horses. As a horse owner, I am always amazed at the intuitiveness of horses. There is a language between my horses and myself, a quiet language without words where we converse with each other through movement and thought. Their beauty, grace, and intelligence inspire me, and through my art, I hope to share my love and connection with them.

Linda Kay Thomas (Snider Ward) is a Louisiana artist. She holds a Master of Arts (drawing and painting) from Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Art (English/creative writing) from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Linda is a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, the International Equine Artists, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

More of Linda’s artwork can be seen on her blog http://art-pony.com and her website www.lindakaythomas.com. Additionally, Linda’s artwork can often be seen at the New Orleans Arts Market, a juried venue, sponsored by the Arts Council of New Orleans.





Donna McGee, February Featured Artist

donnamcgee_Warm November Wind Warm November Wind (mixed media)

The works of Donna McGee, currently featured at the River Gallery during the month of February, are inspired by the essence of nature—energy, motion, and change. According to Kahlil Gibran, “Art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes.” McGee says, “For me art is a synthesis of what I see, what I know, and what I feel revealed or made evident in the work.” The foundation of McGee’s work is rooted in her love of the natural world and her view that man is an integral part of nature. Like many philosophers, poets, writers, and artists, McGee searches for meaning in life and understanding of herself by observing and experiencing the forces of the natural world.
The Gallery will participate in the Thursday, February 6 Downtown Gallery Crawl and Donna will be giving an artist’s talk at 6:45pm. Please come and meet her in person.
McGee says, “The work is a response to nature rather than a description. My love of exploring just to see what lies ahead and the feel of the earth beneath my feet are experiences I want to share.” She considers plein air painting or field studies as information gathering for paintings that are drawn from memories, visions, and concepts. She says, “Working in the field helps me absorb the mystery of the natural world and gives me an opportunity to daydream. I take much more from an outdoor painting session than an image of the scene.” In addition to sketches and photos, her sketchbook is filled with her thoughts, dream/vision thumbnails, creative writing, and quotes from favorite writers. Whether working in her studio or in the field, she attempts to create an atmosphere that places the viewer as an observer or participant in the scene.
McGee earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Mississippi State University, a Masters in Counseling from Mississippi State University and Master of Fine Arts in Studio: Painting and Drawing from Louisiana Tech University. McGee’s works have been included in numerous regional and national juried exhibitions including the Taos Watercolor Society’s Annual Exhibition of American Watercolor, Taos, NM; the Mississippi Watercolor Society’s Grand National Exhibition, Jackson, MS; the Society of Watercolor Artists Annual Juried National & International Exhibitions, in Ft. Worth, TX; the Masur Museum’s International Juried Exhibition in Monroe, LA; Louisiana Watercolor Society’s Annual International Juried Exhibition, New Orleans, LA and the Hilton Head Biennial Juried Exhibition, SC. She is a signature member of the Louisiana Watercolor Society and the Mississippi Watercolor Society.
McGee has taught art at the university level for 22 years and served as Chair of the Department of Art at Grambling State University from 2003-2011. She is a member of various regional and national art organizations. For more information visit her web page at www.donnafmcgee.com or her blog at www.dancing-rainbow.com.
The River Gallery, 308 Trenton Street, West Monroe, invites you to come see this special show of Donna’s work during the entire month of February.  When you shop at your local gallery, you not only help our economy by keeping your money in the area, you also save on taxes and shipping. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and boasts over 28 artists whose work is also on display at the gallery. Admission is free. Paintings and photographs  by gallery members can also be seen at ORAG’s extension gallery located in the lobby of Ouachita Independent Bank/Bankers Mortgage Plaza at 18th and Louisville in Monroe. Call 322-2380 for more information.