Sanctuaries of New Orleans
Every Sunday morning 2017-2019, Artist Winston Labouisse and I sketched the churches and synagogues of New Orleans.
We met for coffee and cheddar & chive biscuits at "La Boulangerie" on Magazine Street to decide where we would go each morning, then we would make it there about 20 minutes early to find a spot to draw. We stayed in the back pews or upstairs section, sometimes by the large organs, to not distract from service. We wanted to draw during service because the readings and message of the congregation were important to us. We wanted people in the pews, readings from scriptures, incense, ceremony. It was not just about architecture.
Every church we went to was so very supportive and welcoming. Parishioners would meet us afterwards to discuss our drawings. In one church, every single member of the church stood up to come give us a hug. What started out as a simple love of New Orleans history and culture turned into a fantastic journey of spirituality, community and friendship. We are eternally grateful for all the people who supported us, inviting us to lunch, sharing their thoughts. There is so much good in the world.
Each drawing was completed in about 3 hours, roughly 12”x16”, pastel on paper. Since we did not have lots of time, this series is more of a sketch diary of our experience rather than perfect finished drawings. In November of 2019, The New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts Galleries exhibited our drawings and we invited all the churches of attend. We are grateful for their hard work in organizing the exhibition, complete with candles, music and a blessing.
Due to a computer glitch we have lost the names of many of the churches so please bear with us as we find and load the names. We drew over 100 sanctuaries, and barely touched the surface as there are still so many more in New Orleans! Prints are available in any size, paper or canvas. Contact us regarding whether the original art is still available.
I teach a workshop now on sketching church interiors, and I hope you can join me at my atelier, BlueEaselClub.com, to learn how to draw such a challenging subject in a short amount of time. It is like traveling, and you’ll find God is with you wherever you go.