Our GTKY subject this month is Carole Milne. Carole does a sterling job of keeping our website up to date, organizing and taking care of weekend workshops, the Thursday night free classes and also working on the Society handbook
“I started out with the Coquitlam Fine Arts in 1988, then moved to Burnaby and was a member of the Richard Major Group of Artists and the Burnaby Artist Guild for approximately ten years (I was an executive member for two years). I was a member of the Eileen Fong Gallery in Tinsel Town for five years. This was a working co-op of artists and was a fun time for all the artist involved. A big thank you to Eileen Fong for developing and organising this. Eileen is also a member of SSWRAS.
We moved to South Surrey from Burnaby (Deer Lake area) in 2010 and I joined the White Rock Arts Council (now Semiahmoo Arts) first and then the South Surrey and White Rock Art Group. I was also a member of The Delta Artist Guild in Tsawwassen for one year. I am currently a member of the SSWR Art Society, Semiahmoo Arts and an active member of The Canadian Federation of Artists.
I started with Coquitlam Fine Arts in 1988 shortly after my husband died suddenly. I was 40 and starting a new life and I decided I was going to do something for myself that I had always wanted to do and never had the chance to. I thought awhile about what I should do and it was art, so I joined Coquitlam Fine Arts working in watercolour.
I have had two episodes of health concerns in my life that prohibited me from painting for long periods of time. In 2005 it was discovered that I was going blind. Thank God they had an operation to fix that, as it was both eyes. Unfortunately I lost my fine vision and had to change my method of painting and could no longer do very detailed work. In 2010 I was diagnosed with a serious, fast-spreading cancer. I was out of commission both times with numerous operations for about five years, but as soon as I could I went back to painting.
I love to learn about art, and learn more by doing than reading, so the Thursday night classes being set up are right up my alley. I enjoy all the members and hope that they are enjoying and learning from this experience. I really feel that SSWRAS is the best art group around and we offer the most to our members of any art organisation in the lower mainland. This is thanks to all the work put in over the years by some of our members who raised so much money to allow us to be in this position. The group of executives we have right now are real thinkers and doers, and not afraid to step outside the box to accomplish things, to the good of all of our members.
I originally started with watercolours painting mostly flowers, then landscapes and a lot of people in detailed costumes with very small one or two haired brushes. I continued to paint in watercolour for about 25 years. I started using acrylics and did not like them at all, but I continued trying them again every once in awhile. I didn’t like the fast drying time and found it hard to achieve the colours I wanted so I put them away for a few years. Then I tried oils and really loved the blending you could do with them. Then I went back to acrylics and now I really like them and have been painting more in acrylics than watercolour or oils. Depending on the scene I try to determine which medium would be best for the subject matter.
I originally painted flowers, but now landscapes primarily. I also enjoy doing funky things and abstract. I love variety, so nothing is the same. Variety is the spice of life. I love to do palette knife work, but I’m still working on the best methods for this and on my strokes.
My favourite colours are blues, red, oranges and purple. In addition to painting I like designing and making clothes. I am also a quilter.
Some of my favourite artists are: Emily Carr, Norman Rockwell, Robert Genn, Tony Onley, Steven Quiller, Kihai Kececi, James Koll, Lalita Hamill, Robert McMurray, Georgina Johnstone, Sheryl Walker and Anne Morrison.
On my travels I have visited: Stephen Quiller’s Gallery, in Crede, Colorado (I also took a weekend workshop with him in Sydney, B.C.); The Norman Rockwell Museum and Studio in Stonebridge, Massachusetts; and Georgia O’Keefe’s Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
One tip I’d like to share is—keep practicing, eventually you will get it. It’s all a matter of learning. Don’t give up. I’ve just discovered spatulas and I love them.
I’m working on a variety of things at the moment. The big one is studio cleaning and reorganizing, so I will be able to work better. I’m also working on the courses for SSWRAS, the website, the Society handbook and I’m also trying to find time to paint—which is happening. So I’m a happy camper.”