My name is Lesley Mills. I am an artist living and working in San Diego, California. I primarily work in oils. I have been inspired by so many artists it would be difficult to list them all. There are the greats on whose stories and visual gifts I study often, but also many of lesser fame but no less talented. I am blessed time and time again by their encouragement and inspired work to keep at it no matter what.
My paintings are one of a kind — usually whimsical, sometimes humorous, always heartfelt. I am particularly passionate about animals, and I love the power of color. I use painting as a way to connect with both, sharing with the viewer their spirit and their story. Sometimes I learn something of a creature’s owner too that weaves itself into the painting.
Becoming an artist was one of those magical discoveries not yet imagined on the landscape called my life. The journey actually began years ago, in starts and fits that were more like dabbling. Self-doubt often won out and I found myself staring at the paint, and thinking someday.
It was the creation of Merlin’s Garden, a quarter acre plot of land in San Diego I discovered with my husband in my later years that changed everything. When you think on it, the garden is a canvas too, naturally a bit bigger. But just as I learned to create a space of wonder out of barren dirt and controlling weeds, I also learned an essential piece to creativity – to suspend judgment, to go further and deeper into the story the land as canvas is trying to reveal, and to not be afraid to make mistakes and start over. This is the lesson I take time and time again into painting. Nature is the greatest art teacher I know.
Painting is much like telling a story. It can spur a memory, invoke serenity and beauty and a range of unique emotions. At other times it amuses and makes us laugh. Whatever it is, it is my ardent hope you will be inspired by what you see, given to smiles, laughter and tears that heal.
I hope you enjoy visiting Merlin’s Garden!