Meeting Ourso – the artist

Staff Writer
Donaldsonville Chief
Bill Ourso, of Ourso Art Studio, was the featured artist for the month of January at the Grapevine Café and Gallery.

If you walked into the Grapevine Café and Gallery during the month of January you would’ve noticed unique, detailed portraits hanging on the walls. Like any month, the Grapevine showcases artwork for local talents and during January the artist responsible for the work was Bill Ourso, of Ourso Art Studio.

Vicky Ward, Manager at the Grapevine, said it’s always important to continue the tradition of promoting local art at the Grapevine.

“Being from a small town, it’s just always good to show off our local talent and the Grapevine is rich in culture and tradition in doing so,” Ward said.

Parts of the artists’ proceeds from paintings sold go to the Grapevine, which in turns uses it for donations and scholarship money to give back to the community.

Ward said it’s a double-fold opportunity for the Grapevine.

“It’s nice to be able to use this as a fundraiser for the community,” Ward said.

Ourso was born and raised in Donaldsonville. His father is the World War II Veteran Floyd Ourso, Sr. that the community salutes each year.

The Ourso’s are known as a respectable family, but for Bill Ourso some just say he grew up with a paintbrush in one hand and a guitar in the other – a real artist.

Now at the age of 61, he gets away in a closet-turned-studio in his Baton Rouge home and just paints.

“For me it’s a learning process,” Ourso said about painting. “Every time you sit down and paint, you learn something.”

Ourso always painted for self-entertainment and said a lot of his work was just experimenting with an idea that would come to him.

“I’ll just stare at a blank canvass for hours, and then it’ll just come together before I know it,” Ourso said, who never had a formal training in painting.

His wife, Charlene Ourso describes the process in which Ourso paints to be “amazing.”

“It’s just amazing how he can start with nothing, then a black canvass and then it’s just a beautiful thing,” Charlene Ourso said. “I get the opportunity to watch him bring something to life.”

Ourso’s family has a trace of artists as his younger brother Todd Ourso also used to do pen and ink painting. However, pen and ink is much different from using acrylics and oils; kind of like comparing “apples to oranges.”

“Not just anybody can do what Todd did,” Bill Ourso said. “I wish he’d get back into it.”

Bill Ourso’s artwork is on display until Jan. 31 at the Grapevine Café and Gallery.

He also has a Facebook page at, “Ourso Art Studio. Original Paintings by local artist Bill Ourso.”