by Ariana Flynn, Assistant Operations Manager, January 27th, 2011
I have had the pleasure of watching the walls of our resort transform over the years with the constant introduction of local artists and original art. I find that the paintings, carvings, and objects all add another dimension of life to our surroundings instilling personality, feeling, and thought. The art speaks for itself and it’s up to the viewer to interpret what is being conveyed. But I had to wonder—what do the artists themselves have to say? What, if any, messages are they trying to express? I asked three of our featured artists at the resort some questions to get a sense of what makes them tick and to help us appreciate their art in a whole new way.
Philip Mix- I use a technique of placing two or three colors in more or less vertical strokes next to each other to create a shift that modulates or adds depth to the surface. The forms are delineated with a soft line that also shifts color occasionally. I base the idea on stained glass windows.
Michelle Miller- A style…. hmmm... abstract, pure abstraction, referential abstraction but it is always relative to me making it very solipsistic. If I had a particular technique,a method, I would probably paint a lot more paintings. Each painting becomes their own. I don't know what they will be. They just become.
Blu Smith- I would say that I paint in the abstract style. My images are non-representational and my style of painting is a process that is unique to me. I believe an artist’s style only comes from years of consistent work. I tend to incorporate many different techniques in my paintings at once. Some of these include writing and mark making with charcoal and texturing effects.
Philip Mix- I suppose I always thought of myself this way even as a child. I worked as an art restorer for 30 plus years but I painted the whole time as well. I did my first oil painting at eleven years of age. There was never any doubt for me an artist was what I was.
Michelle Miller- When I could hold a crayon, I was an artist in my head. I remember being in Mrs. Tremblay’s class in kindergarten in Moose Jaw. There was an art area of the room and a play area. I just wanted to be in the art area and the play area was just not for me. I took a lot of dance classes when I was a kid. I loved them. I could see how the language, even at such a young age, was so similar to visual art language. It was after a tap dancing stint which I did for 3 years, that I realized I wanted to devote myself to painting and drawing. Even my younger brother said to me "You are the only person I have ever met that said they wanted to be a particular something when they grew up...and you DID!” I felt I didn’t have a choice. The art chose me. Our mom was a Sunday painter, so I was exposed to painting a lot. Sometimes when I was sick, mom would take me out to the country and we would sit and draw in the car, me wrapped in blankets.
Blu Smith- I always thought of myself as somewhat of an artist. I guess when I switched from representational work to abstract painting is when I considered myself to be creating serious original work.
Philip Mix- I have used all three of the resources at various times in my career but at this time I work with an idea as a starting point and play about with design. Artists of the past such as Picasso and Braque contribute to my inspiration. Not that I wish to imitate them but I am fascinated by the ideas they initiated by there own exploration. In particular I am intrigued by the question, "what is TIME?", and how does memory affect the way we see. Many writers too, have explored this theme; it seems to be a universal question.
Michelle Miller- I work from everything. Whatever catches my eye and whatever will work in the painting of the moment.
Blu Smith- I tend to work from imagination as a starting point. My work is often inspired by my own work. What I mean is that my paintings or parts of them are used as building blocks for the next work. I find something that is working in a painting whether it is a composition or a color combination and develop that further in the next. This often leads to a series of work until I feel I have exhausted all the possibilities.
Philip Mix- I paint to create a dialogue and I would never want my art to be so obscure as to not be understood. However, ultimately the process of creating paintings is the prime reason for my internal drive and motivation. I feel this is a God given thing and stopping it would be like trying to stop a train. I would never produce a work simply to satisfy what i thought another individual liked.
Michelle Miller- The viewer's reaction is always interesting but is not at all in my thoughts while I am painting. I don't care if anyone likes or dislikes my work. I do it for me.
Blu Smith- For me, the most satisfying moment is when I have created something that really works. As artists we all know that some pieces work better than others. When all the stars seem to align and a painting comes together—there is no better feeling.
Philip Mix- Explanations help—the ideas I am trying to convey don't immediately appear evident to the viewer. Yet I think all the clues, titles included, add to the substance of the work. Locations mean nothing to me nor the exact type of tree, for example. Form is my medium and light my brush. I paint to express an awe, an idea, and a puzzle.
Michelle Miller- I like to use titles that have nothing to do with the painting… or so I think. But as with many things, there are overlaps and there is always some thing that has to do with the other. Life is made up of double meanings. If I wanted people to get one direct idea out of the work, I would paint simple imagery. Mine is not simple imagery and there are layers upon layers of paint and mixed media. I think people like to know what the artist is thinking just out of curiosity, but I don't think it is integral to the work. The work should stand on its own. The meaning is secondary.
Blu Smith- It is always hard for me to attach meaningful titles to my work. My painting is not literal art. It is expressive and emotional based. I'll often use lyrics to songs I listened to while painting as titles. Communicating my thoughts through words has never been my strong point. Expressing what is in my mind through painting, however, has become almost second nature. Whatever the viewer takes away from my work is fine with me. I don't need to distort their view with my words.
Philip Mix was born in Edmonton Alberta in 1955. His formal art education came from the Alberta College of Art, Calgary and he received his Bachelor of Arts in painting in 1980. In 1982 he apprenticed in art conservation at Monro Restorations, Calgary and at Museum Services, San José, California. In 1986 he started a conservation studio Fine Art Restoration in Victoria B.C. becoming a member of the Pacific Conservation Group, and Canadian Conservation Associates.
Extensive travel has enabled Philip to show his paintings internationally in galleries such as Cadogan Gallery , London, England. More recently Philip enjoys continued success with his developing style and is presently represented by several British Columbia and Alberta galleries.
With a strong interpretative design sense, the works of Philip Mix display an elegant thoughtfulness; a balance of convention with a probing inventiveness.
Michelle Miller was born in 1962 in Saskatchewan, Canada and possesses a B.F.A. Visual Arts with a Triple Major in Painting, Drawing, & Printmaking. As well she holds a B.A. Art History.
Michelle Miller works as a full time artist from her studio in Victoria B.C. Canada. She has exhibited in Canada, United States and Asia and her work is part of private collections throughout the world. She also teaches art internationally to students of all ages.
Working in both oils and acrylics, her paintings convey a sense of discovery and wonderment that are consistent with all of her work.
Blu Smith was born in the interior of British Columbia in 1968. He has lived most of his adult life in Victoria and completed his bachelor of fine arts at University of Victoria. Blu's abstract works have been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally over the past 15 years.
While originally beginning his career as a representational painter, he experimented with various forms and styles including Pop Art before moving into abstraction which opened the doors to true expression and honesty in his artmaking.
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