Past a horse pasture, up a country road near the top of a gently rising foothill, Josette Millar’s home studio looks out across the hills of Sherman, Connecticut.
It is from here that the Swiss born artist develops her plein air canvasses of the surrounding countryside, a far distance from the small village near Lausanne where she grew up but not so far from the call of the farmland of her youth.
Millar’s early family life was “idyllic” in her own words. Her family’s chalet, perched above Lake Geneva, looked out on the majestic Alps. Following the Swiss tradition of choosing a career at sixteen, at her parents urging, she chose banking. This left her to feed her creative urge by making her own clothes and at Christmastime making gifts of felted animals, glass engravings and felt ski hats.
At twenty-eight, Millar left the spreadsheets and ledgers behind and immigrated to the United States to pursue a degree in graphic design that led to her founding her own web design agency. All the while, the creative tickle never left. Starting with ceramics, first throwing bowls and vases, she was more and more attracted to draw on slabs of clay. Not long after her first series of designed tiles, Millar stumbled upon a set of watercolors. Her passion was ignited. Soon after her first watercolor painting, she enrolled in oil painting classes and has never looked back.
Although she still serves some web clients, Millar’s painting career takes her focus these days and she can be found in her studio most mornings and in the field with her paints in the afternoon, weather permitting.
It is in the outdoors that she finds her inspiration. “Nature is where I feel free”, Millar claims, “as a child I loved to roam and play in the fields and forest of my home in Belmont sur Lausanne. Plein air painting pulls me outside once again and frees my spirit.”
Millar finds her joy in discovering the world by painting on location. She has traveled and painted in Montana, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in the U.S., and Italy and Switzerland.
Millar developed her technique at The Art Students League in New York City and has studied extensively with the renowned artists, Stefan Baumann of Mount Shasta, CA, Edward Spalding DeVoe of Bridgewater, CT, and Leonid Gervits of New York City. She also attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York Copyist Program two years in a row.
Her inspirations have been John Singer Sargent “because of his strong brush strokes”, JMW Turner and Albert Bierstadt “because of their use of the light” and George Inness “for the softness of his trees.”
Millar is a member of The Washington Art Association, Washington, CT.
She loves to volunteer for rescue animals, and she enjoys dance and astrology.