by Brian Pitre
Changing careers in life is no easy task. Once you dedicate yourself to a particular job, you become submerged in the culture and lifestyle that surrounds it. However, we tend to find jobs and immerse ourselves in them long before we discover our true career paths, making transitioning later in life not just difficult on our budgets, but also on our families and most of all, our mental state.
The drive, focus, patience, and ingenuity required to make such changes can only be taken up by those with the will and skills to endure. I have been blessed to learn about the emotional climb local artist Heather Boston has taken to achieve her lifelong dream of being a professional artist
JAM: How long have you been producing art?
Heather Boston: I have been creative since I was a child, but I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself as an artist. It took me many years to listen to my creative soul, accept who I am and become an artist. I honestly didn’t believe in myself or my work, but I kept working on it. About five years ago, I found what I would call my style. So in total, about 24 years, and counting!
JAM: Did you undergo any sort of formal training?
HB: I received an art scholarship to McNeese, but was strongly encouraged to switch my major to nursing, so I finished my nursing degree. I would paint on the side for hours. I was obsessed with textures and layers and would work with different mediums, furniture stains, chalk paints, India inks, charcoals, acrylics, etc. So a bit of both, I guess. As of now, I’m currently teaching myself how to work with water-soluble oils.
JAM: What did you accomplish that allowed you to first realize that you could be successful as a professional artist?
HB: I dream a lot about paintings and few years back, I wasn’t sure what to do. One day, a missionary from our church spoke and I began to tremble and cry. I realized I had dreamed about her. I had never heard of New Love Outreach Ministries, but I awkwardly approached her and said, “You don’t know me but I think I’m supposed to paint a picture for you to auction off.” Well, I painted that piece, my dream. I spent over 108-plus hours. It was the biggest piece I’d ever done at that time (5 ft. x 5 ft.). The ministry group auctioned the painting off and it paid the college tuition for a girl in Thailand. Little did I know the girl in my painting (dream) was the speaker’s daughter! It was at that moment, after sitting on my kitchen floor staring at this piece for days, something I pieced together from a dream, I knew that God really did bless me with an amazing gift. I’ve been honoring Him with it ever since.
JAM: How long have you had your studio, and what led you to opening it?
HB: I ‘ve had a really tough life and have never loved myself fully until I opened my studio. For years, I would donate, give away, or toss out my art, not really believing it would sell, so I never had the need for a place of my own. There were times I would rent a booth at local art markets, but I was too chicken to show up to most of them. Finally, I bit the bullet and opened my studio last year. Shortly after, a student and a friend asked about entering Thrive art calendar, so I did, and I have been going non-stop since. Making a living as an artist can be rather challenging, but I love a challenge.
JAM: So you are a mixed medium artist, yet your style is distinct. Your blending of colors and patterns is unmistakably yours. What inspires you?
HB: Looking back, I’m amazed at moments that unknowingly influenced me through the years. I have a chaotic morgue of magazine clippings, color swatches, vintage letters, stamps, and photographs that inspire me. I have a deep passion for birds, owls and trees. Each holds a different purpose and meaning to me. I love colors. You may see an ugly, broken-down yellow tractor, but I admire its age, color and compare it to possibly yellow ochre. I love color temperatures, values, intensity, edges, blurring edges out with blending gel or that fine sharp point. Elements can make an impact whether portraying emotion, strength or mood.
JAM: What is your favorite subject matter?
HB: Birds, trees, nature, etc., and I love painting a story, verse or quote. I interpret it creatively into a painting. For example, the owl represents wisdom, explores unknowns, and has fierce intuition and possesses the capacity to see beyond deceit and masks. I will research for hour; I will contact your great-grandma or 20th cousin if I have to, because I want to surprise not only whom the gift is for, but also the client buying it. It’s deeply important for me to share this intimacy with them. They are taking a part of my soul home to have forever.
JAM: Your artwork is always clearly a “Heather Boston” piece. What you would consider your style?
HB: I don’t know how to explain my brain. You see junk, I see beauty. I begin a painting freely with my fingers, a blank canvas, and a spray bottle. Spraying it with water, I watch images form. This makes each piece different and truly an original. Layering and collage is very important in my work. Some of what is hidden is just as important as what is visible. Elements I strategically use are relevant to the story I am painting. I can spend up to eight hours searching for the perfect part of a letter to have hidden, or certain vintage Lake Charles memorabilia. My extensive pieces have lots of layers. You won’t notice every detail at once. It may be a year later and I will get a call, “Oh my, guess what I found?” That is what I live to create, what I love! I feel as though I have mastered blending. Yeah, I said it: Mastered!
JAM: Even with a wealth of inspiration surrounding you, running a business is hard work and can leave you drained. What drives you to continue making art every day?
HB: My children Brooklynn and Jayden. I could write a book on them alone. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. My mom plays a huge role in my drive. She helped me build a legacy. She could have given up on me years ago but she didn’t and has been my biggest cheerleader. When I want to give up, she says, “No, ma’am. Pick your chin up, push past self-doubt. I have faith in you.” Those little words inspire me.
JAM: What are some of your art plans for the rest of the year?
HB: We will be kicking off our second Summer of Camps on June 6. We also added classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings. For the first time, I am offering a Portfolio Building class. I am also working on a special series called, “What Hurts God?” It is about issues going on in our world today with addiction, abortion, miscarriage, abuse, sex trafficking, nature vs. nurture, mental illness, issues with our vets, etc. It is deep, powerful, and just plain beautiful.
JAM: What sort of advice would you lend an aspiring artist?
HB: Becoming an artist is a huge step. You have to be determined, focused, disciplined, and committed. Do what sets your soul on fire, don’t stop, work as hard as you can and keep working. Don’t compromise and don’t waste time. Fall in love with the struggle, the will to succeed, the drive, the hard work, the passion. The ride is rough, but stay positive, embrace your journey and trust the process.
Heather Boston – From the heART Studios
154 School St suite C
Moss Bluff, LA 70611