DENHAM SPRINGS -- The satisfactory feeling Louise Hansen gets whenever she’s doodling in her journal is unlike any other. 

She loves it so much she recently shared that feeling with others who were eager to add to their own artistic repertoires.  

Sketching and journaling were the topics of discussion when a group of local artists gathered for the Denham Springs Fine Arts Association’s monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 4.

Hansen, a Baton Rouge artist whose work has been exhibited in regional, national, and international art shows, served as the meeting’s guest speaker and raved about what she called her “favorite thing to do” — creating visual diaries. 

“Journaling will do so much to improve your artwork, your abilities and your confidence,” Hansen told DSFAA members. “If you ever start journaling, you’ll wonder why you never did before. To me, journaling is a stepping stone to painting.”

Hansen, a retired commercial illustrator, said her interest in art journaling began as a hobby before eventually turning into an obsession — one that has her carrying a journal with her “at all times” along with “my travel kit,” which contains a pallet, a pack of sharpened pencils, her camera and a jug of water.

“I can put all that in a bag and I’m good to go for the entire day,” Hansen joked.

Hansen brought half a dozen of her art journals to show DSFAA members, including one containing an illustration of a river scene she saw while touring Portugal and another of two nuns walking into a New Orleans cathedral.

Hansen said she typically draws the images first before going back later to add in watercolors. She prefers to journal on location — “en plein air painting,” she said, or the act of painting outdoors — but sometimes she has to go off a photo, especially if she’s in the Big Easy.

“It’s hard to sit down on a street in New Orleans because everyone’s hanging all over you,” she said with a laugh.

In other DSFAA news, the club recognized its officers for 2019. They are as follows: Chris Bajon Jones, President; Sandra Middleton, Vice President; Jackie Hoffman, Treasurer; Karen Perron, Secretary; and Margaret Shipley, Parliamentarian.

Club members also discussed their next meeting, which be at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 4, at ARTistico Express, located at 1962 O'Neal Lane in Baton Rouge. Under Mary Rebstock, owner of the family-run art studio that opened in 2005, club members will work with clay and pottery.

The Denham Springs Fine Arts Association is an independent organization of artists — or anyone who loves art — that gathers monthly to discuss new art forms and techniques from local artists and other guest speakers.

The club welcomes visitors and new members to attend its monthly meetings, typically held at the Denham Springs-Walker Branch of the Livingston Parish Library on the first Monday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m.

Anyone interested in becoming a member can email Middleton at smiddle856@aol.com or Jones at chrisjonesthouart@gmail.com.

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