Artist Spotlight: Judy Milne

Judy Milne is a long time local with a lifelong love of art. Her first public display came in second grade at the art museum in Edmonton, Alberta — an imaginary animal drawn with a 64 pack of crayons. She’s since dabbled with many different mediums, including charcoal and clay before settling on watercolor. Her work is on display at the Cooper Corner Gallery in Glenwood, among other venues. She recently shared some of her journey with the Post Independent.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I grew up in Southern Alberta for the most part. I went to university in Edmonton and studies sociology and psych. I was a social worker in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. I’d always wanted to travel, so I took off and traveled to Europe alone, staying in youth hostels. I spent six months in Crete and three months in Afghanistan.

How did you end up here?

When I came back, some friends had gone to the Bahamas, so I went down there on a three week excursion ticket and stayed for three years. I was a cocktail waitress in a discotek and spent a lot of time on the beach. My friend and I made bikinis and jams. Her boyfriend was from Denver, and when the Bahamas got their independence and wouldn’t renew work permits, about twelve of us moved to Aspen.

What did you do there?

We went and started a little place in the basement of the Monarch Building. It was the Hobbit Hole, and we did things like leatherwork and crochet. Then we moved over to the Hymen Street Mall, got another partner and made clothing as “The Country Flower.” I did sewing for quite a few years and moved to Carbondale in 1980. I was in one of the first Valley Visual Arts shows.

Then Valley View Hospital had an opening in the early childhood department, and I had the experience, so I went to work there.

How did you get back into art?

When I was finished taking my director’s qualifications for early childhood education, I was used to taking a class every semester. I took Spanish but the teacher broke her hip so I switched to a class on drawing on the right side of the brain and I was hooked. I just kept taking classes and loving it.

A few years ago some painting friends suggested I take a class on wet on wet watercolor in a large format. You have to try not to move the paint around yourself, but let it move on its own. It frees you up some. I really loved that, so that’s what I’ve been doing the last few years.

I’m often totally surprised by what’s coming out of me. It’s exciting for me still.

What’s next?

I’m working on the Redstone Art Show, which I’ve been in for many years. It’s a lot of fun. We go up and spend the weekend.

Also, a group of friends and I have been painting together on Thursday. We talked about it for years.

It’s turned into a wonderful group of fellow painters who critique each other and help each other. We’ve started doing group shows. There’s one coming up in December at the Village Smithy.

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