For Christmas in 1999 Denise received hand-made coupons for art lessons from her great Aunt Catherine, a Carmelite sister and talented artist with a studio in Lacombe, Louisiana. It was in that studio that Denise learned making art was not just an enjoyable pastime but a powerful declaration of one’s place in the world. After cashing in all her coupons, Denise went off to Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, where she studied English and, to her great surprise, painting. In 2014, after having taught for six years at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans, and in the midst of some of life’s major curve balls, Denise went all in with her art and started painting full time. In 2020 and amid the pandemic, she moved to Pass Christian, Mississippi, where she runs a gallery of her work dedicated to her late Aunt Catherine, and quietly walks the beach stalking watching the birds that are her favorite painting subjects.
“I started painting every day as a way to navigate grief. It turns out, painting was also the way I could find, express, and share joy. I want my paintings to convey the sense of hope and promise I get from my subjects, from the physical act of making art, and from my encounters with the natural world, particularly the people in it.”