How did you first get into painting?
I have been making art ever since I can remember. My mother always encouraged me to draw and paint. It has always been a part of who I am.
Describe your creative process. Does experimentation come into play?
This method is a very non-traditional method of painting, it uses wax in a similar fashion to batik but I use rice paper and watercolour instead of fabric and dye. This process is very exciting to me with the many alternating layers of colour and wax. Normally you would watch your painting come to life as you paint it, but with this method of painting I have to trust my creative instincts until the end when I remove all of the wax and see the final result. I am constantly experimenting and trying new mediums and techniques; as an artist I believe you never stop learning.
What draws you to paint natural forms and landscapes?
Growing up in the country gave me a lasting connection with nature. The vast array of colourful flowers, beautiful landscapes and peaceful trails through the woods kept me captivated. These qualities of nature are what fuel my creative spirit and are reflected in my art.
Colour seems to play an integral role in your pieces. Can you talk about your approach to colour?
I have always been drawn to bold rich colours. With the watercolour batik I do not mix colours. I layer one colour and after it is dry, I layer another one on top of it to make the next colour I need. This gives the colours a variegation and glow that is not possible when you use a mixed colour.
What current projects are you working on?
I have recently started painting flowers in oil; I love the vibrant colours and texture that can be achieved with this medium.
Check out the amazing new work from Martha. We love all the fresh new colours.
My pottery is constantly changing and evolving, most is functional although some pieces are purely whimsical. My functional forms are simple with subtle alterations, a little texturing and glazes that blend together seamlessly, pleasing both to the eye and the hand. It is designed to be used and enjoyed daily. Because each piece is made by hand, no two are identical. This is due to the nature of the clay, the glaze and me leaving signs of the creative process like throwing lines and marks from tools or my fingers.
There is something special about things made of clay. Each piece unique and imperfect, very much like our selves.
As someone arranges flowers in a vase, arranges food on a platter or wraps their hands around a warm coffee mug, I like to think that I have touched them in some way.
Martha is # 2 on the Tour
MJM POTTERY – Martha Millard
6 Goldie Court
What work do you most enjoying doing?
I am a detail oriented person who, for some reason is attracted to complexity. This shows in my art and almost everything else I take on.
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?
So many. Ocean waves. Sitting under aspens and listening to their leaves dance in the wind. Playing with friends outside. Warm sunshine. Not liking bees.
Because I can’t sing and really wish I could. But seriously – producing art has helped me through some very difficult times. I get a great deal of satisfaction from painting. I have been drawing since I was a small child drawing animals over and over. I can still remember when I discovered that you can add shading to a line drawing!
Upon graduating for high school I was fortunate to win the Clyde Finnamore Memorial Scholarship for Sunbury Shore Art and Nature Centre. I was able to take a three week art course with Gary Lowe. It was literally life altering. Wildlife art in watercolour. Cathy Ross was there as well. Pretty cool. They gave me the keys to the place and I stayed each day as long as I could. Did some Plein Air painting as well. My first watercolour was of a blue jay feather. The second was of a large red vase overflowing with wildflowers. See, complexity even at 17!
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A few actually. Once when I was working on Drama Queen a full sheet painting of white lilies, I had gotten distracted and painted in a house fly. Shortly after I had a visitor to the studio before I was able to get the petal under it painted. The person was standing there talking to me and tried to shoo the fly a couple of times. Still makes me laugh.
Name something you love, and why.
Spring. Fresh Air. The Beach. Nature. Birds. Furry creatures. Colour. Dappled sunlight. Just because I guess
You can see more of Helen’s work by visiting her website and blog at www.helenshideler.com