As a fourth-generation Californian, ANN McMillan focuses on recording the scenes she loves: the Central Coast, the Sierra Mountains and the San Joaquin Valley. Her art reflects her appreciation of the outdoors as well as her knowledge of the natural history of California. She started plein air painting while completing a conservation biology degree at UCSC and still occasionally paints on the land that has been in her family since 1852. Her paintings are about light, atmosphere and authentic observation.
Ann admires the work done by contemporary artists to mend the gap between academic classical painters, and the modern art establishment. She is particularly interested in the links between abstract expressionism and Monet’s impressionism. It has dawned on her that art must encompass more than the skillful execution of technique and reveal something previously hidden. A few excellent artists that celebrate the bond between true observation and deeper meaning include Wolf Kahn, Teruko Wilde and Marguerite Fletcher, and in the wider realm of the arts, Andy Goldsworthy, Maya Lin and Wolfgang Laib.
In her teaching Ann inspires her students by teaching straightforward skills for successful paintings. These include composition and color skills in particular. Previous students have remarked that Ann is adept at finding the best path forward for each student, and helping them to get there. Bold compositions, and clear color, help each painting stand on its own merits.
Alpine Road Springtime, oil on canvas, 11 x 14 inches. Image by the artist
Spring Hill Barns, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches. Image by the artist
Orange a-peel, oil on canvas, 8 x 10 inches. Image by the artist