Floyd Sonnier artist Floyd Sonnier
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"I consider myself a historian as well as an artist. I’m visually recording history."
– Floyd Sonnier
From Small Bits of Charcoal
From Small Bits of Charcoal
The Life and Works of a Cajun Artist

The bi-linqual autobiography of pen-and-ink artist Floyd Sonnier of Lafayette, Louisiana. Written and illustrated by Floyd.


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P.O. Box 397
Scott, LA 70583

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Tee-Mamou Mardi Gras Two-Step


"Tee-Mamou Mardi Gras Two-Step" is the third sketch Floyd Sonnier did in "color" using what he termed a two step process. The following is an interesting story about the development of the sketch and an insight into Floyd's creative process.  It is best told in his own words:

Now let me tell you about "Tee-Mamou". Years ago I was invited to participate in a Mardi Gras Festival held on Mardi Gras Day in the town of Iota. Iota is about thirty miles northwest of Lafayette. I went and set-up a small display next to the bandstand. I have been doing it ever since. I have watched this beautiful little festival grow each year into an important celebration for that season. The reason I think it is important is because it is aimed at authenticity and, more importantly, at family fun. I was impressed with that.

In the afternoon, there's a small parade that comes through consisting mostly of men dressed in very colorful homemade costumes throwing candies and beads to the crowd. I was impressed with the beautiful costumes these men were wearing that I asked them if my wife, Verlie, could take pictures of them. I suspect that they knew exactly what my plans were. They were very willing to get their pictures taken. They immediately started dancing.

When Verlie had the photos developed and printed, I went through them and picked six of the dancers that would best fit what I had in mind. On one I had him playing an accordion. (On the bellows of the accordion I painted the Official Cajun flag, hoping that one of our local accordion makers would pick up on the idea.) Another is playing the fiddle and another is playing the tee-fer (triangle). They're all dancing in the front yard of an 1810 Cajun house. Behind the tree is a chicken symbolically hiding and behind the fence is Bandit, my young Blue Heeler mutt, who's trying to understand what all the commotion is about.

The drawing, 10 by 24 inches in size, was done in black pen and ink on a special paper that I like to use. Then when the ink drawing is complete and the original pencil is erased I add the color with prisma colors (colored pencils). This is a lot of fun and the results are so rewarding.