Artist celebrates a career milestone: Local artist Mickey Asche was selected to create the official poster for the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival

Published 11:28 pm Saturday, August 30, 2008

Local artist Mickey Asche was chosen earlier this year to design and create the official poster for the Madisonville Wooden Festival — the poster was recently unveiled and is currently available for purchase.

Answering a “call to artists,” sent out by the Slidell Arts League, Asche and his wife Milo Stephens, also a well-respected artist, dared to dream, took the risk and are now celebrating the rewards of another milestone in Asche’s career.

“We had never done a portfolio with an artist statement and biography, and we didn’t even know what an artist’s statement was,” said Stephens. The couple worked down to the wire on Asche’s portfolio and eventually hand delivered it into the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville.

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“We were just ecstatic and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get him more known — that was the whole point of it — and he loves painting boats and water and bayous,” said Stephens. A week or so later, the couple received the joyous news that Asche had been chosen.

Asche quickly learned the process would be very “hands-on” and that the museum had a special committee that would oversee his work and ultimately approve the final image. Asche was asked to take part in two photo shoots — one of the specific spot of the Tchefuncte that the museum committee had chosen and one with the little wooden boats known as bateaux, which simply means “boats” in French.

Asche said that there were approximately only five of these original bateaux left. The owners told stories of how the boats, made of 24 foot long solid planks with no splices, were specifically used at one time to bring huge cypress trees through the narrow waterways out to where larger boats could pick them up. “It was a privilege to meet these guys because several of these boats were actually owned by their great grandfathers who used them on the bayous,” he said.

Asche also talked about being extremely impressed with the LPB Maritime Museum. Not expecting much, he said he walked into a huge three story building in awe. “It was amazing,” he said. He talked about their movie theater and some of the impressive exhibits.

After the artist received his criteria, some valuable insight and his photos, he went to work to create the image. “Next came the matter of really lining up the composition, which took a while,” said Asche. He said that he had to paint several small studies — smaller less detailed paintings — that were all submitted to the museum’s committee so that they could vote on the final image. The couple said that between the different studies, and the “beaucoup emails,” the final image was chosen. Interestingly enough, for the first time, the original painting will also be exhibited at the LPB Maritime Museum.

Asche resides in Picayune and has been painting full time for the last several years. He said he sold his first painting when he was just six years old to his sister for $.25. He and wife Stephens have their work displayed locally in a Main St. shop and in several galleries across the south, including Bay St. Louis, Slidell, La., and they are coming soon to Maggie Mays of Nashville, Tenn. They recently returned from a trip to Colorado where their work was well received.

As part of his contract, Asche has been given a booth at the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival to display some of his original pieces. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., October 18 and 19 in Madisonville. The official poster signing will take place on Friday, September 19 in Madisonville, and the sponsors party, “Pirates of the Tchefuncte” Maritime Mania is set for 8 – 11 p.m., Friday, October 17 at the museum. For tickets to the sponsors party, which must be purchased in advance, or for more information about the posters or any of the upcoming events surrounding the festival, call the LPB Maritime Museum at 985-845-9200 or visit or

For more information about the work of Mickey Asche, visit