Monday, November 5, 2018


In this time of anxiety and darkness in our broken world, we can count on Paul Schexnayder, New Iberia, Louisiana artist, to gift us with his playful illustrations that always lift our spirits. In The Time of Shimmer and Light, the second book in a three-part series just released by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, will delight both young and adult readers. The story takes us to the happy island home of Sir Galatoire Gator, Tin Toy Hare and Queen Ida Peacock where the three critters vie for a dazzling doodad the Queen has found bobbing up and down on the water near their island home.

Schexnayder’s vivid acrylic paintings mesmerize readers, glowing with imaginative figures that “bumble, mumble, and grumble” until the Queen shows her critter friends the object she has discovered and placed in a brilliant red boat to dispel the disharmony developing amongst the friends. I won’t reveal the object or the end of the imaginative fable Schexnayder has created, but readers won’t be disappointed to find more serendipity in the work he offers.

A visit to Schexnayder’s gallery is an occasion of “joy and wonder, shimmer and light,” and visitors usually come away with an art object in hand. Lately, a visit reveals paintings of moss-covered kings who people one wall. The paintings depict mystical-looking beings who are a departure from his “Girth Series,” those kings with tiny heads and billowing robes that he initiated in 2016. “It takes awhile for patrons to get used to a new series,” Schexnayder explains. However, I've found favorable reviews of the new work on facebook and know that his followers will soon add them to their Schexnayder home galleries.

Schexnayder, who always discovers treasures to paint, has made memorable a simple red rowboat that provokes thoughts of optimism, and the word “joy” is frequently reflected in his books, as well as in his art. The mysterious factor in his paintings is that he’s color blind; however, his purples, reds, yellows, and blues leap from the walls and pages of his work after their birth in the colors of his imagination.

This notable New Iberia artist has created illustrations for at least three of my own books, and I often re-use them in blogs. The whimsy that Schexnayder conveys is infectious and his mission, a simple one — to recreate the Fruits of the Spirit, specially the one at the top of St. Paul’s List — JOY. His creations also emerge as acts of love, another outpouring of the Spirit.

Paul Schexnayder has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana State University, has worked as an art teacher, serves as a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and owns an art gallery in New Iberia that he generously shares with regional artists and writers. Recently, he painted a mural depicting his “Girth Series” for the City of New Iberia. The mural emphasizes the idea that New Iberia is not only the “Queen City of the Teche”, as it is often called, it’s also the King City of Bayou Country.

Bravo, Paul, thank you for spreading joy and wonder, shimmer and light! 

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