Impression of Sylvia Stanton

Published 1:17 am Sunday, April 20, 2008

As positive and uplifting as her art, Carriere resident Sylvia Doucet Stanton paints an impression of her life. Like a haunting refrain, the words once spoken to her “you have to be open for opportunities,” has encircled her brain, and propelled her work as an artist to award winning acclaim. Stanton has looked for and made the opportunities in her life worthwhile.

Stanton began painting at the age of 12, the day after she watched an artist in New Orleans, La. painting in a window. In her words, “I decided I could do that…found out how much everything would cost, and the next day I purchased my first oil painting box and books about painting in oil.” She was largely self taught, but later received instruction at the University of New Mexico.

As accomplished in her life as in her art, Stanton married at the age of 17, had six children, and lived all over the United States with her husband Bob Stanton. She followed in her parents footsteps by opening jewelry and antique stores. She has earned licenses in real estate, real estate appraisals, jewelry appraisals and antique appraisals.

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For a time, Stanton and her husband owned Magnolia Plantation in Slidell, La. It quickly became “the place” to get married. After going through five chefs, and lots of added expense, Stanton took on the role of chef herself. “I was up till 2:00 a.m. fixing something for a wedding the next day, and back up at 7:00 a.m. to put the steamship roast on. It just wore me out so we ended up selling it,” she said.

In 1988, after the sale of the Plantation, Stanton and her husband moved to Picayune, but they continued their world traveling. Stanton kept up her stores in other parts of the country. “Eventually I started a store in St. Thomas, Va.,” she said. She and Bob spent six months there renovating a space for her.

Tragedy struck when she was forced to leave the Virginia store after a heart attack scare. She made the mistake of leaving the store in the care of an employee who ended up embezzling $250,000. This caused lots of heartache and problems for Stanton. “I had some bad stuff happen, but that’s okay because you can bounce back,” said Stanton.

She used that same positive outlook when tragedy befell her again during Hurricane Katrina. She lost 43 paintings from the Maggie Mays Gallery on the Coast and lost her gallery above Millbrook Country Club. Again, she smiled, and said, “You can always bounce back, you have to be open for opportunities.”

Perhaps this winning spirit is why currently Stanton’s work is displayed in eight galleries from here to New York and her paintings have won her numerous awards. Her work sells for anywhere between $500 – $3,000 and continues to become more valuable. At the age of 72, she believes she has at least 10 productive years ahead.

She uses DaVinci oils for her paintings and paints in the impressionism style, named for the Claude Monet’s painting “Impression: Sunrise”. The movement was initiated by French painters in the mid 1800’s. The style encompasses a subject with the artists perception, mixed with light and movement.

Stanton draws inspiration from potting sheds, irises, orchids, shops she’s visited around the world, New Orleans scenes and seascapes. She will continue to work on a painting till it sells. Peter Wiley, an art critic for “Gallery and Studio Magazine” wrote, “Stanton’s work [is] in the French tradition. It is gaily energetic and has intimate charm.” This same statement could also be used to describe her.

She has graciously given several paintings for charitable causes to various organizations. “I donate three paintings per year to WYES TV’s Art Auction 12 and last year my ‘Orange Plum Iris’ sold for $3,000.”

She teaches oil painting in Picayune, Long Beach, Bay St. Louis, and she is “coming soon” as an instructor in Slidell. She takes on a range of talent from beginners to advanced — anyone over the age of 12. She limits her class size to no more than five so she can paint along in her head with her students in order to help them fix mistakes.

For Stanton, the opportunities are endless, and she will be around to grab them as they come. To learn more about Stanton or to see her work, visit her website at