- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Jeanie Latiolais has enjoyed painting in her spare time, while raising three kids and working for the government.

Born in Poplarville, she was the child of a Navy officer, Latiolais said she paints “when the notion hits me and I feel like sitting down and painting.”

For inspiration, she draws on the events of her past; memories of her grandparents’ home in Bogalusa, her family, and the dog, that helped raise her children.

After studying art in high school and at Louisiana State University for two years, Latiolais married and continued to paint, all while working for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service as an inspector. She would later work as a data analyst for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Outside of her few years while in school, Latiolais said she hasn’t received formal art training.

“There’s so many rules, but I don’t follow them,” she said. “I sit at the kitchen table and paint, I actually paint flat.”

In 2003, just a few years before Hurricane Katrina and the real estate boom in Pearl River County, they purchased a lot bordering on Anchor Lake. Years later, she and her husband built their dream home, which now serves as a place of inspiration for her work.

She retired in 2014 and now helps care for three of her eight grandchildren that live nearby. Together, they fill the dining room table with arts and crafts projects.

“They all say they’re going to be an artist when they grow up,” Latiolais laughed.

But about once a month, she sits down at the end of the large wooden table and begins a piece, using whatever canvas she can find.

“I paint my own style,” she said, though she is also influenced by impressionists and Van Gogh.

She also flips through books, which she’s collected from local museums, on a variety of artists and styles.

“A lot of times I just paint from my imagination . I’m not a real realist,” Latiolais said.

Inspired by a photograph, a large painting in the living room depicts a scene from her daughter’s wedding, though it looks nothing like the photograph, Latiolais joked.

Most of her paintings are of family, and in turn are given to family. “I’ve never sold a painting,” she said.

“When am I going to have time to sell paintings and raise kids?” she said.

Latiolais estimates she has created about 100 works of varying sizes and subjects.

In the tradition of a hobbyist, she uses acrylic paints on cardboard, canvas boards or stretched canvases; whatever she can afford and get her hands on, Latiolais said.

It takes her about two or three days to finish a painting, she said, sometimes using interior paint to start over.

“It keeps me up, I fret over it,” Latiolais said.

Some of her work will be on display at the visitor’s center at the Crosby Arboretum through February. Latiolais‘ paintings are also available for viewing on her Facebook page, Pearl River Paintings: Art by Jeanie Alexander Latiolais.

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Information from: Picayune Item, https://www.picayuneitem.com

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