Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - Sally Mid­dle­ton’s ex­hi­bi­tion:

and there was no point her keep­ing them.

She will host a public art ex­hi­bi­tion in her lounge on June 1, be­fore burning what she doesn’t want at a later date.

Mid­dle­ton’s fam­ily has a strong artis­tic streak. Mid­dle­ton shared her cre­ativ­ity as a child with her water­colourist grand­mother, Jessie Wigley. Sis­ters Annabel El­wor­thy and Jo Wat­son and her daugh­ter Jes­sica Gunn are also artists.

Mid­dle­ton cham­pi­oned public arts projects dur­ing her term as deputy mayor (2004-2007).

‘‘While I was on the coun­cil I did a BA ma­jor­ing in hu­man­i­ties and I stud­ied art. That is what got me back into it. I grad­u­ated when I was 64,’’ she said.

But she did not en­joy her first foray into the artist’s world with her pro­lific grand­mother.

‘‘The first time I re­mem­ber, I must have been 9 or 10 years old and I was sit­ting in the freez­ing cold, paint­ing a bridge. That was at Washdyke [near Ti­maru].’’

For those un­fa­mil­iar with Ti­maru, it is per­haps use­ful to ex­plain Washdyke Creek is not a very ro­man­tic place. In the early days it was used as a sheep dip.

Although Mid­dle­ton loves the out­doors and has lived for sig­nif­i­cant pe­ri­ods in car­a­vans or small cot­tages on the West Coast, at Ao­raki/Mt Cook and in Wanaka, paint­ing in the en­vi­ron­ment holds lit­tle ap­peal.

‘‘I didn’t en­joy it all. It al­ways seemed to be cold. I’ve never en­joyed land­scapes very much. I’ve al­ways en­joyed peo­ple,’’ she said.

Sim­i­larly, Mid­dle­ton is not that fussed on still life ei­ther.

‘‘Dead life,’’ she ac­cuses one of her paint­ings of roses. ‘‘I ab­so­lutely hate it. It looks so con­trived!’’

Be­cause she is a keen trav­eller, quite a few of her por­traits are of strangers. But fam­ily and friends have also sub­mit­ted to Mid­dle­ton, in­clud­ing her hus­band who in later years sat for his wife for hours.

‘‘I wouldn’t say he was will­ing, but he was co­op­er­a­tive,’’ Mid­dle­ton said.

Although Mid­dle­ton is on a ‘‘sell or burn’’ mission, she is not giv­ing up her art.

She hopes to raise money so she can down­size, go on more car­a­van­ning ad­ven­tures around the coun­try and do more paint­ing, par­tic­u­larly as she is chang­ing styles and ‘‘get­ting looser’’ in her wa­ter colours.

‘‘As long as you are paint­ing, you don’t get lonely. I just seem to lose my­self. Don would say, ‘‘ When are we go­ing to eat?’’ she said.

Mon­day June 1, 2pm – 5pm at 6 Waimana Place, Wanaka.

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