Marshall Bouldin III and Troy Catchings: Peerless Artists

Artist Marshall Bouldin III next to a pastel portrait he painted of cousin Corinne Vance

By Pontificus Minimus

Rare is the opportunity in today’s amoral and egocentric times to be in the presence of two great men or women in an intimate setting at the same time. Recently, Pontificus had that singular pleasure, and it has the potential to change his life, it he will let it.

Pontificus interviewed the legendary local portrait artist, Marshall Bouldin III, whose first commissioned portrait hangs in the Howell house, the site of the interview for Coahoma Living magazine, published annually by the Clarksdale Press Register (CPR).

Pontificus’s wife, Magical Madge Marley Howell, is a relative of Bouldin’s. She videotaped the interview, which will be published in a subsequent edition of the Delta Bohemian. The written interview will appear in Coahoma Living, Summer 2011 edition, which will be inserted in next Friday’s hard copy of the CPR.

CPR Photo Editor Troy Catchings was on hand to take the photographs and graciously stayed during the interview. To be in the presence of two artists, two gentlemen, and two committed Christians who live their faith in a simple and quiet fashion was one of the humblest and most gratifying experiences of Pontificus’s life.

Clarkdale Press Register photographer Troy Catchings

Clarkdale Press Register Troy Catchings photographing Marshall Bouldin III

What makes these men great in my eyes is not their artistic excellence, nor their devotion to those they love—all good things; no, it is their quiet, unshakable, non-judgmental faith that makes them stand apart from a reality-obsessed, drama-loving culture intent on forgetting that living for others and doing God’s work is the apex of being human.

I attended high school and graduated with one of Bouldin’s extraordinary sons (he has four), and I worked with Catchings at the CPR for nine months. I never heard one negative, pernicious, belittling, ungracious word come out of Catching’s mouth, nor did I ever hear Bouldin or his children say anything remotely unseemly and non-edifying.

Both men and their progeny exemplify the kindness and graciousness that is found pleasing to God and beneficent to his creation. In Paul’s epistle to the Colossian church, he wrote, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Both men have!

Bouldin and Catchings do not beat their breast as did the Pharisees, nor do they seek public accolades, and both are soft-spoken and considerate of other’s opinions. It is truly an anomaly today to find men or women who quietly, but without shame, let their proverbial light shine.

Both men–one black, one white—epitomize what it means to have class, the rapidly disappearing character trait that seeks the good of others first. Both men love their Lord, love others, and love what they do. And, both men have inspired the self-seeking Pontificus Minimus to put a guard over his words, to seek to edify others instead of vainly looking at their faults, and to do whatever he does as “unto the lord” and for the benefit of others.

If I will learn from these paragons of chivalrous splendor, then maybe I can begin to serve others as they have made a lifelong habit of doing.

Portrait Artist Marshall Bouldin III sitting beneath his first commissioned portrait of Marshall Bouldin Sr.

Cover of Coahoma Living 2011 from the Clarksdale Press Register. Photo by DELTA BOHEMIAN TROY CATCHINGS

Cover of Coahoma Living 2011 from the Clarksdale Press Register. Photo by DELTA BOHEMIAN TROY CATCHINGS

Roger Stolle, Heather Williams, Troy Catchings

Author’s note: (Check out the Clarksdale Press Register next week for the Bouldin interview and for Catching’s pictures and stay tuned for the Bouldin video interview on the Delta Bohemian in a few weeks.)


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  1. Hey Poor William, he did the portraits of all the Carter kids back in the 60’s. Nixon must have liked em so much he got his own. LOL

  2. Dringler says:

    Amen! We couldn’t emulate two finer men.

  3. MrsSoBelle says:

    What a tribute and so true of these two wonderful Clarksdale artists. So happy you compared the two.

  4. Alisa Carson says:

    What a wonderful tribute to both. I am glad that other have gotten to experience two brightly shining Lights of God. I have had the pleasure of experiencing my father’s ( Troy Catchings) glowing light for a LIFETIME.

  5. Charlot Ray says:

    Marshall painted the most stunning portrait of me and my two boys about 30 years ago. I still treasure the time I spent with him! Such a warm and delightful person. I’m glad to hear he is doing well.

    • How wonderful you got to spend that special time with Marshall! Do you still have the portrait(s)?! 😃 It is a dream of mine to have a Marshall Bouldin Portraits homecoming show in Clarksdale some day and have them all on display for a time! But how cool to have the person next to their portrait and take photos of that!

      Unfortunately Marshall passed away several years ago. This is a “Blast From The Past” article we published July 2011.

      Marshall was a special man. Did you ever see this article? Watch the video! It’s WONDERFUL!

      Thanks so much for commenting and for reading The Delta Bohemian. 😊

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