By EMILY ENFINGER, The Courier
HOUMA, La. (AP) — Using paint and a palette knife, Houma artist Stacey Fabre sculpts New Orleans and bayou vistas on canvas for viewers to savor and mull.
Fabre holds an art degree from Nicholls State University and creates her paintings at her home studio in Houma. Fabre grew up on the West Bank and is inspired by the New Orleans scenes she became familiar with and fantasized about in her youth.
“It was this magical place, looked like a fairyland with this bright red wheel going across the river, that was the Natchez paddlewheel, but to me, it was like Doctor Seuss on water,” Fabre said.
“And I would see what I thought was the castle and a princess that lived in it, but that’s the Saint Louis Cathedral. And all of the buildings there were so different. It looked like you went to another country to me, so it was this magical place, and it’s never lost that appeal to me,” she said.
Fabre paints views she wants to spend time in, places she could sit to take in the moment and the details and life that often go unappreciated. Her paintings exclude time references and people, giving them a timeless quality. She also paints bayou scenes and floral arrangements as an alternative to cityscapes.
Fabre likes to make use of saturated color, high contrast and plenty of texture by using palette knives in a technique called impasto painting.
“I’m obsessed with palette knives and bringing peaks and valleys to paint like sculpture meets painting. My interpretation of using a lot of paint is that I use a knife to carve paint, so it’s a little different,” she said, explaining that impasto is usually a fast painting style for more abstract pieces.
Before she was a painter, Fabre was a pencil portrait artist. The desire to include every small detail carried over into her painting style, she said.
“So (I’m) very used to using a very small point, and if I ever tried painting, I wanted a brush that had like one hair in it to get all these little tiny details. So the knife is a way that I can stay looser. But leave it to me to take something that’s supposed to be a little more abstract and loose and make extremely detailed pieces out of them,” she said.
Fabre did her first commission painting in 2008. Around that time, she was exploring painting and had painted a scene for her mother — the view her mother would see outside her front door. A friend saw the painting on her phone and commissioned her first painting, titled “Fleur de Wine.”
“Very quickly I went from, ‘Oh, I’m just going to play with this little plastic knife’ to ‘OK, I bought like a full set.’ I bought like a $4 metal knife, which was a big upgrade, and started painting, and I did my first commission and that piece turned into something that I still have in the studio today,” Fabre said.
In her studio and online, Fabre sells both original paintings, prints and reproductions on stretched canvas. She uses a local business in Thibodaux, Prints and Note Cards, to make her prints and reproductions.
Though being a painter was not part of her life plan, Fabre said it has been a blessing.
“Life has a way of changing your plans. And I had a very-planned-out life when I went to college. Then I had a head trauma, a severe accident, and when that happened it changed my attitude and perspective on what was important in life,” Fabre said.
“So you need to be open to the possibilities of change, and change can be beautiful and take you on unexpected paths,” she said. “Being a painter as a profession was never on my radar as far as what was going to happen in my life, and it’s been such a blessing to do it.”
For information about Stacey Fabre and her art, visit her Facebook page at facebook.com/StaceyFabreArt or her website at staceyfabre.com.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.