The Art of Courtney Prudhomme
By Danny Allain
JAM: Tell me a little about what you do?
CP: I’m a transplant from the mountains of West Virginia and am completely self-taught. My Maw Maw Emma inspired me to have the courage to try anything my heart desired. She learned to cook, play piano by ear, sew, etc., all on her own. My Paw Paw Jess taught himself to be an electrician and could work on anything you put in front of him. You can say it’s in my blood. All the artistic skills I have come from hours of trial and error, practice, and taking in all the info I can get on a particular art form. I do very detailed pen and ink drawings with lots of dimension added with pencil shading. I tend towards abstract but from time to time I do something more realistic. I also make unique jewelry with leather, gemstones, and various metals. My style there is def hippie Bohemian, things I would love to wear myself. I like to offer pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. The name of my business is Namaste Y’all. The Namaste refers to the Zen part of my pen and ink pieces and my Bohemian jewelry, while the Y’all is a nod to my WV upbringing. I offer everything from adult coloring books to jewelry and pen and ink work.
JAM: How long have you been creating?
CP: Since I could pick up a crayon. As I get older, I refine and narrow the sort of projects I work on so that I can really hone my craft.
JAM: Your artwork ranges from pixel art to jewelry to detailed ornate images. What process is your favorite?
CP: My favorite right now is definitely the detailed images. I really take my time to plan and sketch things out before I ink them in. I try to use my instincts to put patterns together that not only look right but also help tell a story. I had a piece hanging at Henning House for the Works of Women exhibit that is an outline of the state of Louisiana. So I selected patterns that looked like shellfish, beads, long bridges (like the Causeway), a piano, etc. All things relatable to Louisiana. Everything is chosen carefully to “fit” and that’s part of the fun. I recently started doing watercolor backgrounds with inspirational quotes and such with hand lettering .
JAM: What different mediums do you use?
CP: Pen and ink, watercolors, alcohol ink markers, leather, gemstones, Perler beads, etc. I’ve used practically every supply out there in various projects. I love to experiment and try new things. It’s even more fun to use them in unconventional ways, such as putting pixel art on painted canvases.
JAM: Do you find using various mediums easier or more difficult?
CP: It’s not really easier or difficult, it just takes practice figuring out the behavior of the mediums and what things work or don’t work together. When I work with watercolor backgrounds, I have to know what sort of pen will work on top of the watercolor. Or, if I do a detailed image first, then I have to see what sort of ink won’t bleed when colors are applied.
JAM: Your two boys can often be seen with you selling their own artwork. That’s gotta be a cool feeling, knowing you got them creating and selling their own stuff.
CP: It really is awesome. My twin sons Eli and Jay always used to tell me, “Momma I want to be a ‘maker’ like you when I grow up.” As they have gotten older, it was important to my husband and I to help them find something to start as their own business. So, since art is my specialty, and they had the desire to be a “maker” from early on, it just made sense to get them started with an art business. They started small with rubber band bracelets and as they began to make pixel art with me I handed that side of the business over to them. Plus, when I get booths at different shows, I can give them their own table to sell their stuff. They even have their own business Facebook page: Chub & Bub.
JAM: You also head up a group of adult coloring sessions. What’s that about?
CP: It’s been a lot of fun and very popular. It’s a monthly gathering (free) at Stellar Beans. I provide a new, exclusive coloring page freebie at every event plus some cool door prizes. I also have some coloring supplies, pages, and my self-published coloring book available for purchase. You can also bring your own coloring books and whatever you color with and we enjoy a couple of hours coloring, drinking coffee, and talking. If you like my business page on Facebook, I create Facebook events where you can keep up with dates and times of future coloring events. I will also be hosting some in Kinder as well as at a new coffee shop that’s opening soon.
JAM: Is there anything else that we should know?
CP: When you buy art, you aren’t just buying art but investing in someone’s dream. As artists, it’s such a personal thing to share the art that comes from our souls, more so than many might think. So when someone purchases my art it’s an honor. Keeping that in mind, everything I offer is made with great care, thought, and attention to detail. I am happy to make custom items of any of the mediums I work in: one of kind jewelry customized to your tastes, watercolor and ink pieces with your favorite quote, or a more detailed, custom ornate drawing, large and small.