Ex­tra­or­di­nary Beauty in Or­di­nary Things

Arabella - - ARTIST TO COL­LECT -

writ­ten by Brett An­ning­son

"What in­spires me?" Mickie muses. "Gosh, it’s hard to say, I was so young when the urge to draw and paint started. I’m go­ing to say that it was the world that in­spired me. The way a tree had these awe­some shadow ar­eas right up against the brightly coloured sun­lit leaves. The curve of a jaw. The way an an­i­mal’s fur laid across its

They are big and dark. What do they know! My mountain is as I thought it should be back then. Big­ger and darker. Oh, the lessons we learn over time! As I teenager, a vast ma­jor­ity of my babysit­ting money was spent at the lo­cal art sup­ply store – a two-mile plus walk away. My favourite pur­chases were Wal­ter Foster books. I still have them." As a young­ster, Mickie told her par­ents she would like to go to univer­sity one day to study art. This was be­fore she had any real sense of the im­pact of that state­ment, or how hard it might be to make a liv­ing as an artist. Her par­ents al­ways re­sponded the same way: "Who do you know that makes a liv­ing sell­ing art?" The sad thing was, she bought into that. Look­ing back she re­al­izes they were not be­ing mean, just try­ing to give the best ad­vice they could. The "starv­ing artist" myth was all they knew. They didn’t want that for their child, so the ad­vice was well in­tended. It was while walk­ing past a mall dis­play in her early 20s that Mickie started tak­ing an art ca­reer more se­ri­ously. There it was, larger than life, the of­fer of ten oil paint­ing lessons for $150.00. That was a lot of money in 1978, but she bit the bul­let and took the lessons given by Sa­mara Car­rier. And be­gan her love of oil paints and can­vas. "Over the years I painted a lot but there were sev­eral years, raising three small chil­dren, where I didn’t even pick up a brush. All that time the yearn­ing re­mained and even­tu­ally I would get back to paint­ing." Flash for­ward to the year 2000. As a sin­gle par­ent, Mickie de­cided to go back to school to find a way to sup­port her chil­dren while still be­ing in­volved in a cre­ative ca­reer. She chose a three­year Graphic Design pro­gram at the Univer­sity of the Fraser Val­ley. It al­lowed her to be in­volved in art classes and do life draw­ing, illustration and paint­ing. It changed the way she worked and brought her to a whole new level. "While in school I started a new re­la­tion­ship," says Mickie, "with the man that would be­come my part­ner in life, Jim Cameron. He en­cour­aged me to con­tinue paint­ing af­ter I grad­u­ated. No graphic design ca­reer for this girl! In 2003, I

be­gan paint­ing full time and had my first show in 2004 at the Nanaimo art gallery. In 2005, I joined the White Rock Gallery and have been with them ever since." She adds, "Jim was the per­son that not only en­cour­aged me to go to my stu­dio full time and put to­gether a body of work that I could fi­nally present to our lo­cal art gallery, but in­sisted it was the right thing to do. That process took a year and it was the de­ci­sion that made the big­gest im­pact on my ca­reer. I will be for­ever grate­ful for that time and his sup­port."

In­side the In­spi­ra­tion

Mickie thinks of her­self as very for­tu­nate right now in terms of stu­dio space. It is huge. There are two rooms com­bined – one room for paint­ing and one for ap­ply­ing gesso, sand­ing, var­nish­ing and pack­ag­ing paint­ings for ship­ment. There is stor­age for can­vas and props in both spa­ces. She cur­rently has three easels and ad­di­tional space to prop up the six paint­ings she would cur­rently be work­ing on. "It’s a beau­ti­ful warm space," ex­plains Mickie, "filled with bits and pieces – rocks, eggshells, mar­bles, feath­ers, bird nests, rusty locks and keys, a full deer skull com­plete with antlers. A bear skull, stone eggs, flow­ers. I also have many art books, pic­tures of art­work and a com­puter that al­lows me to search and view the amaz­ing works of other artists." "I love the ex­tra­or­di­nary beauty in or­di­nary things," she con­tin­ues. "The shine of a mar­ble, the in­tri­cate swirls of colour. The amaz­ing nat­u­ral design of a seashell. The warm and cool colours of a rusted lock. The per­fect blem­ish in a fully- ripened pear. Shad­ows and high­lights of the most lus­cious rose­bud. The in­tense beam of re­flected light on a glass vase. I have to say, though, when I am re­ally in the zone and have been paint­ing long hours for days in a row I see paint­ings ev­ery­where. That per­fect spot on the cheekbone where light and shadow meet. The cool side of a tree. Art is ev­ery­where!" Her style could be de­scribed as clas­sic re­al­ism with a con­tem­po­rary twist, and it re­ally does take or­di­nary things and dis­play them in the most

ex­tra­or­di­nary ways. There are things that seem to find their way into Mickie’s work again and again, like mar­bles, keys, locks, pot­tery; but lately she has been lean­ing to­wards the organic – rocks, nests, flow­ers, fruit and the like. She even has plans to ex­plore the paint­ing of a hu­man body. Her tech­nique be­gins with a photo shoot. "From there I will ap­ply a very ba­sic line draw­ing on the can­vas. My first layer or two are a Gri­saille in which I es­tab­lish val­ues. Once the Gri­saille has dried, I work in very thin lay­ers of colour, per­haps up to 4 or 5 lay­ers de­pend­ing on the sub­ject mat­ter. I al­most al­ways work with oils on stretched can­vas and fin­ish with a good var­nish. I started with oils and it is still my favourite medium. I would say that water­colour is the medium I have ex­plored more than the oth­ers, but I have also played with acrylics, pas­tel, inks, oil sticks and more." Also in her stu­dio is a prac­ti­cal in­spi­ra­tion which hangs pinned to the wall – Go to Your Room – which is the ad­vice Robert Genn was fond of giv­ing and some­thing Mickie took to heart. "For me," she says, "this is ad­vice I would give anyone. "Go to your room" re­minds me of the sim­ple truth that it is all about time. You must prac­tice. Don’t wait for the muse, she’s busy. Get to work and she/he will ar­rive!"

The Re­al­i­ties of Life

On Septem­ber 15th of this year, Mickie lost the love of her life, Jim, af­ter a year-long bat­tle with the same can­cer that took her mother. "He was the wind be­neath my wings and he would be so proud of the fact that I am in Ara­bella Mag­a­zine. He used to in­tro­duce me to peo­ple as "the world fa­mous artist Mickie Acierno." I was at the same

time em­bar­rassed and se­cretly happy that he loved me that much! These last 15 months have been a tough gig, a strug­gle to make a new nor­mal for my­self. Which re­minds me of an­other full-cir­cle mo­ment. Peer­ing in the win­dows of the White Rock Gallery and say­ing to Jim, "this just feels like the right gallery for me" and a few months later re­ceiv­ing an email from Den­nie Seg­nitz say­ing she loved my work and wanted to talk. That was ten years ago … the rest is a shared his­tory! "I guess life all comes back to the same thing," Mickie muses. "I don’t mind be­ing alone, and I think the in­tro­vert side of me is what has en­abled me to spend many com­fort­able hours by my­self do­ing what I love. But, at the same time, what mat­ters most to me are the sim­ple things; fam­ily and friends, hard work and long hours do­ing what I adore. You have to take time to laugh and cry. Be real. Love pas­sion­ately and play pas­sion­ately."

To see more of the work of Mickie Acierno head on over to www.mickie.ca or con­tact the artist at Mickie@shaw.ca 250.739.3556 Mickie Acierno is rep­re­sented by: White Rock Gallery White Rock, BC www.white­rock­gallery.com 604.538.4452 Stephen Lowe Art Gallery Cal­gary, AB www.stephen­loweart­gallery.ca 403.261.1602 La Ga­lerie d’art Au P’tit Bon­heur La Mal­baie, QC www.aup­tit­bon­heur.com 418.665.2060

pre­vi­ous spread, 10 Cents a Dance, oil on can­vas, 30" x 40" above, Daisy Chain, oil on can­vas, 12" x 48"

pre­vi­ous spread, Upon Re­flec­tion, oil on can­vas, 18" x 24" above, Three Quar­ter Turn, oil on can­vas, 24" x 24"

above, Five O’clock Shad­ows, oil on can­vas, 30" x 36" right top, Hung by The Moon, oil on can­vas, 48" x 48" right bot­tom, Round Trip, oil on can­vas, 24" x 48"

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.